Ella Sanchez, a member of Racing Louisville FC Academy and a veteran of Ballard High School, was one of 21 female soccer players named on Thursday to the U.S. Under-17 National Team that will compete at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. .
“I’ve always dreamed of playing only for the United States, so going to the World Cup is just unbelievable,” said Sanchez. “I think being at Racing Academy helped me to do my best. Training with Racing and being at the Academy took me to the next level.”
The event is scheduled for October 11-30 in India. The USA will face India (October 11), Brazil (October 14) and Morocco (October 17) in Group A. The top two in the group advance to the round of 16.
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Players born on or after January 1, 2005 are eligible for this World Cup. Astrain chose 16 players born in 2005 and five born in 2006. Eleven players will be 17 years old at the start of the World Cup and 10 will be 16.
“I give the players a lot of credit for how much this group has grown in such a short time,” said US coach Natalia Astrain. “They are a very united team, not only dedicated to playing our style of football on the pitch, but supporting each other off the pitch. They are a team full of positive spirit and competitiveness, and the opportunity to represent the USA at a World Cup is one they are embracing with humility and tremendous emotion.”
Sanchez, a 17-year-old midfielder, is not playing high school football this season after joining Racing Louisville’s academy. As a junior at Ballard last season, Sanchez was named the Gatorade Kentucky Women’s Soccer Player of the Year after scoring 64 goals and 14 assists.
Sanchez trained with the Racing Louisville first team and played during the summer for the club’s USL W League team on the nation’s premier pre-pro women’s soccer circuit.
“What Ella continues to accomplish is truly amazing, but not surprising to those who see her train and compete on a daily basis,” said Tim Nowak, Racing Academy Director. “Ella takes a lot of work and does it in a quiet, humble way, but her motivation is exceptional. She takes it to even higher levels.”
Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @kyhighs.