Santa Clara

Team USA's Bay Area Ties Run Deep as Quest for World Cup Title Begins

Alex Morgan, Julie Ertz, Kelly O'Hara, Tierna Davidson and Christen Press all have connections to the Bay Area

The United States Women's National Team begins its quest to repeat as World Cup champions Tuesday when they face Thailand in their first game in Group F.

Team USA, led by Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath, are seen as the favorites to repeat as Women's World Cup Champions. They'll face stiff competition, though, with host nation France, England and Australia all looking like valiant challengers to the Americas.

While the eyes of the nation will surely be locked on the Americans' quest to win their first back-to-back to titles in history, the Bay Area also should be locked into the month-long competition.

The Bay Area ties run deep within Team USA.

It starts with Morgan. The striker was a star during her four-year collegiate career at Cal. During her freshman season in Berkeley, she led the Golden Bears in scoring. She finished her career at Cal ranked third in school history in both goals (45) and points (107). The Bears made the NCAA Tournament during each of Morgan's four seasons.

Next comes midfielder Julie Ertz. The wife of former Stanford tight end and current Philadelphia Eagle Zach Ertz starred in college at Santa Clara University. From 2010-2013, Ertz made 79 appearances for the Broncos, scoring 31 goals during her time at Santa Clara.

Forward and Georgia native Kelly O'Hara came to the Bay Area in 2006 to attend Stanford University and she had a prolific career for the Cardinal. During her time in Palo Alto, O'Hara led the Cardinal to the College Cup in both her junior and senior seasons. In 2009, she was awarded the Hermann Trophy as collegiate soccer's top player.

The Bay Area also plays a little bit of defense, though. Defender Tierna Davidson grew up in Menlo Park and attended Stanford from 2016-18. She was named to the Pac-12 All-Freshman Team and made the All-Pac-12 Second Team. In 2017, Davidson was named the Pac-12's Defensive Player of the Year and also was named the 2017 College Cup's Most Outstanding Defensive Player after helping lead Stanford to the national title. She left Stanford and turned pro after fracturing her ankle during her junior season.

We saved the player who had the most impressive stint in the Bay for last. Christen Press was an absolute star during her four years at Stanford. She finished as the program's all-time leader in goals scored with 71. She also broke numerous school records, including setting marks for assists, shots, points and goals in a single season. Press has scored 48 international goals since joining the national team in 2013.

Team USA has some new faces heading into the 2019 Women's World Cup, but they still face the same lofty expectations. It'll be up to some former Bay Area stars to make sure they repeat as champions.

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