Nine former and current Tar Heels head to Women’s World Cup

Six of the nine former University of North Carolina women’s soccer players who competed in the 2015 FIFA World Cup in Canada are bringing home a world title.

Consisting of six Tar Heels — Lori Chalupny, Whitney Engen, Ashlyn Harris, Meghan Klingenberg, Tobin Heath and Heather O’Reilly — the United States earned its third world title with a 5-2 win over Japan on July 5.

During the tournament, Carolina players represented four countries — the United States, Canada, New Zealand and England. The Tar Heels’ nine representatives in the World Cup were the most of any U.S. university. Both Stanford and Penn State had five players competing in the 2015 event.

Two Tar Heels — O’Reilly (2006 graduate) and Robyn Gayle (2007) — played in their third World Cups, having both competed in 2007 and 2011 as well. Heath (2009), and Chalupny (2005), played for the U.S. side for the second time. Heath was on the 2011 team and Chalupny made her debut in 2007.

Five Tar Heels enjoyed their first World Cup. For the USA, Engen (2009), Harris (2009) and Klingenberg (2010) all played for the first time. Katie Bowen, a rising senior on the 2015 Tar Heel team, debuted for the Football Ferns of New Zealand. Also competing for the first time was Lucy Bronze, who played on Carolina’s 2009 NCAA championship team before returning to her native England to play professionally.

America, Canada and England all qualified for the knock-out rounds. England advanced to the semifinals largely because of Bronze’s game-winning goals against Canada and Norway. After falling to Japan in the semifinal match, England earned a third-place finish with a 1-0 win over Germany

America topped China 1-0 and Germany 2-0 to advance to the finals. Heath’s goal — her first of the tournament — helped America capture its third world title with a 5-2 win over Japan.

Published June 5, 2015. Updated July 6, 2015.