For a few anxious days, the nervousness set in.
Had he played well enough?
Had he proven himself to be one of the best young soccer players in the United States?
All along, Bryce Cregan waited for the call. In late July, the Dallastown High School junior had attended a U.S. Soccer developmental camp in Carson, Calif. Of the three dozen players in attendance, 32 would be picked to join U.S. Soccer's U17 men's national team residency program in Bradenton, Fla.
Cregan was on the way to the grocery story with his father last Saturday when his cellphone finally rang. He figured it was one of his friends calling.
Then he looked at the phone.
"I saw it and I said 'Dad, I got selected," Cregan said.
Cregan, 16, accepted U.S. Soccer's invite without hesitation. He'll fly to Florida next week, where he'll live and train as a member of the U17 national team for at least the next year.
If he performs well, Cregan could earn a spot on the American squad for the 2013 FIFA U17 World Cup next fall in the United Arab Emirates. That could also set the stage for future progress within the U.S. developmental program.
Cregan called the chance to train in Bradenton, "the opportunity of a lifetime."
"There was no way I could turn it down," said Cregan, a 5-foot-11 central defender.
Cregan is the second York-area player selected for the residency program in
For Cregan, a spot in the elite program has been a goal for the past few years. He has traveled all over the country to play soccer -- both as a part of U.S. Soccer's developmental program and as a member of Pennsylvania Classics, a high-level club team based in Lancaster.
Last year, Cregan was one of 20 players picked to travel with the U15 national team to Croatia for a set of friendly matches.
"It's something that he's been working for a couple years now -- he's spent a lot of time with the national team," said Bryce's father, Brendan Cregan. "You could read the excitement on his face without him even saying a word."
At Dallastown, Bryce Cregan played on the Wildcats' back-to-back YAIAA tournament championship teams. He was also a freshman on Dallastown's 2010 District 3 title squad. Cregan did not plan to play for the Wildcats this fall, however, because of his heavy club team schedule.
Bryce also comes from a soccer family. Brendan Cregan formerly coached at both Kennard-Dale and Hempfield.
Still, in the days after that July training camp, Bryce had let doubt creep into his mind. The week before the U.S. camp, he had been in Houston for a club tournament. He flew straight from Texas to California, knowing he needed to make a strong impression to earn a residency spot.
"I had a rough week out there," Cregan said of the U.S. camp. "My legs were kind of burnt out. I was just trying to push through all the fatigue."
Suspense clouded the next two weeks. Then the phone call came.
Cregan knows his work is just beginning. He hopes to play soccer in college and -- if all goes well -- even pursue a professional career someday.
In the shorter term, Cregan has his sights set on the U17 World Cup barely a year from now.
"Just to be able to have my name on the back of the national team jersey," he said.