Jan. 11, 2011
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University women's soccer player Ingrid Wells (Upper Montclair, N.J./Montclair) got a bit of an early Christmas present this year. It was just a simple phone call, but it was just what she wanted.
Wells received a phone call from the United States Under-23 Women's National Team Head Coach Bill Irwin, informing the two-time BIG EAST Conference Midfielder of the Year that she would be one of 24 players invited to a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. from Sunday, Jan. 9, to Sun., Jan. 16.
Wells left her home in New Jersey on Saturday and took a train back to the District. She gathered some of her gear, stayed overnight on campus and then flew to Los Angeles = with a stop-over in Chicago - on Sunday, arriving around 1 p.m. Pacific Time.
Just about an hour after she arrived, Irwin put Wells and her U-23 National Team candidates through a workout of nearly 90 minutes.
"There are different players and it's a different coach, so that's an adjustment," Wells said over the phone Monday night. "I'm more comfortable since I have been through this before, but you still have to go out and prove yourself. Everyone is really good."
Wells earned First Team All-America honors after helping lead Georgetown to its best season in program history, reaching the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament and finishing the 2010 campaign with a 15-7-2 overall record. The BIG EAST Conference Midfielder of the Year and a three-time All-BIG EAST First Team selection, Wells tied for the team lead in scoring with 28 points, setting a school single-season record for points in a season. Wells scored nine goals and recorded a team-high 10 assists. She finished tied for fifth in the BIG EAST in points (28, 1.17 per game), tied for third in assists (10, 0.42 per game) and tied for seventh in goals (9, 0.38). Nationally, Wells finished 25th in the country in total assists.
Through three years on the Hilltop, Wells has scored 22 goals and has 34 assists for 78 points, two shy of the all-time record for points in a career. She will need three more points to pass Sara Jordan (C'10), who holds the school record with 80 points. Her 22 goals are tied for fifth all-time at Georgetown and she is the school's all-time leader in assists with 34.
Wells said that the team would hold training sessions every day, including an intra-squad scrimmage on Tuesday and games against outside teams during the course of the week. For Wells, this is the second time she has gone through training for a national team, as she was a member of the U-20 National Team that won the World Cup in Chile in 2008.
"You can see the difference, just with everyone older and more experienced," Wells said. "There are a few college players here, but there are some who are playing professionally and some who will be playing shortly."
All of the players eligible for the U-23 team in 2011 were born on or after Jan. 1, 1988. Among the 24 players called to the training camp, four are current professionals in Women's Professional Soccer, but 10 more are college seniors who could be selected in the WPS Draft on Jan. 14.
One of the challenging aspects for Wells, aside from the competition, was the fact that she'd miss the first week of class this semester.
The U-23 camp will also overlap several days with the full Women's National Team training camp, being held from Jan. 8-14 at The Home Depot Center. The U-23s begin a year in which the focus will be on this summer when the Nordic Cup is scheduled to return. The annual tournament for Europe's top U-23 women's teams that has long also included the United States has been on hiatus for two years. Seven players on Irwin's roster helped the USA win the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile.
"I really never know what to expect when I come to these camps because the competition is very tough," Wells said. "It pushes me. This was a goal of mine (to be invited) and I just want to make the best of it."