One month ago, the 2023 USL W League Final was attended by over 5,000 fans in Indiana, making it the largest crowd ever to see a women’s soccer match in the state. On the field, six Academy players showcased their talents, just as they did in April of this year at the 2023 USL Academy Cup in Tampa, FL.
North Carolina Courage’s Phoebe Goldthwaite, Bella Ayscue, Aven Alvarez, Gabrielle Ciocca, and Mary Daly, have had a year to remember, winning the 2023 Academy Cup and being Finalists in the 2023 USL W League this season.
In April this year, the Courage competed at USL Academy Cup, where they dominated the pitch game after game for four wins in the club’s championship campaign. Goldthwaite, who plays collegiately at Duke, was awarded the Golden Ball of the tournament for most valuable player and teammate Daly who recently committed to Dartmouth, was awarded Golden Glove. Additionally, Goldthwaite and Daly were named to the All-Tournament Best XI alongside Ayscue and Alvarez.
In addition to their success at Academy Cup, the girls displayed a high level of competition throughout the 2023 W League Season. The quintuplet of Academy players helped lead the team to the top spot in the South Atlantic Division and the 2023 W League Final where they would fall 2-1 against a strong Indy team.
Another Academy standout named to All-Tournament Best XI was sixteen-year-old Emma Johnson who plays center-mid for Indy Eleven also found success in the USL Academy and in the W League, winning the 2023 W League title.
It’s fair to say that all six players brought their ‘A’ game this season in both the USL Academy and USL W League. The USL Academy Girls Division will continue to lay the foundation for women’s soccer in America and set the stage for the women’s pathway at the USL.