Covering High School Sports in America

Whatever pressure Dayton Wetherby faced as the goalkeeper at Wiregrass Ranch (Wesley Chapel, Fla.), it couldn't have come close to her experience recently in Panama.

According to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, the junior ended up playing goalie for the U-20 Panamanian national soccer team over the past month in the CONCACAF tournament, which was pressure enough. Add in that she barely spoke the language and that Panama was the host country, and it became a pressure-packed journey.


Wetherby, 17, was born in America but her mother is Panamanian and still has strong family ties there. She had only visited there three times before a family friend told her the team needed a goalkeeper, so she sent highlights and the next day she got a call expressing that the team wanted her to try out as soon as possible.


She gained dual citizenship, then played in the Panamanians' run that nearly reached the World Cup, and in the process became somewhat of a celebrity in the country. She gained more than 1,000 Twitter followers in the process.


"They’re still there," Wetherby said. "They still tweet me every morning, telling me to come back to Panama."


The poverty in the country left a lasting impression on Wetherby. She told the newspaper that she was to return and try out again in two years, and she wants to start a charity to provide shoes to children there.


"These girls are lucky if they have cleats," she told the paper.