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Rio 2016 Olympic Calympian: Betsy Hassett, Women's soccer, New Zealand

Cal Golden Bears alum Betsy Hassett is back at another Olympic games. Unfortunately, she and her Football Ferns are in the same group as the favorite United States.

Betsy Hassett and her New Zealand Football Ferns are in the same group as Alex Morgan and Team USA in Rio next month.
Betsy Hassett and her New Zealand Football Ferns are in the same group as Alex Morgan and Team USA in Rio next month.
Stanley Chou/Getty Images

Betsy Hassett

Her 2012 London Calympian profile

Sport: Women's soccer

Country: New Zealand

Twitter: @betsyhassett12

Birthday: August 4th, 1990 (age 26 by the Rio games)

Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand

Cal affiliation: California Golden Bears alum (Public Health '13)

Years at Cal: 2009-2012

Olympic appearances: 2012 London (New Zealand advanced to the 2nd round), 2016 Rio

Cal Achievements:

The New Zealand midfielder became a Cal starter in her sophomore season in Berkeley (2010). While her statistical counting numbers doesn't jump out at you (career best 6 goals and 5 assists in her senior year for a total of 7 goals and 8 assists in her Cal career), Betsy started 11 of 15 matches played in 2010, 18 of 22 matches played in 2011, and 21 of 22 matches played in 2012.

Hassett was All Pac-12 2nd team in her junior year and All Pac-12 1st team in her senior year.

The Public Health major collected several academic honors as well. She was Pac-10 All-Academic 2nd team in 2010, Pac-12 All-Academic in 2011 and 2012. In her senior season, she was a 1st team NSCAA Scholar All-American.

Learn more about Betsy (or her from back in 2012) from her CalBears.com bio:

Nickname(s): Betty, BetsG, Kiwi

I Chose Cal because...I wanted to play soccer in America and Cal is amazing.

My favorite thing about Berkeley is...Yogurtland.

When I'm upset, I like to...go on an adventure and do something outrageous.

I get mad when I miss this TV show: "Outrageous Fortune"

Cal is better than other schools because...we have the coolest colors and the coolest people.

Something I learned from my parents is...to not chew with my mouth open.

If I wasn't a soccer player, I would be...a pro surfer in the summer and pro snowboarder in the winter.

What is one thing about your hometown that you miss? Piha, my favorite beach and Titibabs AKA the eatery Titirangi Kebabs.

International Achievements:

Even before matriculating at Cal, Betsy Hassett was already playing at the international stage. She was a member of the New Zealand squad at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Betsy made her regular Women's World Cup debut in 2011, playing in all 3 of New Zealand (Football Ferns)'s games.

Hassett started in two matches and played in all 3 games for the Football Ferns in the London 2012 group stages. Her New Zealand team made history for being the first New Zealand team to get out of the group stage of a major FIFA tournament. Betsy also started in New Zealand's 2nd round loss to eventual Gold medalists, fellow Calympian Alex Morgan and the United State.

Betsy Hassett was also a regular starter for the Football Ferns at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada.

All together with the senior team, Hassett has 91 caps and 8 goals.

Being on the New Zealand national team means that they do the Haka (this is the best video that I can easily find and it starts at around 1:40).

More on Betsy and her Rio outlook:

Betsy Hassett and her Football Ferns are in the same group as the gold medalists favorite United States along with France and Colombia. Only the top two teams from each group, along with the two best overall 3rd place team out of the 3 groups will advance to the knockout stages.

The Football Ferns open against Calympian Alex Morgan and the United State on Wednesday August 3rd from Belo Horizonte.

New Zealand faces Colombia on August 6th at Belo Horionte and France on August 9th from Salvador.

Since graduating from Cal, Betsy has been playing professional soccer in Europe. She was on the SC Sand, a German team, in 2013, scoring 11 goals in 10 matches. She moved to Manchester City in 2014. Played for the Norwegian team Amazon Grimstad (named for the Amazon warriors rather than being sponsored by the website retailers) in 2015. Hassett just finished a stint with another Germany team, the Werder Bremen, but will join the AFC Ajax (of the Belgium-Netherlands league) after Rio.

From my understanding, the European pro teams pay much better than the NWSL in the United States. Nevertheless, the USWNT team is hoping to grow NWSL. We shall see if Betsy ever makes the move to the NWSL at some point in her career. Interestingly, most of the other New Zealand players go directly to the European pro leagues; Betsy was an exception for going to a U.S. college to broaden her horizons.

Betsy Hassett is the main midfielder for the New Zealand team. She is basically their version of USWNT's Carli Lloyd (not to be confused with Cal's Calympian Carli Lloyd, although the comparison to a setter of the volleyball is perhaps apt). Hassett is the one that dictate the pace for the Ferns. She's been lauded for her energy both offensively and defensively.

The Daily Cal did a feature story on Betsy back in 2011. The article talks about how the Football Ferns' haka is about a canoe and how the 21 people have to work together.

What the canoe wants — and needs — is a coxswain, someone to steer the Football Ferns to greater lengths than they had ever imagined before. That leader is Betsy Hassett.

Hassett has been an energetic midfielder for the Cal women's soccer team and coach Neil McGuire for the last three season, manning the middle of the pitch, setting up scores.

She has been doing the same thing across the world for three years. She's trying to lead her country, and her energy is helping to fuel the cause.

It is a tough group for New Zealand since U.S.A. are the top ranked team and France are the 3rd ranked team. New Zealand are currently ranked 17th, which is ahead of Colombia at 24th. New Zealand would likely need to pull off an upset (or draw) over either United State or France to have a shot of advancing. After helping the country to their first international point in a draw in 2011, Betsy Hassett and her Football Ferns have steadily improved over the year. New Zealand went 0-1-2 at the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Expect to see plenty of Betsy Hassett on the pitch if you tune in to the Football Ferns matches in Rio.

Best of luck to Betsy in Rio and GO BEARS!