On the National Stage with Savannah Sabo | IMG Academy Soccer
Many young athletes dream of representing their country on the national stage—even fewer get that chance. When Savannah Sabo, IMG senior goalkeeper, learned that she had the opportunity to play for the U19 Croatian National team, she jumped at the chance, without ever having been to the country.
“Before I had the chance with the National team, I actually hadn’t been to Croatia,” explains Sabo. “Once the National team found out that I was Croatian, they granted me citizenship through Article 13. If you’re an asset to the country, you’re granted citizenship.” With those details out of the way, Sabo and her father boarded a plane to Croatia.
Traveling to compete while keeping up with homework could be considered a challenge. Savannah worked with Paul Jennison, IMG Academy Head of Goalkeeping, to make sure she was able to continue her studies. “We want people that are able to be a full student-athlete,” Jennison says. “We want them to be culture drivers. By that I mean she takes care of her academic piece, but at the same time, athletically.”
Through their training, Savannah learned that playing at this level would be a much faster pace than she was used to—a new factor that excited her. “I loved the faster paced game, and I loved that they were able to show me things,” she explains. “As you get older, you can progress, and you can kind of see it from a different point of view on how to get better.”
Sabo’s time in Croatia has opened doors for additional competition. “There’s an opportunity for me to play with the first team over there soon,” she says, “so that will be exciting.” Sabo still has another year left in school, where she can hone her skills and hopefully return to the national stage again soon.
Watch the video and journey with Savannah as she travels to compete with the U19 Croatian National team. To sign up for a soccer camp, or to learn more about other IMG Academy offerings, check out the links below.