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1 day ago Emily Fox to help usher in a new era of US women’s soccer at the 2024 Olympic Games
Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF Fox will be entering the Olympics as a member of the youngest roster for the United States since 2008. The 2024 Summer Olympic Games are rapidly approaching, and one of the biggest storylines to follow stateside will be whether or not the US women’s national soccer team will be able to win the gold medal for the first time since 2012. The team has done a lot of damage internationally since then, but the 2016 quarterfinal loss and the 2021 bronze medal finishes were far from ideal. Perhaps the biggest tipping point for the team, however, was their shocking round of 16 loss in the 2023 Women’s World Cup to Sweden. It felt like we were in for some big changes following such a shocking outcome for a team as dominant as the USWNT had been, and big changes are exactly what we got. Long-time fixtures of the team, Megan Rapinoe, Kelly O’Hara, and Julie Ertz have all retired, and the USWNT have brought in Emma Hayes as the new head coach. Fourteen-year veteran Alex Morgan was notably left off of the Paris roster by Hayes in an effort to give the team a new look going into the Olympics. With some of the sports’ biggest stars no longer suiting up for Team USA, Hayes is giving some of the country’s more youthful talent a chance to prove themselves in Paris, and one of those newcomers is former UNC star and current Arsenal player, Emily Fox. Fox played for the Tar Heels from 2017 to 2020 and left campus as one of the best players in recent years. Her list of accolades during her college career was staggering. Despite suffering a torn ACL 13 games into her freshman season, she was named to the third-team All-ACC team and the All-Freshman team. During her sophomore season, she was named first-team All-ACC, earned All-Tournament honors at the 2018 NCAA College Cup, and was named to the 2018 All-ACC Academic Women’s Soccer Team. Finally, Fox finished out her college career in 2019 as a first-team All-ACC selection yet again, and earned All-Tournament honors during the 2019 ACC Tournament. Her season came to an unfortunate end against USC when she tore the same ACL that she tore in 2017. While this will be Fox’s first Olympic appearance, she has been a fixture for the USWNT since 2018. She started training with the team her during her sophomore season, and was the only collegiate player to earn caps in 2019. In 2023, Fox was named to the USWNT roster for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, so this will be her second appearance in a major tournament as a member of the senior team. Fox will be entering the Olympics as a member of the youngest roster for the United States since 2008. Other first-time players joining her are Casey Murphy, Naomi Girma, Jenna Nighswonger, Korbin Albert, Sam Coffey, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith and Jaedyn Shaw. Bringing in nine first-time Olympians is a radical move for any coach, but this is especially true for a first-time coach like Emma Hayes. However, fellow former Tar Heel Crystal Dunn believes that the mix of veteran and new players is needed to maintain long-term success. Per the New York Post: “You definitely need a bit of both to ensure that we are putting our best foot forward and also not just focusing on the Olympics. There is a generation that’s gonna go on, obviously, after this tournament, and I think it’s important that there is some structure in place that helps with that progression.” In an interview with back in February, Fox also expressed her excitement for the new-look roster and the USWNT bringing in Hayes. As far as the gold medal drought in the Olympics goes, here is what Fox had to say: “Going into the US culture and US national team, any tournament, any squads, any practice we’re in, we want to be as competitive as we can be so that we can be prepared for these big tournaments and win medals,” Fox continued. “In terms of the Olympics and the Gold Cup, my approach is taking it day by day and camp by camp because it’s always an opportunity, not a given. “When you’re in the tournaments, each game is hard. I think with this past World Cup we’ve seen that, no matter the opponent you’re playing, they have strengths and I think that’s testament to women’s soccer in general. I take that approach and try not to get too far ahead. I think being present is important, especially when the competition is getting harder. Definitely in the background, in my mind [I’m] wanting to get to the final and win it but I think it’s important to take a step-by-step approach.” Through no fault of their own, taking a step-by-step approach felt impossible for the women’s team during the 2023 World Cup. Expectations were through the roof for a squad that tried to complete a three-peat in the tournament for the first time ever, and ultimately things ended in disappointing fashion. Now they are trying to avoid becoming the first US women’s soccer team to go three consecutive Olympics or World Cups without winning it all, which means big expectations await yet again. For Fox, however, the bar is always high for what she would like to accomplish, and so her approach to the Olympic Games is business as usual. “When you’re 15 or 16, you see the national team be so successful, you’re like, ‘They make it look easy!’ But then I think when you’re in it, the day-to-day is a grind and that’s what also makes it so enjoyable. Also, with Emma coming in and a new cycle [with the USWNT], I just want to be consistent and show what I can bring to this team. Then there’s the Olympics and then wanting to be one of, if not the best, full-backs in the world. Those are a few of my goals!” Fox’s focus and work ethic has always led to some really good things in her college and professional career. Hopefully winning a gold medal in Paris will be the next achievement that she can add to her long list, and the Women’s National Team can return to their rightful place at the top of the mountain.
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1 day ago MLB Draft: Casey Cook drafted 103rd overall by the Texas Rangers
Scott Kinser-USA TODAY Sports Cook becomes the second Diamond Heel outfielder scooped up in the 2024 MLB Draft. Carolina redshirt sophomore outfielder and All-ACC First Teamer Casey Cook was drafted in the third round (#103 overall pick) by the Texas Rangers. Cook is bound for @Rangers!— Carolina Baseball (@DiamondHeels) July 15, 2024 Cook is the second Tar Heel selected in the 2024 MLB Draft. He may have been a little overshadowed (but never under appreciated) by his outfield partner Vance Honeycutt—drafted earlier in the first round by the Baltimore Orioles—but he will get an opportunity to shine in Arlington. The left-handed hitter will have a 326-foot right field wall to aim towards at Globe Life Field in Texas. It’ll be interesting to see how his power game develops, as he’s had quite a jump from his redshirt freshman to redshirt sophomore season (Cook only played four games of his true freshman season before suffering a season-ending injury). Cook saw significant improvements across the board in his second full season in Carolina blue. He started all 64 games for the Heels, batting .341 (up from .317), hitting 18 home runs (up from 3), 78 RBIs (up from 23), scored 67 runs (up from 45), walked 36 times (up from 34), and had no fielding errors after giving up two the year prior It must have been so frustrating for opposing teams to have to contend with both Honeycutt and Cook running underneath fly balls. Cook was just as capable as his more heralded outfield partner at making spectacular catches, none as jaw-dropping as this one at wall against Virginia in 2023: It’s a shame to lose Cook after just two full seasons on the field, but his marked (almost alarming!) improvement from 2023 to 2024 made him too much of an intriguing project to ignore. He has a smooth, powerful swing and can gallop around right field to gobble up fly balls. Texas did a great job picking Cook up in the third round. Hopefully we’ll hear his name called by Dave Raymond during Texas Rangers broadcasts in the near future!

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