OEFC & US YNT Recognizes Gibson Graham 

Written By the Parents of Gibson Graham: Michael and Amber Graham 

“Gibson started soccer in 2009 when she was 3 years old.  There was nothing exceptional about that year.  The next year she had a really great coach who she got to play for over the next several years, including 4 years with the AR Comets club team.

At 12 years old, she started showing a desire to push herself more.  She made the Sporting AR 05G team, where she had another great coaching staff.  She couldn’t wait to go to practices and would be very disappointed when any were cancelled.  The team played in the US Club Soccer 2019 National Cup XVIII in July 2019 and won.  It was the first ever “national championship” for any soccer team from the state of Arkansas.

As parents with no soccer backgrounds ourselves, we still wonder how she was chosen from there to attend US Club Soccer’s id2 Camp for 05-06 girls in Austin that fall.  Then, from that experience to being chosen to attend the US Soccer U-14 GNT in March 2020, is still incredible to us.  There are so many extremely talented players from her past and current teams, we still wonder, why her?

It was somewhere around this time that we really noticed her desire to improve and work outside of regular training.  Covid emphasized this when everything shut down and our basement became her main training ground for several months.  We were very impressed by her persistence and work ethic during this time.  She was determined to improve every day.

The U-14 GNT mini-camp invitation led to her move to OEFC 06 GA team for the 2020-2021 season.  Her Sporting AR coach was very supportive of the move.  Arkansas doesn’t currently have any teams in the ENCL or GA leagues and playing regularly with a more intense level of competition was the next best step to achieve her future soccer goals.

Despite the crazy amount of travel, the move has been a great one.  Again, blessed with great coaches and teammates, her work ethic and drive to improve have never been stronger.  Even though she tore her ACL in October 2020, she has found ways to keep learning and improving by watching lots of games, doing game analysis, and working to increase upper body strength while her knee is recovering.

Being invited to the US Soccer U-16 Girls National Team Virtual Training Camp is an honor.  We were excited to see her continued hard work paying off and are thankful to OEFC for pushing her.  Because it is a virtual camp, despite her ACL injury, she will still be able to participate.  We continue to be amazed that she was selected and know that so many others she plays with are also deserving.  We look forward to seeing her back on the field once she heals and see what God has in store for her next!”