Sports

Decatur grad heading to the World Cup in New Zealand

As a world-class goalkeeper, Amy Griffin helped lead the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team to victory at the first-ever Women’s World Cup in 1991. This summer, she’ll draw upon that experience to help guide the top youth female soccer players in America to a similar fate.

The Decatur High School graduate is in her third year as an assistant for the Under-17 US National Team, which recently earned a berth into the first-ever U-17 World Cup. The World Cup will take place in New Zealand Oct. 28-Nov. 16.

Griffin, whose maiden name is Allmann, has also been an assistant head coach at the University of Washington for the last 13 years and will miss a bulk of the Huskies’ season while coaching at the World Cup.

“I really like the state the Huskies are in right now,” Griffin said on www.gohuskies.com. “Once I’m with the National Team, I’m there 100 percent. But a big part of me doesn’t want to miss a thing here. I love the personality of our team and the kids are really working hard. But this is the first World Cup in this age group so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Griffin, who primarily coaches the goalkeepers but also provides first-hand insight as a former World Cup winner.

“U.S. soccer has put a little pressure on us in that the U.S. has won the first World Cup at every age group,” Griffin said. “We won the first U-19, first U-20, first U-23 and the first Women’s World Cup, which was the team I was on.”

Witnessing the skill of these high-school aged kids has impressed Griffin. With increased opportunities for players, she has seen the level of play get better and better each year and at a younger age.

“It’s great to be in a position where 16 year olds amaze me. That didn’t use to be the case when we were just working on fundamentals. We can work on anything now,” Griffin said. “The group I have, they’re the best of the best so the competition makes it such that everyone is fighting for a starting spot. They’ve already played more soccer in their short careers than I played my entire career with better coaches, better fields and better equipment.”

Griffin helped mold former University of Washington goalkeeper into the Pac-10 Player of the Year and then into the winning keeper in the United States’ gold medal victory over Brazil at the Beijing Olympics.

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