U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team Defeats India 4-1 In First Of Two Matches In Sweden

USA Falls Behind Early, but Rallies on Goals from Messiah Bright, Jenna Nighswonger, Sierra Enge and Ava Cook

HELSINGBORG, Sweden (June 25, 2022) – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team defeated India, 4-1, in the first-ever meeting between the two countries in women’s soccer as forwards Messiah Bright and Ava Cook and midfielders Jenna Nighswonger and Sierra Enge tallied for the Americans.


It was the first of two matches for the USA at the Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament. The USA will also face host Sweden on June 28 in Vittsjo. This was also the first international match for the U.S. Under-23 WYNT since the fall of 2019 due to the pause in programing during the COVID-19 pandemic.


India took a surprising lead just seven minutes into the match on a goal from forward Pyari Xaxa, who will go down in history as the first-ever Indian player to score against the USA, but the young Americans had an excellent response as Bright equalized just two minutes later when she finished a cross on the ground from Washington Spirit forward Anna Heilferty.


The USA took the lead less than two minutes into the second half on a direct free kick from the top of the penalty area by Nighswonger. Her shot hit the crossbar and then bounced down over the line.


Nighswonger played provider on the next goal, which came in the 75th minute, as she laid a pass to Enge at the top of the penalty box for her smash into the top left corner.


The USA put the game to bed in the 86th minute as Chicago Red Stars forward Ava Cook was gained possession of a loose ball before dribbling to the endline. She then cut back and finished with her left foot just inside the far post.


The goals were the first at the U-23 international level for all four players.


The U.S. roster for this trip consists of eight current National Women’s Soccer League players, 12 collegiate players and one youth club player in Alyssa Thompson, who plays for a Total Futbol Academy boys’ team in Los Angeles.


The U-23s are being coached by Jené Baclawski, the former long-time Technical Director of the South Texas Youth Soccer Association and current U.S. Soccer Coach Educator who also heads U.S. Soccer’s Visa SheBelieves Cup MVP selection committee.


-U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team Match Report-


Match-Up: United States Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team vs. U-23 India WNT

Date: June 25, 2022

Competition: International Friendly

Venue: Larods IP; Helsingborg, Sweden

Weather: 75 degrees, Clear Skies

Attendance: 233


Scoring Summary:   1          2          F         

USA                            1          3          4

IND                              1          0          1


IND Pyari Xaxa                                            7th minute

USA – Messiah Bright (Anna Heilferty)          9

USA – Jenna Nighswonger                            47

USA – Sierra Enge (Jenna Nighswonger)     75

USA – Ava Cook                                            86



USA: 1-Ruthie Jones; 17-Brianna Martinez, 13-Kate Wiesner (3-Kerry Abello, 79), 4-Taryn Torres, 5-Megan Bornkamp (Capt.), 20-Jenna Nighswonger (10-Croix Bethune, 79), 18-Hannah Bebar (16-Mikayla Cluff, 70), 14- Samantha Meza (9-Ava Cook, 79), 7-Alexa Spaanstra (21-Alyssa Thompson, 70), 11-Anna Heilferty (6-Sierra Enge, 46), 19-Messiah Bright

Subs not used:  2-Emily Madril, 8-Brianna Pinto, 22- Shelby Hogan

Head Coach: Jene Baclawski


IND: 1-Aditi Chauhan; 17-Dalima Chhibber, 2-Ngabgbam Sweety Devi, 4-Loitongbam Ashalata Devi (Capt.), 14-Sorokhaibam Ranjana Chanu, 13-Martina Thokchom (12-Karthika Angmuthu, 80), 9-Anju Tamang (24-Apurna Narzary, 80), 7-Ratanbala Devi Nongmeithem (27-Soumya Gugloth, 58), 11-Grace Dangmei, 16-Manisha (26-Dular Marandi, 63), 10-Pyari Xaxa.

Subs not used: 3-Manisa Panna, 6-Priyangka Devi Naorem, 15-Renu, 19-Maibam Linthoingambi Devi, 21-Shreva Hooda, 22-Ritu Rani, 25-Santosh, 30-Arifa Zaheer Sayed

Head Coach: Daniele Zoratto


Stats Summary: USA / IND                         

Shots: 17 / 6

Shots on Goal: 11 / 5

Saves: 4 / 7

Corner Kicks: 8 / 0 

Fouls: 1 / 5

Offside: 1 / 2


Misconduct Summary:




Referee: Maral Mirzai Beni (Sweden)

Assistant Referee 1: Jilan Thaher (Sweden)

Assistant Referee 2: Camilla Stendahl (Sweden)

Fourth Official: Isabelle Svensson (Sweden)

Go Deeper