Varsity Extra

Boise native earns more and more playing time for U.S. women’s soccer team

Boise native Sofia Huerta has made three appearances for the U.S. women’s soccer team in the past two months.
Boise native Sofia Huerta has made three appearances for the U.S. women’s soccer team in the past two months.

Boise native Sofia Huerta is quickly becoming a regular for the U.S. women’s national soccer team.

U.S. coach Jill Ellis named the Centennial High graduate to her 23-player roster for a pair of upcoming friendlies against Canada, giving Huerta two more chances to impress national team coaches ahead of World Cup qualifying next fall.

The first of the two games against Canada kicks off at 8 p.m. MT Thursday (ESPN2) in Vancouver, British Columbia, followed by a 7 p.m. MT match Sunday (FS1) in San Jose, Calif. — the Americans’ final game of 2017.

The 24-year-old Huerta has made three appearances for the national team since FIFA approved her one-time change of national team associations after playing for Mexico in the U-20 World Cup in 2012, earning more and more playing time each game.

A converted forward, Huerta tallied an assist in her first appearance Sept. 15, then earned her first start at right back in a 6-0 win over South Korea on Oct. 22. She’s the first Idaho native to play for the U.S. women’s national team.

The U.S. has used forwards as defenders in the past. Kelley O’Hara plays forward for her club team but has used her speed and offensive skills to become a regular outside back on the national team, making 102 appearances.

Huerta has shown her prowess as an attacking option pushing forward in limited playing time, but fifth-ranked Canada will test her abilities defending her new position.

Sunday’s game also marks a homecoming for Huerta. San Jose’s Ayava Stadium is located next door to Santa Clara University, where Huerta played in college.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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