Women’s World Cup soccer may soon include some local talent, so take note of Blue Valley North graduate Parker Roberts.
The Mustangs soccer great has played in California for the United States Under 20 team in matches against Brazil, Mexico and Japan this summer. And then on July 5, she started school at the University of Kansas taking two summer classes.
Parker (her first name is her mother’s maiden name) has been the best high school girls’ soccer player in the state of Kansas for the past two seasons. She was the Gatorade Kansas Player of the Year in both 2014 and 2015.
She got her start in soccer at a young age.
“My older sister played and I always went to the games,” she says. “So I started when I was about 4 with coed recreation soccer.” Parker’s sister, Ferriss, eventually went on to play college soccer at UNC Asheville.
Roberts has had a lot of success in club soccer with her KC Metro Dynamos team.
“The highlight had to have been last summer at nationals in Maryland,” she says. “Playing against Legends FC from California to qualify for the semifinals was one of the most exciting games I will ever take part in. It reminds me every day why I play this game.”
The five-foot, seven-inch Parker plays mainly center mid (field), but sometimes she played center defender and even forward.
What are her keys to success in the sport?
“The key is playing as a team,” she says. “It is important that defenders stay true to the position and communicate to stay together. It is almost like being connected in the back line by a giant string.
“The key for midfielders are to attack and win the first and second balls. The key for forwards is to look to connect with midfielders and make penetrating runs to create dangerous opportunities,” she adds.
What was the highlight of her high school career for the Mustangs?
“It probably comes from my sophomore year when we made it all the way to the state finals,” says the Leawood resident.
Roberts played in Spain in March with the Under 20 National team. The team played in La Manga, Spain, and the field included teams from Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands.
“That was an eye-opening experience,” says Roberts. “I got to experience the environment of international play and even got to play against other countries. I think the biggest highlight is just when you put the jersey on. Wearing the red, white and blue and realizing that you’re representing all of the United States is a pretty remarkable feeling.”
She really was not expecting to be chosen for the U20 National team.
“I got selected for the national team this year pretty much of the blue,” says Roberts. “I knew that I had been on the radar for a little while, but was really not expecting it.”
Parker thinks that her participation in ODP (Olympic Development Program) played a large part and so did her play in club soccer.
She is looking ahead to the 2016 Under 20 World Cup which will be played in late October and early November in New Guinea.
“Our goal is to qualify for the 2016 U20 World Cup,” she says. “For myself, I just have to keep doing my best to keep getting invited back into the camps each month, and hopefully ultimately make the World Cup roster.”
This fall she will be playing for the University of Kansas.
She isn’t sure what she wants to study.
“I would like to major in criminology or some sort of health services,” she says. “I have not fully decided yet.”