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Skills beyond her years

Local soccer player chosen to begin training with U.S. National U-17 team

Posted: January 25, 2009 8:30 p.m.
Updated: January 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Courtney Proctor currently plays forward for the Santa Clarita United Blazers. She has been selected to the U.S. National U-17 team and could play against Germany Feb. 4-5. The 15-year-old leaves Jan. 28 to begin training. If all goes well, she could end up playing in the 2011 World Cup.

Courtney Proctor may only be 15 years old, but she already looks to be headed for success on the national level.

The Santa Clarita United Blazers forward is going to Florida on Wednesday to train for a week with the U.S. Women's National U-17 soccer team before taking on the German National Team for a pair of games on Feb. 4-5.

"She deserves every credit she gets," says United Blazers head coach Clint Greenwood. "She is the epitome of what it takes to be a great athlete. I'm her coach, but even I look up to her."

Proctor's determination and dedication may lead to an opportunity to play in the 2011 FIFA World Cup in Germany. Even though she will only be 17 at the time, the youth movement within women's soccer makes Proctor a top candidate to make the squad if she continues to improve.

"It's a great honor to play on the U.S. National Team," Proctor said. "I've put in a lot of work to get to this point, and it's so great to have this opportunity."

It's an opportunity that is well deserved for the 5-foot-8-inch striker.

"She's a fantastic kid," said United Blazers webmaster Deena Uythoven. "We're all awfully proud of her, not just for making the team, but because she's a great teammate and someone everyone on the team can look up to."

Proctor's teammates aren't the only people who admire her. She's also an inspiration for the younger members of the United program.

"I love going out and training with the little ones," Proctor said. "It brings a smile to my face to have the ability to help them learn what I know."

Proctor trains with several United teams because she is home-schooled and doesn't have a high school team to play on. Along with Greenwood, she helps girls as young as 7 years old practice the drills that have helped her reach lofty status between the goals.

"Courtney has a very good head on her shoulders," said Proctor's mother Sue Proctor. "She's humble, and she really enjoys working with the kids. It's exciting to think of what the girls she works with can accomplish someday."

It's also exciting to think about what Proctor will accomplish someday soon.

She already has her fair share of accolades, including Most Valuable Player honors at the 2007 Super Y National Championships in Tampa, Fla., where Proctor gained the attention of the national team coaches. From there it was a rapid rise for Proctor as she went from being a replacement selection on the U-15 team, to a member of the U-17 team in less than a year.

"Courtney works so hard for everything she has accomplished," Greenwood said. "She's very dedicated. There's nothing she can't do. The sky is the limit for her."

Proctor's work with Greenwood has been a key to her steady improvement. Greenwood has trained world-class athletes, such as U.S. national team-member and Los Angeles Galaxy forward (currently on loan to Bayern Munich in Germany) Landon Donovan, and his years of experience at the highest level have helped Proctor elevate her game beyond her years.

"Training with coach Greenwood has helped me grow and really increased my passion for the game," Proctor said. "It's so much fun working with him."

Proctor is already receiving letters from some of the nation's strongest soccer programs, including perennial title contender, the University of Texas, but she hopes to move on to the Pac-10 when her time with the Santa Clarita United is over.

Wherever she lands, odds are Proctor will continue to enjoy the game she is passionate about.

"She loves the game so much," Sue Proctor says. "If she could practice seven days a week she would. Well, actually she has. Wherever there's a practice, she'll be there."

There figures to be many more practices in Proctor's future.

"She is dedicated to the sport more than any person I've ever met," Greenwood said. "The sky is the limit for her. She has the potential to be the best ever."


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