When goalkeeper Kim Myers graduated from Glen Burnie High School last spring, she was among the nation's budding soccer stars.
But herredshirt season at nationally ranked Rutgers University during the fall was "just a totally different world," Myers said.
"I guess I came in a little bit cocky, to tell you the truth," said Myers, who was notified 10 days ago that she will tour England with the U.S. Olympic Developmental Program's junior national team April17-26.
Myers, who carried a 3.94 grade-point average, had little trouble acclimating herself to the academic life at Rutgers, despite the distance between each of the school's five campuses being "as bigas the distance from Marley Mall to Harundale Mall."
But Myers, who lives with four other girls in a new dorm suite, said the major adjustment came on the soccer field.
"The main difference is that the college game is much more physical," said Myers, 18, a first-team All-Metro and two-time All-County player at Glen Burnie. "In high school and club ball, you learned all about finesse. But when you're in training here, you just get beat up, like in a football practice.
"But I've also had to work on my footwork. I've discovered that I could be a much more effective player if I stayed on my feet, instead of diving for every ball."
Despite all that she has learned in her first collegiate season, Myers has not played in a game since August. It was then, after a 10-day tryout with the nation's four regional teams in Colorado Springs, Colo., that she was selected to a 60-player pool from which the 25-player junior national team will be chosen.
"Having missed so much game time, I hope that I haven't lost that competitive edge," said Myers, who is maintaining an A average as an engineering major at Rutgers.
"I'm a little concerned with how I'll handle a game situation now that I've missed so much, but I can't waitto play in a real game again."
Myers got a late start in soccer, compared to many of her peers. She kicked her first ball at age 12, but caught on quickly and has been chosen to the ODP's state and regional teams throughout her teen-age years.
Her accomplishments include helping Harford United's club team to its second and third straight state cup titles. She transferred to the under-19 Columbia Crusaders, leading them to a fifth straight state cup title last spring.
Last summer, Myers was one of three Marylanders chosen for the ODP's 30-member girls under-19 Region I soccer squad, and her efforts earnedher a partial scholarship to Rutgers, which had finished among the nation's top 10 teams.
Myers' redshirt status wasn't official untilafter the season. She functioned in a reserve role to starter SaskiaWebber, who soon may be called up to play for the defending World Cup champion U.S. Women's National team.
"I earned my redshirt because I didn't play," said Myers, who watched Rutgers win its second consecutive East Coast Athletic Conference tournament title with a 13-7-1 record.
"If Saskia had gotten injured in a game, I would have had to go in and I'd have redshirted next year. But I wore the uniform and traveled. Basically, I felt like a part of the team."