USL Feature Series: Keep an Eye on This Girl
During the next few months USLsoccer.com will highlight the on-the-field stars of the W-League by getting to know their personalities off the field. Up next: Yael Averbuch of the New Jersey Wildcats and the U.S. Women’s National Team. Averbuch has played at every level of the U.S. National Team, and owns 16 caps and a goal with the senior team.
A veteran of the W-League, she became its youngest player ever when she debuted for the New Jersey Lady Stallions in 2002 at the age of 14. When it came time for her to go to college, Averbuch attended the University of North Carolina and started every game during the four years she spent in Chapel Hill. Her 105 consecutive starts became the all-time record for the Tar Heels as well as NCAA. She helped North Carolina to NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2008.
Individually, she scored 32 goals and 29 assists during her college career, one of the goals being an NCAA record-breaker when she registered a tally four seconds into a match against Yale University. She also was a three-time NSCAA All-American and All-ACC selection, as well as being named a finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy following her junior season. In acknowledgement of all of the success she had while playing in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels retired her #17 college jersey in 2009.
Full name: Yael Averbuch
Club: New Jersey Wildcats
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Position: Center midfield
Inspired me the most: My parents
Playing strengths: My touch, passing ability, vision
Needs a bit of work: My defending and tackling
Favorite player: Zinedine Zidane
Tell us about your coach: Jim Gabarra knows the game well and never over-complicates things. He doesn’t yell and scream, but is demanding and holds the team to a high standard.
Biggest career highlight: Winning the 2009 Inaugural WPS Championship with Sky Blue FC as an underdog against the LA Sol.
Biggest practical joker: Not so sure about this one, but our team has some funny personalities.
Advice I would give to young girls following in my footsteps: Spend as much time with the ball as you can and enjoy the process.
I’m stranded on a small island. Five things I’d want with me: A soccer ball, my ipod shuffle, my journal, a pen, some watermelon
Tunes I’m listening to: A strange mix of techno, Lil Wayne, Fall Out Boy, The Fray, and The Goo Goo Dolls
Best movie seen recently: 21 Jump Street
Retro item I wish would make a comeback: My 1996 Mia Hamm jersey
Favorite movie: The Big Green
Describe yourself in five words: Dedicated to what I love
Five players I’d like to play alongside: Marta, Kelly Smith, Sonya Bompastor, Homare Sawa, my sister Shira
I can’t get enough of… time with the people I love.
I spend my money on… experiences as opposed to things.
My fashion style is… casual chic.
Technology and social media is… changing the world.
Over time I’ve learned… that the most important thing is to be happy in the moment.
Sometimes I need to… express myself more freely.
Every day I try to… do something to make myself better.
I’m thankful for… a lot of things, but my health and my wonderful family and friends, to name a few.
My biggest influence(s)… lived in the same house as me as I grew up.
I used to… have a superstition where I ate yellow Nerds (the candy) before I played.
I always… try to remind myself to never grow up.
I have a friend… in every continent except for Antarctica.
I play a bit like… Xabi Alonso.
If I wasn’t playing soccer I’d be… coaching soccer, watching soccer, talking about soccer.
In five years I see myself… playing for a professional club (hopefully in the U.S.!).