Coming back to play for the CNMI Women’s National Team for the last time is way up there in Carrie Schuler, Megan Silberberger, and Emily Maxberry’s collection of great soccer memories.
The date was July 24, 2014 in a game versus Macau in the Preliminary Round 1 of the 2015 EAFF East Asian Cup at the Guam Football Association Training Centre in Harmon. All three scored in the CNMI’s 7-0 trashing of Macau for the women’s crew’s first international win.
“It was kind of a special ending for my career with the NMI Women’s National Team,” said Schuler, who joined her former teammates on the winning squad in Episode 5 of Footcast with Norman to discuss their experiences in the competition, which host Norman Del Rosario considered as the three players’ “Last Dance” with the national team.
“Coming back to play for the team at my age (late 20s) and facing new players and new coaches is such a different experience. However, there’s one thing that remains constant—the love for the sport. Every player on the team has so much heart for the game, so being asked to come back and having the opportunity to work with the new faces, getting more offensive type of play, and winning our first international match were so amazing,” said Schuler.
The former national team player, who now lives in Iowa with her two kids and husband Kirk, had an earlier record for the CNMI before the historic win over Macau. Schuler scored the women’s team’s first international goal in 2009 during the CNMI Women’s National Football Team’s in the EAFF Women’s Football Championship 2010 Semifinals Competition in Taiwan, incidentally, against Macau. When they faced Macau anew, Carrie put the cherry on top of their lopsided win after lighting up the board in the four-minute stoppage time.
Maxberry, on the other hand, had a pair of goals in the victory, scoring her first in the 28th minute after muffing several attempts and getting her second in the 65th, making the dominant win also a pitting ending for her.
“I felt like I came in full circle. We started the national team (2007) to try to encourage more women to play. The players I played with were the ones that Patty (Coleman) and I saw playing as young kids,” said the Texas-based Maxberry.
“I can’t believe I was ask to come back, work out, and play with a lot of young kids. I also can’t believe we won and saw the benefits of the program that we helped start,” the mother of three added.
Meanwhile, Silberberger, one of the attackers on the team, was just thankful for the opportunity to play for the national team for the last time before moving and starting her family life. She now lives in Washington State with her two children and husband.
“After playing for so long, sometimes you feel like the game is wearing you down. But in that tournament, I remember how it’s so much fun to play and share the field with everyone on the team. I treasured every minute I was able to play,” said Silberberger, who still could not get herself away from soccer, as she now coaches the junior varsity team in her school.