Meet the young U.S. stars on display in Women's College Cup final

Stanford's Catarina Macario, the 2018 Hermann Trophy winner, is a once-in-a-generation player, who could be the USA's next superstar when she is cleared to represent the USA in 2022.

But she won't be the only young star display when the Cardinal faces North Carolina in Sunday's Women's College Cup final in San Jose.

Six players on the two teams are headed off to Florida after the game to join the U.S. national team in a camp new coach Vlatko Andonovski is organizing for non-World Cup players.

Maycee Bell (North Carolina). This was UNC coach Anson Dorrance's assessment of Bell -- before she even played a college match: "She has every quality. She has pace. She has size. She has technical ability. She has defensive presence. She has composure." She grew up in Wichita but played her club soccer for Sporting Blue Valley out of Kansas City. Bell has started 24 games as a freshman and earned All-American honors. She scored the winning goal in Carolina's 3-2 win over USC in the quarterfinals.

Naomi Girma (Stanford). The daughter of Ethiopian immigrants, Girma grew up playing in the Bay Area in the Ethiopian soccer community and at De Anza Force and CA Thorns Academy. Only a sophomore, Girma is a Stanford team captain. She was a first-team All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2019.

Madison Haley (Stanford). Haley was born in Dallas, where her father, Pro Football Hall of Famer and five-time Super Bowl winner Charles Haley, played for the Cowboys. She grew up playing for the Texans and made attended her first national team camp in 2012 as a U-14. The Stanford junior was a first-team All-Pac-12 honoree in 2019 and has career highs in goals (11) and assists (14).

Kiki Pickett (Stanford). Pickett, a junior, grew up in Santa Barbara and played for the Eagles Soccer Club, one of Southern California's biggest clubs. She has played for U.S. youth national teams since the U-14 level, participating in U-17 and U-20 World Cup and qualifiers. She played alongside Girma on the Cardinal back line and was one of four Stanford players to earn All-American honors in 2019.

Brianna Pinto (North Carolina). Pinto's father Hassan was a standout forward for the UNC men in the early 1990s and played pickup soccer for years with Dorrance, now his daughter's coach, whom he knew from recruiting him when Dorrance also coached the Tar Heels' mean. Brianna Pinto was still only a high school junior when she was picked by senior women's national team for its roster at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup. She is second on Carolina in goals (11) and points (28) as a sophomore.

Sophia Smith (Stanford). After Lindsey Horan and Mallory Pugh, Smith is the latest young star to come out of Colorado. And she's so good that there's speculation that, like Horan and Pugh, she won't play four years of college. She was the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year and played for the USA at the 2016 U-17 World Cup in Jordan and 2018 U-20 World Cup in France, where she scored three goals. The sophomore’s hat trick in the 4-1 win over UCLA in the semifinals give her 17 goals (tied for the seventh-most in Cardinal history) and 43 points (tied for the eighth-most) in 2019. Like Bell, Girma and Pinto, Smith is eligible for the 2020 Under-20 Women's World Cup.
1 comment about "Meet the young U.S. stars on display in Women's College Cup final".
  1. Bob Ashpole, December 8, 2019 at 10:20 p.m.

    Impressive. Obviously those two teams are not the only ones with promising players.

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