Girls Best XI selections announced from 2023 USL Academy Cup
After impressive USL Academy Cup performances from hundreds of the nation’s elite young players, 44 have been selected to represent the Academy Cup’s All-Tournament teams.
See below for a look at the Girls Best XI First Team and Second Team selections. To view the Boys Best XI teams, click here.
GIRLS FIRST XI
A Premier Division championship for the Kentucky club can be thanks to a perfect defensive record from Dawahare and her fellow teammates in the Lexington backline. No goals conceded in four games marks a series of excellent defensive showings for Dawahare as looks to translate these performances into the regular season.
Scoring the winner early in the second half of their championship matchup vs NC Fusion, the sixteen-year-old forward put in noteworthy performances to help the Courage hoist the trophy. The Wake Forest native is sure to play an influential role for her club moving forward.
Playing a key role with two goals in three games, Thompson got on the scoresheet to level proceedings in their championship match vs NC Fusion. With a respectable 210 minutes to her name, the young player of the tournament will look to build upon these performances in the upcoming academy season.
With a great eye for goal, Cayelli strolled to the golden boot with five goals in four games, capping off a collection of imposing displays. Positioned in the midfield, the 2021-2022 South Carolina Girls Soccer Player of the Year has a killer instinct in front of goal that will only get better.
Player of the tournament after taking home the golden ball, Goldwaithe was integral for the Courage as they went on to win their championship match vs NC Fusion. Dictating the game as a deep-lying midfielder, the incoming Duke freshman controlled the center of the park and even chipped in with two goals.
FWD – Sophie Wyshner (NC Fusion)
With three goals in four games, Wyshner leads the line for the Women’s Best XI. Runners-up to NC Courage, the young forward was instrumental for the Fusion’s early success in the group stage. Coming in at third spot for the golden ball rankings, Wyshner walks away from Tampa with a string of impressive performances to her name.
MID – Hannah Pachan (Cleveland Force)
With three goals to her name in this year’s Academy Cup, the young midfielder led the scoring charts for her club as they settled for a fifth-place finish. Collecting a hat-trick in group play vs AC Connecticut, the Uniontown playmaker has the tools to be a goalscoring threat whenever advancing into the final third.
MID – Aaryn Gabriel (NC Fusion)
Grabbing three goals in four games, Gabriel was a staple in John Paladini’s lineup as she set the tempo in midfield. Offering versatility in a positional sense, Gabriel was able to contribute both as an attacker and a deep-lying #8, helping her team reach the final vs NC Courage.
DEF – Isabella Ayscue (NC Courage)
Conceding only one goal in the group stage, impressive defensive displays from Ayscue can be considered the foundation of NC Courage’s Academy Cup triumph. With two clean sheets in all competitions, the Penn State commit exhibited just where her defensive capabilities lie.
DEF – Aven Alvarez (NC Courage)
Sharing impressive defensive performances with fellow teammate Isabella Ayscue, Alvarez’s role was just as important in making sure Courage’s defensive record remained intact. Contributing on the left and right of a back four, Alvarez’s performances as fullback played a crucial role in NC’s quest to lift the trophy.
GK – Franky Dunlap (NC Courage)
Sharing the top spot for the golden glove, Dunlap conceded two goals in two games for the Courage. Coming up with several important saves, the young keeper’s composure between the sticks helped her team walk away with the trophy.
GIRLS SECOND XI
With two goals in two starts in the group stage, the young goal scorer was a reliable name in Dave Maddren’s team selections throughout the tournament. Taking part in every game and even leading the attack in their championship match vs NC Fusion, the Duke commit maintained consistent performances throughout the entirety of the Academy Cup.
FWD – Eva McCoy (Greenville Liberty)
Helping her team claim third place over Indy Eleven, Eva McCoy was a leading figure for the Liberty in this year’s Academy Cup. Starting and contributing in all four games, McCoy’s performances proved herself as an asset to this Greenville team for the foreseeable future.
FWD – Aislynn Maguire (NC Fusion)
With appearances in three out of four games for NC Fusion, Aislynn Maguire supplied dependable displays for the cup runner ups. Even with only one goal in three games, the young attacker provided excellent passages of play both on and off the ball.
MID – Emma Johnston (Indy Eleven)
Leading the goalscoring charts for Indy Eleven, Emma Johnson netted three goals in four games as her team took home fourth place at this year’s Academy Cup. With the Indianapolis team averaging roughly three goals per game in group-stage play, Johnston and her club will look to mirror this attacking output for their upcoming Academy season.
MID – Sarah Martinez (NC Courage)
Versatile in both attack and defense, Martinez was used in contrasting roles, contributing as both a winger and deep-lying midfielder in NC’s championship run. Given her ability to play in two positions with altering play styles and expectations, Courage has a player that can offer them diversity moving forward.
MID – Tatum Borman (Lexington SC)
Exploding in front of goal for Lexington SC, Borman recorded five goals in four games to cap off an excellent set of individual performances. With a hat-trick in the Academy Cup’s opening game as well as opening the proceedings in their championship match vs One Knoxville, keep an eye on Borman once the Academy season kicks off.
DEF – Quinn Pankiewicz (South Bend Lions)
A huge role to play in the Lion’s excellent defensive record, the young defender started three games at fullback while moving into wide midfield to wrap up group play vs Tampa Bay United. Conceding only two goals in four games, Pankiewicz offers defensive solidity while also posing as a competent option moving forward.
DEF – Carli Crews (NC Courage)
Coming off the bench and even starting the final against NC Fusion, Crews’ quality at the back shown through this Academy Cup. Named in the first XI for two games and subbed in during their opening match, the high-ranking defender will play a big role throughout the Courage’s forthcoming season.
DEF – Macey Theriot (LA Parish)
In what was a seemingly lackluster performance from LA Parish throughout this Academy Cup, Macey Theriot stood out as a bright spot. Scoring in back-to-back appearances for the Louisiana club, Theriot was one of the first names on the team sheet, making appearances in both defense and wide midfield.
DEF – Jayden Irby (Greenville Liberty)
Flying under the radar, Greenville’s Jayden Irby put in a number of impressive displays that contributed to the Liberty’s excellent defensive record. Coming off the bench in all three group games and even starting their third-place match vs Indy Eleven, Irby’s inclusion in the team was vindicated through her consistency when on the pitch.
GK – Mary Daly (NC Courage)
Sharing the spoils with fellow teammate Frank Dunlap, Mary Daly conceded one goal in group play while also getting a clean sheet in the opening match. With both keepers being rewarded the golden glove, Daly has proved herself to be a capable shot-stopper when called upon.