Pine-Richland’s Donnelly heading to Germany for soccer event
Friday, January 11, 2019 | 8:24 PM
In a tryout process that sifted through more than 100 girls soccer players, Pine-Richland’s Megan Donnelly was one of just 18 selected to represent the U.S. Youth Soccer Development Program on the Region 1 2001/2002 combined girls soccer team for a competition in Germany in April.
The selection process began when Donnelly, a sophomore at Pine-Richland, attended an Olympic Development Program camp in New Jersey. From there, the ODP coaches picked from a pool of more then 100 players and narrowed it to about 40 who would go on to participate in a showcase in Boca Raton, Fla.
Next, the top 18 players were selected to fill the premiere squad for its international trip. Donnelly said she was thrilled to find out she made the cut.
“It’s really rewarding, after all of the hard work I’ve put in. I’ve been going to that camp for three years or so, and in at least one of those years, I didn’t make it,” Donnelly said.
“So it’s rewarding to know that the hard work has paid off, and I performed well enough to make the cut. It’s a lot of effort, and I’m proud to have put that time in.”
More then anything, Donnelly says she is looking forward to sharpening her game through the opportunity to watch and compete against top-end European competition.
Jodi Chmielewski, who coaches Donnelly at Pine-Richland and at the club level for Beadling North, echoed those thoughts.
“Throughout the last several years, Megan has achieved consistently high levels of success on the soccer field. The thing about ODP is she gets to play and train with players, both regionally and nationally, so she gets exposure to different playing styles,” Chmielewski said.
“All of these experiences are helping to make her more well-rounded, just through the exposure to multiple soccer environments. It’s a great accomplishment all around for her.”
Donnelly helped lead Pine-Richland to a quarterfinals appearance in the WPIAL Class 4A playoffs this season. She led the Rams with 31 goals and has 54 in her two seasons.
The sophomore was rewarded for her effort by being named to the all-state team, in addition to receiving All-American honors from the United Soccer Coaches.
Gateway’s Madisyn Neundorfer will join Donnelly as the only two WPIAL players to make the ODP roster.
Kevin Lohman is a freelance writer.