SPOKANE, Wash. –
The U.S. Armed Forces women’s soccer players took photos and swayed to music following their dominant 10-0 win over Belgium in the opening game of the 2022 CISM World Military Women’s Soccer Championship Monday afternoon.
The U.S. women (1-0) had plenty to celebrate, as Army 1st Lt. Haley Roberson led a potent offensive attack with her first career hat trick at any level.
The midfielder’s score in the 41st minute gave the U.S. a 7-0 lead.
The U.S. women spent three weeks in training camp in preparation for the tournament as coaches narrowed the roster to 21-players. Roberson said that the team’s practices at nearby Fairchild Air Force base gave them the confidence to play aggressively in the first match for both teams.
“Every day of practice we tried to build for this day,” Roberson said.
Army Capt. Kailey Utley, a forward, contributed two goals and one assist while Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Scotti Culton tallied 4 assists and one goal. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Katie Gernsbacher and Air Force Capt. Morgan Roberts also scored for the Americans.
“From start to finish it was smooth,” Culton said. “We were confident with our touches with our passes, with our finishing.”
The Americans relentlessly attacked the Belgians (0-1) who arrived in the Spokane area Monday morning following a two-day trip to the U.S.. The Americans outshot Belgium 37-1 and earned 17 corner kicks, spending most most of the game attacking the Belgian side of the field.
“Our main goal is high press,” Culton said. “So we are on the ball as much as possible, making sure we’re reading the play and putting pressure on every single [player].”
Goals by Roberson and Utley in the first 5 minutes set the tone for the Americans who led 7-0 at halftime.
“We knew we had some goal scorers on the team but to be able to put it in the back of the net in the first two minutes, the flood gates opened,” said U.S. assistant coach Air Force Lt. Col. Marci Walton.
The U.S. backline, anchored by Air Force Capt. Jen Gillette shut out the Belgians. The only shot on goal allowed by the U.S. came in the first half by Belgium’s Laura Vanlerberghe.
“On the back line we were solid,” Roberson said. “We were just in sync from defense to offense.”
The Americans next compete against Cameroon at 7 p.m. Wednesday.