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Sports Youngest member of World Cup squad shows she has what it takes to be part of USWNT

15:20  16 july  2020
15:20  16 july  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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a man holding a football ball on a field: Tierna Davidson is ready to carry on the legacy of the USWNT. And she has no problem standing up for what she believes in on and off the field. © Michael Chow, USA TODAY Sports Tierna Davidson is ready to carry on the legacy of the USWNT. And she has no problem standing up for what she believes in on and off the field.

Tierna Davidson is ready to handle the expectations that come with being part of the U.S. women’s soccer team.

All of them.

The defender for the Chicago Red Stars was the youngest member of last year’s World Cup champions, picked for the team just 16 months after making her debut with the USWNT. With many of the team’s biggest stars unlikely to be around in 2023 or, if they are, playing reduced roles, Davidson, now 21, and midfielder Rose Lavelle, 25, are expected to be the cornerstones who will carry the team for the next decade.

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“Something that I learned pretty quickly is getting called up to the national team is not a moment where you should say, `Oh, I finally made it.’ That's just the beginning,” Davidson said in the latest episode of the Changing the Game podcast.

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“It is important that, once you get to that level, you relish in your accomplishment of being called up. But then it's, `What's next? How can I improve? How can I make myself better? How can I make my teammates better? How can I contribute to the team?’” she said. “And that's constantly asking yourself those questions and looking for places to get better. Which is, I think, what our team does incredibly well.”

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The World Cup title last summer was the fourth for the U.S. women, twice as many as any other women’s team and just one fewer than Brazil’s men. The Americans are also four-time Olympic champions, and they spent all but 10 months of this most recent decade at the top of the world rankings.

Ask anyone who’s ever played for the team how the USWNT maintains such a high level of success year after year, even as players and coaches come and go, and the answer is always the same: Legacy. When you make the team, you know the history. You know the standard that has been set.

And you do not want to be the one who fails to uphold it.

“There's a sense of responsibility,” Davidson said.

Davidson played little for the youth national teams, but her performance at Stanford as a sophomore caught the attention of then-coach Jill Ellis. Davidson had led Stanford to the NCAA title, and was named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the College Cup.

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Called up for a training camp in January 2018, she wound up starting 12 games and was named U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Player of the Year. Despite missing most of her junior year at Stanford with a broken ankle, Davidson made the World Cup team.

Though she played in only one game, her start against Chile made her the youngest player to start for the U.S. women at the World Cup since 1995. Davidson also had assists on two of the three U.S. goals.

“While there's always that pressure there to perform and to succeed as a team, there's also a really strong sense of camaraderie,” Davidson said. “We understand as a team, especially the veterans who've been there for years, that you can't make it to the top … by yourself. You have to have everyone with you and everybody needs support.

“That attitude of having each other's back, no matter what, I think is something that is very unique to our team.”

It carries over off the field, too.

The U.S. women have a long history of advocating for equality, be it equal pay, better benefits for working mothers, LGBTQ rights or, most recently, the recognition that Black lives matter.

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“I think that we have taken that responsibility as women in positions of influence and women with power and women that exude qualities of strength and empathy … to use our platform to push forward ideas that need to be pushed forward, and have been left behind for far too long,” Davidson said.

“It's a personal crusade for a lot of us,” she added. “It only feels right and necessary for us to push for ourselves, to push for our teammates, and then to push for the communities … that deserve to have that kind of recognition and equality.”

Since the death of George Floyd, Davidson has been using her social channels to call attention to systemic racism and promote ways to eradicate it. A lesbian, she was featured prominently in U.S. Soccer and Nike’s Pride campaigns last month.

“We have access to thousands of people and especially, at least for me, younger people who need that … opportunity to learn,” Davidson said. “That’s what a lot of this is about, people who haven't been educated in the proper way. And I think that we need to give a lot of the young people the opportunity to learn -- and to unlearn -- whatever they need to.”

It’s clear that Davidson has learned what it means to be a member of the USWNT. In every way.

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More on previous episodes:

LAURIE HERNANDEZ: Olympic gymnast opens up and embraces her emotions

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DORIS BURKE: NBA broadcaster does her job and does it well

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Youngest member of World Cup squad shows she has what it takes to be part of USWNT

Hoffenheim brings Bayer U-19 defender Rüth .
At Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Fabian Rüth was part of the extended Bundesliga squad after the Corona break. The defender is now moving from the U 19 in Leverkusen to 1899 Hoffenheim, where he is to be built up via the regional league team. © imago images Fabian Rüth will appear in the TSG Hoffenheim jersey in the future. His name is only known to insiders.

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