When Allie Montoya’s parents sat her down for a talk, the 13-year-old thought she was grounded.
They actually had good news to share – Allie had been selected for the Under-14 Girls U.S. Youth National Soccer Team training camp – but they didn’t start with that. Albertin and Erin Montoya had a little fun first.
“At first they told me that I was in trouble,” the Blach Intermediate School eighth-grader said. “Then they (read) me the email and I was really happy and also very nervous.”
Allie was scouted for the weeklong camp at several showcase tournaments, including Surf Cup – which her team won – and SilverLakes, where she competed on a team of older players.
Allie attended the national camp in September, joining 23 other players rated among the best in their age group in the U.S. Head coach April Kater trained the girls, supported by several assistants, in the Southern California city of Carson. The camp was originally planned for 2018 but was moved up a year to give the under-14 players a head start, according to organizers.
The day before the camp began, Allie flew to Carson without her parents. On the first day, she met the coaches and the other girls she was going to be playing with and against.
“I was still excited and nervous at the same time,” she said, “It is a feeling I can’t really explain.”
However, she didn’t perform like she was nervous. After the technical evaluation, the coaches ranked Allie first. She described the evaluation as intimidating and said it was scary to be observed and ranked by so many coaches.
Over the next few days, Allie realized that she had to leave her nerves behind and focus on her rigorous schedule. Her day started with an early breakfast, followed by a two-and-a-half-hour practice. She had lunch and study hall over the next three hours, then a second two-and-a-half-hour practice before taking an ice bath.
“Being in the ice bath was fun, because everyone was in a pool, and we were all screaming because it was so cold,” she said, laughing.
The girls ended their day with dinner and a meeting with the coaches, at which they discussed the day’s practices and strategy.
Some days, Allie and her teammates scrimmaged against each other and also took on a local under-17 girls team, Beach FC.
At the end of camp, Allie said she was excited to go back to her team and family, even though she was going to miss the friends she made there.
“The camp was very stressful mentally and physically, but it was also very sad because everyone started crying on the last day,” the Los Altos resident said. “The last day was super fun because we ate junk food for the first time and went to an LA Galaxy game.”
Allie’s mom, Erin, has coached her for several years at the Mountain View Los Altos Soccer Club. Dad Albertin is MVLA’s technical director, as well as a coach for multiple teams. Erin and Albertin both played professional soccer.
“It’s fun with (my parents) coaching me because I’m more confident with trying new things, and at home they can help me as well,” Allie said. “They really inspire me.”
Allie added that she hopes to be invited to more national camps.