Local Girl Spends a Little Time With U.S. Women’s Soccer Squad

Jun 21, 2017
Courtesy of: Cathy Bosland Danielle Bosland (second from right) with several members of the United States women's soccer team.

In this day and age of social media, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that a single Twitter post can eventually lead to a cool trip and an inspiring experience. Such was the case for Manahawkin resident Danielle Bosland, who recently had an opportunity to meet up with the United States women’s soccer team at Red Bull Arena in Harrison.

“Tobin Heath is my favorite player, and getting the chance to hug her and talk to her was awesome,” said Danielle, a 15-year-old soon-to-be Southern Regional High School sophomore who was selected as the winner of the SheBelieves Hero contest. “She thought it was cool that I was wearing her number. Her advice to me was to keep inspiring others and keep dreaming big.”

Conceived and developed by the U.S. national team players, SheBelieves is a movement to inspire young girls and women and encourage them to accomplish their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise. The campaign began during the run-up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but has since grown into a bond between the team and its fans, taking its message of empowerment and believing in yourself into communities across the country.

“I was on Twitter one day and saw the post about the contest from the U.S. women’s soccer team, and my mom encouraged me to give it a try,” said Danielle, a volleyball player for Southern’s freshman squad last fall and part of the Stafford Lightning Under-16 travel soccer team. “I had to make a video, of a minute or less, about how I empower others and make an impact in the community. My video was exactly a minute. I had to do some editing in iMovie.”

Nonetheless, Danielle submitted her video describing her involvement with Southern’s Intergenerational Club, which allows students regular interaction with the elderly through events, trips and other functions, as well as her volunteer work with Surf City Yacht Club’s summer camp program, through which Danielle helps children ages 4 to 7 with various activities.

“With the Intergenerational Club, I really enjoy talking to the people and listening to them about their life experiences,” she said. “And with summer camp, I just love helping the kids out, because they’re all really cute, and it’s fun to hang out with them.”

After several weeks, Danielle’s mother, Cathy, received an email that Danielle was selected – from hundreds of entries – for the top four. And then it was up to fan voting to decide the top video. With the entire Southern Regional and Stafford Township School District, for which Cathy works, behind her, Danielle came away with the most votes, and a follow-up email confirmed her as the winner.

Weeks later, Danielle and her mother were shuttled from Manahawkin to Harrison, where they received hotel accommodations across the street from the arena. Along with a recipient from the Make A Wish Foundation, Danielle was given VIP treatment for several days. She toured the arena, got to watch the national team’s training session prior to a game against England, meet coach Jill Ellis and the team’s players, hang out on the field prior to the game and chat with players afterward.

And she not only came home with an assortment of autographed items, Danielle received a special treat – meeting women’s soccer legends Christie Rampone and Abby Wambach before the ceremony honoring Rampone, who had recently retired from the team.

“It was Christie’s retirement game, but I wasn’t expecting to see Abby Wambach,” she said. “Meeting them, back in the tunnel before the ceremony for Christie, was really awesome. It was just so cool to talk for a few minutes and take a picture with them.”

Unfortunately, the dream had to end and Danielle was shuttled back home, but the memories will go on forever.

“It was an honor to be there, to meet some of the women I’ve looked up to for a long time,” said Danielle, who plays the cello for the Southern strings orchestra and, right now, is interested in pursuing a possible career in physical therapy. “This was the first time the national team had done this contest, so it was special to be the first one to have the experience. And it was really nice that they made such a big effort to give me that experience. Watching the players on TV and following them on social media is cool, but to see them face to face was amazing.”

Of course, the inspiration Danielle took home with her may fuel her for decades.

“All those women were my age once, and they all had their dreams,” she said. “And I learned from them that if I work hard and stay dedicated, I can reach my goals and fulfill my dreams as well. They’re very good role models for all of us.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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