Albany, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The chance to compete on the international soccer stage is one in a million, and yet, the Capital Region has two players getting that opportunity next weekend.
“This is something I’ve been working for my whole life and it’s been a goal my whole life and it’s just surreal right now,” Bethlehem sophomore midfielder Claire Hutton said.
For local soccer stars Hutton and Shaker center back Alyssa Blake, these next few weekends bring their big break. The Capital Region athletes are headed to the U-17 CONCACAF Tournament for girls soccer, with Hutton joining the U.S. team and Blake joining Guyana.
“I never thought that would be something that would happen to me, but like once I got the opportunity I was like ‘it’s a once in a lifetime thing I have to take this,” Blake said.
The community support has been tremendous, with their local travel soccer club the Alleycats sending the girls off to begin training for CONCACAF competition in the Dominican Republic.
“Many people say it takes a community, it takes a tribe,” Hutton said. “As you can see this whole Alleycats community they’re my tribe, they’re my community and they’ve helped me grow to where I am. A lot of people have my back and it’s great to see.”
“Motivation and like how people have helped me throughout it just let me believe that I can do it and they just push me through it and help me with everything surrounding the situation,” Blake said.
Hutton left to join the U.S. team Thursday, while Blake heads out next week. Guyana qualified for the round of 16, so they could see the U.S. If Hutton’s squad makes it out of the group stage.
“I know we’re both going to go our hardest if that does happen,” Blake said. “We’re just going to try our best and see who wins.”
Meanwhile Hutton promised a goal for the Capital Region on the international stage.
“I hope so I’ll give you guys a little heart,” Hutton said.
The U.S. team starts group play Saturday, April 23 against Grenada.