For the 109 players in the women’s College Cup, the road to Cary, North Carolina started from all over the world. Canada, Australia, China, England — these players are as diverse as their skill sets. Here’s everything you need to know about where these players came from and their long and windy road to WakeMed soccer park in Cary, North Carolina.  

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For the 22-time national champion North Carolina, the field at WakeMed is about as close to home as possible. These players, regardless of where they’re from, know this field inside and out. With their home field in Chapel Hill under construction this year, the Tar Heels played five of their regular season home games in Cary and will hope to win a championship in this city for the fourth time in program history. The North Carolina roster includes 14 Carolinians, including three sets of local high school teammates and one Cary native.

But the team isn’t all Carolina born and bred.

North Carolina also has the greatest number of states represented on its roster compared to any team in the College Cup. They also have two international players, both from England.  Alessia Russo is from Kent and Lotte Wubben-Moy is from London. Wubben-Moy, by the way, is fluent in Dutch and has a father who cycles a competitive stage of the Tour de France each year. For the North Carolina players, even Russo and Wubben-Moy, playing in Cary is home, and WakeMed soccer park could provide the Tar Heels with all they need to complete their 2018 redemption story and earn a national title on the same field that they lost the ACC championship just several weeks ago. 

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Florida State, which has played its last several games in Tallahassee as hosts during the NCAA tournament, will now return to Cary and to a field where they found success in the ACC tournament against none other than the Tar Heels. The ACC, however, isn’t the only thing these two teams share. Florida State defender Malia Berkely came from the same city — Liberty Township, Ohio — as North Carolina goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak, and the two have faced off directly in previous ACC games. Despite playing nearly 500 miles from her hometown, Berkely won’t be too far removed from her family’s spirit, as she will be wearing her mom’s birthstone ring during the game.