Rollinsford's Rachel Hill stars in Nordic Cup action
Rachel Hill did not do much sightseeing on her trip to England last month. The forward from Rollinsford was too busy helping the Under-23 U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team win the Nordic Cup.
After proving herself to coach Janet Rayfield at a week-long camp in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this summer, Hill made the United States’ Nordic Cup roster. The 21-year-old made her U-23 team debut in a 3-1 U.S. victory over Sweden in the four-team tournament’s opening bout.
Hill, a rising senior at the University of Connecticut, also played for the U.S. in its second game, a 2-1 triumph over Norway, and the championship game, a 1-1 tie with England.
The United States lost to England on penalty kicks but won the tournament on goal difference. Hill and the U.S. had a one-goal lead entering extra time before Beth Eng England scored the equalizer for the host nation in the 91st minute.
“It was a little different because most tournaments, you wouldn’t end up winning like that but I’m still glad we pulled it off to win and I’m happy we won,” Hill said.
Despite the tie and coming up short on penalty kicks, Hill’s favorite game from the Nordic Cup was the championship.
“It’s incredible to play against different countries,” Hill said. “Every country is fighting just as hard as you are to defend their country. It kind of (puts) a little extra in your game when you represent your country because it’s such an honor.”
The Somersworth High graduate relishes every chance she gets to represent the United States. Hill previously played for the U-20 national team in both the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup and 2014 CONCACAF Championship.
“Every time I get together with that group, I like that it makes me a better player,” Hill said. “It’s interesting. You go into it not really having played with a lot of the girls that much so it’s different to adapt to at first. But once the chemistry is there, it’s so much fun and so enjoyable.”
With the 2016 Summer Olympics around the corner, Hill plans to watch the U.S. Women’s National Team attempt to win its fourth straight gold medal. Hill is inspired whenever she watches the national team in action.
“To see what they do motivates me to keep my dreams high to get there someday,” Hill said.
While Hill works toward earning a call up to the main U.S. roster, she is getting ready for her final season at UConn.
Last year, Hill led the Huskies in scoring with 16 goals and four assists. The sports management major was named the American Athletic Conference player of the year for a second straight season. UConn reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division I Tournament. Hill is looking to lead the Huskies to a deeper tournament run this year.
The best way Hill knows how to reach both her national team and collegiate goals is to keep improving and have fun in the process.
“When I’m having fun and enjoying playing is when I do my best,” Hill said.