Thursday 18 May 2023, 19:00

FIFA President visits USA collegiate women’s champions at UCLA

  • FIFA President visits title-winning UCLA Bruins at university campus in Los Angeles

  • Watches US collegiate champions’ training session, and plays football with them

  • UCLA has provided a number of FIFA Women’s World Cup winners

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has visited the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to meet the current American collegiate women’s football champions as they build on a legacy that has contributed greatly to the USA’s phenomenal FIFA Women’s World Cup success.

The US Women’s National Team (USWNT) have won the last two FIFA Women’s World Cups™ with former UCLA coach Jill Ellis in charge, and each time with two UCLA alumni in the squad: Lauren Cheney Holiday and Sydney Leroux in 2015, and Sam Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper in 2019.

Already the most successful nation in women’s football history, the USWNT could add a fifth FIFA Women’s World Cup this year as they are one of 32 teams set to take part in the competition’s biggest-ever tournament, which kicks off in Australia and New Zealand on 20 July.

The work put in at UCLA through generations of players and coaches has helped foster a winning culture in women’s football in the US, and the university’s Bruins are the current NCAA Division 1 Women’s champions with a team that – no doubt given the programme’s track record – contains some future household names.

Mr. Infantino watched the squad being put through their paces by coach Margueritte Aozasa, who became the first coach to win the top NCAA title in her first season and who is also in charge of the USA’s Under-23 Women's National Team, before then joining the players on the pitch for a game.

“We were lucky enough to [attend] a training [session] of their women’s team who won the NCAA league, and we have even been playing with them,” said Mr. Infantino, who on Wednesday attended the brand launch of the 2026 FIFA World Cup that will be hosted jointly by Canada, Mexico and the USA.

“Champions are made here. Champions are made in many other universities and schools in the United States and all over the world. That’s what we have to foster, we have to work together. Football unites the world, brings people together, but most importantly, football brings happiness and joy.”