I was out at the World Wide Technology Soccer Park in early March, during a U14 ECNL tournament at the SLSG facility, to get a look at the latest player from the region to earn an opportunity on the national stage. Sara Sanabria is a seventh grader (with a 3.9 GPA) who attends Wentzville Middle School, participates in Student Council, and plays for St. Louis Scott Gallagher on their pre-ECNL team.
Audio interview with Sara Sanabria
Sara’s a goalkeeper who got her start early like many kids here. Her parents both played, her mother Nicole a Ft. Zumwalt North alum while Dad played in Southern California (they met in the military before returning to Nicole’s hometown to raise the kids, including two younger sisters).
She started in the Missouri ODP developmental program in 2014, while playing with Missouri Rush, steadily advancing in her 2002 age group to join the Region II Pool/Hold Over team in 2015. It was then that she also moved to the SLSG pre-ECNL team.
In the Fall of 2015 she was part of the Region II pool that was invited to participate in the US Youth Soccer ODP Thanksgiving Interregional, one of seven from MYSA programs but the only one from St.Louis. The week long event, held November 21-27, allows players to train with the regional staff and also compete in matches against other regions, in front of national staff and collegiate coaches to maximize their exposure for selection to the next level of play. Sara’s team went 3-0-0, with zero goals allowed that week.
That in turn led to an invitation to participate in the US Youth Soccer 2016 Olympic Development Program Girls National Training Camp in late January. More than 200 top athletes were selected from the 2001, 2002 age groups to represent each of the four US Youth Soccer Regions. Training was led by U.S. Soccer Staff Coach and Marantha Baptist University Coach Jeff Pill. Numerous college coaches attend the National Training Camp throughout the week, as well as April Kater, the Head Development Coach for U.S. Soccer Women’s Youth National Teams, and other U.S. Soccer scouts.
She was one of five Goalkeepers selected and Sara discusses her experience, her growing confidence and new friends developed through the program in the audio link above.
Sara is playing with her U13 teammates in the National Premier League currently, with a 3-0-0 record and only 1 goal allowed. There will also be Midwest Regional League as well as Pre-ECNL this Spring. She is also a regular participant in the National Training Center sessions that occur once a month in Columbia.
A full schedule along with school for the seventh grader. This is your introduction to what should be a strong soccer career. Congratulations Sara!