BVA's Kovalchuk gets her kicks in Russia
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Lauren Kovalchuk has played soccer in a lot of places in her young life.
She has not only been a member of Belle Vernon Area's varsity team, but also played for travel teams as a child and then on Olympic Development Program teams as a teen.
Recently, the BVA senior added a site where even she never thought she would play. — Russia.
Kovalchuk recently returned from a two-week trip to Russia where she played against other European teams as part of an all-star contingent from the United States in the Kuban Spring Invitational Tournament.
The trip to Russia culminated a lengthy, tedious journey for Kovalchuk that began in the summer with the encouragement of her PA West ODP coach, Denny Marzano.
Marzano told Kovalchuk she should attend a camp at the University of Rhode Island for the opportunity to play for a U.S. Region 1 Under-19 team.
The camp is for top female players from the state, as well as Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Virginia and Rhode Island.
Players try to get picked for a pool of players who, at the end of camp, are selected for a team that would play in either Russia or Portugal.
Kovalchuk made the pool and was selected to play in Russia.
“They asked me to come to the tryout, so I thought I had a chance to make it,” said Kovalchuk, who will attend Stony Brook University (N.Y.) in the fall.
In November, she went to Boca Raton, Fla., for training. On March 2, she traveled to JFK Airport to meet up with the rest of the teammates to travel to Moscow. Ken Kreiger. the father of Ali Kreiger from the U.S. Women's National Team and head coach of USYSA Region 1 ODP U-19 women's team, was their coach for the trip.
They spent two days in Moscow before traveling to Sochi, Russia, where the Kuban tournament was being held.
The two-week trip was more than just playing soccer. It was an experience Kovalchuk said she will never forget.
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “It was weird having so many people together who spoke different languages. The language barrier was definitely different.
“And the food was different, as was the climate, the buildings we saw. It was just a great, great experience.”
Her Region 1 team won the tournament, playing against teams from Russia, Turkey, Slovakia, Ukraine, Iran, Romania and the Krasnodar Region team, which was one of the hosts.
“For me, probably the most memorable thing was winning the tournament,” Kovalchuk said. “That is something I will never forget.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.