U-19 WNT camp update with Mandy McGlynn

PRAGUE, Czech Republic – Hey Hokie fans! It’s Mandy McGlynn all the way from Prague, Czech Republic!

I got back home from my previous camp with the U-20 team and only had nine days to spare before I jetted off again. The constant traveling has been exhausting, but the fact that I am playing for my country in numerous events is exactly where I want to be. It's so humbling to be invited to international trips and play against incredible teams, so I was definitely ready to leave again.

This is the first time I have ever been here, so I didn't really know what to expect. I looked up images, and the country looked stunning. When we first arrived (June 5), we drove to the hotel and saw amazing buildings, parks and people. It was incredible, but it wasn't until yesterday that we had the opportunity to go into the city and sightsee. We took a boat tour on the river that ran near the city. Then we went to the United States Embassy, and lastly, we walked around and bought souvenirs in the local shops. Everything was breathtaking. I could not describe how elegant the U.S. Embassy was. They showed us one of the best views of Prague, which is where the picture above was taken. It was a very fun-filled day with amazing views, friends and ice cream!

Even though we are here to play soccer, these national camps are all about team bonding. When you think about it, we are women from all over the United States that come together every few months. We are expected to be the best, so to keep our chemistry, we do a lot of team bonding. Last week, we went to a nearby park and broke up into teams and did relay races. Of course, everything is a competition, and we had a really good time. My team, the green team, came in third out of four teams. The funniest part about the whole competition was that people in the park were stopping and watching us. We also made presentations about the Czech Republic. Since our assistant coach, Jitka, is from here, she broke us up into groups to present about the country. My group had to teach the whole team to speak 10 Czech words, and it was by far the funniest presentation because we had to look to our assistant coach most of time with help pronouncing them.

On the field, I am only training with one other goalkeeper, so it has been awesome. I have trained with four keepers in the past, which makes it more difficult to get feedback and stand out. With only two keepers, our coach spends a great deal of time focusing on us, cutting training film and reviewing film. It is extremely beneficial. We get way more reps, which is what every goalkeeper loves. Also, it's much easier to stand out and out play the other keeper. Brooke and I definitely challenge each other and compete. We trained together before when we were younger and to be on this kind of stage with her again is incredible.

I will play against the full Czech Republic women's team tomorrow, and I am beyond excited. They are ranked No. 36 in the world, which you can imagine would make any goalkeeper nervous, but I spent this whole camp preparing, and I am ready to direct my team and hopefully keep a clean sheet.

This is my second national camp in just two months. I have been in U-18 camps, brought up to U-19 camps and most recently participated at a U-20 camp (May 18-26). Looking back, my experience with the U-20 team doesn't even compare to the other age groups. It was just a different feeling. The U-20 squad is the age group that competes at the World Cup, so the camp definitely had a different level of intensity and competitiveness. All-in-all, it was a great opportunity to participate at that camp and be a part of that culture. It is my goal to make that World Cup roster, and the U-18 and U-19 camps will help me get better and prove my spot on the roster. Being a part of the U-20 squad is such a privilege, and when I put it into perspective, it is very special. There is only one more age group after the U-20 team before the full women’s squad. It is so surreal on how close I am to my ultimate goal.

There is another international camp that takes place on June 28 in Germany and England, and that also is with the U-20 team. I don't know if I am invited to that one yet, but if I do get invited, that's just another adventure in my slam-packed summer. The summer is flying by, but I hope to have time to go to Pensacola Beach in Florida to visit family and friends. Other than that, I don't have any other big plans for my summer, besides training and doing my Hokie summer fitness packet!

Every opportunity I get with the national team makes me a wiser goalkeeper and helps prepare me for the upcoming season at Virginia Tech. Obviously, keeping your touch on the ball is important when leaving Tech soccer and coming back to it. However, I am keeping up with my mental game and that is going to help me so much coming into this season. Goalkeeping has a lot to do with making decisions and communicating. The fact that I am seeing multiple scenarios and in-game situations at these national camps definitely helps me in the long run for when we play against Virginia or Duke.

I am so excited to come back to Blacksburg, mainly because I miss my teammates, and I love being around them. I am looking forward to us all getting back together and killing it on the soccer field!

For updates on Virginia Tech women's soccer, follow the Hokies on Twitter

HokieSports Shop