The new year has brought a delightful surprise. The Bay Area has the most players participating in the organization early this 2018 year. Both alumni and current student-athletes at Cal Berkeley, Santa Clara University, and Stanford University make up the largest pool of participants in the U.S. Women’s National Team system. The Bay Area is well represented. In the elite team, Jill Ellis recently called up 26 players for winter 2018 camp in Southern California. The team will be training in Los Angeles and San Diego. The USWNT will play Denmark on January 21 at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium (formerly Qualcomm Stadium).
The 26 player roster has some new faces and veterans. Ellis will be trimming the list at the end of the winter camp. For now, the young and old battle for positioning on the elite team early this 2018 year. Ellis has done a remarkable job bringing into camp veterans with significant international and domestic experience. Denmark will be a good test for Ellis who seeks to solidify her squad for a great campaign at the She Believes Cup against Germany, England, and France in March. The United States will face the best nations in the world in the Spring, and the Bay Area might have several players representing the region at the tournament.
Tierna Davidson a Bay Area product at Stanford was selected to participate in the camp. Davidson was fundamental this season propelling Stanford to a national title. Tierna was Pac-12 defensive player of the year. The De Anza Force product also made the All-American first team. If Ellis seeks to bolster her defense with speed for the She Believes Cup, bringing Davidson to camp demonstrates the need the United States seeks to face the best in the world. Davidson has shown excellent ball movement on the pitch with superb speed and decision making.
Kelley O’Hara and Christen Press return to camp for another year. Press and O’Hara like Julie Foudy are Stanford soccer legends that have catapulted Bay Area soccer at the international level. O’Hara and Press continue to play at a high competitive level.
Andi Sullivan was awarded the Hermann Trophy as the best collegiate soccer player in the nation. Sullivan is likely to be a top pick in the NWSL draft unless she chooses to play abroad. Sullivan was vital in Stanford winning the national title. The speedy and creative midfielder made her teammates better with assists and goals. Jane Campbell, another Stanford product aims to solidify her presence against Denmark. Campbell has been called up twice for international duty.
Santa Clara University is represented by Julie Ertz and Sofia Huerta. The two defenders coached by Jerry Smith at SCU continue to show significant movement with the elite team. Ertz has been scoring goals for the U.S. Ertz won the Female Player of the Year for U.S. Soccer. Huerta has been called up for defensive duty at this camp. Huerta has shown consistent goal scoring ability with the Chicago Red Stars.
Alex Morgan is the only Cal Bear on the roster. Morgan with 80 goals seeks to continue her streak against Denmark in San Diego. Abby Dahlkemper, a MITTY graduate, won the defensive player of the year for the NWSL. Dahlkemper is showing her excellent ball control and vision on the pitch. Abby is more likely to be playing her last season with the NWSL this upcoming season. European clubs will likely be making a move for the defender.
A player that was not called up from the Bay Area is Catarina Macario from Stanford. The sensational striker helped Stanford win the Pac 12 and national title. Time will tell if Macario will get a call in the coming years. Macario has participated in U-14 and U-15 teams. The Stanford standout will await her opportunity to play for the elite team.
Local Bay Area colleges had several collegiate student-athletes participate in the youth national teams. The Women’s U-20 and U-23 called up several players from three local universities. Abigail Kim, Indigo Gibson, and Emily Boyd represented the University of California Berkeley. Boyd and Gibson are on the preliminary list of available players for the NWSL draft this month. A student-athlete that has gotten a lot of attention is Kelsey Turnbow from Santa Clara University. Coached by Jerry Smith, Turnbow had a remarkable season with Santa Clara scoring goals. Also, Jaye Bossiere, Jordan DiBiasi, Kyra Carusa, Madison Haley, Civana Kuhlmann, Samantha Hiatt and Kiara Pickett from Stanford Univerity won the Pac 12 division title and a national championship. The Stanford Cardinal is well represented in the U.S. Women’s national team organization.
Bay Area in the NWSL Draft
Kellie Peay, Santa Clara University
Gabrielle Nicole Matulich, San José, CA at UCLA
Haley Lukas and Kelly Fitzgerald, UC Berkeley
Sonja Giraud, University of San Francisco
Dörthe Hoppius, San José State University
Myra Delgadillo, Redwood City, CA at Fresno State University
Brianna Visalli, San José, CA at Pepperdine University
Utah was recently allocated an NWSL team. The Bay Area does not have an NWSL organization. Speculation about developing a group to head a bid for an organization for San José has surfaced for some time. Avaya Stadium and Steven’s Stadium at Santa Clara University are ideal locations. The NCAA college cup will return in 2019 to Avaya Stadium. USC defeated West Virginia in 2016. The Bay Area is a soccer region. Time will tell if a group can get investors together. With many billion dollar high tech companies in the area, heading sponsorship will need to be done by an experienced and respected team with political and financial power.
Photo and Logo Credit: U.S. Soccer