Christina Gibbons Looks to Bring Home Another Trophy for the U-23 National Team
by Caroline McCray
FC Kansas City rookie defender Christina Gibbons was named to the U-23 Women’s National Team last Wednesday to play in the upcoming Open Nordic Tournament. The team will travel to Sweden to face Norway (June 6), England (June 9), and Sweden (June 12).
In 2017, Gibbons was the 5th overall pick in the NWSL draft, coming from Duke University.
During her time at Duke, she scored ten goals and had nineteen assists throughout her 88 games. She's played the third-most most minutes in Duke women’s soccer history with 7,794 minutes. During her senior year, she was named to First Team All-ACC, NSCAA All-American, NSCAA Scholar-Athlete of the year, and a Hermann Trophy Semifinalist.
In addition to her time at Duke University, Gibbons has had great success with the youth U.S. Women’s National Team. Gibbons made her national team debut during the U-20 World Cup in 2014. In the following year, she helped the U-23 team become the Four Nations Tournament champions. Gibbons also assisted in bringing the Nordic Cup and Istria Cup trophies back to the United States in 2016.
Among the 22 players called up by head coach B.J. Snow, twelve are still playing at the collegiate level and three are currently playing for youth clubs. Only seven players, including Gibbons, come from NWSL teams. Of those seven, five are currently rookies.
“Anytime I receive the call up it is a huge honor. Getting the opportunity to play for my country is extremely exciting and humbling,” Gibbons said. “Going into this tournament, the biggest thing we need to focus on is how we mesh as a team. This year we have so many new and young players so it will be a test to see how well we can learn to play together in such a short amount of time.”
Gibbons started all three games in the Nordic Tournament last year. She wore the captain's band as she helped defeat Sweden 3-1. Only two days later, she played a full ninety minutes in the team's 2-1 victory over Norway. Additionally, she played 88 minutes against England before leaving the game with two minutes remaining. In those two minutes, England scored the equalizing goal, making the final score 1-1.
“I think England will be the hardest team we will face in this tournament just because our past results have always been so close,” Gibbons said. “The team’s level of consistency is constantly growing. They are so competitive and have an extremely gritty style of play. It will be a challenging matchup for us.”
Representing the Red, White and Blue this week, Gibbons is scheduled to return and help the Blues’ backline when their 2017 campaign resumes at home on June 17th against the Seattle Reign at 3:00 p.m. CT. FC Kansas City single game tickets can be purchased here.