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Nov, 2018

BSC's Morris on World Cup call-up: 'It was a dream come true for me.'

There are certain moments that every soccer player remembers. First goal, first match, first pair of cleats. But for Makenna Morris she will have a different kind of first that not too many players will have: first time called up to play in the World Cup. In late October Makenna found out that she would be playing for the United States Women’s National Team U-17 side at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay.

 “It is such an amazing accomplishment and it was such a dream come true for me,” said Morris. “It was a goal that I have worked towards for the past five years starting at the U-15 age group and it has pretty much been the same team and the same group of girls so it was such an amazing opportunity for myself to make this roster and it is just kind of crazy to think that I made it.”

This isn’t the first time that Morris  has made the USWNT U-17. She has been a regular for the side during the current window, appearing at every training camp and event for the team. She featured prominently for the club during the Copa Provinicia de Buenos Aires, the 2017 Torneo delle Nazioni, and at the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship, helping the U.S. seal their spot in Uruguay. She earned her first National Team call-up for the U-15 Girl’s National Team side in March 2015.

Nevertheless the actual moment of being called up for the World Cup caught her by surprise.  “I was shocked!,” said  Morris. “First I thought, ‘This is so unreal. Are you being serious?’ I was so, so happy and it was just a really awesome to be there with the group of girls and realize that we get to spend a month in Uruguay. You hear so many great things about it so it is really exciting and I was so overwhelmed and so happy.”

The United States was drawn in Group C and have already beaten Cameroon 3-0. Morris played the full 90 minutes in the match and was critical to containing the Cameroonian attack. Their final two opponents in group play are North Korea (November 17, 2pm), and Germany (November 21, 5 pm). All matches will be shown on FS2.

“Playing for the United States is such an honor and such a privilege,” she said. “When I got invited into my first camp I was surprised. I was like ‘Wow, I am going to a National Team camp’ and every time that you put on the jersey it is such an honor. You think to yourself ‘Megan Rapinoe was here one time’ and ‘Alex Morgan was here’ and it is just so exciting and such an honor.”

For Morris, playing for Bethesda has been instrumental in helping develop her as a player. While playing with BSC, her sides have won multiple Mid-Atlantic titles in the ECNL and has qualified for the ECNL Champions League Playoffs. At the U-13 level she was part of the BSC side that won the Maryland State Cup.

“Bethesda has helped me develop so much technically and just my relationship with the coaches has helped me out so much,” she said. “It has really made such a better player because I have been able to learn from different coaches, different styles and different things that being able to put all of that together has really helped me.”

Morris cites working with BSC Girls Director of Coaching Shannon Cirvoski, coach David Greene, and Philip Gyau, who has served as her technical trainer.

“Shannon was always there for me, both on and off of the field,” she said. “Especially on the field she was always giving me the little things that really pushed me. And then definitely Dave Greene. Dave has been such a big supporter off the field like when I go into camps and it has just helped me and motivated me. On the field he was my biggest critic but off of the field he was always there for me and always told me the best things like what I was good at but also what I needed to work on which ultimately helped me. Also Philip Gyau who has been my technical trainer since I was eight years old and has helped me more than I can put into words.”

For Girls Director of Coaching, Shannon Cirvoski, it is Morris’ intangibles, both as a player and as a person, that make her stand out. “[Makenna] has a unique athleticism and technical ability that she has really honed on over the years by working on her own and with some key coaches,” said Cirovski. “She has done well at the National Team events and was playing a lot of minutes with that group prior to the roster being announced. She can play at pretty much any position other than goalkeeper. She has the athleticism, she reads the game well, she is light on her feet and the second you watch her run you know ‘Ooh athlete’. But in addition to that she has a nice technical way about her and has a ton of personality. She is a vocal person on any team and her personality shows.”

Cirovski also notes that she has adapted her style of play since joining the club. “She has been with the club a long time and I think recently she has grown tactically by learning the position of outside back. The [number] twos and threes of the game are now hugely impactful on the offensive end.  She has honed her technical skills and does not rely as much on her athleticism to make an impact.”

Getting a player onto the national team is also a massive benefit to the club as well as to the player. “It is a huge kudos for the club to have somebody of her caliber playing at the next level representing us. We are proud of her and we couldn’t more excited for her to compete. We are just hoping that we can continue to develop more players like Makenna in the future.”

Having  the chance to listen to some of the top coaches in the region was important for Morris and she believes it is something that will help younger BSC players be successful . “Don’t take anything that the coaches give you for granted and really listen to what they are saying and try to implement it into your style of play and just focus on the little things,” she said. When your coach tells you something really focus on that and try to make that better because it will make you a better player.”

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