It’s safe to say it’s been an epic week for Lynn Williams.
The former Bullard High star was named MVP of the National Women’s Soccer League after scoring two extra-time goals to lead the Western New York Flash into the league championship match.
She also was included in a youth movement on the U.S. Women’s National Team as one of 11 uncapped players named to the training camp roster for exhibitions against Switzerland on Oct. 19 in Sandy, Utah, and Oct. 23 in Minneapolis.
It’s the first call-up to the senior national team for the 23-year-old Williams, who first will line up at forward at 2 p.m. Sunday in Houston on the biggest stage for women’s professional club soccer in North America as the Flash (10-6-5) take on the Washington Spirit (13-5-3).
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Both clubs needed extra-time goals in the semifinals to get to this point, the Spirit edging Chicago 2-1 with a goal in the 111th minute and the Flash beating Portland 4-3 behind goals by Williams.
After 90 minutes of regulation play, that extra half-hour was both thrilling and exhausting, Williams said.
“That match was a spectator’s dream and a player’s nightmare,” Williams said by phone Wednesday.
In the 98th minute, Williams fired a left-footed shot through traffic to put the Flash ahead 3-2.
Five minutes later, the Flash doubled their lead on a counterattack as Samantha Mewis dribbled across midfield, before sending a perfect through ball to Williams, who fired it into the bottom corner on her first touch.
The Thorns scored in the 115th minute to narrow the gap but couldn’t catch up before the whistle.
“We prepared the entire season for this,” said Williams, who also earned the Golden Boot Award as the NWSL’s top scorer during the regular season with 11 goals and five assists. “Every extra run our coach made us do, even though we didn’t want to, prepared us for that moment. Everybody was cramping and exhausted, but we weren’t going to quit.”
It would mean so much to us to raise that trophy. After all that we’ve been through together, we’re a family that has sacrificed so much to get here.
Lynn Williams, on playing for a NWSL Championship
The Flash – the youngest team in the league with an average age of 24.1 – didn’t picture themselves making it this far at the beginning of the season, according to coach Paul Riley.
“When we made the playoffs, we all looked at each other like, ‘OK, so what’s next?’ … We talked about maybe an opportunity to write a great story and this is a great story of a young team,” Riley told the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
It’s one Williams has had a big hand in shaping in just her second season as a pro.
“We’re professional about what we need to do,” Williams said. “It would mean so much to us to raise that trophy. After all that we’ve been through together, we’re a family that has sacrificed so much to get here.”
WESTERN NEW YORK FLASH VS. WASHINGTON SPIRIT
- When: 2 p.m. Sunday
- TV: FS1
- Records: Flash 10-6-5, Spirit 13-5-3
- Of note: Former Bullard High star Lynn Williams has scored four goals in two matches for the Flash, first to clinch a playoff spot then to get into the final with a 4-3 win over Portland. The Spirit oulasted Chicago in the other semi, winning 2-1 in extra time on Francisca Ordega’s game-winner. Washington, the league regular-season runner-up behind Portland, is captained by USWNT midfielder Ali Krieger. Argentine forward Estefania Banini leads the Spirit with five goals in 14 matches and Crystal Dunn has a team-best five assists. The Flash will be playing in their second NWSL championship after losing the 2013 final to Portland. It is the Spirit’s first time in the championship.