Tuesday, May 10, 2011
WWC: Primer on local players
By Scott French
A half-dozen of the 21 players on the U.S. roster announced Monday for this summer's Women's World Cup have strong links to the L.A. area. And two others have either played here or are from close nearby.
Here's a quick look at the eight U.S. players we might call our own:
Hometown: Redondo Beach
High school: South Torrance
College: Notre Dame
So Cal link: She's from the South Bay, has lived in L.A. and Orange County
Previous big events: 2003 and 2007 WWCs, 2004 and 2008 Olympics
A few words: The big, powerful central midfielder has been one of the world's premier defensive midfielders since playing her way onto the 2003 Women's World Cup roster -- she was selected for the U.S. before she'd ever taken the field for the team -- with spectacular performances in the Women's United Soccer Association, the 2001-03 pro league. Very dangerous going forward.
Club: Boston Breakers
Hometown: Del Mar
High school: Torrey Pines
So Cal link: Rugged back is from San Diego County
Previous big events: 2008 Olympics, 2002 and 2004 U-19 WWCs
A few words: The rugged center back, a fixture on the U.S. backline since 2009, has put medical school on hold to pursue soccer, and she's been the top defender and a team leader on every side she's played, club, college and the national team. She's vice captain to Christie Rampone.
Club: Boston Breakers
High school: Ben Davis
So Cal link: Strictly college. She was an All-American for the Bruins
Previous big events: 2008 Olympics, 2006 U-20 WWC
A few words: Big, athletic post-up forward was a youth national team star before heading to Westwood, where she was a four-time first-team All-American and scored 71 goals with 31 assists. She was first called into the national team at 17 but has become a force only in the last year and a half, scoring nine of her 13 international goals since 2010 began.
Club: Boston Breakers
Hometown: Elk Grove, Calif.
High school: Elk Grove
So Cal link: Played for the L.A. Sol in WPS's first season
Previous big events: 2007 WWC, 2008 Olympics, 2004 U-19 WWC, 2006 U-20 WWC
A few words: Two-footed left back, formerly Stephanie Lopez, has been in and out of the national team under U.S. coach Pia Sundhage after glorious youth international and collegiate careers. She was the youngest American, and the only one with college eligibility, at the 2007 Women's World Cup in China. Few can match her service over distance.
Club: Western New York Flash
Hometown: Diamond Bar
High school: Diamond Bar
So Cal link: Grew up in eastern L.A. County
Previous big events: 2008 U-20 WWC
A few words: The explosive young striker was WPS's No. 1 pick in January's draft after spending much of 2010 in an internship of sorts with the national team, growing from her time with the team and making an imprint with big goals off the bench. She was a finalist for the Hermann Award, college soccer's version of the Heisman, after dominating games for Cal when she wasn't away on international duty.
Club: Philadelphia Independence
Hometown: Lake Forest
High school: Santa Margarita Catholic
So Cal link: Orange County product helped USC to the 2007 NCAA title
Previous big events: 2008 Olympics, 2004 U-19 WWC, 2006 U-20 WWC
A few words: Slight, speedy forward blossomed last year in WPS, scoring a dozen goals to lead Philly to the league title game. A-Rod, as she's known, had her international breakthrough at the Beijing Olympics, starting five games as the Yanks won gold for the third time.
Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich.
High school: Portage Central
College: North Carolina
Previous big events: 2007 WWC, 2004 and 2008 Olympics, 2002 U-19 WWC
So Cal link: Lives in Hermosa Beach. Married to UCLA women's head coach B.J. Snow
A few words: Savvy, versatile player made it back to the U.S. team after a torn ACL sidelined her most of 2009 and part of last year. She was a forward in her youth national team career -- her overtime goal lifted the U.S. to the title in the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship -- and at UNC, she had played primarily as an attacking midfielder or flank player under Sundhage.
Hometown: Rochester, N.Y.
High school: Our Lady of Mercy
Previous big events: 2003 and 2007 WWCs, 2004 Olympics
So Cal link: Owns a home in Hermosa Beach
A few words: The sure-thing future Hall of Famer, among the world's elite strikers most of the past decade, has been looking to regain her form following injuries that kept her from the 2008 Olympics and sidelined her early this year. The big, skilled goalscorer is third on the all-time U.S. goals list, behind only Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly.