Earlier this week, U.S. Soccer U-16 girls national team head coach Jamie Frias announced her roster for the team’s upcoming training camp in San Diego, CA. Among the 24 players selected is Seattle Reign Academy defender Smith Hunter.

“I am so excited to be selected for the U-16 girls national team roster,” said Hunter. “The training at Reign Academy has taken my game to the next level.”

Hunter is the first player from the Academy to be called in for a national team camp, showing the impact the Academy curriculum has had over its first year.

“We are very proud of Smith’s development, her game has grown massively in the last three months,” said Reign Academy technical director Tracey Kevins.

This news comes after the Academy’s first National Signing Day, which saw five players sign their National Letters of Intent. While the short-term goals for the Academy are to get national team call-ups and put players into strong collegiate programs, the long-term hope is for Academy players to suit up for Reign FC.

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“I want to play high-level soccer,” said Hunter. “My ambition is to play for the Reign first team one day.”

Kevins believes that ambition can become reality for Hunter, and that there will be many Academy players to follow in her footsteps.

“This is the first step for Smith, and we expect her to push her game on even further after this experience,” said Kevins. “She [Hunter] is the first and there will be more to come in the next couple of years.”

Up next for the Academy is a weekend of ECNL play at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA. Reign Academy teams across the U-15 to U-17 age groups will face off with squads from Crossfire United and FC Portland on March 18th and 19th. For more details, see the full schedule here.