Q&A With Megan Jesolva
Aug. 7, 2009
BERKELEY - California standout junior defender/midfielder Megan Jesolva recently traveled to England with the U.S. Under-23 national team for two games against the English U-23 squad. Jesolva saw significant playing time in each of the two matches - playing 70 minutes in 2-0 loss on July 4 and the entirety of the July 6 3-1 victory. CalBears.com chatted with Jesolva to find out more about her experience playing abroad with a national team.
CalBears.com: Were you mainly in one location with the team and focused on soccer, or did you get to explore England at all?
Megan Jesolva: Yes we were mainly in one location with the team. We went to England to first and foremost play soccer, and we did just that. Our days consisted of breakfast, practice, lunch, practice, then dinner. We got to go to Windsor for a couple of hours one day and London for a couple of hours a few days after. But our main focus was to have a good showing in England and to win our games.
CalBears.com: What was it like to play soccer abroad with a national team? What was playing the English U23 team like?
MJ: Playing abroad with the national team was a great experience. There is nothing like playing with the very best players in the nation and representing our country over seas. Playing England was different because they play different styles in other countries, but it was fun to play against the women from England. They were all very nice after we played them and showed great sportsmanship.
CalBears.com: What was the most memorable moment for you?
MJ: The most memorable moment for me was winning our second game against England because we all played so well and to be apart of that and contribute to that win was a great feeling.
CalBears.com: You were on the squad with players from universities all over the country, what was it like traveling and playing with non-Cal teammates?
MJ: At first traveling with new girls was weird because I really didn't know anyone. Of course, I had played against many of the girls, but never on the same teams so it was cool getting to know all of the girls and being able to hang out with them during our down time. We gelled really quickly with each other and our individual playing styles so it was easy to play with all of them. Plus it helped that we all got along and became good friends throughout the trip.
CalBears.com: What were the food and weather like in England?
MJ: The food was good. We ate at the hotel for all three meals. It was a little different from food here in America, but it was good! I put salt on everything to give it a little more flavor but overall the food was good. The weather on the other hand was nice when we first got there but throughout the trip got worse and worse. There were rainstorms at night, and it was mostly always overcast, which is great soccer weather.
CalBears.com: After spending two years with Cal head coach Neil McGuire, what was it like to take direction from U-23 head coach Bill Irwin?
MJ: Neil and Bill, I feel are very similar, well minus the fact that Neil is from Scotland and Bill is from Ireland. Their playing styles are similar and the way they coach is similar, which made it easier for me to get comfortable playing for Bill.
CalBears.com: You were abroad for the Fourth of July, did the team do anything special despite not being in the States?
MJ: We actually had our first scrimmage against England on the Fourth of July, and after they had two cakes waiting for us in celebration of the holiday. It was also cool because we saw a few fireworks outside of our hotel window so it didn't feel like we were totally missing out.
CalBears.com: Is there anything in particular that you'll bring back with you for this season at Cal?
MJ: The main thing I brought back with me to Cal is experience. Playing at such a high level like the national team helps my development as a player, and I feel like I can help my team more and use my experience overseas to help my teammates here at Cal.
The California women's soccer team kicks off its season with an exhibition against Pacific on Aug. 15 at 1 p.m. at Edwards Stadium in Berkeley.
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