Notre Dame freshman Dillon Powers recently got the chance of a lifetime when he traveled to Greece and Egypt while playing for the United States Under- 20 Men’s World Cup soccer team.
Powers, who will playing midfield for the Fighting Irish soccer team this year, has been traveling for soccer his whole life. He played for the Under-15 National Team, the Andromeda Soccer Club, the Under-18 National Team and was named the Gatorade National Boys Soccer Player of the Year during his senior year at Plano Senior High School in 2009.
Powers got the chance to play in the Under-20 World Cup when the team’s coach saw him play for the Under-18 National Team. He was given a tryout and was chosen to go on a training trip to Egypt with the team in June. He was then invited to the next trip in Argentina and was chosen to be on the team.
The team went to a 10-day training camp in Cyprus, Greece, where they played two scrimmage games, one versus Trinidad and Tobago and one versus Australia, both of which they won.
After Cyprus came a trip to Cairo, Egypt for the opening rounds of the World Cup. Powers’ team played games vs. Cameroon, Germany and Korea. Since the only team they beat was Cameroon, they did not advance to the next round.
“We ended up not advancing and it was a disappointing experience for us but a good experience for me because I can still learn from it,” Powers said.
Powers said he would be eligible to play again during the next World Cup, so he is glad he has already had the chance to play on the international stage.
“Being on the world stage can be a little overwhelming, so it was good to experience that,” Powers said.
Powers also said he gained knowledge about where the United States is in relation to the world’s top soccer teams.
“The U.S. has a long way to go in terms of catching up with the rest of the soccer nations,” Powers said. “We’re still in the developing process.”
Of all the places he has visited, Powers said his favorite was Portugal. He also enjoyed seeing the pyramids and sphinx during his time in Egypt.
“My favorite place would probably be Portugal,” Powers said. “It was just a really nice environment and we got to sit on the beach so that was fun.”
This experience forced Powers to miss three weeks of class and part of his freshman soccer season at Notre Dame. He said his professors were fairly understanding about the situation.
“I missed three weeks, it was pretty tough. I had to make sure [my professors] were okay with it and see if they’d work with me,” Powers said. “In the end it worked out pretty good.”
In addition to catching up on homework, Powers will catch up on Irish soccer as well when he returns to the team to finish the season.
“They have a great team this year so it’s kind of an exciting time,” Powers said. “We have a high-caliber team so we know we can do a lot this year.”