Jan. 24, 2018
Former South Carolina All-American striker Savannah McCaskill recently played in her first international match for the U.S. Women's National Team. After graduating from South Carolina in three and a half years with a degree in exercise science and being the second overall pick in the NWSL draft, McCaskill gave us her account of living out a childhood dream in representing her country against Denmark on January 21.
"We had a team meeting the night before about the scouting report and game plan. One of the last slides in the power point that we were going over showed the starting lineup and game changers (reserves). So, it just goes up there on the screen, and that's how I found out.
"It was both exciting and a relief to see my name up there.
"It was an amazing feeling to dress for the game. When I found what the 18-person roster was going to be, I was just thrilled to make it.
"When we got the locker room for the game, all the jerseys were hanging up in the lockers. I took a picture of that because the jerseys are set up so you can see the name plate and number with my last name on the back of the jersey. After that, it was just business time. I had to just prepare like I was going to go in and play.
"Going on to the field with everyone cheering during warm ups was amazing. I was just soaking all that in. It was an incredible atmosphere.
When your name gets called, all the noise and nerves just go away.
"During the game, Don, our strength and conditioning/sports performance coach, keeps us moving on the sidelines. We were doing routine warm ups to keep our legs moving. I just finished what she told me to do and was going to sit back down. She tapped me on the shoulder and said, `get back up Sav, you're about to go in.'
"When I finally got my name called to go into the game, I just thought `OK, let's go play.' All the emotions and nerves went out the window. I'm glad I'm the kind of player who can go do that and enjoy the moment at the same time. It was an unbelievable experience.
"When your name gets called, all the noise and nerves just go away because you're finally getting to do what you came to do. It was the moments before where my heart was racing. When I finally got it in, it was just about doing what I do best: playing.
"The most memorable part was just getting to play and be able to perform and get that first cap under my belt so I can get better and move on from there.
"After the game, everyone was very excited. We got to walk around, and there were little kids asking for autographs. That moment was pretty cool because I remember being a little kid asking older players for their signatures. It was a surreal moment that I was on the other side of that.
"We went back into the locker room. I looked at my phone, and I had so many notifications from friends and family. It was a cool moment to be and live in. My parents were able to fly out for the game and be there. I was really glad they were out there to see that.
"I would have kept that jersey on for the rest of the night if I could have."
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