Euro 2022 winner Alessia Russo on making history, inspiring a generation and that viral backheel goal
Alessia Russo was the first-ever American goal scorer to represent an entire gender. In the 2018 Women’s World Cup, Russo scored in the USA’s 1–0 victory against Colombia. The goal started Russo’s campaign to be the first ever American to score at a high level. Her journey has been anything but straight forward.
When you’re first-ever and a national team player in North America, it’s hard to make the most of your success and there’s a whole lot of hard work to do. That’s what Alessia had to do between the World Cup and the US U-20s later this year. Her hard-earned dreams may have gone up in smoke, but she is now trying to inspire young girls growing up in the state of Nebraska, to inspire them to follow their dreams.
I’m an American. I’m proud of it. My dream is to be an agent for a professional soccer team. That means I just got to see the US Women’s National Team win the championship for the first time ever. I just got to experience what it means to be an Olympian and just to represent your country. At least, that’s what I think it meant to me. There’s been so many other aspects of my life that I want to go back to, but it’s time to get back to just be a professional soccer player. That’s what I want to do.
What was your first memory of the game?
The first memory of the game was my mom screaming. I was out on the field playing and my mom was screaming. It was like the first time I’d ever had a mom scream. And the first time she yelled, “Hey! Hey!”
When did you know, “this is what I want to do”?
Since I was little I’ve always loved soccer. I spent as much time with my brother and sister out playing soccer as I did on the soccer field. The funny thing about that is that my mother’s not a soccer player.