Jul 17, 2023 - Sports

OL Reign's Sofia Huerta helps make World Cup history

Image of a soccer player on the field.
OL Reign forward Sofia Huerta in action during a game between the Kansas City Current and the OL Reign at Lumen Field in Seattle. Photo:Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Only two Latina soccer players have represented the United States at the Women's World Cup. But that number is about to double, and half the reason is OL Reign's Sofia Huerta.

Driving the news: Huerta, a defender for the Seattle team, and midfielder Ashley Sanchez, are both Mexican American. They make up the most diverse roster in the U.S Women's National Team's history — a reflection of the changing U.S. demographics, Axios Latino reports.

  • It's the pair's first time on a pro World Cup roster after having successful runs at the youth soccer level. The tournament kicks off on July 20.

Between the lines: Huerta is among a growing crop of athletes with dual nationality who sometimes face hard decisions about which country to represent in international competitions.

  • As a youth player, Huerta was part of the Mexico national team. With a long-held dream to play for the U.S. at a World Cup, she asked to switch football associations.
  • "Being on the U.S. team while having Huerta so visible in the back of my jersey is something so important to me because I feel in some ways like I get to represent both places that I'm passionate about," Huerta said, as reported by Telemundo Deportes.

State of play: The U.S. team is a powerhouse in women's national soccer, with four cups under its belt.

  • This summer, it's aiming to pull off a hat-trick: winning three consecutive World Cups, a feat no national men's or women's team has ever achieved.
  • Five OL Reign players will play for the U.S., the most of any franchise: Alana Cook, Emily Sonnett, Rose Lavelle and forward Megan Rapinoe will compete, in addition to Huerta.
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