Reilyn Turner, a 10th grader at Laguna Beach High School, has earned a spot in a pool of 40 top athletes tapped to play for the U.S. National Soccer Team for girls under 16.
Reilyn scored once during a 4-0 victory in the second of two matches in Germany during a training camp in September, according to the website of the U.S. Soccer Federation, based in Chicago.
Reilyn has been the leading goal scorer for four years running among the nation’s top club teams, said Greg Baker, coach of So Cal Blues in Aliso Viejo. “She’s the real deal; she’s the most dangerous striker in the country,” he said.
Reilyn and her sister Blake played soccer last year for the high school team and shared in the undefeated Orange Coast League title in February. Reilyn also earned an all-CIF, Division 4 first team award.
“A gifted talent, Reilyn has tremendous speed, skill and agility,” said the now-retired girls’ coach, Bill Rolfing, who credited Reilyn’s positive personality and unselfish team work with helping the squad achieve the title with a 10-0 record, the best in the sport’s 36 year history at the school. “I expect to see Reilyn continue her career for U.S. Soccer as she is certainly on a great path,” he said.
Reilyn’s mother did not return emails seeking comment. Earlier, she told Rolfing her younger daughter would not rejoin the high school squad.
Last December, Reilyn participated in the first-ever strikers and goal keepers camp offered by the U.S. Women’s National Team at the national training center in Carson. There are no fees for players to participate, but players must be invited by a national team coach or scout, the website says. The federation runs youth national teams for women and men ranging in age from 22 to 13.
And Reilyn was also selected to participate in the U-16 training camp in Germany coached by Kacey White. “Only the best of the best are called up for the national team,” said Aaron Heifetz, a spokesman for the women’s national team. Selection for two camps does not secure Reilyn’s spot on the roster, according to Heifetz. That depends on her performance in training and on the field, he said.
Elite players who seek to demonstrate their prowess at training camps often do abandon their high school careers and keep their skills sharp by playing club games, which are scheduled 10 months out of the year, he said.
Some in the group White coaches are age-eligible for next year’s Women’s World Cup for players under 17. “That’s the goal,” said Heifetz.
Of 390,000 girls playing high school soccer in the U.S., Reilyn’s selection for the national team is something very special for Laguna Beach, Rolfing added.