Jan. 17, 2006
Although the Ohio State women's soccer team is not in season, Buckeye freshman forward Lisa Collison still is active in competitive soccer. Collison recently earned a spot on the Canadian Under-20 roster for the CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) tournament in Cordoba and Veracruz, Mexico, Jan. 18-27. The 2005 Buckeye leading scorer looks forward to not only helping Canada defend its CONCACAF tournament title, but also taking in the culture and atmosphere of Mexico.
You spent part of your winter break training in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in preparation for the U-20 CONCACAF tournament in Cordoba and Veracruz, Mexico. How was practicing in the warmth and leaving the cool weather of Ohio and Canada behind?
It was not that big of an adjustment for myself, as well as a lot of my other teammates. A lot of us have been traveling with the team for several years and are used to going from one climate to the next. I adjust pretty well to the change. I really don't think about it too much and I just play and try not to let it factor into my game. But, there is no hiding the fact that it is hotter. It is always nice to have the winter weather, especially around Christmas, but it is great when you can get away for a little while and also enjoy the heat.
You scored a goal and three assists in two friendlies while in Fort Lauderdale. You pretty much have not stopped scoring goals since the Ohio State women's soccer team's last game vs. Morehead State. As well, you led the team in goals in 2005 and was tied for second on the squad in assists with three. Talk about how your game has evolved from when you first joined the Buckeyes to now.
Wow, where do I begin! Since I have had the great opportunity and privilege of being a Buckeye, my game on the pitch and my confidence has increased a great deal. I have not only become a more mature player on the field, but I have also grown as a person off the field. Being a Buckeye has taught me so many different things. All of my teammates are held accountable for making me a better player. We constantly push each other every training session and every game. Our goal as a team is to become better each and every day. We win as a team and we lose as a team, no matter what happens, our team always sticks together. Do you and your U-20 teammates feel any pressure to repeat as U-20 CONCACAF tournament champions?
Of course! I think no matter what the ranking, there is always going to be some kind of pressure. Most of the time we put the pressure on ourselves, but it is what we do and how we react to the pressure that we as a team have and also as individuals. Everyone is very excited to be back and playing together. We have been working hard and we are ready for another battle in hopes that we will defend our title and carry that even further into the World Championships. We will continue to fight for what we have been striving for, the GOLD MEDAL!
How does international competition differ from intercollegiate women's soccer?
It does not differ too much. The competitiveness is still there, as well as the fight, heart and determination to come out on top.
What skills or lessons learned during this stint with the U-20 team will you bring back to OSU women's soccer next season?
My experience. I hope to become a leader for the Buckeyes and take what I have learned through my experiences with the national team and apply some of it to my fellow Buckeyes!
Have you ever been to Mexico? Do you have any plans to sight see and take in the culture and atmosphere?
I have not yet been to Mexico! Even though we are on a very tight schedule, we will make some time to sight see and hopefully get a feel of what takes place in Veracruz, Mexico, and also learn and witness what their culture is like.
You could be dubbed a veteran on the Canadian Under-20 team, having helped the U-19 squad claim a silver medal at the Pan American Games and playing in the Adidas Cup. In fact, you have been on the Canadian U-20 team for five years. What has been your biggest learning experience while on the team?
I would have to say the biggest learning experience I have encountered during my past five years with the national team is to have no regrets. Being able to represent my country at something I love doing is an honor and I would never let that opportunity slip away. The feeling I receive when I step across that white line is unexplainable. Putting the colors on that represents my country is something that I cherish and is something that inspires me and motivates me to continue to do what I do. Everybody has ups and downs in their lives and in their careers; it is the reaction to those particular situations that will dictate the future. A quote that I often say to myself is, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." Believing in myself and having confidence in everything I do will lead me to success.
Winning the silver medal at the Pan American games was one of your greatest sports thrills. What are some of your other sports thrills while playing for the U-20 team?
Just being able to represent my country and do what I love doing. I am so grateful that I have been blessed with this talent and been able to travel the world and experience everything that I have so far. I hope to continue playing the game that I love, so one day I will be able to wear the colors red and white and represent my country in the Olympics.
Right now is an extremely busy time for you, as you balance academics and your commitment to the Canadian U-20 team. How do you manage it all?
At times it becomes very overwhelming. But, when tough times occur I try and take a deep breathe and realize all the support that I have behind me. The support I receive from my teammates and coaches is unreal. We have become one family here at OSU and that is one of the things that influenced my decision to attend Ohio State. The bonds we share as a team helps each of us get through those tough times together. Of course, there are my parents and sister. They have been a constant contributing factor to my success over the years. They have taught me to believe in myself and have confidence in everything I do and their advice has helped guide me to accomplish what I have today.
OSU women's soccer head coach Lori Walker helped evaluate and select the U.S. U-20 national team for the CONCACAF tournament. Do you hope to meet the U.S. in the final and compete against some of the competition coach Walker selected?
I hope we do meet the U.S. in the final match! I live to play in games like this, when two of the best teams in the world reunite to play one another in a good match. We have a great deal of respect for the U.S. team; they play good soccer and always put up a fight. Our Canadian team has a tremendous amount of heart and always will fight until the end. We play fast, forward and aggressive and are very dangerous with our style of play. Canada and the U.S. always have a rivalry going and when we meet head to head, it is a battle for 90 minutes! Go Canada and good luck coach!