Fresh off a national title, junior Kiki Pickett and sophomore Sophia Smith joined the World Cup champion U.S. women’s national team for an identification camp. Pickett scored the game-winning penalty kick to win Stanford its third NCAA championship, and Smith was named the College Cup Most Outstanding Player.
Two more former Cardinal, the Washington Spirit’s Jordan DiBiasi ’18 and the Houston Dash’s Jane Campbell ’17, were evaluated by newly minted United States women’s national soccer team (USWNT) head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
“I think we definitely have to change our mindset from being here and then going to camp,” Pickett said after the NCAA final. “It’s going to be a big opportunity for us in a different environment.”
Although invited, junior forward Madison Haley and sophomore center back Naomi Girma were unable to attend due to injuries. The camp started on Dec. 9 in Bradenton, Florida, one day after Stanford clinched the NCAA title in San Jose. On Tuesday, three days after the camp ended, the USWNT posted a recap video of the camp, featuring Smith.
“This camp is an amazing experience to integrate new younger players into the system and give the new coach to see what we have to offer,” Smith said in the video.
The camp did not include any of the players from the 21-player World Cup-winning squad, of which three more were former Cardinal: Kelley O’Hara ’10, Christen Press ’11 and Tierna Davidson ’20.
O’Hara and Press shared the single-season Stanford record for points in a season with 65, but that total was smashed by junior midfielder Catarina Macario this season. The Brazilian-born star has been determined to play for the U.S., but has yet to appear for the senior side.
“I have really high expectations,” Smith said. “Obviously, I want to show Vlatko what I can do, especially with these high level players, but I also want to have fun and take it all in because it’s an amazing experience.
Smith scored in a U.S. Youth National Team-record nine consecutive international games for the U.S. U-20 WNT in 2018 when she tallied 15 total goals. This was the second training camp experience for Smith with her first coming in 2017 at age 16, though she, like all other players born after the 1999 World Cup, have yet to appear in a game for the national team.
“It’s a great opportunity to see all these young players,” Andonovski said. “It’s good for them to get experience of what a camp looks like, but it’s also good for us to see where they are in their stage of their careers and their development.”
“It’s a hard team to break into,” Andonovski added. “It’s a World Cup champion.”
DiBiasi scored four times for the Spirit and was a National Women’s Soccer League Rookie of the Year candidate while playing in 22 games with 20 starts. Along with Pickett, she will be making her first appearance in a national team camp.
Campbell, meanwhile, has three caps, and first trained with the USWNT at the age of 17 in January of 2013 as the youngest goalkeeper to be called into the senior camp.
Looking forward, the USWNT will face Haiti on Jan. 28, in its first game of the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will send two nations to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.