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UNC Soccer: Two Tar Heels help national teams qualify for 2023 Women’s World Cup

A pair of Heels helped their national teams book places in next summer’s World Cup.

United States v Canada - 2022 Concacaf W Championship Final Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

A couple weeks ago, we covered the Tar Heels who were in their country’s national teams for the CONCACAF W Championship. The tournament doubled as qualification for the North America/Central America/Caribbean region for both the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the women’s soccer tournament at the 2024 Summer Olympics. Well late Monday night in Mexico, the championship wrapped up, so let’s check in on what happened.

The tournament concluded with the final on Monday, as the US, featuring Tar Heel Emily Fox, defeated Canada 1-0 to ensure that they have booked a place at both the World Cup and the Olympics.

Fox played a key role for the US, starting three of the five matches played at the tournament, including playing all 90 minutes in the final against Canada. The only two she didn’t appear in happened during a stretch when she had to enter into COVID protocols. When she was on the field, she was part of a US defensive line that did not allow a goal in any of the five games they played. The success in the tournament means the US will be at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next summer, but in Paris for the next Olympics. The Olympics part was a bit tricky, as only the tournament winner was guaranteed a place, and Canada are an excellent team themselves, having won the gold medal at last year’s Tokyo Olympics. However, Fox and the US defense kept them off the board and the Americans will be headed for both major tournaments.

The other Tar Heel who competed at the CONCACAF W Championship was Jamaica’s Satara Murray, who helped them to a very respectable third place finish. Murray appeared in four of five games, as Jamaica clinched a spot in the World Cup and theoretically could also qualify for the Olympics.

Jamaica’s only two losses in the competition came to the two finalists, having fell to the US in the group stage and to Canada in the semifinals. Murray also played in defense for two of Jamaica’s three wins, arguably the two most crucial ones. In the final group stage game, she helped Jamaica to a 4-0 win over Haiti. The victory clinched a spot in the semifinals, which ensured a top four finish at the tournament and a spot at the 2023 World Cup. The other big win came in the third place match, where Murray again helped keep the opponent off the board as Jamaica beat Costa Rica 3-0. That victory got Jamaica a spot in a playoff against Canada for a spot at the 2024 Olympics, which will be played at a later date.

Congrats to Fox and Murray and their teams, and hopefully we’ll see them and more Tar Heels at the next World Cup and Olympics.