Wednesday, December 7

USWNT’s Oliaro has local roots | News, Sports, Jobs

Our region has seen a number of teams and individuals attain soccer success on a state, and even national, level.

Coaches Maurice Taylor and Mike Pastore have won state championships with their Blazer and Hooligans squads, and FC814 coach Mark Frye and his Energy girls team played for a national title in the Presidents Cup last year.

Now our area has a connection to the United States Women’s National U-17 team. USWNT forward Mia Oliaro has strong family roots in the Hollidaysburg area.

Oliaro’s grandfather is longtime local attorney Mike Dorezas, and her mother, Jeri, is a former standout basketball player at Hollidaysburg Area High School who also played on scholarship for American University, before transplanting her home to Chapel Hill, N.C.

Mia’s father, Scott, is head athletic trainer and associate director of sports at the University of North Carolina.

Mia had the opportunity to be coached by former World Cup players and plays year-round for one of the finest club teams — the North Carolina Courage. She has verbally committed to play college soccer at the UNC, as one of the top recruits in the nation. North Carolina is a perennial contender for the women’s NCAA championship.

Oliaro, a high school junior, had been a multi-sport athlete until her freshman year in high school, when her focus went to soccer. Oliaro was chosen for the roster of 20 players for the U-17 Women’s Youth National Team by coach Natalie Astrain from a national player pool to represent the USA at the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Carribean Association Football) Women’s Under-17 Championship in the Dominican Republic.

Three teams qualified for the 2022 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in India later this year. WYNT played in Group G and defeated Grenada 20-0, Puerto Rico 13-0 and Costa Rica 5-0. In the round of 16s, the team defeated Curacao 11-0. In the semifinals, it defeated Canada 3-0 for a berth in the U-17 World Cup, then in the finals, defeated Mexico 2-1 to win the tournament.

Oliaro played in every game for the squad and notched three goals and two assists. The team notched 58 goals in seven games and gave up one. Oliaro helped USA possess the ball over 70 percent of the time. It was the USA’s third straight CONCACAF U-17 championship. Oliaro and the USA U-17 Women’s Team should be an extremely interesting team to watch in India at the World Cup.

Elsewhere …

n The U.S. Men’s National Team has qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar after a 2-0 loss at Costa Rica on the final match day of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. With the result, the U.S. finishes third in the Octaganal standings tied with Costa Rica at 25 points — but well ahead in goal differential — and so USA clinches one of the Confederation’s three automatic berths to the World Cup.

n America’s Costa Rican match culminated a seven month campaign that had 14 matches. The U.S. team average age is only 23 years old, the youngest ever in team history in the qualifying cycle. The USA will return to action during the June international window, which will include the first matches of the 2022-23 CONCACAF Nations League.

Tom Schmitt writes a monthly soccer column for the Mirror.

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