Summer Yates’ tour of Italy turned out to be a smashing success.
The sophomore from Chiawana High School got her first taste of international competition playing for the U.S. U-16 girls national soccer team in the International Women’s Tournament of Gradisca in Monfalcone, Italy.
The U.S. team went 1-2 in the tournament that wrapped up April 28 playing U-17 competition, including a 2-1 shootout loss to Mexico in its finale.
The Americans lost their opener to Italy 1-0 but also made history as the first U.S. girls or women’s national team to play a team from the Middle East.
The U.S. defeated Iran 6-0, and the day also proved momentous for Yates, who had a natural hat trick, assisted on another goal and was named the player of the match.
“It was amazing,” said Yates, who also had an assist on the U.S.’ only goal against Mexico. “It was a really good experience. I’ve never experienced anything like it. I want to do it again.”
The team stayed in Croatia during the 10-day trip, about two hours from Monfalcone. Yates said one of the highlights was touring Piran in Slovenia, though they didn’t have too many opportunities to explore because of the games and training — and two hours of homework each night.
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But the best part, she said, was the “experience of getting out of the country, playing other countries, being able to walk out and represent the flag.”
That feeling of playing on the international stage only added to her motivation to excel with the national team.
“Summer played great and learned a lot from the other teams they faced,” said her dad, Blake Yates. “When she got home, she learned she was called back to the next U.S. team camp (May 28-June 4 in Portland), so that’s always a good sign.”
Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403