Maddie Epke had been through this scenario before. Two times prior – with the U16 and U18 teams – she had completed the in-person tryout for the U.S. Women’s National Team and sat on the field listening to the numbers called of players who earned a spot on the training team.
Both times she did not make the cut and left disappointed.
This time, however, the nerves and anxiety didn't even have a chance to build while she waited for her number (80) to be called; it was the second number announced. Epke (Guilford, Conn.) had earned a spot on the U.S. U20 training team that would play in the 2023 Fall Classic.
“It was just so relieving,” she said. “I've tried out for stuff before and I've put so much work in. I came to college and put so much work in and had a good season, and knowing that everything paid off is just crazy. Finally, people were seeing me and it meant that it was worth it.”