Most 20-year olds on Long Island will be spending portions of their summer at the beach or working at part-time jobs as they enjoy some downtime from college.
Bellmore’s Erin Gilroy will be far from home spending part of her summer in France as a member of the United States Women’s U-20 World Cup team taking part in this year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The tournament to be held in the Brittany region of the nation that is home the men’s World Cup champions runs from August 5-24.
But Gilroy, a graduate of Mepham High School, and her U.S. teammates are heading to France on Sunday, July 22, in an effort to get acclimated to their temporary surroundings in the westernmost portion of the European nation.
The 21 U.S players heading to the World Cup were officially named on July 17 and Gilroy, despite having only four appearances with the team, was named to the roster by head coach Jitka Klimkova.
“I was just in shock when I heard I made the team,” Gilroy told SleterFC.com. “I am just so grateful. It was only a few months ago that I played in my first camp with the team and now I have an opportunity to play in a World Cup. I’m very excited.”
The U.S. U-20s are returning to France to play in an international tournament for the second time this year. In June, the U.S. won the Sud Ladies Cup in France by defeating Germany 3-0, Haiti 7-0 and France 3-1, Gilroy scored her first international goal in that tournament.
Gilroy, who is a redshirt sophomore at the University of Tennessee, has been playing high-level soccer through her high school and college days. With her club team, East Meadow Explosion in the ECNL, and having attended U.S. Women’s National Team U-18 Camp in 2015 and 2016, she is accustomed to matching up with talented players.
But her time with the U-20s has shown her another level of competition.
“It’s about having the right mindset and knowing that you got there because you are a good player,” Gilroy said. “You’re also playing with the best players in the age group from all across the country. But while it’s extremely competitive on the field, we are really a family and are there to support each other.”
During her time with the U.S. U-20s Gilroy said the team has met with Lindsay Horan, a regular with the senior U.S. Women’s National Team, who spoke with the team about her experiences playing international soccer and offered the players some advice.
“She told us to go and enjoy the experience,” Gilroy recalled. “This has the potential to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and that we need to think that it’s our World Cup to win.”
Getting to interact with a member of the senior national team squad has also stoked Gilroy’s ultimate dream of one day playing for the team that currently holds the moniker of World Champion. She admitted to wanting to follow in the footsteps of her idols Mia Hamm, Heather O’Reilly and Carli Lloyd.
“It would awesome to play on the senior team,” she said. “But I’m going to just go with things and see where soccer takes me after college. But it would be a dream of mine to play on that team.”
The United States was drawn into Group C at the upcoming World Cup in France and opens the tournament on Monday, Aug. 6, against Japan (1:30 p.m. ET), faces Paraguay on Thursday, Aug. 9, (1:30 p.m. ET) and finishes the group against Spain on Monday, Aug. 13, (7:30 a.m. ET). The U.S. will play its first two group games at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau and its third group game at Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan/Léhon.