Georgia youth clubs create world class soccer stars
ST. LOUIS (FOX 5 Atlanta) - The US women are the favorites to win the 2019 World Cup in France. It's a 23-woman roster. It's a tough job to get. But three women from Georgia got it. And two of these soccer stars are from the metro area.
Kelley O'Hara, Emily Sonnett, and Morgan Brian are part of that squad.
"I feel like we are very well represented on this team," Peachtree City native Kelley O'Hara told me after a pre-cup match in St. Louis. "And it's really cool to have other people from the state of Georgia. We call ourselves the Georgia peaches. I love it."
Thirty-year-old O'Hara is the trio's veteran. She's an Olympic gold medalist and a World Cup champion. The 2019 cup in France will be the third time she dresses out for her country in the cup.
St. Simon's Morgan Brian joins her on the team again. She was a game-changing midfielder who helped the Americans take it all last time.
And 25-year-old newcomer and Marietta native Emily Sonnett is with the crew headed to France. We caught up with her in St. Louis, too.
Emily Sonnett is as proud as we are to see Georgia so well represented on this world-class team.
"I think from when I played as a small girl up through high school and then went to college at the University of Virginia, just seeing the growth of soccer in general at the club level, has been really cool to see."
Sonnett, known for her prankster personality, played for the super competitive club NASA Tophat which has teams in north Atlanta, Fulton, Cobb, and Cherokee. Sonnett, as a little girl, was on this club's national championship team.
O'Hara and her trademark steely gaze started playing soccer in Fayette County, Georgia advancing to the powerful club Concorde Fire which has branches in Atlanta, John's Creek and Woodstock.
"Yeah, Georgia was a great soccer state that I grew up in and had really strong programs. And I was lucky to be on a really great team and coached by really great coaches, so I think it's continuing to grow," O'Hara added.
Even Morgan Brian, whose club experiences were in South Georgia and North Florida, understands Atlanta's soccer impact on young girls.
"Obviously, soccer is growing in this country, but more importantly, especially in Atlanta. There are so many club teams and so many young girls playing soccer. I guess there's more of a future in soccer than there was when we were growing up."
Catch all of the World Cup 2019 action on Fox and FS1. Our coverage begins June 8th and you will see every game live that the USA plays.
FOX 5 News reporting from Atlanta