Now that the 2018-19 school year is finally over (Cal Athletes in the NCAA Track and Field Championships this weekend is the last event), we here at CGB will bring you coverage of our Cal alumni - in the 2019 Women’s World Cup (WWC).
Alex Morgan (USA), Miranda Nild (Thailand), Betsy Hassett (New Zealand), and Daisy Cleverley (New Zealand) will be a part of this tournament. Be on the look out for gamethread/recaps for matches involving a Cal Bears.
Also early next week, we will publish my phone interview with United States Women’s National Team legend and one time Cal Bear (she did transfer to Santa Clara) in Brandi Chastain - which covered several topics including this WWC.
Today, we will (re-)introduce the 4 Golden Bears in the 2019 Women’s World Cup on the Opening Day of the tournament. Interestingly, two Bears played together at Cal about a decade ago, while the two other Bears have played together as recently as last fall for the Blue and Gold. We have essentially two generations of Golden Bears on the International scene.
ALEX MORGAN - UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Cal Bears: 2007-2010 (degree in Political Economy)
Cal stats: 45 goals, 17 assists in 67 matches (61 starts) - 14 goals in 12 matches her senior year when she had to miss a lot of matches to be with USWNT; nonetheless, Morgan was one of three finalists for the Hermann Trophy (Heisman of soccer) that season
World Cup experiences: 3rd (2011 - Silver, 2015 - Gold)
Cal alum Alex Morgan IS the face of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT) right now as the top striker. She has shown up this last month on the covers of Times and Sports Illustrated (both the regular issue with the full team and the swimsuit edition) to promote this event. Should Alex Morgan has a strong tournament in leading USWNT to a 4th Women’s World Cup title, allowing USA to replicate the feat achieved by Germany in winning back-to-back Women’s World Cup, she will make a strong claim to be amongst the best women’s soccer player ever in history.
Even if you have only casually paid little attention to women’s soccer internationally, you have heard of Alex Morgan who has been a USWNT mainstay since 2010 (while Alex was a senior at Cal) being a veteran of two World Cups and two Olympics already. Morgan has 101 goals in 163 caps and is probably going to end her career as the No.2, if not No.1, goal scorer in women’s soccer history. A healthy Morgan was scoring goals at one per match for a long stretch last year; in friendlies leading up to the Women’s World Cup, she has yielded some of the goal scoring chances to the younger USWNT teammates by scoring just 3 goals in 2019 so far.
Morgan started her career as a speedy striker (thus the nickname of “Baby Horse”). She has since diversified her all-around game, particularly after a one year stint with the Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon, France while winning a Champion’s League title. When the French fans are not cheering for their own squad, they may be cheering for Alex. Morgan has since moved back to the NWSL where she stars for the Orlando Pride.
While abroad, @alexmorgan13 witnessed what soccer could become in the USA. Since then, she’s done everything in her power to bring it to the forefront, both on and off the field.— U.S. Soccer WNT (@USWNT) June 1, 2019
23 Stories x @VW pic.twitter.com/CEpMbqz4AG
USA is the co-favorites to win the World Cup along side host France. Barring some major development, I expect to write updates about the progress of Alex Morgan and USWNT in the coming weeks.
MIRANDA NILD - THAILAND
Cal Bears: 2015-2018 (major in American Studies)
Cal Stats: 13 goals, 4 assists in 73 matches (53 starts)
World Cup experiences: 1st
Born in the US (Castro Valley), Miranda Nild, also known as Suchawadee Nildhamrong, is another Cal forward that will be starring for her team next summer. Nild only got her Thailand senior team call up in April of 2017 but made a huge impact right away in helping Team Thailand qualify for the World Cup. Between that tournament and the Cyprus World Cup in 2019, Miranda has scored 12 goals in 17 caps.
"I get to play against the women I've looked up to since I was a girl, and the team that helped me fall in love with soccer" ⚽️@FAThailand's US-born striker Suchawadee Nildhamrong looks ahead to facing @ussoccer_wnt at the #FIFAWWC— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) January 14, 2019
️ https://t.co/M5ayd3yqZ4 pic.twitter.com/vscY1owvIY
Nild played her senior season for the Cal Bears this past fall. While her most productive goal scoring season was her junior year (7 goals), Nild developed into more of a facilitator in her senior campaign.
Thailand is not expected to really challenge USA nor Sweden in group play, but if Thailand does score a goal or two, it might be from recent Cal Bears alum.
BETSY HASSETT - NEW ZEALAND
Cal Bears: 2009-2012 (degree in Public Health)
Cal Stats: 7 goals and 8 assists in 64 matches (6 goals and 5 assists in her senior season)
World Cup experiences: 3rd (2011 - 12th, 2015 - 19th)
If you have followed the CGB coverage of the Olympic Games, you should be familiar with Betsy Hassett who has been a regular on the New Zealand Football Ferns for 7+ years. The midfielder had battled internationally against Alex Morgan, her one time Cal teammate, on numerous occasions, including the last two Olympics.
When not with the Football Ferns, Hassett has played pro soccer all around Europe - from Germany (SC Sand), to UK (Manchester City), to Norway (Amazon Grimstad), to Germany again (Werder Bremen), to Netherlands (Ajax), and now Iceland (KR).
New Zealand will have a puncher’s chance to advance out of Group E against Netherlands, Canada, and Cameroon. Netherlands and Canada are the favorites to advance out of the group.
DAISY CLEVERLEY - NEW ZEALAND
Cal Bears: 2017-current (junior Environmental Economics and Policy major)
Cal Stats: 1 goal, 2 assists in 29 matches (20 starts)
World Cup experiences: 2nd (2015 - 19th)
Also on the Women’s World Cup roster is rising Cal junior midfielder Daisy Cleverley, who is another Cal representative on the Football Ferns. Cleverley may get in a few matches as a sub this summer. Cleverley actually made her New Zealand senior team debut all the way back in 2014 and she was on the New Zealand Women’s World Cup roster in 2015 (but didn’t see much action as an 18 years old). For her international career, Cleverley has 2 goals in 8 caps.
Cleverley’s first season with the Cal Bears was cut short by an ACL injury. She had a healthier sophomore season playing 12 matches while earning 2 assists.
Group Play Schedule
It’s official! The rosters for all 24 teams at the 2019 @FIFAWWC have been announced and we have four Golden Bears representing three nations!— Cal Women's Soccer (@CalWSoc) May 28, 2019
Let’s go, Miranda, Betsy, Daisy, and Alex! #GoBears #ForCalAndForCountry ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/LovM5cK2JO
Both USA and Thailand are in Group F:
USA vs. Thailand, June 11 in Reims, 12 pm PT
USA vs. Chile, June 16 in Paris, 9 am PT
USA vs. Sweden, June 20 in Le Havre, 12 pm PT
Thailand vs. USA, June 11 in Reims, 12 pm PT
Thailand vs. Sweden, June 16 in Nice, 6 am PT
Thailand vs. Chile, June 20 in Rennes, 12 pm PT
New Zealand is in Group E:
New Zealand vs. Netherlands, June 11 in Le Havre, 6 am PT
New Zealand vs. Canada, June 15 in Grenoble, 12 pm PT
New Zealand vs. Cameroon, June 20 in Montpellier, 9 am PT
US fans can watch the Women’s World Cup on the Fox Sports Channels (FS1 and regular Fox as well as Telemundo). The tournament will run through July 7th throughout France.
Best of luck to all 4 Cal Bears!