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Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Marley Walker protects the bal from El Salvador's Mia Arevalo during a 2022 Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship group stage match at the Estadio Panamericano, San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic on February 25th 2022.

Marley Walker has Olympic dreams and her talents as a soccer player may lend her that opportunity someday.

But the dream of competing on the world stage may not come as a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team for Walker, a sophomore at James Island Charter High School. As a dual citizen of the United States and Trinidad, Walker already has her foot in the door as a member of the developmental program for Trinidad and Tobago. Her father Gerard is a native of Trinidad and her mother Natalie is an American.

Last month, Walker played for Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF World U-20 championships in the Dominican Republic, an event that included 20 teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean. The U.S. team won the championship and qualified for the U-20 World Cup this summer.

Though her team failed to win a match in the qualifier, Walker gushed about the experience of competing on the big stage.

“It was amazing. A really good experience for me,” said Walker, who at 16 was the youngest member of the Trinidad and Tobago team. “I was able to play and compete against the best players and it was fun for me to see where I stand and how I compare. It was eye-opening and a great honor to be a part of. The environment was incredible, like nothing I have ever been a part of.”

Walker returned to James Island in time for the start of the high school season. James Island is the defending Class AAAA state champion and is currently the top-ranked team in Class AAAA. While her focus now is on the high school season, her experience last month has whet her appetite for more.

“Long term I would love to continue playing with the Trinidad and Tobago program and hopefully work my way up in their system to the top level,” said Walker, who was named after the late Bob Marley, world-renowned singer and songwriter from Jamaica. “I have traveled there a good bit as a kid so I feel comfortable there. It would be an honor to represent them someday in the Olympics or the World Cup.”

SOURCE: The Post and Courier