16-year-old Lily Yohannes becomes the third-youngest USWNT goalscorer on her debut

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Ajax midfielder Lily Yohannes became the third-youngest goal scorer ever for the U.S. women’s national team, scoring the home goal in the 82nd minute in a friendly against South Korea on Tuesday night.

Yohannes has already made history just by being on the field for the match. When she took the field, the 16-year-old became the youngest player to play for the national team since 2001, and only the eighth to make her debut before turning 17. She followed only Kristine Lilly and Tiffany Roberts in scoring. as the youngest USWNT goal scorers.

“It really is a dream come true,” Yohannes told TNT Sports after the USWNT won 3-0. “I’ve played the scenario in my head before, I don’t know how many times. The support from my teammates who all came out to see me made it even more special.”


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How did Yohannes score?

Although a friendly cap does not bind a player, seeing Lily Yohannes in the 72′ was another step in the team’s continued renewal after the World Cup. She was given some freedom to stray from Sam Coffey and wanted to play in the wingers, which she immediately seemed comfortable doing. At some points she was also asked to navigate around the venerable Ji So-yun, a big ask for a first assignment, but an important one that demonstrated both a level of confidence and a level of willingness to let Yohannes fly on his own or traps. .

Yohannes chose to ‘fly’ by scoring her first goal, a calmly placed shot that rolled just under goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.

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Yohannes has written her name into the record books at just 16 years and 358 days old.

“Lily is a ballet dancer. From the day she came into camp, all she did was make moves that you don’t see a 16-year-old make,” forward Sophia Smith said. “You don’t even see experienced players making these passes. She is confident, she is composed. We knew she would hopefully be in this game, and she came in and didn’t miss a beat.

“She looked like a natural and to score a goal on top of that is amazing and so well deserved.” — Steph Yang

Who is Lily Yohannes?

Born in Springfield, Virginia, Yohannes spent her early childhood playing the game alongside her brothers and father in a community of fellow Ethiopian and Eritrean expats. When the family moved to the Netherlands, Yohannes played his way into the Ajax women’s academy system, eventually becoming a starter for the team this season.

She made 20 appearances this season, scoring five goals with four assists and helping Ajax reach the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, where they fell to Emma Hayes’ Chelsea.

“She is the most mature 16-year-old I have ever met,” USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle said on Tuesday. “Honestly, I feel like she’s more mature than me. She has been so impressive. I said to her, ‘I will always remember my hundredth cap because it was Lily’s first cap and her first goal.’

Required reading

(Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images)

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