The United States last won the World Cup in 1999, July 10th to be exact, in a penalty shoot-out with China (Ed. Note: This article was posted prior to US winning the 2015 World Cup). Civana Kuhlmann, a member of the U.S. Under 17 Women’s National Team, was a few days less than 3 months old then so it’s hard to blame her for not being able to easily name the United States line-up that year in this video put together by U.S. Soccer.
As fellow “new 99er” Frankie Tagliaferri says of the original 99ers, “They’re the ones that set the path for us and they’re the reasons why we’re here today.”
That team along with all current and former players have set a very high benchmark for the current youth players. Kuhlmann from Littleton, Colorado is definitely one of those players. First kicking around a ball when she was only 3 or 4 years old, she states that there is nothing else she would rather do than play soccer. When she started realizing that playing soccer was her calling, she was willing to put hours of practice into being the very best. She soon would take her talents to playing for her hometown club, Colorado Rush Soccer Club, and the United States Youth National Team program. Her first game appearance came with the U17 WNT, where at only 14 she scored as a second-half sub in a game against Trinidad & Tobago in October 2013.
Kuhlmann’s goal comes at the 2:50 mark in this highlight video from the game.
Since she has performed with both club and country since 14 years of age, Kuhlmann has been placed in the upper echelon of young up and coming U.S. girls who could take over in the future for those such as Abby Wambach or Alex Morgan. As for the next step in her development, in October 2014, Kuhlmann signed her letter of intent to play at Stanford University. This decision to play at Stanford comes with a bit of a shock considering the fact that at the age of 16 years old she knew exactly what she wanted in a university as well as what she needed to do to maintain her long term goal of continuing to play for the United States.
Kuhlmann states that there were three factors that helped her decide that Stanford was the right place for her once she graduates in 2017. Those three factors were: academics, soccer, and the culture of the school. "While I was at Stanford the girls were great to be around, the culture was even better while I walked around campus, and the soccer program speaks for itself," said Kuhlmann.
When you consider the pedigree of Stanford University, though, maybe it’s not that big of a shock.
Stanford has driven and developed the young lives of several female soccer stars from Christen Press and Kelley O’Hara of the current U.S. Women's National Team, Ali Riley of the New Zealand Women's National Team, to most notably USWNT great Julie Foudy who was a part of that legendary 1999 World Cup winning team. So when it came time for Civana Kuhlmann's decision, she knew that Stanford was the place for her to be continuously challenged in hopes of one day reaching the goal of becoming a member of the United States Women's National Team.
More recently, Kuhlmann was part of the most recent U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team training camp held in May under head coach B.J. Snow at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. Snow called up 28 players for the event, with six born in 2000 and the rest in 1999, as the squad continued its long-term preparation for qualifying for the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. The top three teams from the 2016 CONCACAF Women's U-17 Championship held next March will qualify.
Although she is already playing for the US Youth National Team program and committed to Stanford, Kuhlmann still knows she has great room for improvement.
"I have recognized what I have already accomplished, but I will never be satisfied. That is the way I have always been," she said.
She also points out that for younger players you must enjoy yourself and spend time working at your game and style of play while you are young, but never forget to enjoy yourself.
It is safe to say that Kuhlmann has never had a difficult time enjoying herself when it comes to soccer. With an impressive resume at this point in her soccer career, we could very well be on our way to see the evolution of yet another Stanford Cardinal in the mix for future USWNT play, just like Press, O'Hara, Foudy and others before her.
We know they’ll be watching their teammates in the U.S. Women’s National Team program try to take home gold in Canada as these "new 99ers" work towards helping take home gold for the United States in future World Cups.
At Amplified Soccer Athlete, we wish the current National Team the best of luck as they finish up group play today and continue on towards the title and to Kuhlmann and her teammates in the U.S. Youth Soccer National Team program as they work towards future U.S. Youth National Team championships and their dream of winning a World Cup like the legendary, original 9ers.