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Tar Heels in the Women’s World Cup: Lucy Bronze

The one-and-done Tar Heel and Lioness legend looks to bring World Cup glory back home to England.

England World Cup 2023 Training Camp Photo by Naomi Baker - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Lucy Bronze is the third, and oldest, former Tar Heel that will play in the World Cup for England. The 31-year old right back has been to three World Cups (2013, 2015, 2019) and has 105 appearances for the Lionesses. She is the starting right back for Barcelona, the best women’s club in the world.

Bronze came to Chapel Hill in 2009 after graduating high school in Alnwick, England a year early. As a 17-year old, she arrived on campus not expecting to get much playing time in central defense, so she was shifted to midfield. Her ball-carrying and forward passing was useful there as they are now in her right back role for club and country.

In her only season at Carolina, Lucy Bronze made 24 appearances and scored three goals to help the Tar Heels win the 2009 national championship. Check out this video that FIFA put together about her story. At the 8:30 minute mark, it goes into her time in Chapel Hill with commentary by Anson Dorrance.

As previously mentioned, Bronze plays right back for England, but often inverts into midfield to control possession. She still has the speed to beat defenders to the byline, and her dribbling lets her control attacks by running at defenders, committing them to her runs or forcing them to foul.

A trusted lieutenant of England head coach Sarina Wiegman—she started all six games of the Euro 2022 tournament—expect to see Bronze at least start England’s first two games. With captain Leah Williamson out of the World Cup with a torn ACL, Wiegman may not trust her depth as much, so Bronze could be forced to play every minute available to her, but that’s something the former Tar Heel can handle with aplomb.