Melissa Urch thought the email was bogus.
Urch reacted like everybody else who surfs the Internet and cleans spam from their inbox when she saw a message that she'd been selected as one of about 2,000 girls to have a chance at heading to Europe and playing soccer for a national team in the United World Games.
The UWG is an Olympics-style event that features several different sports and more than 4,000 athletes from 30 nations. Urch, 17 and a rising senior at North Carroll, soon discovered the email was indeed legit.
She found a spot on the US girls soccer team after the list of potential players was narrowed to 40 and finally 20. Urch said she made the cut thanks to an online recruiting video and her being a part of a club team, the Carroll-based CC Storm.
Team USA didn't disappoint once the tournament began by going unbeaten and winning the UWG championship, with Urch starting on defense in the final.
"It took some convincing from my parents," Urch said about making the trip, which involved some fundraising and monetary help from family members. "It was the first time I've ever done anything like that. It was a little nerve-racking being away from home and everything, but I had the best time I've had in my life."
Brian Urch did his best to confirm the email was not a fake, and once he discovered it was real he had no problem getting behind his daughter for her unique trip to Europe. The United World Games took place June 21-24 in Klagenfurt, Austria, and the team arrived a few days early for practice and sightseeing.
But Melissa Urch had a problem once she landed: she said came down with laryngitis and pink eye during the place ride. And that meant her missing the US team's warm-up games and first pool play matches against teams from Switzerland and Germany.
Urch didn't let her ailments keep her from playing in such a prestigious event, however. Once the US beat Germany's Munchen Solin 1-0 in its final pool play game, the girls were advancing to the semifinals against Austria's Bad Voslau.
Urch started on defense and Team USA won 1-0, which put them into the championship game and a rematch with Germany's TSV Vilslem. The teams tied 0-0 in pool play, but the US squad won 1-0 to capture the world title with Urch starting in the back.
"It was the best feeling," Urch said. "It didn't feel real. It still doesn't when I talk about it."
Urch said she loved the experience and made friends with several teammates, many of which were emotional once the trip came to an end back in the states.
She kept her uniform and other items as souvenirs, and said although she's glad to be home she misses Europe and her time spent playing soccer and making memories. Her dad is glad she's back, too.
"It was a neat thing for her to do," Brian Urch said. "I think she built relationships that she'll have forever."