Sam Leshnak ’15 poses with three teammates behind the sign of the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. She was invited to the first ever Youth National Goalkeeper Training Camp in December 2012. Since then she has received several call ups and now trains on the U-20 WNT. Leshnak says, “In the future, I see myself with a gold metal wrapped around my neck, with tears of joy.”
Not only did the MND soccer program have a winning season, but their success has continued beyond their home field. Their team members and alumni team members have been getting special honors across the country. These members include Rose Lavelle ’13 and Sam Leshnak ’15.
Lavelle was a star player when she attended MND and her success has continued on the college level. Attending Wisconsin University, Lavelle plays soccer as a midfielder. She was recently named to the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team (WNT). She is to attend the US Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California this week, Jan. 3-10 for the first training camp of the year. US coaching staff will be watching the camp and will conduct the January 2015 NWSL Draft.
Leshnak, senior, contributed a lot to the success of the team this season as goalie with 90 saves in the league and 11 in shootouts. Led by Coach Keri Heedum, MND varsity soccer went 4-1 in GGCL and 10-4-3 overall. Leshnak was the GGCL Player of the Year.
Leshnak was recently selected for the US U-20 WNT and will report to the US Soccer National Training Center January 24-31.
“I got my first call-up when I was about 14, for the U-14 National Camp July 2011 in Portland, Oregon. It was tough because I wasn’t used to the away part of my family, but 5 days wasn’t too bad.” Leshnak explains. October 2012 she was called up to the U-15 National Team Training Camp, but could not attend due to a broken hand. She was defeated by this because she believed she had lost her chance of continuing towards the WNT.
However, Leshnak continues, “Next thing I knew I was invited to the first ever Youth National Goalkeeper Training Camp in December 2012 in Chula Vista, California at the Olympic training center!” Since then, she has been receiving steady call up. After receiving a call-up to train with the U-17 WNT in January 2013 in Carson, Cal., she got her first international start against the German U-18 team.
She exclaims, “This was huge! I’d never seen so many colleges on the sidelines in my life. It was a privilege and experience it was to play against such a great team.”
Leshnak comments, “My journey’s been pretty bumpy with lots of highs and lows. But, with help from my family and teammates I never got too low.” In the future, she hopes to cry tears of joy as a gold metal is placed around her neck. Although this is a lofty goal, she is well on her way towards it and continues to work her hardest to make that dream a reality.