Women’s World Cup Players who studied in the United States

Author ~ Cat Albuquerque

With the World Cup coming up this summer, we wanted to highlight some of the female footballers who attended, or are currently attending college in the United States. All of these players have had extremely successful collegiate careers that have ultimately led them to becoming some of the best female football players in their respective countries. 

Here is a list of some of those players: 

Gabi Rennie (New Zealand) – University of Indiana 

Ali Riley (New Zealand) – Stanford University

Tahnai Annis (Philippines) – University of Florida

Isabella Flanigan (Philippines) – West Virginia University 

Uchenna Kanu (Nigeria) – Southeastern University 

Ashley Lawrence (Canada) – West Virginia University 

Julia Grosso (Canada) – University of Texas 

Raquel Rodriguez (Costa Rica) – Penn State University

Gloriana Villalobos (Costa Rica) – Florida State University 

Rachel Daley (England) – St John’s University 

Alessia Russo (England) – University of North Carolina 

Sophia Smith (USA) – Stanford University 

Catarina Macario (USA) – Stanford University 

Khadija Shaw (Jamaica) – University of Tennessee

Jody Brown (Jamaica) – Florida State University 

Riley Tanner (Panama) – University of South Carolina/ University of Alabama 

The high number of players on this list emphasises just how successful the US collegiate soccer system is in creating the next generation of female soccer players. It has given each player the chance to develop their skills and has given them the opportunity to play professionally, both at a club level and for their countries. 

Ali is a defender and played D1 college soccer for Stanford university from 2006 to 2009. She was described as “one of the best outside backs in the country” by her coach Paul Ratcliffe, and even got to play alongside Kelley O’Hara (US National Team Player) during her time at Stanford. She recorded 6 goals and 9 assists in her career and also won many individual awards. These awards included: Pac-10 Women’s Soccer Scholar Athlete of the Year, Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Season, NSCAA All-Pacific first team, and NSCAA third team All-American. 

Uchenna played as a forward in The Sun Conference for Southeastern University. She achieved a program and NAIA single-season record of 57 goals and 18 assists as a junior and subsequently won The Sun Conference Player of the Year. In addition, Uchenna scored a total of 157 goals and 53 assists in her 3 years at Southeastern University which led to her collection of individual awards. These awards include: 2x Sun Conference Player of the Year, 2x NAIA All-American, and 2018 United Soccer Coaches NAIA Player of the Year.

Alessia played D1 soccer at the University of North Carolina for 3 years, alongside her England teammate Lotte Wubben-Moy. As a forward, she recorded a total of 28 goals and 9 assists during her collegiate career and won countless awards under coach Dorrance. These individual awards include: 3x First-team All-ACC selection, 2x MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist and 2x Most Valuable Player of the ACC Tournament. 

Unlike the players we have mentioned above, Jody is currently a junior in college. She plays as a forward for Florida State University and has already achieved so much as a Seminole. She has a total of 17 goals and 21 assists and has also won many accolades that show her success as a soccer player. These awards include: All-ACC Freshman Team, All-ACC First Team in 2022, United Soccer Coaches Third Team All-American in 2022, and was No.35 in TopDrawerSoccer Top-100 players in 2022. 

Performing on the international soccer stage is where many younger players aspire to be. Therefore, being able to look more into the career paths of these international players, before this World Cup could help future soccer stars in their decision to play collegiate US soccer.