A Caribbean vacation would be a nice gift for any recent graduate, but Janelle McGee is hoping for an extended stay.
The recent Vanden High School graduate flew out this morning to attend a training camp for the women's national soccer team of Trinidad and Tobago. She's hoping to join the "Soca Princesses" for the upcoming Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
The CAC Games is a large athletic festival featuring nearly 5,000 athletes competing in 39 sports. It runs from July 17 to Aug. 1.
"I've been looking forward to more training and preparation," McGee said. "I hope it goes pretty good. I need to keep in shape and keep up with the other girls. It's a good opportunity."
McGee's mother, Julia, is from Trinidad, so Janelle has an opportunity to try out for the national team. Her older sister, Regina, who played at University of the Pacific, was part of the national team in an Olympic qualifying tournament in 2004. That team did not qualify for the Olympics, but Regina had the opportunity to play against teams like the United States and even "marked" Mia Hamm on the field.
Janelle McGee was a standout forward for the Vikings and earned honorable mention in all-Solano County Athletic Conference voting. Vanden went 12-6-4 overall and earned a trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, losing 5-0 to Rio Americano in its postseason opener.
She will be heading to Alabama A&M University in the fall, where she plans to play soccer and study animal sciences. But the focus now is training camp. Team selections are finalized on July 5. "I play forward but can play any position on the field," she said. "Trinidad is an extremely hot place, very tropical, but everybody is very friendly."