Katie Higgins, 13, an 8th grade student at the Lehighton Area Middle School and a current player for the FC Lehigh Valley United girls team, has been playing soccer since the age of four. Her first games were played on the soccer fields in Lehighton. This week, she is playing on the fields in California, the home of many of today's soccer standouts.
Earlier this month Higgins received an from the United State Soccer Federation to join 35 other players from around the nation at an under-14 National Camp that is being held Aug. 12-19 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California.
The camp is being conducted by Jill Ellis, U.S. Soccer Director of Women's Development who just returned from the London Olympics, and Damon Nahas, U.S. U-15 Girls' National Team head coach. This is the second of three camps held this year. Higgins is one of just three players from Pennsylvania.
Higgins is the first girl player in the history of her Club to be identified at the national level. She is also the first soccer player in the Carbon County area to achieve this honor.
Players who attend the camps are identified through U.S. Soccer Training Centers held across the country all year long, through club tournaments throughout the year and through other youth soccer development programs such as the Olympic Development Program (ODP). The players are also identified and selected by U.S. Soccer's National Staff coaches and a select group of scouts from throughout the United States.
This past year, Higgins was a member of the Eastern Pennsylvania ODP team. t was through her play on the ODP team that she received her first contact from the U.S. Soccer Federation in June. In July, Higgins attended the Region 1 camp at the University of Rhode Island. It was at this camp where she was named to the Region 1 pool of 80 players selected from the 450 girls attending the camp. Not only was she selected to the pool which will start to train and play together in the upcoming year, but she was one of six players invited to attend the inter-regional national camp to be held in February, 2013.
After returning from Rhode Island, Higgins headed to Penn State University for a week of camp under head coach Erica Walsh who is also an assistant coach for the U.S. women's team. At this camp, Walsh moved Katie to the ID group, and she had the opportunity to play with not only talented high school players from across the county but also with current members of the PSU women's team.
Katie is the daughter of Trisha and Gary Higgins of Andreas. Katie's maternal grandparents are Marilyn "Skippy" Rontz and the late Ed "Coogie" Rontz of Jim Thorpe. Her paternal grandparents are Lou and Althea Higgins of Lake Hauto.