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WPS Chicago Red Star Ella Masar Wins First International Cap

Posted on January 16, 2010 by John Wingspread Howell

Chicago Red Star and Illini alum Ella Masar earned her first national cap with the U.S. National Team on October 29 in Augsburg, Germany.

Chicago Red Star and Illini alum Ella Masar earned her first national cap with the U.S. National Team on October 29 in Augsburg, Germany.

The following is a post from Ella Masar’s blog at the Illini Women’s Soccer site.

Chicago Red Star and Illini alum Ella Masar earned her first national cap with the U.S. National Team on October 29 in Augsburg, Germany, subbing into the U.S.-Germany match in the 73rd minute for Amy Rodriguez. The U.S. won 1-0 in a battle of the top two teams in the world. Below, Ella shares her thoughts and experiences on playing for the U.S.

My First Cap

The silence is something I will never forget.

It is something that will be stored in my mind more than any other. More than walking into the locker room and seeing for the first time Masar on the back of a red, white and blue Jersey. More than coming out of the tunnel to hearing boos to a sold-out arena. Even more than Pia Sundage patting me on the back asking me if I was ready, me simply smiling, and telling her thank you.

To hear 30,775 opposing fans (we had maybe 250 fans for us) in Augsburg, Germany go mute as we flew from the bench cheering our lungs out to go up 1-0 against Germany is still outrageous to me.

That might seem odd, but going from not being able to hear yourself think for about 90 minutes because of the amount of noise surrounding you to remembering a distinct moment where you could have heard a pin drop is significant.

Okay seriously – close your eyes, really try to envision that. Try to fathom two people standing on either side of you, just screaming their lungs out. Screaming so loud that all you wish is to get some Bose canceling (using them now, so great LOL) headphones to drain the sound out. Imagine that racket going on for ALMOST an hour except for a minute or two right in the middle where there was peace and quiet …

Yeah I know, crazy huh?!?!

Okay, I might be exaggerating a tad, however that is in fact the only way my mind seems to recall Abby (Wambach)’s goal. For most of the first half, the roar from the fans of the No. 2 team in the world (Germany) was overwhelming. The confusion on the field was evident with simple mistakes where communication was key. I mean I couldn’t even talk to Tobin Heath, who was sitting right next to me, without yelling.

The Germans were definitely in full form, coming at our back line on countless occasions. Whether it was from the center, left or right, they definitely held true to their form of a very organized and fine-oiled machine. Yet, us Americans stuck true to our name and didn’t back down from the fight.

Even though we had to save two shots from inside our own six and probably had 60 percent of the game played in our own half, we found a way win. As Pia says, “We should never take that for granted!”

The funny part about all of this was knowing subconsciously that I would eat my words saying Bayern was my best “soccer” experience in my life so far (the U.S. national team watched a Bayern Munich match while training in Germany). As amazing as it was to see those guys perform at that level, I don’t think anything can take away from standing in a corner of a stadium watching 31,000 people do the wave all the way around.

I have to say it’s a completely different feeling of being on the field to being the one in the stands 😉 I will also admit that I had no expectation to go in the game. On this level, you aren’t going to get the thumbs-up or the pat on the back before the game. You are expected to be ready when you’re called on. Whether that is for the last 18 minutes of a game, for 90 minutes, or for one minute, you don’t get a time to think or evaluate.

When it’s your time to go you are ready. You are ready because of the sacrifice and hours of training you have done to get you to that point. You do what you know best, you trust your instincts, and you play with every ounce of your heart.

On October 29th, 2009 at 7:13 pm (1:13 Midwest time), every emotion/feeling of me puking up my pre-game meal left me. I touched the grass on the other side of what seemed a five-foot thick white line and sprinted onto my sanctuary. There was no more screaming fans, no pressure of me getting my first cap. There was one thing on my mind – run.

Pia made it clear: there were 17 minutes left and it was my job to put pressure on the backs and make the runs in behind. With every ounce of energy I had, that’s what I did. I still don’t even know if I did a good job. I just know that when that whistle blew, I felt as though I had ran as hard and as fast as I could.

As I fly back to the wonderful US of A, I cant say I feel much different then when I left. I have accomplished a part of my dream, however, now that I have been there I know it’s time to work that much harder to return.

I do not know if I will get called into the next camp in December, and honestly that is something I can’t focus on. So for now, I am going to take the next week off and then get right back into it. I started this dream of mine to make an impact, to make a difference, to prove where there is a will there is a way…

This amazing process just re-establishes the fact that ANYTHING is possible to those who BELIEVE. So folks, its back to business for me …

Go Illini 😉


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