Albany, NY (NEWS10) – The chance to compete on the international soccer stage is one in a million, and yet the capital region has two players who will have that opportunity next weekend.
“It’s something I’ve worked for all my life and it’s been a goal all my life and it’s just surreal right now,” said Bethlehem midfielder Claire Hutton.
For local football stars Hutton and Shaker, centre-back Alyssa Blake, these coming weekends will bring their big break. Athletes from the capital region are heading to the CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Soccer Tournament, with Hutton joining Team USA and Blake joining Guyana.
“I never thought it would be something that would happen to me, but once I had the opportunity, I thought to myself ‘this is a one-time thing in my life that I have to take this’ , Blake said.
Community support has been tremendous, with their local traveling football club, the Alleycats, sending the girls to start training for the CONCACAF competition in the Dominican Republic.
“A lot of people say it takes a community, it takes a tribe,” Hutton said. “As you can see in this whole Alleycats community, they are my tribe, they are my community and they have helped me grow where I am. A lot of people support me and it’s great to see.
“The motivation and the way people have helped me throughout makes me believe that I can do this and they push me through and help me with everything surrounding the situation,” Blake said.
Hutton left to join Team USA on Thursday, while Blake leaves next week. Guyana have qualified for the Round of 16, so they could see the United States if Hutton’s side make it out of the group stage.
“I know we’re both going to do our best if that happens,” Blake said. “We’ll just do our best and see who wins.”
Meanwhile, Hutton promised a goal for the capital region on the international stage.
“Hopefully I’ll give you some heart,” Hutton said.
The American team begins the pool match on Saturday April 23 against Grenada.