CHICAGO — Vanessa DiBernardo has been a fixture for years in the USA Soccer pipeline. Now the University of Illinois senior is hitting the big time in her sport.
DiBernardo was called up to replace injured Megan Rapinoe on the U.S. Women’s National Team for its match Tuesday against Mexico in Washington, D.C. USA Soccer announced the move Thursday.
The midfielder will miss the Illini’s home match against Illinois State on Sunday but is scheduled to return for their next match Sept. 6 at Arizona State.
Last year, DiBernardo started all six matches for a U.S. team that won the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. Her goal in a 2-1 quarterfinal victory against Korea DPR was a critical moment in the Americans’ march to a gold medal.
DiBernardo finished her U-20 career with 20 international caps (match appearances) and three goals.
Now 21, the two-time All-American has participated this year in several camps with the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team, earning three caps.
DiBernardo is the daughter of Angelo DiBernardo, a former U.S. Men’s National Team player and 1984 Olympian. Should Vanessa see action against Mexico, she would be the first female player whose father played for a U.S. Senior National Team to earn a cap at the senior level.
DiBernardo becomes the third college player on the 18-member U.S. roster along with North Carolina senior Crystal Dunn and Virginia junior Morgan Brian.
The USA-Mexico match will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on Fox.