The 2015 World Cup champion U.S. Women’s National Team earned a coveted third star above its crest this summer by winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in July, and the accolades keep on coming. Five U.S. players were among the 23 selected to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star squad; Golden Glove goalkeeper Hope Solo, defenders Julie Johnston and Meghan Klingenberg, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and Golden Ball winner Carli Lloyd.
Solo backstoped the WNT throughout the tournament, playing all seven games and earning five shutouts in a clean-sheet streak that reached 540 minutes.
Johnston and Klingenberg also contributed in the back to help bolster the elite, title-winning defense. Johnston played every minute of the tournament at center-back, while Klingenberg did the same at left back. In addition to shutting down the opposition, both defenders made memorable and important individual plays in the tournament. Klingenberg jumped to head a ball off the goal-line to save the game against Sweden in the group stage and Johnston delivered an assist that Carli Lloyd headed in for a goal to defeat China in the quarterfinals.
It was Rapinoe that got the WNT off to a great start, scoring two goals in the USA’s 3-1 win against Australia in its tournament opener. She also tallied two assists in the tournament, including one in the World Cup Final.
Lloyd earned Golden Ball honors as the tournament’s best player. She scored six goals, all coming in the knockout rounds, including a historic hat trick in the Women’s World Cup Final. She also won the Silver Boot as the tournament’s second leading scorer.
The All-Star squad is made up of 23 players who succeeded in getting fans out of their seats and truly impressed FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG). In addition to naming the All-Stars, the TSG published the FIFA Technical Report, a 234-page document that covers the 52 matches of the World Cup as well as technical and tactical analysis, trends, confederations analysis, a refereeing report, a goal-line technology report and a medical report.
2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Squad
Goalkeepers: Nadine Angerer (GER), Karen Bardsley (ENG), Hope Solo (USA)
Defenders: Saori Ariyoshi (JPN), Lucy Bronze (ENG), Kadeisha Buchanan (CAN), Steph Houghton (ENG), Julie Johnston (USA), Meghan Klingenberg (USA), Wendie Renard (FRA)
Midfielders and forwards: Ramona Bachmann (SUI), Lisa De Vanna (AUS), Amandine Henry (FRA), Elise Kellond-Knight (AUS), Eugénie Le Sommer (FRA), Carli Lloyd (USA), Anja Mittag (GER), Aya Miyama (JPN), Megan Rapinoe (USA), Mizuho Sakaguchi (JPN), Celia Sasic (GER), Elodie Thomis (FRA), Rumi Utsugi (JPN).
World Champion U.S. WNT Opens Victory Tour with 8-0 Win Against Costa Rica in Front of Record Crowd in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (Aug. 16, 2015) – The World Champion U.S. Women’s National Team opened its Victory Tour in style with an 8-0 win against Costa Rica in front of a crowd of 44,028 at Heinz Field. The attendance set a record for the largest crowd for a stand-alone U.S. WNT match on home soil.
In a special homecoming, Pittsburgh native Meghan Klingenberg scored early in the second half, by which time the USA already held a substantial lead. Christen Press and Heather O’Reilly led the scoring for the USA with a hat trick and a pair of goals respectively. Defenders Julie Johnston and Whitney Engen also put their names on the scoresheet with header goals while Ashlyn Harris and Hope Solo split the goalkeeping duties for the shutout. Solo made three saves in the second half on Costa Rica’s only three shots.
The team entered the stadium to a rapturous standing ovation from the Heinz Field crowd and will likely see a similar scene when it next travels to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where it will face a rematch with Las Ticas before a sold-out crowd of more than 20,000 at Finlay Stadium on Aug. 19. That match kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.
After the double-header with Costa Rica, the USA continues its Victory Tour with a pair of matches against Australia, at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, and Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama on Sept. 17 and 20, respectively. From there the Victory Tour continues with a pair of games against Brazil in October before taking a break in November and then finishing with four matches in December. Dates and venues for those games will be announced in the near future.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Heather O’Reilly, 4th minute: As Costa Rica attempted to play out of the back, O’Reilly stripped a defender and raced into the Ticas’ penalty area. From the right side of the box, O’Reilly powered her show low into the near post past the wrong-footed ‘keeper for her 42nd international goal. USA 1, CRC 0 SEE GOAL
USA – Christen Press, 29th: Megan Rapinoe chipped the ball through the Costa Rica defense to Press inside the penalty area. After a nice collection that opened up space for a shot, Press saw her first, right-footed effort blocked by a defender but was first to the rebound and drilled a left-footed shot into the right side of the net. USA 2, CRC 0 SEE GOAL
USA – Julie Johnston (Megan Rapinoe), 36th minute: Megan Rapinoe whipped in a corner kick from the left side that found an unmarked Johnston steaming toward the near post. The U.S. center back sent a powerful header into the middle of the next past a falling Diaz for her fourth career goal. USA 3, CRC 0
USA – Christen Press, 45th minute: Press continued her offensive outburst as Rapinoe sent in another dangerous corner kick that connected with Shannon Boxx at the back post. Boxx sent a header back across goal that Diaz tried to swat away, but her clearance fell to the feet of Press in the center of the six-yard box and she slammed the ball home from close range just before the halftime whistle. USA 4, CRC 0
USA – Meghan Klingenberg (Tobin Heath), 56th minute: The Pittsburgh crowd erupted into a frenzy as second half substitute Tobin Heath carried the ball at pace down Costa Rica’s left side to the end line and cut the ball back into the middle of the box. Klingenberg ran onto the service and with a great bit of skill, redirected the ball with her left foot into the far side netting from 10 yards out. In a wild celebration, she ran to her teammates on the sideline, high-fived the whole bench and then grabbed a Pittsburgh Steelers Terrible Towel from U.S. head coach Jill Ellis before waving it aloft in tribute to her hometown fans. USA 5, CRC 0 ( SEE GOAL)
USA – Heather O’Reilly, 60th minute: Lori Chalupny got forward to play Christen Press into the right side of the Costa Rica penalty area. Press brought down the chipped pass, swiveled 180 degrees and sent a beautiful curling chip shot off the cross bar that fell to Heather O’Reilly who was crashing the back post. With the net wide open, O’Reilly had time to collect before smashing the ball home for the second multi-goal game of her career. USA 6, CRC 0
USA – Whitney Engen (Abby Wambach), 63rd minute: From yet another set piece, the USA targeted Wambach at the far post, and the world’s all-time leading goal scorer headed the ball down toward goal. As it bounced back up off the ground, Engen snuck in front of a waiting Diaz to snap a header into the back of the net for her fourth international goal. USA 7, CRC 0
USA – Christen Press (Heather O’Reilly), 68th minute: O’Reilly drove down the left flank and picked out Press who was making a delayed run into the Costa Rica box. With one deft touch, Press controlled the ball, stole a look at goal and then snapped a shot from near the top of the box into the upper left-hand corner of the goal to put the finishing touch on the second hat trick of her career and the day’s goal scoring. USA 8, CRC 0 (FINAL)
Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
CRC – Dianna Diaz, 8th minute: With the USA threatening down Costa Rica’s right flank through some nifty combination play that nearly put Meghan Klingenberg in alone on goal, Diaz made a diving stop, charging out of her goal to smother the ball a step before Klingenberg arrived.
CRC – Dianna Diaz, 17th minute: Shannon Boxx unleashed a rocket from a wide angle on Diaz’s left that swerved toward the middle of the goal, but the Costa Rica goalkeeper punched the shot up over the crossbar to deny the U.S. adding to its early lead.
USA – Hope Solo, 50th minute: Solo has called into action right away after coming on at halftime. A chipped diagonal pass put Karla Villalobos in alone on goal. Solo charged out of the net, cut down the angle and got a piece of Villalobos’ shot, forcing it to skid wide of the left of the goal.
Next on the Schedule: The WNT continues the 2015 Victory Tour with a stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Aug. 19, where it will take on Costa Rica before a sold out crowd of over 20,000 at Finlay Stadium.
Broadcast information: ESPN2, WatchESPN (6:30 p.m. ET; Aug. 19)
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt; @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram
- Christen Press scored the second hat trick of her career. Her first came in a four-goal performance against Argentina at the International Tournament of Brasilia in December of 2014.
- Heather O’Reilly notched her second multi-goal game of her career. The first came on Jan. 20, 2012, when she scored a hat trick against the Dominican Republic during Olympic Qualifying.
- The 8-0 wins ties the USA biggest win in the history of its series with Costa Rica. The WNT beat the Ticas by the same score line on two previous occasions, in 2000 and 2012.
- The crowd of 44,028 at Heinz Field is the largest stand-alone attendance on home soil in the history of the U.S. WNT.
- Ashlyn Harris got the start for the USA in goal for the first time since pitching a 1-0 shutout against England in Milton Keynes in February of this year. Hope Solo replaced her in net for the U.S. at halftime.
- This is the first game of the year that Becky Sauerbrunn did not start for the USA. She had previously started all 17 matches, playing the most minutes on the team with 1,509.
- Veterans Shannon Boxx and Christie Rampone, who played all 90 minutes, both made their first starts of 2015. Boxx was removed at halftime for Morgan Brian.
- The USA remains perfect against Costa Rica, improving its all-time record to 11-0-0.
- Julie Johnston has scored all four of her WNT goals off set plays.
WAY OF LIFE
“The most common question I ever get is, ‘What would you do if you weren’t a soccer player?’” says Johnston. “And I make up stuff every single time – it is not consistent, because I have never thought about not playing. I love it.”
At thirteen, her parents sat her down and said, “Look, are you sure this is what you want to do?” Johnston says, “I didn’t grow up with a ton of money and club soccer was expensive, so they wanted to be sure that this was what I was focused on. And I was. Soccer was everything.”
It was also her route to free college. “I knew wherever I went, I wasn’t going to have my parents pay for college, so I’d go on visits and just cross off schools if they didn’t give me a full ride.” But then she fell in love with the coaches and program at Santa Clara, an expensive private school. The program didn’t offer full rides until you’d earned it, but Johnston went anyway, hoping she could earn her way to a full ride by the end of the year.
At the end of the season, she sat terrified in the coach’s office, convinced that she was going to have to transfer because she couldn’t afford it. But coach Jerry Smith was not about to lose Julie Johnston and he found the money to keep her at Santa Clara. “When Julie decides she’s going to do it – she’s going to do it,” says Smith. “She won’t get outworked.
ROOKIE LOVE TALE
While in California, Johnston met Zach Ertz, who played football at Stanford University. Zach was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and was a rookie in the NFL at the same time Julie was getting her first call up with the National Team. “He’s in the exact same boat as me – you’re young, but you want to be so great. And everyone’s so good and you just want to do well and be next to them. It’s been so amazing to have Zach there, to have someone who understands as I’m worrying that I’m going to get cut.”
Zach graduated a year before Johnston and the first thing he got from his new Nike rep was a pair of cleats for Johnston; he custom-colored them in Santa Clara maroon and gold and put his number on her cleats. “I totally loved it,” laughs Johnston, “but my teammates really teased me. They’d be like, ‘Ohhh, Ms. Hertz, how’s it going today?’”
“Everywhere I go, wherever I wind up living, no matter where, I always have a place I go run – and that’s my safe place,” says Johnston.
In Mesa, Arizona, where Julie grew up, her place was ‘The Mountain’ – “It’s complete desert, all cactus and rocks, 120 degrees out, but that’s my comfort spot,” says Johnston, who would run up the mountain for summer training. “Once, I tried to bring my dog, ended up having to carry him up the whole way,” laughs Johnston. At the top, there’s a rock with Julie’s name bleached into it. While she claims she didn’t do it, she still thinks of it as “her rock.” “Any time I come home, The Mountain is the first place I go.”
U.S. National Team: A gifted young defender who has been part of the U.S. Soccer program since 2006 when she attended a U-14 National Identification Camp, Johnston found tremendous success with the U-20 WNT, captaining the team to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup title. The 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year earned her first cap with the WNT in 2013.
2015: 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her first World Cup selection... Has scored three goals for the WNT this year, the most by a defender so far... Her three goals all came in consecutive games, from set pieces, and assisted by teammate Lauren Holiday... Has played and started in 14 games so far this year, a career-high in starts... Recorded her first career assist against China in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, connecting with Carli Lloyd for the game-winning goal... Scored her first goal with the WNT during the USA's 2-0 victory over France in the final of the Algarve Cup on March 11, helping the U.S. capture its 10th title while starting in three matches during the tournament ... Did not see any action but was part of the roster that traveled to Europe for the U.S.'s first two matches of the year against France on Feb. 8 and England on Feb. 13... 2014: Made three substitute appearances for the WNT in the latter half of the year, featuring in international friendlies against Mexico and Switzerland as well as getting some time against China PR in the International Tournament de Brasilia … 2013: Earned her first senior cap in a 4-1 win against Scotland on Feb. 9 … Played her first full 90 minutes at the international level against the Netherlands on April 9 … Youth National Teams: The 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year … A member of the full WNT and U-23 WNT player pools … The captain of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … She won the bronze ball as the third-best player in the tournament, a rare honor for a defender … Marshaled a U.S. defense that defeated three extremely talented group winners in the knockout rounds of the tournament, downing Korea DPR, Nigeria and Germany in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final, respectively, while allowing just one goal … Started all six games of the U-20 Women’s World Cup and played all but 32 minutes of the tournament … A member of the team that won the 2012 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship and earned a berth to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … Played in three games in the qualifying tournament and scored three goals, including one in the 4-0 semifinal victory over Mexico that sent the USA to Japan … Scored a goal against Switzerland at the La Manga tournament in Spain in 2012 … Finished her U-20 career with 19 caps and four goals … Attended U.S. Under-18 Training Camps in 2010 and 2011 … Attended the U.S. Under-14 National Identification Camp in 2006. First cap: Feb. 9, 2013, vs. Scotland First goal: March 11, 2015, vs. France
Professional/Club – 2014: Signed her first professional contract with the Chicago Red Stars after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the NWSL Draft… Started all 21 games she played for the club, tying for third in games played … Was second in starts (21) and minutes played (1,890) only to WNT teammate Lori Chalupny … Named the 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year … Scored two goals, the first one of the season for Chicago and the last one … Also had two assists … Youth: Played U-9 through U-12 for Arsenal GSC … Played U-13 through U-19 for Sereno Soccer Club … Won the state title nine times with Sereno Soccer Club … Was the captain at Sereno.