For Savannah DeMelo, the idea that she will soon be slipping on the United States kit and representing her country on the biggest stage at the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand still hasn’t fully sunk in yet.
“I don’t think there are any words,” the Racing Louisville — and now U.S. women’s national team — midfielder told The Equalizer. “I would have never imagined this would have been my journey and I’m just super grateful for it.”
DeMelo’s journey has certainly been a unique one. After becoming a mainstay in the U.S. youth program, a serious Achilles injury in college delayed her integration into the senior team. Even so, her club play during the 2023 National Women’s Soccer League season has been so sensational that she has found herself included in the United States’ World Cup roster despite having never earned a single cap. This feat has only ever been accomplished by two other United States players in the history of the Women’s World Cup: Shannon Boxx in 2003 and Debbie Keller in 1995.
DeMelo sat down with The Equalizer to discuss her journey to the World Cup, how she got here, what she brings to the table that’s different from other players, and where she’ll go from here.
Keeping things interesting
One of the more impressive aspects of DeMelo’s rapid rise into the national team is the fact that her soccer career almost ended before it even got started. While in college at the University of Southern California, she ruptured her Achilles during practice, which kept her off the pitch for over a year. After playing in the 2018 U-20 World Cup and scoring four goals, she had been in discussions with the national team coaching staff about her next steps both nationally and professionally, but all that was delayed significantly while she recuperated.
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