Jacksonville FC players meet U.S. womens national team, attend training

Last month brought an unforgettable opportunity for players at the Florida Premier League’s Jacksonville FC.

Prior to opening their 2013 schedule against Scotland in Jacksonville, Fla., the U.S. women’s national team held a brief camp and trained at JFC’s home, Patton Park. Players were able to watch the USWNT practice and meet their heroes, including coach Tom Sermanni and stars like Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan.

Last month brought an unforgettable opportunity for players at the Florida Premier League’s Jacksonville FC.

Prior to opening their 2013 schedule against Scotland in Jacksonville, Fla., the U.S. women’s national team held a brief camp and trained at JFC’s home, Patton Park. Players were able to watch the USWNT practice and meet their heroes, including coach Tom Sermanni (below) and stars like Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan (above, far left).
 
“A lot of kids got a chance to just see them every day,” JFC Executive Director Eric Dade said. “Our kids got to be ball girls, and some of our young ones got to be chaperones on the field holding flags before the match.”
 
One U-12 player, Tori, got a particularly special surprise from her idol when forward Sydney Leroux (left) presented her with her cleats. Leroux went on to score during a 4-1 U.S. victory.
 
The U.S. players posed for photos with several JFC teams, making memories that Dade expects to last a long time.
 
“They were super nice,” he said. “They were sweet to our kids, they were thankful of us sharing our park, and it was just a good week for our kids, our club and our members. It’s not often that you have the best women’s national team in the world at your home park practicing and you have a chance to observe it.”
 
The USWNT went on to defeat Scotland again in Nashville, Tenn., before winning the Algarve Cup in Portugal this week to solidify its No. 1 spot in the FIFA World Ranking.
 
And a few JFC teams will soon find themselves playing on a big stage of their own.
 
With the season nearly complete, the JFC Elite U-13 and U-14 girls teams have clinched Florida Premier League titles and spots in this summer’s NPL Champions Cup in Aurora, Colo. The U-14 squad (pictured above) will be looking for a second national championship after winning the U-13 Super Group last year at the National Cup XI Finals. In addition, the JFC Elite U-15 boys are one point off the lead with one match to play.
 
Photos courtesy of Dade and JFC’s Twitter and Facebook pages.