Bradenton, Fla. -- Bryane Heaberlin has seen the world thanks to soccer. Now she will try to win a gold medal.
When the U.S. Under-20 women's national soccer team plays in the World Cup beginning August 20, Heaberlin will be the team's goalkeeper. During 10 exhibition games, Heaberlin started seven of them with five shutouts.
"It's so different," Heaberlin says of being the starter. "Now the pressure's on. Now there's a lot at stake and now I have an opportunity to help (win gold)."
Heaberlin was a backup during the last World Cup when she was just 17 years old. Since then, it's been a challenging run.
During her senior year at Berkeley Prep, Heaberlin fractured the tibia and fibula in her right leg. The injury happened shortly before this World Cup qualifying cycle.
She has made a rapid recovery.
"I think she deserves a whole lot of credit, not only for getting herself back to where she was but pushing forward," U.S. U-20 head coach Steve Swanson said. "Just becoming a better goalkeeper in every phase , technically, tactically, mentally, physically."
"(The injury rehab)definitely has made me a better and stronger player," Heaberlin said. "Mentally I am so much stronger than I was before, and physically I've got a golf club for a leg."
Now healthy, Heaberlin's goal is clear heading into the opening match against Ghana in Japan.
"To go somewhere and not bring(a medal) back, I've already been through that twice," Heaberlin said. "I don't want to do that again."