- Maya Moffat ’23
On July 7th this summer the US Women’s National team won a historic fourth World Cup; out of the twenty-three amazing women on that team, two of them were graduates of SHP. As Mr. Rodriguez, SHP Athletic Director puts it, “to have two of our alums represent the United States out of our dinky little school… I think if you were to actually take the odds on that – I don’t know what they would be but they would be astronomical.”
Their spectacular victory in France, helped along by the two SHP grads Abby Dahlkemper ‘11 and Tierna Davidson ‘16, was in fact the team’s fourth World Cup win for the US, a number that not even any of the men’s teams have surpassed. In their recent final against the Netherlands an astounding crowd of 60,000 people showed up to watch them play, including many members of the Sacred Heart community. The USWNT won the final after an amazing journey by a margin of two goals to zero. When Dahlkemper was asked what it felt like to win a World Cup, she answered, “I remember when the final whistle blew and we had won it I had a rush of straight relief, happiness, and accomplishment. It was amazing and something I’ll remember forever.”
Both Dahlkemper and Davidson contributed to the US victory by defending. Dahlkemper started almost every game as a center back and played in all of them; Davidson started and played a single game as the youngest player on the team at twenty years old. The defensive line and both SHP grads put forth an amazing performance, giving up only three goals throughout the entire tournament. When asked about how Dahlkemper was like as a highschooler, Mr. Jake Moffat, her coach at the time said; “I am not sure I could say that I knew she would make it to the World Cup, but I always knew she had a chance; she was the best player on the field for just about every game she played in high school, even when she was a freshman.”
These two amazing women “gave everybody [from the SHP community] watching the World Cup something unique and special to share,” commented Mr. Rodriguez. In a sense, Davidson and Dahlkemper brought the community together on a deeper level; everybody who knew them when they were at Sacred Heart was excited to watch and root for them as they took on their dream. While fans were cheering them on at home, many members of the SHP community, as well as the wider Menlo Park community, traveled all the way to France to witness their success firsthand. Overall the two were well supported and loved by everyone who took pride in the team’s victory.
Both players played varsity in all four years of their time at Sacred Heart. Although they were Gators at different times and had different coaches during their time at SHP, both Davidson and Dahlkemper were very successful throughout their four years. Each won a CCS championship and multiple WBAL Player of the Year awards. Dahlkemper also won the Gatorade player of the year in California. In short, both these players were amazing in high school, and have left future players a tall order to fill.
When Megan Tinsely 21’ who is currently on the SHP soccer team talked about the two national team players she said; “Knowing that they played on the fields that I currently play on, I feel like I’m one of the many SHP athletes that are continuing on the legacy that Abby and Tierna left on Sacred Heart soccer fields”. Even though the two players were impressive in high school, it’s still incredible that both ended up on the national team. As Mr. Rodriguez says,“ I don’t think that Sacred Heart is looked at as a huge women’s soccer factory… but I do think it has brought a terrific amount of recognition to the school that I think we all celebrate.”
After SHP, Davidson and Dahlkemper’s careers only progressed, Dahlkemper went on to play at UCLA where she won a national championship and continued on to play for the North Carolina Courage where she has two pro championships and a Defensive Player of the Year award. From there she got sent up to the National team and broadened her already impressive resume by winning the World Cup.
Davidson played at Stanford and like Dahlkeper she also won a national championship. She was first called up to the national team during her Sophomore year when she was nineteen. In Spring of last year Davidson stopped out of Stanford to participate in the professional draft and prepare for the World cup; she is currently playing for the Chicago Red Stars.
After many hours spent training and working to better themselves as players and as people so they can be the pair of national level soccer players they are today, their work has finally paid off after winning the Women’s World Cup, the crown jewel of women’s soccer. The achievements they have made make the whole SHP community proud. In the words of Mr. Moffat, “it showcases the way SHP produces great athletes who are also great people and are thoughtful members of the community.”