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Mississippi State junior forward earns U.S. National Team call up.

Mississippi State Bulldog fans who follow the U.S. Women's National Soccer team now have a rooting interest other than their own love of country. Bulldog junior forward Mallory Eubanks of Lexington, Kentucky recently received a call up to the Women's U-20 team. Eubanks sat down with Genespage's Daniel Black to share her thoughts on the experience thus far.

How did the whole thing happen?

“So my freshman year I got a call up to the U-20 camp, I went for a week after I got sent an email basically them giving me an invitation. It was exciting because it was my first experience and then last year going into my sophomore year I got invited again to the camp in January, but because of surgery and stuff I had to postpone that. Then I got invited again in March to the U-19 camp, went there for a week then got invited to the next camp in May. Then the final cycle was playing in the games in New Zealand.”

When you first got that email in the very beginning, how did that feel for you just being a competitor and all you’ve worked for?

“It was awesome, it was really exciting to just see kind of everything I’ve worked for come together and to know that I got noticed and that all the hard work was put out there and that my name is out there somehow. That was really exciting for me.”

How was it like to share the news with your family?

“Well, when I got the email I talked to (Coach) Aaron (Gordon) first and I was like “I just got invited to this camp, like what exactly is this?” and he was like “That’s the U20 roster, that’s what you're going to.” Then I showed the news to my family and my dad was so excited, he probably texted me like 20 million times and called me like 5 times. My mom was really excited for me, like everyone was just super excited, proud, and really happy that it happened.”

Where were the camps located at that you went to?

“My first camp was in Orlando, Florida. We just went down and trained and played in Orlando against the University of Florida, the professional Bayern Munich women’s team from Germany, and one boys team that I can’t remember who they were.

Then the camp last year in March was in Davis California and we trained there, played against UC Davis. Then in May we got to go to Chula Vista, the Olympic training center. It was really cool and a neat experience cause there are athletes everywhere, like we walked in and Mario Lopez was just right there just hanging out on the couch. We got to meet some of the BMX Bikers that were going to the Olympics this year and some of the rugby players, it was just really awesome.

Then of course the last one was in New Zealand.”

Are you looking to keep playing with the national team, or what are the plans for the future?

“Well right now since I’m in college my main focus is this season here at Mississippi State and the college program and this atmosphere here, but definitely I’m looking to keep my name out there in the cycles for the US team and just going forward with whatever happens.”

At the camps & games, what was the biggest learning aspect you took away from it all?

“Just all the preparation that goes with playing in an international game and everything is super exciting. During training, just the atmosphere of being at the US camps with the U-19’s, you go into camp thinking it’s going to be stressful and a lot of pressure, but everyone is just so encouraging and exciting and just like happy to play soccer and positive and I think that was good to see. Even at the high level it’s all about just enjoying the game because if you can’t enjoy the game then you’re not going to play well. And just from the games, just playing fast and learning to move on quickly from mistakes and keep going.”

When you went to the camps, did you know anyone else when you got there?

“No, the first camp I went to I had no idea. Then the second camp I didn’t really know anyone either, but then afterwards there were a couple girls that were at the last camp who came again and then in New Zealand it was all players from the cycles, so I kind of knew all of them. I have a lot of friends everywhere now just playing soccer.”

How was the adjustment of playing with people you didn’t know?

“Yeah, I mean off the field when you first get there and don’t know anyone it’s all new. Some players had been to the camp in January and so they knew each other and stuff. So it’s just a lot of getting to know people more, but everyone is super nice and the coaches do a really good job, especially the U19’s, of getting everyone involved and doing team bonding and stuff. So we got to know each other, and then playing takes a couple of days to get into playing with each other because we’ve never played with any of these girls before. But the games were at the end of the week and you could see how we progressed and then going to New Zealand and playing as a team you could see how we had definitely progressed playing together.”

Overall what was your favorite part of the whole experience so far?

“Whew… Playing the full New Zealand national team definitely was really cool just being in New Zealand and getting to do that and put on the jersey and walk out knowing I’m playing against girls who are going to play in the Olympics that was really cool for me and really exciting.”

America's Bulldog, Eubanks, and the rest of the Mississippi State soccer team (5-3) will be in action this Sunday as the Lady Commodores of Vanderbilt pay a visit to Starkville in the second SEC contest on the Bulldog schedule. Admission is free and cowbells are encouraged.

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