Former Tennessee soccer standout M.A. Vignola earns first call-up to senior U.S. Women's National Team

Former Tennessee soccer star M.A. Vignola has earned her first call-up to the senior U.S. Women's National Team, the federation announced Saturday.

The Angel City FC defender along with NY/NJ Gotham FC forward Midge Purce will replace Rose Lavelle and Kelley O’Hara on the USWNT roster for friendlies against South Africa in Chicago and Cincinnati, where Vignola hails from. The USWNT will kick off in Cincinnati on Sept. 21 and in Chicago on Sept. 24.

Vignola, 25, is in her second full season with ACFC in the National Women's Soccer League and has earned a starting role. She has started in 12 of her 15 matches and scored two goals from the back line.

May 13:  Angel City FC's Mary Alice Vignola (right) and the Washington Spirit's Marissa Sheva fight for the ball during the second half at BMO Stadium. The Washington Spirit won the game, 1-0.

Vignola is the third uncapped player invited to camp, signaling the USWNT's transition to a new era after a disappointing 2023 World Cup. The USWNT bowed out in the Round of 16 to Sweden in penalty kicks, recording the worst World Cup finish ever. The other uncapped players include 22-year-old forward Mia Fishel and 18-year-old Jaedyn Shaw.

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Vignola previously played for the U.S. youth teams. She appeared in nine USWNT youth camps and played for the U17 USWNT against Germany.

Vignola was a standout at Tennessee, earning All-SEC first team honors her senior year and second team honors her junior year. She logged 12 goals and 11 assists her final two seasons and led the team with nine goals and five assists as a forward her senior year. Vignola was third on the team with 12 points, playing an integral part of Tennessee's historic run to the Elite Eight in 2018. She was part of a defense that limited opponents to a program-best 15 goals on the season.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Former Tennessee soccer standout M.A. Vignola earns first USWNT call-up