Hamm-coached team with 10 UNC alums to vie for $1 million at Cary 7-on-7 event

By R.L. Bynum

The Carolina women’s soccer program has produced some of the best players in the United States, so why not form a United States team made up mostly of former Tar Heels?

That will happen June 1–4 at the WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary for a 32-team, seven-on-seven $1 million winner-take-all event called The Soccer Tournament, put on by TBT Enterprises, the same company that has run The Basketball Tournament annually in the summer since 2014.

The greatest of all of the former Tar Heels, Mia Hamm, will coach the team, called “U.S. Women,” along with Carla Overbeck. The team will include 10 former UNC players and a few other players, with the final roster announced Tuesday. Also on the coaching staff are Michelle Akers and Heather Mitts.

The event will divide teams into eight groups of four, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the knockout stage. U.S. Women are in group E with the Wrexham Red Dragons, Como 1907 and Say Word FC.

Midfielder Kristine Lilly Heavey (top photo), a four-time national champion at UNC and the most experienced player in U.S. National Team history with 354 caps, will play her first competitive match since 2011.

The event includes storied clubs such as West Ham United, Borussia Dortmund and Wolverhampton.

Other Tar Heels on the team, in addition to Heavey (who played at Carolina from 1989–92), the team will include midfielder Heather O’Reilly (2003–06), defender Lori Lawson (2002–05), defender Cat Whitehill (2000–03), midfielder Kacey White (2002–05), defender Kendall Fletcher (2002–05), defender Hanna Gardner (2012–16), forward Casey Loyd (2006–09), goalkeeper Lindsey Harris (2012–16) and midfielder Alexandra Kimball (2014–18).

That group collectively has 895 national caps, four World Cups and seven Olympic gold medals.

The U.S. team’s opener is June 1 against Say Word FC, a team filled with young players from the area that pays homage to North Carolina and the historically Black colleges and universities across the country.

Later that day, the U.S. team will take on the Wrexham Red Dragons. The team’s final group stage game on June 2 will be against Como 1907 of Serie B in Italy, captained by World Cup, La Liga and Premier League winner Cesc Fabregas.

The top two teams from each of the eight groups will advance to the knockout stage, which will start on the evening of June 2. Round-of-eight and round-of-four games are set for June 3. The championship game is June 4.

The Soccer Tournament groups

Group A: Borussia Dortmund, Hoosiers Army (Indiana Alumni), Kingdom FC, Newtown Pride FC
Group B: Wolverhampton, Blade & Grass FC, Villita FC, DMV Diplomats
Group C: Club Necaxa, Hapoel Tel Aviv, SLC FC, Virginia Dream
Group D: West Ham, Dallas United, Culture by Mo Ali FC, Far East United
Group E: Wrexham Red Dragons, Como 1907, US Women, Say Word FC
Group F: Hashtag United, Conrad & Beasley United, Nati SC, Gracie FC
Group G: Team Dempsey, Sneaky Fox FC, Zala FFF, Jackson TN Boom
Group H: Charlotte FC, Duke Sevens (Duke Alumni), NCFC, Raleigh Rebels

Photo via @USWNT


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s