Jaedyn Shaw received her first U.S. women’s national team call-up Tuesday, and she’s preparing for the lessons that come with it.
The 18-year-old forward will be appearing in her first senior-level camp ahead of friendlies against South Africa on Sept. 21 and 24. And while the objective is for Shaw to ease into her role with the USWNT – she’s been told this will be a “no-pressure camp” – she’s embracing the opportunity.
“I’ve always loved high-pressure moments,” Shaw told reporters Thursday. “I have been told that this is a no-pressure camp, just getting my feet in the water and kind of enjoying the experience, and that’s something that I’m really taking to heart. I’m just trying to go and learn as much as I can, gain as much as I can from this experience.”
Getting the call was “an amazing, happy moment.” She shared it with her mom, who was her first call after she received the news and was “practically crying through the phone,” Shaw said.
She also spoke with her San Diego Wave teammate Naomi Girma, who already has USWNT experience.
“I feel like I’ve already bombarded [Girma] with a bunch of questions,” Shaw said. “One of them was seating arrangements, on the bus, in the meetings. That was something that I know a lot of teams, you kind of have [assigned seats]. I know we do, like I have my front row seat…I was like, ‘Where do I sit?’
“I think another thing was, how do the training kits fit, so I know what size to get? And then there was like, if I need to bring a notebook, what do you pack? Like that kind of stuff. Literally not even soccer-based. It’s just stuff off the field.”
San Diego head coach Casey Stoney knows just how much the USWNT call-up means for Shaw, and she called it “deserved” for a “quality player with huge potential and a huge amount of talent.”
“It’s a great opportunity for her to go in without any pressure,” Stoney said. “Being in a senior environment is very different than being in a youth environment. I think she’ll go in and she’ll show her quality. It’s just for her, going in and soaking it all up, soaking in the experience.”
Stoney also opened up a bit Thursday about how she’s tried to ensure that Shaw doesn’t feel any added pressure. She’s no stranger to managing young players, something she says that has been a journey of learning and, at times, getting it wrong.
“I learned so much more from the ones that I got it wrong with,” she said, admitting that she “got it wrong” with Ebony Salmon while she was with Manchester United. “Whereas before, I might be quite harsh and stern on those players, I think now I see it as they’re on a road. And sometimes they’re gonna get lost. It’s my job to keep trying to put them back on track and keep them on that journey, and guide them and educate them.”
She also called Shaw “unbelievable” and “an absolute dream” to manage.
“She has nothing on her mind other than being the best player in the world,” she said. “She’s very coachable, she wants to be the best. For me, it’s just making sure that she’s patient enough in her journey and that she sees the process rather than the outcome all the time.”
The Wave sit atop the NWSL table with four matches remaining. Shaw will play one more match against the Kansas City Current before leaving for her USWNT duties, then will return to close out the regular season with San Diego.