Graduates Represent U.S. in Soccer Tourney

Members of the U.S. Armed Forces women’s soccer team pose for a photo during a tournament at Fort Bliss, TX June 22.—Photo courtesy of U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Camille Miller.

Amy Horney '18 (lower left) and Kristen Whitehurst '17 (second from lower right) pose for a photo with their teammates during a tournament June 22 at Fort Bliss, Texas.—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Camille Miller.

LEXINGTON, Va., June 27, 2018—It’s not the World Cup, but there is another global soccer tournament taking place right now. And two former cadets are part of it.

Amy Horney ’18 and Kristen Whitehurst ’17 are members of the United States Armed Forces women’s soccer team which is competing in the World Military Women’s Football Championship at Fort Bliss, Texas. Teams from nine countries, including the United States Squad, began play June 22. The tournament will wrap up July 3.

“Being a member of this team has been the highest honor I have ever received,” said Horney, who commissioned to the United States Marine Corps after completing her tenure at VMI. “Representing the United States while playing the game I love is the pinnacle of my soccer career, and I would have never imagined I would be in this position.”

The U.S. squad lost its first two games in pool play, falling to South Korea, 1-0, in the tournament opener June 22, and dropping a 3-0 decision to China two days later. The host team plays Canada Tuesday, June 26, and wraps up pool play June 28 against The Netherlands.

Horney, who ranks first on VMI’s all-time list with 78 games played, said earning a spot on this team was one of the hardest things she’s ever done.

After learning about the team, Horney submitted an application and was invited to the tryouts with 50 other players. Enduring elevations at over 4,000 feet and temperatures that soared above 100 degrees, Horney endured through three cuts before being added to the 21-person roster.

“The days were long, and the climate change might have been the hardest part,” Horney said. “Every part of our day was filled with three practices, a yoga or swimming session, and a classroom session. It might have been the hardest tryout process my body has been through.

“I think my time at VMI developed me so much as a player that I was more prepared than I realized going into camp,” she added. “Of course, playing soccer with a [VMI] program that has developed so much from my freshman to senior year helped, but all of the qualities that VMI teaches you as a whole came into play. Having the resiliency and mental fortitude to push through the long days and mental games pushed me past the walls standing in front of me.”

At tournament’s end, Horney will return to the Officer Selection Station in Newark, Delaware, where she will work until being summoned to the Basic School for the Marine Corps in September. She spoke of tryouts for next year’s tournament in China, but regardless if she makes that team, and regardless how the U.S. team fares this season, Horney has already won something.

“I was honored to be a part of [this team],” Horney said. “The women here are inspiring.”

-Chris Floyd


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