Tuesday, October 3, 2000
Going theA major change occurs in the lifestyle of a soccer player selected to an Olympic Development Program national team.
Punahou's Romy Trigg-Smith
spent a lot of time in the air,
traveling with the Olympic
By Al Chase
Being chosen ensures a summer crammed with soccer, travel and brief home visits.
Romy Trigg-Smith experienced it all last summer while making four round trips to the mainland.
The Punahou junior played in three tournaments and attended two camps.
Trigg-Smith's destinations were Houston, Pleasanton, Calif., Memphis, Tenn., Laramie, Wyo., and San Diego with the final return to Honolulu via Boston.
The first tournament was the US Youth Soccer/adidas Cup in Houston. This event included teams from Australia, China and Japan.
The teams stayed at The Woodlands Resort, 27 miles from downtown Houston.
"This tournament was probably the most exciting and the most nerve-racking," Trigg-Smith said. "This resort was so extravagant."
Although a member of the ODP under 16 national team, Trigg-Smith played for the adidas White Under-18 team. They lost to China, 3-2, defeated Australia, 4-0, beat the other USA team entered, 2-0, and took third place by defeating Japan, 2-1 in overtime.
"The whole adidas tourney was enjoyable. Listening to the national anthem, hearing your name announced as a starter ... it was memorable," Trigg-Smith said.
Yet, while in Houston, Trigg-Smith had to prepare for final exams at Punahou which she took late a day after returning home.
She also suffered a pulled left hamstring which left the rest of her soccer summer in doubt.
However, she was cleared to join her Leahi Soccer Club Under 16 team in the Snickers West Regionals at Pleasanton.
Playing at the Under 17 level, Leahi lost all its matches.
Eighteen hours after arriving home from California, she boarded a plane for Memphis to participate in the weeklong Elite Soccer Program camp. It was there Trigg-Smith had her first experience playing the sweeper position.
"They had too many center midfielders. You fill out a form listing the positions you would like to play and I had put down sweeper," Trigg-Smith said. "The first day I was so intimidated, but, by the last day, I was having fun.''
It wasn't all fun and training. In one game Trigg-Smith went up for a head ball and got whacked by the opponent's head.
"I got really dizzy and had the worst headache," she said.
It was comforting to have her Hawaii ODP spring coach, University of Hawaii Wahine coach Pinsoom Tenzing, rush to the sideline to find out if Trigg-Smith was OK.
"The first thing he said was 'I'm not recruiting her, I'm here as a friend,' " Trigg-Smith said.
From Memphis, it was off to Denver where she fell asleep in the airport and almost missed connections with her Hawaii ODP team traveling to Laramie for the Under 17 camp.
When Trigg-Smith did not call home after arriving in Denver, her mother, Jill, had her paged and that finally woke her up.
"By that time I was wondering if I could really go on," Trigg-Smith said. "I was really ready and fit, but I was exhausted."
The ODP coaches took note and gave her a day off.
Trigg-Smith had another successful ODP camp and joined Hawaii players Kara Ishikawa and Maile Tavepholjalern in being selected for the Under 17 regional pool. That meant an extra week of ODP training.
Trigg-Smith's summer soccer activity ended when her Leahi Under 17 team, competing in the Under 19 bracket, reached the quarterfinal round of the Surf Cup in San Diego, then lost in a shootout.
The three months were hectic, yet full of new experiences, many memories and the establishing of new friendships. Yet, even though her athletic ability opened those opportunities for Trigg-Smith, school remains her No. 1 priority. SAT prep classes take precedent over a 7-aside matches.
Homework means not attending the UH-Loyola Marymount match to watch former teammates play.
Would she spend another summer on the road?
"I would love to do it again if I get the chance," Trigg-smith said.
A number of Division I schools have indicated interest in her.
May 24: Left for Houston.
June 4: Returned from Houston.
June 16: Left for Pleasanton, Calif.
June 24: Returned from Pleasanton.
June 25: Left for Memphis.
July 2: Traveled from Memphis to Denver en route to Laramie, Wyo.
July 15: Returned from Laramie.
July 27: Left for San Diego.
Aug. 1: Traveled from San Diego to Boston.
Aug. 3-21: Visits 13 schools in the Northeast and South.
Aug. 22: Returned to Honolulu.