Summerville High School soccer player Jordan Vermillion recently got a taste of what competition will be like at the next level when she and her Elk Grove club team finished second in the Under-19 National Tournament.
After playing nearly the entire 80-game club season as one of two 16-year-olds on a club team made up primarily of college freshmen, Vermillion helped her club team land a berth in the Under-19 National Tournament by winning the California Youth Soccer Association-North championship in June, and the Far Western Regional title last month.
In the four-team National Tournament, played last month in Germantown, Maryland, Elk Grove finished 2-0-1 in round-robin play, beating teams from Ohio and Pennsylvania while tying Georgia.
Although Georgia managed to squeak out a 2-1 win in the championship game, Elk Grove's dominating season vaulted the team all the way from a mid-50s ranking to the No. 1 spot in the Under-19 poll.
"Even though we finished second, we still got something like 500 points for the rankings," Vermillion said. "So, because we won a bunch of big tournaments (specifically, the Pleasanton Cup and President's Cup), we're still No. 1 in the nation."
Although Vermillion has tasted plenty of individual (Mother Lode League Offensive Player of the Year awards in 2002-03) and team (two Sac-Joaquin Section championships in three title-game appearances) success at Summerville, the senior-to-be went from the most dominant player in her high school league to the third-best forward on her club team.
"The two forwards (on Elk Grove) were on the Under-19 National Team, so I'd much rather have them up top than myself," said Vermillion, who played midfielder for Elk Grove despite a resume that includes 32 goals last season for Summerville after pumping in a school-record 36 during 2002.
"Playing outside midfielder is a big change because it's constant running, so you have to have good endurance. It's more about completing plays and getting assists than scoring goals."