Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World Cup Champ Brian Draws Young Players from All over; U.S. Midfielder Returns to Area of Her Soccer Youth to Host Camp

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

World Cup Champ Brian Draws Young Players from All over; U.S. Midfielder Returns to Area of Her Soccer Youth to Host Camp

Article excerpt

Byline: Clayton Freeman

Last week, St. Simons Island's Morgan Brian was playing for the United States in New Orleans alongside retiring American soccer legend Abby Wambach.

On Saturday, she came home to inspire the next wave of aspiring soccer stars.

The youngest member of the champion U.S. squad at July's Women's World Cup in Canada returned to home turf to open a youth soccer training camp at Clay County Soccer Club in Fleming Island.

"It's awesome to be able to come back here, where I grew up playing, and see the impact the World Cup had," Brian said. "It's something really cool to see."

More than 250 young soccer players, ranging from under-9 to under-17 age groups, arrived for the start of the three-day Morgan Brian Soccer Camp to learn the game from a rising star who developed her game at clubs in the Jacksonville area.

The 22-year-old midfielder, who plays for the Houston Dash of the National Women's Soccer League, started in midfield to lead the U.S. team to its third world title.

"It's the first time a world champion has come back to do a camp [in Northeast Florida]," said camp director Luis Torres, who coached Brian for nearly a decade during her youth career. "It says a lot about her."

In 2014, she became only the fourth woman to win back-to-back Hermann Trophies, presented annually to the nation's best college player.

Torres said that 52 participants came from outside the state, including 26 from Georgia and others from as far away as California and New York.

And make no mistake: The national Morgan Brian fan club is a big one.

"I saw it on Instagram and I just begged my mom, 'Can I please, please, please go to this?' " said 14-year-old Maria Broering of Southgate, Ky. "I love Morgan Brian and I'm so excited to be here."

"I'd like to know how she practices and what it would be like to play with her," said Koryn Pieschel, 13, from Walton, Ky. …

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