Tim Lawlor, a Gilbertsville resident and soon to be Boyertown High senior has been playing soccer since he was six years old. He played intramurals for a few years, before turning his attention to travel teams. Tim recently played with a U.S. select travel soccer team which travelled to Italy earlier in July to play in a tournament.
Lawlor received an e-mail inviting him to join the U.S. select soccer team at the San Marino Cup and the United World Games. Tim asked his parents, Jim and Chris, if he could participate. Of course they told him yes he could. In order to be part of the team, Lawlor had to come up with $4,400, which he got through donations from local businesses, and family and friends.
This is a team that included the best high school soccer players in the country. It was a big honor for Lawlor to just be asked to join. This was truly a once-in-a-life time opportunity. He was surprised when he received the e-mail with the invitation, and he was very excited
“It’s one of those feelings that’s very hard to describe,” said Lawlor. “You’re very anxious to go and very excited. I was a bit nervous because it was international, and this was going to be my first time out of the country. I wasn’t going with my parents, I was going with a bunch of strangers. I loved being able to meet the guys and playing the games. It was really one of those things that you can’t describe that well.”
He signed up for the United World games, but that fell through, so he played for the San Marino Cup. Because it was all by invitation, there were no tryouts. Only 14 people from all over the U.S. made up this team. Lawlor will admit that he was in awe at first when he saw how good the rest of the players were on this team. He was very happy to be a part of it.
“It’s something that you definitely won’t forget,” said Lawlor. “You feel humbled to be able to compete with some of the best players in the country.”
Tim will admit that he was nervous about playing with this team. He wasn’t sure how the team would mesh since they never practiced together before they left for Italy. The U.S. select team played teams from Italy and Lebanon. “It was definitely nerve-racking,” said Lawlor.
To get over the nerves, he told himself that it was just another soccer game. But Tim is no stranger to pressure. He’s been there before playing as a freshman goalie for the Boyertown high school team playing for the PAC-10 title.
According to Lawlor, that experience helped him, but the pressure in this situation was 10 times worse. He knew that they didn’t play together and thought that it wouldn’t turn out well. However, the team did better than he had thought.
The team played a local team from Milan on the second day there, which they used as a practice match, with the intent to get to know each other and how they would move on the field. Two days after that, they started the tournament.
“The team chemistry attributed a lot to the success that we had,” said Lawlor. “We had some intelligent players, so we were able to change what we needed to change to be successful,” said Lawlor.
When you face a team that’s big and physical, along with being technical like these teams were, it’s rather scary,
It was a rough start for the U.S. squad, losing 3-0. But then they found a weakness in the Italian teams.
Lawlor felt that the Italian teams that they faced didn’t handle the pressure, or the physical style of play that his team brought very well.
The original plan was for Lawlor and the other goalie to split time, however due to injuries after the second game, Lawlor played the bulk of the team in goal.
“Everyone was pretty well conditioned so it (the injury to the other goalkeeper and a couple of other players as well) didn’t hurt too much,” said Lawlor. “We definitely could have used the players who got injured.
The experience was definitely a positive one for Lawlor. He learned a lot about the sport and how to be the best goalkeeper he can be. He’s know ready to apply what he learned to his play in goal for the Boyertown Area Senior High School team.
“We all want the PAC-10 championship ,so we want to make sure that we all work as hard as possible,” said Lawlor. I know the team here in Boyertown will definitely work hard to bring another PAC-10 championship to the trophy case.”
Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the Times. You can follow him on twitter @writersprtsBT