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Get to Know: Yael Averbuch

Yael Averbuch is kind of a superstar. She is a player who scored a goal right off the kickoff for UNC against Yale. The video of that goal has over three million views on YouTube. She was the youngest player ever to play in the W-League when she played for the New Jersey Stallions at the age of 14. She has played for the USA at every level from youth teams to the full national team, winning some major tournaments along the way. She was taken as the 4th Women’s Professional Soccer draft pick in 2009. That year she assisted the goal that took Sky Blue FC to the WPS Championship match in which they defeated the LA Sol 1-0.

Averbuch started every game of her four-year career at UNC setting team and NCAA records with 115 consecutive starts. She scored 32 goals and earned 29 assists for a total of 93 career points. Her jersey was retired in Spring 2009.

Her parents are runners, and her mom is the author of several books. Her sister, Shira, just finished her third season at Stanford.

From Upper Montclair, New Jersey, Averbuch took the time to answer some on and off the field questions. Read below!

1.      What was your favorite soccer moment at UNC?

That’s a hard question to answer. There were so many little moments at training that I think back on and smile. But I’ll have to go with winning the National Championship my senior year (2008). To win my last ever college game was very special.

2.      Tell me about the 3-second goal. Was this planned or did it just come to you as the whistle blew?

Our coaches had talked to me a couple games before about maybe trying to catch the goalkeeper off-guard if she was off her line. When I looked up, the Yale keeper was out pretty far, so I figured I’d give it a try. I never thought I’d actually score, but when it left my foot I thought, “Whoa, that might have a chance!”

3.      What is your favorite thing about soccer?

I love the fact that soccer brings people together. It doesn’t matter how old you are, your race, religion, nationality…when you step on the field, everyone speaks the language of the game and shares in the joy of it. That’s why I love the sport.

4.      Who’s had the biggest influence on you as a soccer player?

I feel very fortunate to have had many great coaches and mentors along my journey, but my family has definitely had the biggest influence. They are my biggest fans and have supported me unconditionally throughout my career…and still do!

5.      What is your favorite movie?

Remember the Titans

6.      What is your favorite TV show?

Law and Order

7.      What kind of music do you like?

I like a little bit of everything

8.      What do you listen to before games?

I really like techno to get pumped up

9.      What do you like to do in the off season?

I enjoy playing pickup soccer, soccer tennis, and spending time with friends and family

10.  What does your family do for the holidays?

Nothing too exciting or unique. We just spend time together and enjoy each other’s company and good food!

11.  What it your favorite team and player to watch?

-men’s or women’s

BARCELONA! I love watching Xavi and Iniesta play, and of course, Messi.

12.   What was the biggest thing you took from World Cup Qualifying this fall?

A huge thing that I learned and came to appreciate was to embrace the moment and the challenge, no matter what it may be. Things did not work out as we had planned (we did not qualify directly due to our loss to Mexico), but we were faced with a unique situation that we took as a positive. This became so important—to view the playoff games with Italy as a challenge to embrace, rather than a negative situation.

13.  What do you think it will take for the US to win the World Cup next summer?

I think that if the US is able to combine our skill and talent with the athletic ability and “American winning mentality” that we possess, we will be very successful in the World Cup. It is about finding the balance or having composure and creativity, but not losing that “bite” that has made the US team champions in the past.

14.  What is your juggling record?

1,784. That was the last time I counted at least. It took too long to try again.

15.  What is your favorite part about playing midfield?

I love always being involved and connecting the field. I like to always be in the middle of the action, and to be that “playmaker” that sets my teammates up to be at their best.

16.  What’s something (other than futbol) that you’re really good at?

I am not sure if I’m “really good” at it, but I enjoy writing. I love to express my feelings and ideas in ways that other people may be able to relate to.

17.  Why do you call it futbol and not soccer?

I think I like “futbol” because that’s what the world calls the sport. Whether it’s football, futebol, or futbol, to me that is more representative of the world game. But also, I just like how it sounds!

18.  What are you most looking forward to in 2011? The chance of winning a World Cup, or the chance of winning the 2nd WPS Championship in 3 years?

Both! It would be a dream come true to be part of a World Cup winning team. I also feel very committed to WPS, though, and to win the Championship with my club would mean a lot. It’s hard to say, but 2011 is going to be an exciting year!

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