U.S. Soccer

U.S. WNT’s Samantha Mewis Shines in Front of North Carolina Crowd

No matter what the level, and no matter the stage, one constant in soccer is that scoring is fun.

Now imagine scoring twice in an international game for the first time while playing for your country in the stadium where you play professionally for your club. That’s really fun. Just ask Samantha Mewis.

“I give so much credit to my teammates for setting me up and always having my back,” Mewis said after scoring her first WNT career brace on Sunday, Oct. 22 in front of 9,727 fans at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, home of the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage. “I’m super grateful for every opportunity I get but today was just really rewarding and cool to play here, in front of my home fans and at our home stadium.”

While both her goals were terrific, the first one was a little extra special because it came off a corner kick served by the newly crowned 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year, Abby Dahlkemper, a long-time friend and teammate since their college days together at UCLA, and now a teammate on the National Team and on the Courage. They joke that they haven’t been able to get rid of each other for the past seven years.

“The service on the corner was perfect,” Mewis said. “I feel like I didn’t have to do anything because Abby’s ball was so good. It was so cool to have that Courage-to-Courage connection in there, so when that ball went in I ran straight to her.”

As for her second tally, Mewis said the goal was a product of training and preparation, and it’s always satisfying to see hard work come to fruition.

“The second goal came off a second ball, which we have been working on that all week, if you believe that,” she said. “It’s cool when something that the team has been working on and the coaching staff has been saying is important happens and works out for us. I give the coaching staff so much credit for continuing to have us work on things like that because it pays off.”

Fourteen games into 2017 with the National Team, and it’s clear that this has been a special cycle so far for Mewis, who along with Becky Sauerbrunn, is the only player to have started every match for the U.S. WNT this year while playing the second most minutes on the team.

Mewis and the USA will next wrap up the 2017 schedule in November with two more friendlies against familiar CONCACAF opponent Canada. The games are set for Nov. 9 (7 p.m. PT; ESPN2; UDN) at BC Place in Vancouver and Nov. 12 (6 p.m. PT; FS1) at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

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WNT Oct 23, 2017

Five Things to Know About Julie Ertz

On October 19, 2017, U.S. Women’s National Team defender Julie Ertz scored her 12th career goal, and fourth of 2017, finishing a spectacular diving header against the Korea Republic at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Three days later, she scored her fifth of the year and 13th of her career, once again vs. Korea Republic. Here are five things to know about the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup champion from the desert.

Developing in Arizona and California
Julie Ertz (neé) Johnston, known to fans and friends as JJ, was born and raised in Mesa, Arizona. The youngest of two – her sister Melanie also played soccer in college – Ertz always dreamed of becoming a professional player. While many young athletes aspire to play at the top levels, most have other various ideas of what they might want to be when they grow up. For Ertz, that was never the case.

“The most common question I always get is, ‘What would you do if you weren’t a soccer player?’,” said Ertz. “And I make up stuff every single time. I never say the same thing, because honestly I have never thought about not playing.”

For Julie Ertz, it's always been about soccer.

From 2004-10, Ertz played for Sereno Soccer Club in Phoenix, where she played on the U-13 through U-19 teams, winning nine state titles and captaining of the team.

Ertz attended Dobson High School in Mesa from 2006-10, where she volunteered as a student athletic trainer all four years. Following her graduation, Ertz went on to play at Santa Clara University, where she majored in Communications and played on all three lines for the Broncos. She was a three-time First Team All-American.

U-20 World Champion in 2012
In 2012, Julie Johnston was selected to the roster for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. She was also named the team’s captain. At that tournament, JJ not only started every game (and played all but 32 minutes of the tournament), but she also marshalled a defense that defeated three extremely talented group winners in the knockout rounds of the tournament -- Korea DPR in the quarterfinal, Nigeria in the semifinal and Germany in the championship -- while allowing just one goal. She also won the Bronze Ball as the third-best player in the tournament, a rare honor for a defender.

In 2012, Ertz not only captain the U-20 WNT to a U-20 WWC title, but she also won the Bronze Ball as the third best player of the tournament. She then went on to win the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, this time with the full U.S. WNT.

New Role, Always Versatile
Ertz, who has always been known for her heavy tackles and overall aggressiveness on the field, has spent most of her professional career as a center back, scoring eight of her first nine U.S. WNT goals from that position. In the latter part of this year she has embraced a new role for the National Team, though for Ertz it’s more of a return to her college roots.

U.S. WNT - Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan
It's been a terrific year for Ertz, who so far has score five goals in 2017.

Back during her years at Santa Clara University, she played multiple positions, including many a shift in the center of midfield. This season in the NWSL with the Chicago Red Stars, Ertz played primarily defensive midfielder, and since Aug. 3, that’s where she’s played with the WNT. She’s looked extremely comfortable, in part because she’s played there before, but also in part because the qualities needed to play both positions are quite similar.

“There are definitely a lot of similarities between playing as a center back and as a defensive midfielder,” Ertz said. “They’re both more defensive-minded positions. I’ve learned both and I’ve always appreciated the value of being a versatile player. I think my mindset every year is that I want to get better. Playing different positions is definitely challenging, but it’s also been extremely fun.”

Part of the fun of course, is scoring goals. Since Aug. 3, Ertz has scored four times in five games – including a brace against New Zealand on Sept. 15 and most recently against Korea Republic on Oct. 19 and again on Oct. 22.

Set Piece Queen
With 13 career goals, Ertz is the highest scoring active defender in the WNT player pool. The most interesting aspect to all of her scores so far? They’ve all come on or originated from set pieces.

While Ertz had always been a threat inside the box during set pieces, her “new” role in the midfield has given her more opportunity to go forward and get into goal scoring positons. So far, it’s proven to be a boost for the U.S. and a problem for opposing defenses.

“She fills that role perfectly,” U.S. co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn said of Ertz following the game against Korea Republic on. Oct. 19. “We want that kind of a pivot player, someone who is going to break up plays and has that physicality.”

Julie Ertz’ Husband
In pro sports, there are many athletic couples, and there are power athletic couples. Julie Ertz and her husband are the latter. Julie Ertz, 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup Champion, 2015 Women’s World Cup Champion and 2016 Olympian, is married to Zach Ertz, a former Stanford All-American and starting tight end for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

Julie has been on the U.S. WNT for almost six years now, while Zach is currently in his fifth season with the Eagles. In 2017, Julie has scored five goals each for both club and country, while Zach has five touchdowns. Each gives credit to the other for helping them navigate the ups and downs of professional sports (they both turned pro around the same time) while pushing each other to be their best physically and mentally. It’s a combination that makes them one of the most competitive, successful and dominant couples in sports.

#GoUSA and #FlyEaglesFly are common sayings in the Ertz household.

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WNT Oct 23, 2017

#USOC2018 Qualifying Round Two: Tense Times for Christos, Bhoys as Colorado & California Reign

The weekend was chock full of Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Second Round Qualifying action from sea to shining sea. Christos FC and Lansdowne Bhoys led the charge out East while Harpos FC survived another scare in chilly Colorado and El Farolito and Santa Ana Winds breezed to the next round in California. Join ussoccer.com for a look back at all the action and a peek ahead at the 28 teams through to the Third and final Qualifying Round. 

Tension Reigns Back East
Christos FC of Baltimore and NYC powers Lansdowne Bhoys had some sweating to do before booking places in the Third Round of #USOC2018. Both sides, powers in their respective leagues, suffered to the bitter end before earning important Second Round wins. 

(NY Pancyprian Freedoms miss a chance to score against Lansdowne Bhoys at St. Johns in Queens)

Lansdowne Bhoys hit the woodwork multiple times against fellow Cosmopolitan League side New York Pancyprian Freedoms, who won the Open Cup on three occasions in the 1970s and 80s. But the Yonkers-based Bhoys needed a penalty shootout to finally book passage to the final stage of the 2018 Open Cup Qualifying Rounds. Towering Gambian goalkeeper Abdoukarim Dansomakes, whom the Bhoys have taken to calling Kabo, pulled off three huge PK saves to see the green-and-white hooped New Yorkers through after a nail-biter at St. Johns University in Queens.   

Christos didn’t need penalties against a gritty Izee Auto side, but they did get pushed to the wire. Last year’s Open Cup Cinderellas were unable to find a rhythm early and were forced into extra-time after 90 minutes locked at 0-0. And it wasn’t until late in the second period of additional time that Chris Panian managed to peel off his marker at the back post and bend a curler into the side netting for the Baltimore County side famously sponsored by a local liquor store. “We could have started better,” Panian told ussoccer.com. “It wasn’t the best game for us and we had trouble getting into a groove, but we pulled it out like winners do.”

In Marlborough, Mass., on the outskirts of Boston, Open Cup debutants Kendall Wanderers knocked out fellow Bay State Soccer League (BSSL) side GPS Omens, who went a whisker away from playing the New England Revolution in last year’s Open Cup. A game between two old rivals, the action was tense from kick-off. Multiple members of the both clubs described the marathon game as “epic” and “classic.” Kendall drew level late in regulation through the speedy Braima Samati to force extra-time, where they again leveled late to make it 2-2 through Eric Robertson. The Wanderers finished with eight men after a flurry of late red cards (all second yellows). In the end, Kendall’s comeback-kids sealed a famous win on PKs, with Evan Weagle pulling off two huge saves.

(Celebrations in South Boston for Kendall Wanderers after their epic win over GPS Omens in Marlborough, MA)

Elsewhere in the Northeast Region, Junior Lone Star U23s (Pa.) stormed back from a goal down against Open Cup old-schoolers United German Hungarians to eventually win out 3-2. Phoenix Soccer Club edged fellow Pennsylvania side West Chester United 1-0 while Mass United beat Safira in the other game from Massachusetts. Stegman’s Soccer Club of Minnesota eked out a 3-2 result in an entertaining game against Aurora Borealis SC in Mooseheart, Illinois.

Florida & Colorado Prosper Southeast & Mountain
The last two Texas teams in 2018 Amateur Qualifying were in action on Saturday, with regular Open Cup participants NTX Rayados storming through to beat first-timers Celtic Cowboys 4-1 with a minimum of trouble in Austin. Over in Tennessee, Nashville United made easy meat of Georgia’s Majestic Soccer Club with a 3-0 result.

Red Force FC of Miami were always going to be favorites against fellow Floridians Miami Nacional SC. But despite a gulf in class and Red Force getting out to a big early lead, the game ended in controversial circumstances. Nacional’s coach pulled his players off the field following a call he clearly disagreed with. The game was abandoned after players refused to return to the pitch, allowing Red Force to advance to the Third Round with a 4-0 win in their pocket.

(Big mountains & big sky before Harpos' win over Colorado Springs)

That was just the first of a clutch of Second Round games in Florida. South Florida FC put the screws to Boca Raton FC, handing their neighbors a 5-1 drubbing while FC Kendall bested Orlando Storm 4-1. Motagua New Orleans are the sole remaining Louisiana team left in 2018 Qualifying following their 3-1 win over Cajun Soccer Club.

Over in the High Rockies, Boulder-based Harpos FC earned their second straight hard-fought win in qualifying, needing extra-time and a scorcher of a goal to seal a 2-1 win over Colorado Springs on the road. Harpos manager Johnny Freeston told ussoccer.com that, “in the Open Cup, every time you go out there it’s a Cup Final.” Considering the tension of their games so far, it seems the boss is right about the competition in the Mountain Region. There were also positive results for Denver-based sides FC Denver, who beat Fort Collins United 1-0, and Indios Denver FC – who were on the right side of a 4-2 result against IPS/Marathon Taverna of Oregon. Colorado will be well represented in the Third Round as Azteca FC beat short-handed Colorado Rush 3-2 over in Aurora.

In Arizona, Galati FC stormed through to hammer Ojuelos Jalisco 6-1 and Sporting AZ FC beat Inter EmpireWorks 3-1 in their meeting in Scottsdale.

(South Florida FC handed Boca Raton a 5-1 hammering in the Southeast Region)  

California Dreaming out West
L.A. Wolves, runners-up in the recent U.S. Amateur Cup, and La Máquina didn’t need to get off their couches to book spots in the Third Round following a pair of forfeits earlier in the week by Vanquish FC and Las Vegas Mobsters, respectively. But a host of other California teams were in heated action at the weekend and confirmed that the amateur scene in the Golden State is thriving.

El Farolito, who won the Open Cup in 1993 under their then-name CD Mexico, kept up a proud tradition with a 5-0 victory over Academica Soccer Club in San Francisco. There were two more lopsided results with Santa Ana Winds beating Newcastle United FC 6-0 and San Pedro Monsters beating SFV Scorpions 4-0. Buena Park FC had slightly more trouble in their game against Santa Clarita Storm, but still managed a simple 3-1 win in the end. Cal Victory FC beat Davis Legacy SC 4-2 (Jesus Zamudio scoring all four of the winning side’s goals) and Chula Vista FC beat Valley United SC 1-0 on the road in North Hills.

(LA Wolves are through to the Third Round of Qualifying after Vanquish FC forfeit)

The Third and Final Round of Qualifying for the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will take place Nov. 18-19, with 28 teams battling it out for the 14 Open Amateur slots in the finals of next year’s Open Cup – the 105th installment of the competition. The Draw to determine the exact pairings was held at Soccer House in Chicago on October 23, with the results listed below. Venues, dates and times for these matches will be announced shortly. Follow all the action and keep your finger on the pulse of #USOC2018 on twitter and Instagram @OpenCup and ussoccer.com.

2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Open Division Local Qualifying Schedule
Third Qualifying Round – Nov. 18-19 (venues, dates and times to be announced)

Game (home team listed first)
Mass United FC (Mass.) vs. Kendall Wanderers (Mass.)
Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.) vs. Junior Lone Star U23s (Pa.)
Christos FC (Md.) vs. Phoenix Soccer Club (Pa.)
Rochester River Dogz (N.Y.) vs. Stegman's Soccer Club (Minn.)
Red Force FC (Fla.) vs. South Florida FC (Fla.)
Nashville United (Tenn.) vs. FC Kendall (Fla.)
NTX Rayados (Texas) vs. Motagua New Orleans (La.)
FC Denver (Colo.) vs. Indios Denver FC (Colo.)
Harpos FC (Colo.) vs. Azteca FC (Colo.)
Sporting AZ FC (Ariz.) vs. Galati FC (Ariz.)
Chula Vista FC (Calif.) vs. La Máquina FC (Calif.)
Santa Ana Winds FC (Calif.) vs. San Pedro Monsters FC (Calif.)
El Farolito (Calif.) vs. Cal Victory FC (Calif.)
Buena Park FC (Calif.) vs. L.A. Wolves FC (Calif.)

Second Qualifying Round Results

Northeast Region


Game (home team listed first)




Rochester River Dogz (N.Y.) vs. Ann Arbor FC (Mich.)

1-0 (forfeit)

None (Ann Arbor FC withdrew Oct. 19)

Oct. 21

GPS Omens (Mass.) vs. Kendall Wanderers (Mass.)

1-1, 2-2 AET (4-5 PKs)

Hillside School Field, Marlborough, Mass.

Oct. 21

Mass United FC (Mass.) vs. Safira FC (Mass.)


Hormel Stadium; Medford, Mass.

Oct. 21

West Chester United (Pa.) vs. Phoenix Soccer Club (Pa.)


West Chester United Turf Field; West Chester, Pa.

Oct. 22

Aurora Borealis Soccer Club (Ill.) vs. Stegman's Soccer Club (Minn.)

2-2, 2-3 AET

Ohio Moose Sports Complex; Mooseheart, Ill.

Oct. 22

Christos FC (Md.) vs. Izee Auto FC (Md.)

1-0 AET

Anne Arundel Community College; Arnold, Md.

Oct. 22

United German Hungarians (Pa.) vs. Junior Lone Star U23s (Pa.)


United German Hungarian Club; Oakford, Pa.

Oct. 22

New York Pancyprian Freedoms (N.Y.) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (N.Y.)

0-0 AET (3-4 PKs)

Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Jamaica, N.Y.


Southeast Region


Game (home team listed first)



Oct. 21

Celtic Cowboys Premier (Texas) vs. NTX Rayados (Texas)


Onion Creek Soccer Complex; Austin, Texas

Oct. 22

Miami Nacional SC (Fla.) vs. Red Force FC (Fla.)

0-4 (forfeit, abandoned by Miami)

Ives Estates Park; Miami, Fla.

Oct. 22

Nashville United (Tenn.) vs. Majestic Soccer Club (Ga.)


Richard Siegel Soccer Park - Stadium Field; Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Oct. 22

South Florida FC (Fla.) vs. Boca Raton Football Club (Fla.)


Brian Piccolo Park; Cooper City, Fla.

Oct. 22

Cajun Soccer Club (La.) vs. Motagua New Orleans (La.)


Moore Park; Lafayette, La.

Oct. 22

Orlando Storm (Fla.) vs. FC Kendall (Fla.)


Lake Myrtle Sports Complex; Auburndale, Fla.


Mountain Region


Game (home team listed first)



Oct. 21

Azteca FC (Colo.) vs. Colorado Rush (Colo.)


Aurora Public Schools Stadium; Aurora, Colo.

Oct. 21

FC Denver (Colo.) vs. Fort Collins United (Colo.)


Aurora Sports Park; Aurora, Colo.

Oct. 21

Ojuelos Jalisco (Ariz.) vs. Galati FC (Ariz.)


Desert West Sports Complex; Phoenix, Ariz.

Oct. 21

Sporting AZ FC (Ariz.) vs. Inter EmpireWorks FC (Ariz.)


Phoenix Rising Stadium; Scottsdale, Ariz.

Oct. 22

Colorado Springs FC (Colo.) vs. Harpos FC (Colo.)

1-1, 1-2 AET

Grace Center for Athletics; Colorado Springs, Colo.

Oct. 22

Indios Denver FC (Colo.) vs. IPS/Marathon Taverna (Ore.)


Englewood High School Stadium; Englewood, Colo.


Pacific Region


Game (home team listed first)




L.A. Wolves FC (Calif.) vs. Vanquish FC (Calif.)

1-0 (forfeit)

None (Vanquish FC withdrew Oct. 16)


La Máquina FC (Calif.) vs. Las Vegas Mobsters FC (Nev.)

1-0 (forfeit)

None (Las Vegas Mobsters FC withdrew Oct. 20)

Oct. 21

Valley United SC (Calif.) vs. Chula Vista FC (Calif.)


Heritage High School; North Hills, Calif.

Oct. 21

San Pedro Monsters FC (Calif.) vs. SFV Scorpions (Calif.)


Banning H.S. Soccer Stadium; Wilmington, Calif.

Oct. 21

Santa Ana Winds FC (Calif.) vs. Newcastle United FC (Calif.)


Lake Forest Sports Park; Lake Forest, Calif.

Oct. 22

El Farolito (Calif.) vs. Academica Soccer Club (Calif.)


Boxer Stadium; San Francisco, Calif.

Oct. 22

Buena Park FC (Calif.) vs. Santa Clarita Storm (Calif.)


John F. Kennedy High School; La Palma, Calif.

Oct. 22

Cal Victory FC (Calif.) vs. Davis Legacy SC (Calif.)


Casa Grande High School; Petaluma, Calif.




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U.S. Open Cup Oct 23, 2017