Williams competing on soccer's big stage

Lightly recruited through her first couple years of high school, there was a time when Fresno native Lynn Williams contemplated running track in college.

The soccer interest eventually came though, and last week, she was at the Stubhub Center in Carson, wearing the colors of her country, on the biggest stage in women's soccer.   

"It's been a really amazing, amazing ride," said Williams, a day before Williams and the U.S. Women's National Team took on Japan in the final game of the Tournament of Nations. 

It's a ride that began at Bullard High School, where she scored 50 goals as a senior in 2011, leading the Knights to a Central Section Division I title.

After an outstanding college career at Pepperdine, Lynn really burst onto the national soccer radar about a year ago, when she won the scoring title and league MVP, in helping lead the Western New York Flash to a championship in the National Women's Soccer League. 

"I think her performance in the league was eye-catching," said Jill Ellis, the head coach of the national team.  "I made a commitment to reward players in the league for doing well." 

So this past October, Ellis rewarded Williams with a call-up to the national squad. 

"I was trying to act all cool," said Williams.  "But then immediately I called my mom, I called my dad, and was like 'oh my gosh, I'm getting my first call-up.'"

And Lynn made a big splash in her first appearance at the senior national level, scoring the first time she touched the ball. 

"I can't believe this is happening to me," Williams said, in recalling the moment.  "And I don't even know how to celebrate.  I just looked over and saw Carli, and went up to her and gave her a hug." 

Lynn has athleticism in her genes. 

Her father David and mother Christine were athletes at Fresno State.  Both ran track and David played football as well.

Uncles Paul and J.D. also made a name for themselves on the gridiron for the Bulldogs, and both later played in the NFL. 

J.D. is back in the valley coaching the defensive backs under Jeff Tedford, and says the family spotted Lynn's talent early, while she was growing up on David's farm. 

"What he (David) did was set goals out and just have her play soccer," said J.D., who was Fresno State's first-ever NFL first-round draft pick in 1990.  "She took to soccer real well, and over time, she became really good, and gosh she has some ability." 

Lynn looks like she could be a big part of the future of U.S. women's soccer.

"I think Lynn is not a finished product," said Ellis.

Lynn just turned 24 year's old in May, so don't be surprised if we see her on this roster for the next World Cup in France in 2019, and the next Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020.  

"That would be a dream come true, there's nothing more to say about that," said Williams.  

But perhaps even more impressive, in a family of star athletes, she may end up shining brightest of all. 

"Paul played professional ball (football).  I played a little professional ball, and I know Dave and Curtis, they could've played if they stuck with it," said uncle J.D.  "The way Lynn's taken this to a new level, I'm so proud of her." 

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