USA call-up Cregan hopes to follow Shinsky's path
Before his Dallastown soccer team's match against West York last fall, Bryce Cregan went looking for some advice. The Wildcats' freshman was about to embark on perhaps the most pressure-packed challenge of his young soccer career: a week-long trip to California to take part in a United States U15 National Team training camp. Perform well, and the 5-foot-11 central defender could earn consideration for future call-ups. So before that match against West York, Cregan went looking for one player he thought could relate: Bulldogs' midfielder Alex Shinsky. The senior had spent his sophomore and junior years enrolled in U.S. Soccer's U17 residency program in Bradenton, Fla. Shinsky started for the U.S. in the 2009 U17 World Cup in Nigeria, and has since signed to play at Maryland next fall. Cregan told Shinsky about his pending trip to California and asked for a few pointers. "He said just go out there and play the way you play," Cregan said Tuesday. "Don't try to impress anyone. The game is fast, just try to play as quick as you can. Don't let the coaches get in your head, because they can be kind of harsh sometimes." Shinsky's words seemed to resonate. After his first camp in California, Cregan earned a pair of call-backs to two subsequent camps. Two weeks ago, Cregan got word that he'd be among a group of 20 players heading to Croatia with the U15 in May team to take part in a series of international friendly matches. Eventually, Cregan hopes to follow Shinsky's lead in another respect. U.S. Soccer will invite a new crop of players into its U17 residency program in Bradenton later this summer. Cregan hopes he'll be among the players who gets a call. "I'd probably tell them 'Yes' right on the phone," he said.