Here are all the US Women's National Soccer Team players with Bay Area ties

ByLauren Martinez and Suzanne Phan KGO logo
Saturday, July 22, 2023
World Cup 2023: All the USWNT players with Bay Area ties
There's a lot of reason to be excited about the U.S. Women's World Cup Team. Many of the players on the squad have ties to the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup has kicked off. The U.S. Women's National Team won against Vietnam in their opening match of the 2023 World Cup.

There's a lot of reason to be excited about the U.S. Women's World Cup Team. Many of the players on the squad have ties to the Bay Area.

Striker Alex Morgan is always a huge favorite among Bay Area residents. At the Elite Sports in the Mission District, fans will find a way to support Team USA.

"We have women's national team shirts. Morgan. Number 13," said employee Salvador Villa Canza.

VIDEO: Bay Area soccer fans send off US Women's National Team to 2023 FIFA World Cup

The USWNT soaked up every bit of sunshine and warm weather before heading off to winter time Down Under for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

On the pitch, soccer stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Kelly O'Hara are among 10 players with Northern California connections. They all will represent the U.S. at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Brady Stewart, is the CEO of what will be the first women's professional team in the Bay Area.

"I'm incredibly thrilled about the Bay Area connections to women's World Cup. The Bay Area is a hotbed of soccer talent globally. About 35% of the current team has Bay Area ties -- whether that's through their time at Cal, Stanford, and Santa Clara," said Stewart.

Jerry Smith is head coach of Santa Clara University women's soccer team.

"On the current team, we have two players from Santa Clara University - Julie Erks and Sophia Huerta. And, of course from Cal Berkeley, Alex Morgan. And from Stanford, we have five players," said Smith. "It's great to see so many of those universities represented at the World Cup."

MORE: Rapinoe's farewell begins with the US team's opening Women's World Cup match against Vietnam

There are more Bay Area World Cup ties beyond the U.S. Women's National Team.

Jessika Cowart and Reina Bonta, the daughter of California Attorney General Rob Banta, will play for the women's team of the Philippines. Both were teammates years ago in San Mateo.

"World Cup is the pinnacle of what we do. It's an amazing event. It's great to see it continue to grow," said Smith.

San Francisco's World Cup Village is back in action to host watch parties for the U.S. Women's Soccer Team.

"We can come and see it together as a community," said Yosolain Valladares who turned out for viewing party in San Francisco with her 14-year-old son.

MORE: CEO of Bay FC says region's excitement, soccer roots key for new women's team

Hundreds of people watched the kickoff on the big screen at the Crossing at East Cut Friday night as U.S. takes on Vietnam. The free activities and watch party are thanks to a partnership between Street Soccer USA and San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

Over the course of the series, organizers are hosting four watch parties across the City: The Crossing, Embarcadero Plaza, JFK Promenade and the Crossing.

  • Friday, July 21, 6 - 9 p.m. USA vs. Vietnam, The Crossing at East Cut
  • Wednesday, July 26, 6 - 9 p.m. USA vs. Netherlands, Embarcadero Plaza
  • Saturday, Aug. 5, 7 - 9:30 p.m. Golden Gate Park, JFK Promenade at 14th Ave.
  • Thursday, Aug. 10, 6 - 9 p.m. Quarterfinal, The Crossing at East Cut

You'll find more info at

"Hosting these public watch parties at some of the city's most beloved locations not only brings San Franciscans together, but the fervor that comes with the World Cup always adds another layer of excitement and enthusiasm," San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said. "With the recent news that the Bay Area is getting a pro women's soccer team, the Bay FC, this year's Women's World Cup is even more special. Women's soccer is experiencing a major moment!"

Hundreds attended a watch party at PayPal Park hosted by the San Jose Earthquakes.

A third of the Women's National Soccer Team have ties to the Bay Area - well mostly the South Bay.

Stanford's Sophia Smith not only scored twice - but became the youngest player to score multiple goals in a world cup debut. Smith is 22-years-old.

San Jose's own Naomi Girma plays defense.

Jillian Whitling and her family wore Girma shirts.

"My wife's daughter played high school soccer with Naomi that's why we all have our shirts. You could tell she was going to be a star she was so good, really smooth with the ball just unbelievable," Whitlig said.

Cupertino resident Leslie Saito-Liu said the Bay Area is proud to have those ties to players. Saito-Liu said the team sets a good example for young players.

"Just to help young girls know they can play with strength, and they can play with spirit and have a good time at the same time," Saito-Liu said.

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