Boise native makes U-17 World Cup roster. She’s now on two national teams in two sports

·3 min read
Sarah A. Miller/smiller@idahostatesman.com

Sammy Smith will soon suit up for the United States in a second sport.

The U.S. women’s soccer team on Thursday selected the Boise High junior for next month’s U-17 World Cup in India, adding to a breakthrough year for the multisport star — on her 17th birthday.

“I was really shocked, especially after not being invited to some of the recent events,” said Smith, who is also a part of the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team’s development squad. “I’m super excited. I can’t wait. It’s going to be a great opportunity.”

The U-17 Women’s World Cup kicks off Oct. 11, when the United States takes on host India at 8:30 a.m. Mountain time. The U.S. also drew Brazil and Morocco in Group A.

Fox Sports 2 will broadcast all U.S. games during the group stage, and the 16-team tournament crowns its champion Oct. 30.

Thursday’s selection added to a whirlwind year for Smith, who narrowly missed out on her first appearance for the U.S. last spring. A stress fracture in her tibia and international skiing competitions limited her training time with the U-17 squad, making her an alternate for the Concacaf Championships in the Dominican Republic.

She did not travel with the team, which won the North American, Central American and Caribbean title in May to clinch a spot in the World Cup. But after getting back to full health, she will head to Dubai on Sunday to begin training as a forward who is also capable of filling in at outside back.

“Skiing and soccer are different,” Smith said. “So it will be really cool to say I’ve represented the U.S. on snow and in soccer cleats.”

Those dual-position skills come as no surprise for Smith, now a U.S. national team member in two sports. She made an international splash in February at the Junior World Championships in Norway, finishing fifth in the freestyle sprint and 11th in the 15,000-kilometer freestyle.

That led U.S. Ski & Snowboard to name her to its development team. She’s the youngest member of the team by more than two years.

“I definitely plan to continue to do both as long as I possibly can,” Smith said. “Hopefully it will last a long time, because I love what I’m doing right now.”

Smith has also dominated Idaho high school competition in multiple sports. She swept the state’s all-class Gatorade cross country and track athlete of the year awards as a freshman. And she has led Boise (9-0-0) to a perfect start to the season, with 14 goals and seven assists.

Her selection to the World Cup means she will have to miss at least part of the high school soccer and cross country seasons.

A four-time World Cup champion at the senior level, the U.S. women have struggled internationally at the U-17 level. Since finishing second at the inaugural tournament in 2008, the U.S. has not advanced past the group stage.

IDAHO SOCCER ON THE WORLD STAGE

Smith adds to a growing list of Idahoans playing at the international level.

Sofia Huerta, who graduated from Centennial High in 2011, has become a mainstay for the U.S. women’s senior team and is a near lock to make the roster for the Women’s World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand.

Maria Sanchez, a 2014 American Falls High grad, is also a regular starter for Mexico’s senior team. She played in the 2015 World Cup at 19 years old.

A select few have suited up for U.S. youth national teams. Post Falls native Kelcie Hedge played for the U.S. in the U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016. Emily Madril, who played her freshman year at Centennial, earned her first cap with the women’s U-23 team in June. And Grayson Carter received a call-up to the men’s U-15 side for a trip to Europe in April.