PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Aideen O’Donoghue works out on the field where the professional Riverhounds play. The 17-year-old plays offense at Canon McMillan High School, and defense for the Riverhounds’ Under 17, or “U-17,” development team. She was at school when she received an email from the U-17 National Team.
“It was a surreal moment,” she recalls. “I remember I started crying my eyes out. I was so excited.”
She spent a week in California, training with talented young soccer players from all over the country. Aideen learned the game from her dad, at a very young age.
“Aideen started playing when she was four years old,” Tim O’Donoghue says. “And I was her coach for four, five and six, and then she moved on.”
Assistant coach Niko Katic says the Riverhounds are proud of her achievement.
“Tears come to your eyes, because you put so much heart and soul into it,” he says.
Conditioning coach Mike Whiteman says she’s worked for it.
“You have to be fast, you have to be powerful, you have to be fit. And if you take that seriously, it’ll help benefit your game,” he said.
With a last name like O’Donoghue, it might not surprise you to hear that part of her training was six years of Irish step dance. She was pretty good at that, too.
But it’s a long way from high school soccer to the national U-17 team. Aideen hopes eventually to join local star Meghan Klingenberg in the Olympics. But first things first.
“September and October we’re going to be in Jordan, in the Middle East, for the World Cup,” she said.
Like any soccer player, she’s going for one goal at a time.