Will Campbell has already been here, but this time, it's a little different.
Campbell was a part of the North Carolina squad who made the College Cup semifinals last season, where the Tar Heels ultimately fell to Wake Forest. This season, North Carolina is back for the second consecutive season, but instead of playing at Houston, the Tar Heels will be in Philadelphia. The same city where Campbell grew up, and where he was a member of the Philadelphia Union Academy.
Campbell was a member of the Union Academy for three seasons, playing for the U16s and U18s squads. His final two seasons with the Academy, he was a captain of his team, during which he saw his team clinch a Generation adidas Championship. Now, he's looking for an even bigger trophy.
"The Academy really kept me focused and kept me grounded," Campbell said. "Playing in the Generation adidas Cup was great, but I'm ready to win a national championship."
Campbell has adjusted well to the college game. Having a redshirt year before playing allowed him to get even more acclimated to collegiate soccer, and has seen his game time increase every season.
Being a part of the North Carolina team last year has definitely helped Campbell this season, especially when they are headed back to the College Cup semifinals. Now, the Tar Heels' focus is on breaking through and claiming the school's third title.
"Last year we fell out of the final four, so this year we feel like we have a chip on our shoulder," Campbell said. "We're just coming out to play hard and to win every game."
Playing in your hometown is always a special moment, but Campbell won't let that moment get in the way of what he and the rest of his team came to Philadelphia to accomplish.
"I won't think about the field until after this whole thing is done," Campbell said. "Obviously it's a goal of mine to get back there and play there in a Union jersey. But when I go to Philly, I'm not even thinking about all of that. I'm thinking about doing everything I can to help my team win."