Athlete of the Week: Amy Burlingham (Newport Harbor)

Richard Dunn

You could consider Amy Burlingham a people person by the way she

handles ball-control details for Newport Harbor High's girls soccer team.

"I enjoy having the ball and connecting with other people," said

Burlingham, a junior who scored three goals and added five assists in

Newport Harbor's impressive run in the Excaliber Tournament at Foothill

High, where Coach Jason Sorrell's Sailors reached the championship game.

Burlingham, an all-tournament selection, scored the lone goal in the

Sailors' 1-0 nonleague victory over Dana Hills Dec. 18, triggering a five-game winning streak for the Sailors, four of which came last week in

the Excaliber Tournament.

The Sailors started the campaign 0-4-1, but defeated Dana Hills in

their home opener, "which kind of turned things around for us and now

we've come together," said the Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week.

"We started out having a hard time working together, even though we

had unbelievable talent ... in the (Excaliber) Tournament, we showed how

good we can be and how well we can play," added Burlingham, who switched

positions this season, going from forward to right-side midfielder, where

she is the heart and soul of Newport's offense with her handling of the

soccer ball.

"If you stop Amy, you'll stop our offense," Sorrell said. "She's that

type of player."

Burlingham, who plays club soccer for the Mission Viejo-based Southern

California Blues, led the Sailors in tournament victories over El Dorado,

Buena Park, Dana Hills and Marina (semifinals) last week, before they

lost to Santa Margarita, 4-0, in the title game.

"I think she's naturally a forward ... she's explosive and she's so

quick. She just beats players," Sorrell said. "She started off as a

forward, then I asked her to play outside right and she just goes about

her business. She just gets it done. As a player, she has so much

potential."

In the tournament, Newport Harbor rallied from deficits against Dana

Hills and Marina to win.

"Amy can change a game for you," Sorrell said. "We were down against

Dana Hills (in the tournament, the second time the Tars faced the

Dolphins in 10 days) and she was the one who brought us back (with two

goals)."

Burlingham has been a Daily Pilot Athlete of the Week in each of her

first three years at Harbor, including last spring in track and field

when she advanced to the CIF Southern Section Division II finals in the

200 meters.

A serious club soccer player since the fifth grade, Burlingham has

been involved in the Olympic Development Program since the eighth grade

and last summer made the U.S. Youth National 16-and-under team. She hopes

to make the U.S. 18-and-under squad next year.

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