Lieutenant gets a ‘kick’ out of representing AF, U.S. in world competition

  • Published
  • By Rhonda Siciliano
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
First Lieutenant Jamie Andrews, 554th Electronic Systems Wing, Force Protection program manager, has had a passion for soccer since she began playing the sport at the age of five but she never imagined that her Air Force career would open up a world of opportunities for her to take that passion to a new level.

For the third year in a row, Lieutenant Andrews will compete for the honor of representing the Air Force on the U.S. Armed Forces women's soccer team at the Conseil International Du Sport Militaire, an international tournament that includes military athletes from around the world. This year's competition will take place at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi from June 4 to 14.

"It's really an honor to have the opportunity to represent your country on the international level," Lieutenant Andrews said.

The competition to see who will earn the honor of playing on the U.S. Armed Forces team at CISM will start on May 17.

"It's really an intense few weeks," the Lieutenant said, "there will be approximately 50 to 60 women from all branches of our armed forces who will show up on May 17 to compete for a spot on the team. Within a week's time that number will be cut down to about 18 people," she said.

The lieutenant has experience on her side as she prepares for the competition having played on the U.S. team for the past three years as a defender and occasionally in a halfback position.

Last year's competition took place in the Netherlands and the year before Lieutenant Andrews traveled to Hyderabad, India for the World Military Games that are held every four years.

"It's really the military's version of the Olympics," she said. "Participating in the World Military Games was an experience I will never forget. I loved traveling to India and experiencing their country and the people. It was also really cool to march into the opening ceremonies representing the U.S., it felt like the regular Olympic opening ceremonies with athletes from 90 other countries standing with us in the stadium."

One of the things Lieutenant Andrews brought home from her trip to India was a greater appreciation for her American life. "That trip really made me appreciate all that we have here in this country; it reminded me not to take it for granted."

With the competition taking place at Keesler this year, Lieutenant Andrews is hoping the home field advantage will help the U.S. team finish with a gold medal.

To help prepare her for the competition, the Lieutenant plays indoor soccer through the winter months with the Boston Ski and Sports Clubs; she also does a lot of running and other routine conditioning exercises.

"We'll be playing about six to eight hours of soccer with two or three practices a day once we arrive. Being in excellent shape is an absolute requirement if you want to have a shot at making the team. There's no time to play catch up," she said.

Lieutenant Andrews will be away from her family and job for about a month during the competition. She expressed her appreciation to her husband, co-workers and supervisors for their support.

"Colonel Richardson, Mr. Marr and my co-workers have been amazingly supportive," she said. "It's not easy to be gone from the job for a month so I really appreciate everyone's support in stepping up to help get the work done in my absence. I just want them to know how much I appreciate their support. I'm really looking forward to representing Hanscom, the Air Force and the U.S. at CISM this year."