The World Cup is upon us!
The biggest event for the most popular sport in the world is already underway, and the United States women are so far kicking some serious butt.
On Monday, the team beat out Colombia to move on, thanks to a goal by Alex Morgan and a successful penalty kick by Carli Lloyd. The U.S. soccer players are slated to next play again this Friday, June 26.
As we gear up to root for our team versus China, let’s take a look at some of the team’s players with roots and ties to the Bay Area and Northern California.
1. Megan Rapinoe
Midfielder Megan Rapinoe is not only a gold medalist, she’s also a Redding, California native. She grew up playing club soccer in Sacramento, but kept busy beyond that. Rapinoe also ran track, played basketball, and was on her school’s honor roll every semester of high school.
2. Abby Wambach
Star player and forward Abby Wambach has been playing soccer for a long time, and as such, is extensively accomplished. The athlete has two Olympic golds, and a 2012 award for FIFA Player of the Year. She’s so successful, as a matter of fact, she chose not to play on a pro team this year so she could focus solely on the World Cup. This is her fourth World Cup, and to date, she has scored 183 goals in 245 International games (more than Mia Hamm), but her first — against Finland in 2012 — was scored right here in the Bay in San Jose.
3. Julie Johnston
Julie Johnston, a young addition to the national team at only 23, might be new to the national stage, but so far, she has been exceptionally successful in her career. We can partially thank Santa Clara University for that, where she went to school.
4. Alex Morgan
Alex Morgan, a big fan favorite and another Olympic gold medalist, is from Los Angeles County, but went to school (and played) at UC Berkeley. While there, she broke out early, leading the team in scoring her freshman year. It was an early indicator of her success to come; after that, she went on to lead the team in scoring all four years she attended, helping send the Bears to the NCAA Tournament every year she attended. To top it all off, she ended up graduating a semester early. When she joined the national team in 2011, she was the youngest player on the team, at only 22. She has since been named the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, and a FIFA World Player of the Year Finalist (which she lost to Wambach).
5. Christen Press
Christen Press, a California native and forward for the national team, not only won the prestigious Hermann Trophy in 2010, she also holds the all-time scoring record at Stanford University. During her time at the school, where she studied Business Management, she scored an incredible 71 goals.
6. Kelley O’Hara
Kelley O’Hara, another Stanford grad, won the Hermann Trophy in 2009, the year before her teammate Press also received the honor. With both O’Hara and Press winning it consecutively, Stanford became only the second school to ever have two individuals win the prize two years in a row (the first was North Carolina). In O’Hara’s senior year, she had the best season in Division 1 history, with an amazing 26 goals. At only 26, she is an Olympic gold medalist, and a two-time World Cup player.