posted 08.04.2011 at 9.18 p.m. by Madison Acton

U.S. U19 Team Blog: Madison Acton

Madison Acton, a midfielder for Team USA, chimes in with her experiences from the 2011 FIL U19 Women's World Championship:

This is my first time going to Europe so I was extremely excited just to come here, and also the World Championship is an amazing thing.

The actual traveling – yes, it was difficult, because it was an eight-and-a-half hour plane ride and then a layover, but the whole time, you’re just anticipating coming here and the games starting. So it’s been exciting, but sleep deprivation was a little bit of a problem at the beginning. We all woke up a little bit grumpy but excited to be here, and then we had to wait a couple days, and everyone was just looking forward to this day, our first game. So there was a LOT of anticipation – everyone from home was asking “How are the games going? When are they starting?!” And we were like, “Ahhhh, not yet!” so having this first game was so great. It’s what we’ve been working for for a whole year, so to come out and have a win was amazing and it really sets the tone for the rest of the tournament.

The opening ceremonies were amazing. It was so much fun being next to Wales in the parade of nations. We call them our sister team. We just love them. We went to their game today and we did all these cheers that they taught us yesterday, and then they came to our game today and were cheering for us, which was exciting.

I think my most exciting moment had to be opening ceremonies when we walked in and they played the national anthem for us as a team. It was really just an eye-opening moment and I was like, “I’m really here, and this is really happening.” It was special. It was emotional. The balloon release was really cool, too.

Team Japan, they were different and unexpected. Yes, they were playing lacrosse out there, but they were playing SUCH a different way than anything I’ve ever experienced before. You would mark them and think, “Oh, there’s no way this girl is getting the ball right now.” And then they’d pass it to her! And I’d be like, “What?” They play a lot differently than we do, and it was a shock at the beginning to hear them speak in another language. A lot of us were just running around, and at one point, Barbara Sullivan, she took us in and said, “Guys, I know that we’re all really surprised and thrown off by the fact that they’re speaking a different language, and their play is so different, but we’re better than them. We’re stronger and we just need to play our game.” I thought it was really great that she brought us in and did that. Then, in my mind, I was like, “Oh, right. We’re just playing lacrosse! I know what I’m doing.”

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