Going pro in American soccer is a tad different than most other countries.
Whereas most players elsewhere can enroll in a professional team's youth academy at a young age and rise through the ranks, athletes playing soccer in the U.S. typically develop through college programs, particularly women.
U.S. men's national team stars like Tyler Adams and Folarin Balogun, for example, came up through the New York Red Bulls academy in MLS and Arsenal of the Premier League, respectively, though college remains a viable alternative option for some.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
But top USWNT stars like Alex Morgan and Naomi Girma, among others, blossomed via college, though the landscape is gradually changing for younger athletes as women's soccer expands and more money comes in.
So, here's a look the colleges and majors of each USWNT player headed to Australia and New Zealand for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup:
What colleges did the USWNT players at the 2023 World Cup attend?
Here are the colleges for all 23 USWNT players in Australia and New Zealand, with most stemming from Bay Area institutions:
- GK Alyssa Naeher: Penn State
- GK Casey Murphy: Rutgers
- GK Aubrey Kingsbury: Wake Forest
- DEF Alana Cook: Stanford
- DEF Emily Fox: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- DEF Crystal Dunn: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- DEF Naomi Girma: Stanford
- DEF Sofia Huerta: Santa Clara
- DEF Kelley O'Hara: Stanford
- DEF Emily Sonnett: University of Virginia
- MID Savannah DeMelo: USC
- MID Julie Ertz: Santa Clara
- MID Lindsey Horan: Had a scholarship offer from UNC, but signed with Paris Saint-Germain instead
- MID Rose Lavelle: University of Wisconsin
- MID Kristie Mewis: Boston College
- MID Ashley Sanchez: UCLA
- MID Andi Sullivan: Stanford
- FW Alex Morgan: UC Berkeley
- FW Megan Rapinoe: University of Portland
- FW Trinity Rodman: Committed to Washington State, but COVID-19 canceled her freshman season so she entered the NWSL draft and went No. 2 overall in 2021
- FW Sophia Smith: Attended Stanford for two years before turning professional
- FW Alyssa Thompson: Committed to Stanford before decommitting to enter the 2023 NWSL draft, where she went No. 1 overall to Angel City FC
- FW Lynn Williams: Pepperdine
What did the USWNT players at the 2023 World Cup major in?
Along with their respective colleges, here are the majors players studied during their time in school:
- GK Alyssa Naeher: Kinesiology
- GK Casey Murphy: Communications
- GK Aubrey Kingsbury: Health and exercise science with minors in chemistry and biology
- DEF Alana Cook: Symbolic systems
- DEF Emily Fox: Global Studies - Environment and Health and minored in environmental studies and medical anthropology
- DEF Crystal Dunn: Sociology
- DEF Naomi Girma: Symbolic systems
- DEF Sofia Huerta: Communications
- DEF Kelley O'Hara: Science, technology and society with a focus in environmental engineering
- DEF Emily Sonnett: Sociology
- MID Savannah DeMelo: Health and human sciences
- MID Julie Ertz: Communications
- MID Lindsey Horan: N/A
- MID Rose Lavelle: Sociology
- MID Kristie Mewis: Human development
- MID Ashley Sanchez: Political science
- MID Andi Sullivan: Symbolic systems
- FW Alex Morgan: Political economy
- FW Megan Rapinoe: Sociology
- FW Trinity Rodman: N/A
- FW Sophia Smith: N/A
- FW Alyssa Thompson: N/A
- FW Lynn Williams: Psychology