RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Two knee surgeries were not about to slow down Taylor Otto.
“Even if it’s not my best day, I’m just happy to be out there,” admitted Otto. “I’m so blessed to have the opportunities that I have and any time I get to put on that crest, it’s be best day ever.”
Otto will represent the United States in the upcoming World Cup as a member of the Under 20 team that will perform in Papa, New Guinea.
Otto’s game was forged from the coaching she received at CASL.
Paul Forster is the director of soccer for CASL. He sees the hard work athletes put in to reach their goals.
“They get pushed to the limit on a daily, a weekly, a monthly basis with the hope when the National Team comes a calling they’re prepared to perform on that stage,” said Forster.
Fifteen-year-old Brianna Pinto was ready for that stage.
Like Otto, Pinto too honed her game at CASL. Pinto will challenge for World Cup gold as a member of the Under 17 team that will compete in Jordan.
“I came from this environment where it was competitive every single day and I trained to my best effort and I got selected for the team,” said Pinto.
Pinto and Otto are one step closer to their ultimate goal, a coveted spot on the National Team.
“Many of them want that opportunity to one day play for the women’s team,” said Damon Nahas, an assistant coach on the Under 17 women’s team. “There are many youth teams out there and a small percentage get the opportunity.”
Less than one percent will get the chance that Otto and Pinto are getting, their opportunities far from given to them.
I get emotional at time because I know how much work they’ve put in and the grind that they’ve had to put in day in and day out,” said Sean Nahas who will help coach the Under 20 women’s team.
“Two great kids that deserve everything they’re getting right now.”
The CASL program helped in the development and one day the area’s premiere soccer club, more than 11,000 strong, may see the ultimate reward.
“It would be a joy to say that’s a young player that grew up playing in our club,” said Forster.