Carson Pickett is proof that football is for everyone.
The American defender became the first player with a limb difference to ever compete for the United States on Tuesday night –– playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-0 victory against Colombia at the Rio Tinto Stadium.
Manuela Vanegas’ own-goal opened the scoring before Kelley O’Hara scored late in the second half as the US extended their unbeaten streak to 69 games on home soil.
Pickett, who was born without part of her left arm, was named in the NWSL’s Team of the Season last year and described her debut as a “dream come true.”
Last night, reigning #FIFAWWC champions @USWNT continued their 2023 qualifier preparations with a victory over Colombia.— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 29, 2022
The match was significant beyond the score. @Cars_Pickett16 became the first-ever player with a limb difference to earn a #USWNT cap. pic.twitter.com/zJ1kGVkyaL
Who is Pickett?
The defender was raised in Fleming Island on the northeastern coast of Florida near Jacksonville.
In 2012 she was named the Gatorade Girls Soccer Player of the Year for the state of Florida.
Between 2012 and 2015, she attended Florida State University and guided the team to their first NCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship in 2014.
Two years later, she was selected by OL Reign as the fourth overall pick of the 2016 Draft.
Since then, Pickett has played for the Brisbane Roar, the Orlando Pride and currently plays for the North Carolina Courage.
The 28-year-old went viral back in 2019 after she was pictured giving an arm-bump with a young fan who was also missing part of his arm.
In recent years, Pickett has sought to raise awareness for limb differences and has worked with Nike to develop boots with a fold-down heel in place of laces.
USWNT continue streak
The USA are now unbeaten in 14 matches, since losing to Canada in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics last summer.
With the likes of Carli Lloyd now retired, head-coach Vlatko Andonovski has sought to integrate some fresh new faces into his side, including Pickett.
The likes of Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith and Catarina Macario are among the new names taking the US team by storm.
Meanwhile, experienced figures such as Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are continuing to play vital roles.
The US will compete in World Cup qualifying next month and will face Mexico, Haiti and Jamaica in the group stages.