The day we’ve been working toward was finally upon us.
All of the time we spent on the field, in the gym and taking care of our bodies was going to be put to the test because it was the gold medal match. We all had envisioned what that day would look like, what we needed to do to get there and the feelings we’d feel, but nothing truly can prepare you for the emotions that hit you on that final gameday.
Trying to go to bed the night before was beyond difficult. You’re too anxious and excited to sleep, but luckily, with an afternoon game, we had some extra time to ensure we would get a full night’s rest.
The day started off with some peanut butter and banana on toast and our beloved coffee talk. It’s been nice for the past two weeks to come grab some breakfast, take a seat with some of my teammates and coaches and relax for an hour. It’s been the best way to start the day with ease.
From there, we gathered ourselves for our 10:30 a.m. scouting report meeting and headed over to the meeting room as a team. During the meeting, we talked through the upcoming game against Canada and watched an epic video created by our very own, Mike Wallin. I didn’t think I could be more excited to play the game, but his video brought that feeling to another level.
After our meeting, we all went over to the dining hall for our pregame meal. Pregame meals for a lot of us include a stop at Starbucks for our various coffee needs. Once we have our coffee, food in our stomachs and take some final recovery time with Norma, we head over to the locker room to get ready for the big game. We have our team rituals there and then Ricky comes in with his final thoughts and the final pump up speech. Each speech he gives has a new theme, but each gives me that same feeling of invincibility.
The storm hit on Saturday, but what we didn’t realize was that storm was inside of us, emotionally. … Every moment of preparation was worth it when we could wake up this morning and say we made history and are the best in the world.
There was no question of whether the storm was coming. It had hit.
We head out to warm up for the final time as a team with the dramatic scene of a downpour. With just one lightning scare, we were back on the field, warmed up, and ready to play. With emotions high and the weather not cooperating, both teams grinded through the intensity of the game. No matter what happened on the field, we knew we had each other’s backs.
When the clock hit zero, we all rushed down to Devon with huge smiles and tears to finally be able to say we were World Champions!
The next hour was a whirlwind.
The Player of the Match was named and who better to receive the award but one of our captains and someone I’ve had the honor to play with since U19 games in 2007 – Sarah Bullard! She came up huge for us in the game and has been an example to all of us of what leading looks like.
Before we know it, we have all countries on the field and it’s time to hand out the hardware. First, England with the bronze medal, Canada with the silver, and then USA with the gold. It was truly picturesque on the field, pouring rain, arm and arm with my unbelievable teammates, and receiving our gold medals. Nothing mattered in that moment but the feeling of wearing USA across our chest, the gold we earned around our necks, and belting the Star Spangled Banner with this extremely talented and special team I had the privilege to be a part of.
The storm hit on Saturday, but what we didn’t realize was that storm was inside of us, emotionally. It was an emotional day from start to finish not only because of that day or that game, but because of all the work we put into preparing for that day and that game. Every moment of preparation was worth it when we could wake up this morning and say we made history and are the best in the world.
Today is my birthday, and I’m pretty positive nothing will top the present my teammates got me yesterday. As we all take our time waking up and spend the remaining time with our families, we reminisce on the game, the feelings, check on our medals and look forward to Poland for the World Games.
– Ally Carey
(Twitter: @AllysonCarey, Instagram: @acarey023, Snapchat: @acarey023)
Years with the U.S. Senior Program: 5
U.S. Senior World Cup Teams: 2013 (Gold), 2017 (Gold)
U.S. U19 World Championship Teams: 2007 (Gold)
College: Vanderbilt 2012
Honors: John Caroll Hall of Fame (2014), three-time All-American (2010-2012), All-ALC First Team (2010-12)
Hometown: Abingdon, Md.
Current Residence: Baltimore, Md.
Current Career: Marketing Manager
What does playing for Team USA mean to you?
It’s a privilege and an honor. There’s no greater feeling than to hear our national anthem and look down to see USA across your chest. It’s the ultimate accomplishment to be a part of our country’s team. It makes all the hours in the gym and on the field worth it. You earned it.