11v11: An Oral History of the Two Greatest High School Soccer Teams That Never Actually Existed

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Summary

Today, they're grown women, competing for World Cups and playing professionally around the globe. But 10 years ago, they were teenagers, competing at high schools on opposite sides of town. At high schools on opposite sides of town, two groups of girls showed up for the first day of soccer practice, and everyone thought they knew how the season would go. West Sycamore's team had always been pretty average. No one expected that to change. East Sycamore's team was the best in the state, with a lineup full of All-Stars. Anything less than a state championship would have been a disappointment. But in sports, things rarely go according to plan. There were new arrivals. There were injuries. There were red cards and penalties and fights in the locker room. Boyfriends and girlfriends and deaths in the family. Add it all together and you get a season people are still talking about 10 years later. This is the story of that season, the greatest girls soccer season that never actually happened, told through interviews with the young women who didn't actually live it.

Genre:
Drama / Action
Author:
C.I. DeMann
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
10
Rating:
1.0 1 review
Age Rating:
13+

Introduction

Though the United States is often considered a second-rate soccer nation, by raw numbers it’s actually the #1 country in the world for participation at the youth level. This is especially true among girls. In the most recent FIFA global survey of registered youth players, 1.6 million girls were registered with the U.S. Soccer Federation, which was more than all other countries combined.

With so many American girls spending their formative years on a soccer pitch, it’s no surprise that the U.S. Women’s National Team has become a world power. And since they’d come into the most recent Women’s World Cup in Argentina as the heavy favorite, the U.S. team’s eventual 3-1 victory over Sweden in the championship game was not the story everyone was talking about.

The media on hand were much more fascinated to discover that, ten years ago, five players in the tournament – from three different nations – had played high school soccer in the same American town.

Attending East Sycamore and West Sycamore High Schools, the five future internationals and their teammates – some future professionals themselves – rode dusty yellow school buses across town, playing each other multiple times, all while still teenagers. It’s a concentration of talent that seems almost impossible and yet, ten years ago, it happened.

This is an oral history of that remarkable season, telling the story through the words of those who lived it. I’ve interviewed as many key participants as possible, some of them famous to millions, others known only to family and friends. Most were interviewed in person, a few over the phone, and everyone is listed with their position or job title from that year.

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