April 15, 2004
Tallahassee, FL - Last season Seminole striker Leah Gallegos was named a consensus All-American and she played in the national semi-finals at the College Cup. She scored a school record 18 goals and she was named first team All-ACC. Its safe to say 2003 was a pretty good year for Gallegos but 2004 isn't looking so bad either. For the first time in her life and for the first time in FSU soccer history Gallegos has been invited to participate in a US U-21 National Team camp. She joins fellow forward Julia Schnugg in national team camp as Schnugg is currently a full time member of the US U-19 National team.
"We are very excited that Leah has been selected into the most recent U-21 national team camp," said Baker. "She had a remarkable fall for us and this is another way she is being rewarded for her abilities.
"Julia had a wonderful freshman season and has been a constant in each of the U-19 camps this year. It's exciting for these players and our program to have such exciting opportunities. "
For Gallegos, this is her first-ever national team call up. The furthest the sophomore ever advanced in the Olympic Development Program (ODP) was into regional pool camp during her junior year of high school. The chance to earn a full-time spot on the U-21 team and eventually on the full national side has always been a dream for Gallegos.
"About three days ago coach (Baker) called me and asked if I was sitting down," said Gallegos. "I was a little freaked out. Then he told me the news and the only thing I could think was 'wow'. I just couldn't believe it.
"Ever since I was a little girl I have always dreamed of being on the national team. It has always been a goal of mine. I never thought it would be within my reach so when I got this news it was almost unbelievable. It is amazing to think that I am now that close to fulfilling a dream."
Gallegos was recruited by just one top five program coming out of college and was never even a full ODP regional team member before coming to FSU but since stepping foot in Tallahassee she has become one of the nation's top goal scorers. In two seasons she has recorded 25 goals and 60 points and in 2003 she became FSU's first ever consensus All-American. Gallegos was named a first team All-America by SoccerBuzz, a second team All-America by CSTV and Soccer Times and a third team All-America by the NSCAA. She finished just behind US National Team striker Lindsay Tarpley for the ACC lead in goals.
"I think I have developed a lot due to the players around me at Florida State," said Gallegos. "There is so much talent on this team that you can't help but continue to develop and become a better player.
"Coming into college I never thought I would be fortunate enough to play in a College Cup or be named an All-American. I always dreamed about those things but I never thought one day I could be there and get invited to a national team camp. Everything is coming together and it is all starting to happen. Its pretty unbelievable."
Gallegos will leave for the Home Depot Training Center in Carson, CA next week. The camp will run from April 16-25 and she will be training just 30 minutes away from where she grew up. While she will work with the nation's best players and get a chance to see her family, Gallegos also has to balance missing a week of school, which is a concern with finals just around the corner.
"There is a lot of stress because of school and the suddenness of the call to national team camp," said Gallegos. "I just need to get my nerves out before I get to California. I am going to need a lot of support from my family because the next few weeks will be really hard. I talked to my teachers and I am going to have to devote every minute of extra time I have to my schoolwork. They have been very understanding."
Even though Gallegos has never been to a national team camp before, she has a pretty good idea of what to expect. She will see some familiar faces from her club days and also some players she has faced during her two years of college play. She knows how difficult it will be.
"Regional camp was pretty intense. There are so many good players and only the best are going to be there. It is hard to imagine how tough it is going to be at the national level," said Gallegos. "I am looking forward to the environment, which I know will be great. The fields will be beautiful and the California weather will be just perfect. I am looking forward to playing soccer with some amazing players."
Florida State wraps up its spring season this Saturday, April 10 in Tampa versus the University of Miami. Next week there will be a complete spring recap with photo galleries and check back to Seminoles.com towards the end of April for updates on both Gallegos' and Schnugg's US National Team experiences.