Most 17-year-olds focus their attention on prom night and graduation. Soccer player Sarah Beth Rausch, however, focused on a gold medal—and won it.
Rausch played with girls from around the United States in the 2012 United World Games in Klagenfurt, Austria, from June 21-24. The U.S. team tied its first two games against Switzerland and Germany, then won 1-0 in a rematch against Germany.
“It was really unexplainable,” Rausch said of the win. “It was the first time the U.S. won first place. It usually wins third or fourth.”
Rausch said her teammates came from about 17 states across the country, including Tennessee, Washington and Arizona. She was the only player from North Carolina. Her teammate, Kelsey, scored the winning goal against Germany to clinch the gold medal.
Rausch credited her father, who also played soccer, as her inspiration to start playing.
“He was the first person to get me and my brothers started. He taught us new things. He went to every game and would give us pep talks. When we won, he was really supportive, and when we lost, he would tell us to keep our heads up,” Rausch said.
Rausch is a native of Shepardsville, Kentucky, where she played soccer at the YMCA until age 13. She went on to start on the high school junior varsity soccer team while still in seventh grade. She and a friend became captains of the team when they started ninth grade. Soon afterward, Rausch and her family moved to Fuquay Varina to live with her cousin after her father’s death.
Before the United World Games, Rausch went to the UNC College Bound soccer camp in Chapel Hill, where she said she got a taste of fast-paced college soccer.
“It was really fun. In Kentucky it was slow-paced. At the College Bound camp it was a lot faster…more one-touch and two-touch,” Rausch said.
Rausch’s accomplishments earned her commendations from Governor Bev Purdue, Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton and Wake County General Assembly Representative Jennifer Weiss.
Rausch will be a senior at Harnett Central High School this year. She had an idea about what she will do after graduation.
“I’ll probably go to college around here and study business law,” she said.