Last October, Abby Dahlkemper earned her first cap for the U.S. WNT when she came in on the 72nd minute against Switzerland in Sandy, Utah. She was called in again for the November friendlies in California, but unfortunately was forced to leave camp early due to an injury.
After getting herself back to playing form early in 2017, Dahlkemper has been a steady presence in the starting lineup for the North Carolina Courage, helping marshal the defense for a team that has been in first place for most of the season and currently sits in second.
“Whenever I’m called in, I’m humbled and honored that I get to work with the best in the world and learn from them,” she said. “I am never taking a second for granted.”
Her successful club season in 2016 for Western New York Flash (now the Courage) initially sparked the attention of head coach Jill Ellis, and now that the former U.S. Under-17 WNT captain was healthy again, Ellis again called her up, this time for the WNT’s European friendlies in Sweden and Norway in June. Dahlkemper played the entire second half against Sweden, but it was the Norway game that will hold a special place in her heart as it was the first time that she earned a start for the USA.
“It was a bit nerve wracking getting your first start especially playing a good side like Norway in Europe,” she said. “But the team is awesome and Jill put a lot of confidence in me.”
Dahlkemper played all 90 minutes in her fourth cap with the WNT, while putting in a strong performance out of the back, and helping the USA to its second consecutive shutouts on foreign soil.
Now at Tournament of Nations, Dahlkemper has a chance to play against Australia, Brazil and Japan, three more excellent teams that will present tough challenges for young and up-and-coming players like herself.
“The international game is faster, and everyone is stronger and smarter,” she said. “To be able to have played all 90 minutes against Norway and maybe have an opportunity to play against these teams in this tournament is incredible.”