USWNT: ACC Influence

Nine former student-athletes representing three ACC schools are on the 23-member US Women’s National Team roster for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. [Read More]

North Carolina produced six USWNT members, including: Lori Chalupny, Whitney Engen, Ashlyn Harris, Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg and Heather O’Reilly. 

Virginia soccer is also represented by two USWNT members, Morgan Brian and Becky Sauerbrunn. Morgan Brian was most recently awarded back-to-back Hermann Trophies, given to the nation’s top female soccer player. 

Notre Dame’s Shannon Box also represents ACC women’s soccer, as Box is playing in her fourth World Cup. 

These women have already well represented the conference through the first two games of group stages. In USA’s 3-1 victory over Australia in the opening game a week ago, four ACC players saw significant playing time. Becky Sauerbrunn and Meghan Klingenberg both got the nod in the back for the U.S, while midfielders Tobin Heath and Morgan Brian came on as subs later in the second half. 

During U.S.A’s scoreless draw against Sweden last Friday, ACC players made yet another impact on the game. Becky Sauerbrunn and  Meghan Klingenberg both started at defense again and proved to be the glue that held the U.S. together. 

In fact, Klingenberg made an incredible goal line save against Sweden in the 75th minute. That play proved to save the match as the game finished 0-0. 

If that ball goes in, Sweden could have very well taken control of the group. Instead, the U.S. leads Group D and will finish in first place if:
• USA beats Nigeria
• USA beats Nigeria and Australia vs. Sweden tie
• USA ties Nigeria and Sweden beats Australia by one goal
• USA loses to Nigeria by one goal and Sweden ties Australia
As we can see, there are many different scenarios for the U.S. to advance. However, we control our own destiny today against Nigeria at 8pm in Vancouver. 

If USA finishes first in Group D, the team would play the third place finisher of Group B/E/F on June 22 in Edmonton.  

Tar Heel Blue Print  
The UNC Women’s soccer program has become a fixture in college athletics for over 30 years.  The Tar Heels women’s soccer team has won 20 of the 22 ACC championships, and 21 of the 31 NCAA National Championships.

Let those numbers sink in for a second. Can you say dynasty?

I’ve got some more numbers to throw at you. From 1986 to 1994, the Heels won nine straight National Championships. Head coach, Anson Dorrance, has won eight ACC Coach of the Year awards and 7 National Coach of the Year awards.

It’s pretty safe to say that the UNC women’s soccer program has become a breeding ground for the USWNT. Producing legendary players like Mia Hamm has paved the way for current Tar Heel players to make an impact at the national level.

As noted earlier, six former Tar Heels are representing the stars and stripes at the 2015 World Cup. 

Heather O’Reilly is on the U.S. World Cup roster for the third time in her career. Lori Chalupny and Tobin Heath are making their second time around, while Whitney Engen, Ashlyn Harris and Meghan Klingenberg are participating in their first World Cup. 

Heather O’Reilly, aka HAO, led the Tar Heels to national championships in 2003 and 2006. O’Reilly appeared 97 times for UNC, and she scored 59 goals while assisting on 49 others. 

The 5-5 forward from East Brunswick, NJ has made 219 USWNT appearances while scoring 41 goals. The 30-year-old, O’Reilly, will certainly provide vast experience for this youthful U.S.A squad. 

U.S. in the Women’s World Cup Schedule
Group Play
Monday, June 8 – U.S. vs Australia, W 3-1 
Friday, June 12 – U.S. vs Sweden, T 0-0
Tuesday, June 16 – U.S. vs Nigeria, 8pm

Round of 16 – Saturday, June 20-Tuesday, June 23 
Quarterfinals – Friday, June 26 – Saturday, June 27
Semifinals – Tuesday, June 30 – Wednesday, July 1 
Final – Sunday, July 5