Carson Pickett becomes first USWNT player with limb difference

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Carson Pickett became the first person with a limb difference to appear for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team on Tuesday, starting on defense for the Americans in their 2-0 friendly win over Colombia in Sandy, Utah.

Pickett was born without a left hand or forearm.

Replacing Emily Fox, whose 441 minutes played in 2022 are the second on the team, Pickett remained on the pitch for the full 90 minutes against Colombia. At 28, she is the oldest American woman to make her national team debut since McCall Zerboni, 30, in 2017.

“Carson did very well training for us last week and with the management of the Emily Fox minutes we had, we thought Carson would be a good replacement, and I’m glad she was able to perform well during 90 minutes.” USA coach Vlatko Andonovski told ESPN.

Pickett plays professionally for the North Carolina Courage of the National Women’s Soccer League and has played with the U.S. National Under-17 and Under-23 teams. In 2019, while playing for Orlando Pride, a photo and video of her “punching” a young fan with a similar limb difference went viral.

In 2020, she teamed up with Nike on a soccer cleat without laces that need to be tied.

“My parents have two hands and two arms and unfortunately they couldn’t teach me how to tie my shoes,” Pickett told CBS Sports. “I can imagine it breaks your heart looking at your daughter and trying to tie her shoes and it’s hard for you to be there for her. There were definitely times when I cried, and I just couldn’t understand, and they kept pushing me. Tying my shoes together was next to impossible, it seemed impossible, but I overcame it.

The match against Colombia was the Americans’ latest focus for the CONCACAF W Championship, which begins Monday in Mexico and serves as a qualifier for the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and the 2024 Olympic tournament. in Paris. The top two from each of the two tournament groups will qualify for the World Cup, while the overall winner will qualify for the Olympics.

The USWNT, which is considered a heavy favorite to win the tournament alongside Canada, begins group play Monday against Haiti in San Nicolás, Mexico. Pickett will not be on the American roster, which is limited to 23 players compared to 26 for friendlies.

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