CARY, N.C. — After training in the quaint town of Efland, North Carolina – which according to the 2010 census, has a population below 750 people – the United States Women’s National Team U-20s squared off against some of the top players from the Atlantic Coastal Conference at WakeMed Soccer Park Monday night.
The opponent, the Carolina RailHawks Elite Technique Women’s Intensive Collegiate Program, coached by retired European veteran and current color commentator Sam Stockley, fell 5-0 in its inaugural match.
Mallory Pugh, who hadn’t been with the U20s since Dec. 13 while competing in Olympic qualifiers with the senior team, was the star of the evening, scoring four goals as the national team emerged with a 5-0 victory.
The first goal was a left-footed crack that ricocheted off the crossbar and in, leaving the crowd in awe. United States coach Michelle French is happy to have the budding superstar back in her lineup.
“Having her personality off the field has been a bright spot for us,” she said. “The players love to be around her and the savviness and sophistication after being with the (senior team) is great for our group to see and it continues to stretch and push them to become better.”
TopDrawerSoccer.com was there for the action. Here are some of the other players that stood out.