My name is Reilly Parker and I am a freshman on the UNC Women’s Soccer team.  We’re heading to the Final Four in beautiful San Diego, California this evening. I am a California native, so to get to go back to my home state to play in the College Cup is a dream come true. The team and I just finished practice and cannot wait to get on the plane. The road to getting to where we are today has been unbelievable, and the feelings our team is experiencing mostly consist of being so blessed to be able to continue our journey together. This was our goal since the beginning of the season, to make it to the Final Four, for one another, our community, our program, and — most importantly — for our seniors.
We are playing the number one team in the nation, Stanford University on Friday in the Semifinals of the College Cup.   We know they are going to give us a run for our money. After showing our resilience in the game against BYU last Friday (where we won in overtime), every team in the nation now knows what we are capable of and that we will fight until the very last second to protect one another. The Stanford women’s soccer team is an extremely talented group of girls.  One of their standout players is Chioma Ubogagu, a striker from Coppell, Texas.   Along with my UNC teammates Kealia Ohai and Crystal Dunn, Ubogagu is a member of the USA U20 Women’s National Team that won the World Cup gold in Japan back in September. Another player I am excited to play against is actually my best friend, Kate Bettinger from Tiburon, California. I have grown up playing with her and it was always our dream to end up in the Final Four together, whether it was on the same team or opposing.  It’s going to be the experience of a life time for me and for Kate.
We have so much respect for the opponents we are going to face and we know that a win will not come easy.  But we are ready to grind and work for 90 minutes and more if necessary in order to walk away with a win, headed to the finals.  We are ridiculously fit, technically sharp, and one hundred percent ready to take it to the Cardinal on Friday. I have to sign off because I have a plane to catch, but stay tuned for more posts about this week’s endeavors and experiences in San Diego, California! Go Heels!

You can follow Reilly on Twitter @RParkerr13