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From PDP to the Youth World Cup: Angie Anderson

Note, this is the fifth piece in a series highlighting former NorCal Premier Soccer Player Development Program athletes who have gone onto perform at the next level.

Take a look at the U.S. rosters for several of the past few youth World Cups and you’re likely to notice that several players have roots in Northern California.

Perhaps one of the most impressive of those players, though, has been goalkeeper Angie Anderson, who backstopped the Yanks at the latest U-17 World Cup in Uruguay and was a surprise call-up for the U-20 World Cup as well.

Headed off to Berkeley in the fall, Anderson has been a revelation for both club and country and can claim that NorCal Premier Soccer’s Player Development Program is a big reason why.

Inducted into the fold early after having success with Mustang, Anderson played in PDP for over three years before graduating to the national team.

“I think playing in PDP, at first when I started with PDP, that was one of the bigger things that I had accomplished as a player at that time,” Anderson said. “Going into the trainings with girls I wasn’t familiar with and training with some of the best talent in the area, I think that really got me ready for bigger things like the national team camp where you’re being exposed to a completely different environment that you don’t see on a daily basis, not only getting exposed to different types of people and personalities, but also playing styles and all that good stuff.

“I think it exposed me early to challenging myself and getting outside of my comfort zone.”

Anderson certainly got outside of her comfort zone, as her first big event with PDP was a trip to Japan in 2016 where the girls faced a series of academy squads and, for some, were exposed to international travel for the first time.

“It definitely set a really high standard of travelling for soccer going forward,” Anderson said. “Having that experience under my belt going forward, especially with the national team and having to travel to different countries, I was a lot more comfortable doing so because I had already done it once before.”

From there, Anderson continued to participate in PDP and only missed out on selection for NorCal’s trip to the Gothia Cup because she was playing with the national team.

“I really do think PDP was a good stepping stone,” said Mike Kelley of Mustang SC. “I was on the trip to Japan and she was even stepping in being a leader there. Once she started going on those trips, nothing seemed to faze her.”

According to those who have coached her, Anderson’s titanic rise to the pinnacle of the sport has just as much to do with her abilities as it does her maturity as a person and her decision to focus on soccer despite the cost of missing social events that “regular” high school kids enjoy.

“She definitely worked for it, had moments where she was second-guessing herself, especially with the national team, where she wasn’t sure that she wanted to do it because the time commitment is incredible,” Kelley said. “For me, I’m proud of her that she was able to power through it and was able to stick it out and not give up on it. Having the support of her parents and being able to organize her schedule was insane. It took a village to make it happen, but ultimately she was the one who had to decide and power through.”

Added PDP coach Justin Selander: “Every time I go to Mustang I see her working with the goalkeeper trainer. She’s put a lot of work into her soccer and it’s really paying off. She’s always improving. From where she started to now, she’s been doing nothing but improving.”

And leading by example allowed Anderson to enjoy captaining duties with Mustang, PDP, and the national team.

“She’s always been good with her shot stopping and distribution, but I think one of her biggest strengths is her leadership and the way she organizes and communicates with her teammates,” Selander said. “She was always the captain on every team we had. She just has a way with the kids where they trust her and respect her. Having an outstanding goalkeeper behind you makes all the other players play so much better and free because they have confidence in their goalkeeper. She inspires her teammates.”

As a senior, Anderson has already graduated from the PDP and will from high school as well before she embarks on the next stage of her soccer career.

Although undecided about her future after college — Anderson said that she’s just taking it one day at a time — her ability and experience could one day see her playing at a higher level.

For now, though, she’s just thankful for the time she’s spent playing the beautiful game in Northern California.

“I’m super thankful for PDP, it showed me a lot of things that I was going to need in the future, but at a young age,” Anderson said.