Through injuries, motherhood, and doubts, Jessica McDonald is ready to represent Arizona in the World Cup

Through injuries, motherhood, and doubts, Jessica McDonald is ready to represent Arizona in the World Cup
PHOENIX - Although more than 5,000 miles separate Phoenix and Reims, France, a few flights make the road reasonably simple for most. For Jessica McDonald, her trip to the playing field of Stade Auguste Delaune was anything but simple.

McDonald, 31, is one of 23 athletes from the US Women's National Team that will represent her country at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019. The USA. UU He will begin his defense of the 2015 World Cup title on Tuesday in a Group F match against Thailand.

The adventure-filled with soccer started in the desert for McDonald. Born in Phoenix, she played seven years at the Sereno Soccer Club, based in Arizona, and attributed her growth to a coach, Les Armstrong, who is now Director of the Girls Development Academy at SC del Sol.

Armstrong knew that she had talent at a glance. I've seen her watching her brother, Brandon, a former Major League Soccer player.

"His brother was playing in a field, I looked at the other side, there is this boy, a big thin girl, who breaks balls in the back of the net from more than 20 yards," he said. "We're thinking 'Holy Moses, this child looks good.' So we went up and asked him if he wanted to play competitive football, and that's how we got it."

McDonald appreciated the opportunity.

"He was a very good coach," McDonald said. "I was able to connect the points and push to a different way than I have experienced with many coaches, because of how good I was as a coach, I was able to get all the scholarships from my team to the schools we have." I've gone. That says a lot about a coach what he could do for us and as footballers.

"It was not easy to play with him, he was a very difficult coach to play, but in a good way, I instilled this tough mentality in us."

The renowned Sereno Soccer Club, now known as Real Salt Lake Arizona, has had a great influence on the team of American women's McDonald's team, Julie Ertz, and the 2015 World Cup member, Sydney Leroux, also played for Sereno.

McDonald graduated from Cactus High School and attended Phoenix College. Many believed that she had the talent to be a Division that stood out immediately, but academics, she said, retained it.

After two years at Phoenix College to raise her grades, she landed in the Division I program. And not just any school, but the most important in women's college football: the University of North Carolina.

His two years with the Tar Heels reflected his experience with Sereno: success, talented teammates and a successful coach. UNC coach Anson Dorrance has been in charge of all 21 NCAA national championships at Tar Heels. As an added bonus, I wanted McDonald before going to Phoenix College.

The wait was worth it for Dorrance. McDonald joined the Tar Heels team that included players also on this year's World Cup team. With Tobin Heath, Ashlyn Harris and Allie Long, McDonald won consecutive national titles in 2008 and 2009.

After that, McDonald's was described as a "bittersweet" relationship with football. Selected as the No. 15 selection in the Women's Professional Football League now dissolved by Chicago Red Stars, McDonald began her uphill climb. Five appearances in his rookie season suffered a serious knee injury that forced her to miss the rest of 2010 and the entire season of 2011.

When he came out of an injury and with the WPS doubled, McDonald needed a new home. He had to travel to a distant place he had never been: Australia, where he played for Melbourne Victory FC in 2012.

The season did not last long. He returned to the Red Stars in 2013 after the club joined the National Women's Football League. He felt as if his shirt changed as often as the sun rose and fell.

Chicago eliminated McDonald and was later picked up by Seattle Reign FC. From 2013 and 2016 he was on a new team each season with stops in Portland, Houston and western New York.

With the average annual salary for an NWSL player just over $ 16,000, McDonald considered abandoning football. Download the reality that she became a mother after the birth of her son Jeremiah in 2012 and that soccer became something like a late occurrence.

"There have been many difficult times during my professional career, then the other time I had a serious injury," McDonald said. "Being a mother, they do not pay us much in our league, I fought at one point for trying financially to support my son."