Wednesday, June 25, 2008
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Gwinnett Daily Post
Barely more than a month after helping Parkview to the Class AAAAA girls soccer championship, Ashley Baker is spending her summer on a much bigger stage.
The recent high school graduate has been training with the England Women's Under-19 National Team and has been selected to represent the country in the upcoming UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championships in France. Baker, a British citizen, was born in England before moving to the United States.
The European event will be July 2-20, beginning with an opening match against Germany that is a rematch of last year's title game. The tourney also includes Italy, Norway, Spain, France, Sweden and Scotland.
"We are very excited for Ashley and the wonderful opportunity presented to her," said Georgia head women's coach Patrick Baker (no relation), who has signed the Parkview goalie to a scholarship. "Her prior performance against Italy paved the way for her selection for such a prestigious event as the European Championships."
Baker made six saves in her first appearance with England, going all 90 minutes in a 3-0 shutout of Italy.
Before going overseas, the 2008 Parkview grad had 17 shutouts and a 0.30 goals against average for her high school team to earn Gatorade State Player of the Year honors. The Panthers finished the season undefeated for the first time in school history, defeating South Forsyth in the state championship game.
When Baker returns from England, she will begin preparations for her first college season at Georgia.
"The training that Ashley will receive at this level will be some of the best in the world," Patrick Baker said. "Being able to play in and watch those kinds of games will certainly help her progression not only as a goalkeeper but as a soccer player. This opportunity should provide invaluable experience that Ashley will bring with her to the University of Georgia in August."