Moving to the international stage

Moving to the international stage

Has the FIFA Women’s World Cup ever had two players at the same time, representing different nations, from the same high school?

It could happen in 2019.

College sophomore Dylan Patterson, who earned All-State honors and a state championship with Starr’s Mill before moving on to her current post at Winthrop University, was recently named to the Philippines women’s national team. She will play in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup this spring in Amman, Jordan, with a chance for her team to qualify for the Women’s World Cup next year in France.

The United States is the defending Women’s World Cup champion, having won the 2015 tournament in Canada. Former Panther standout Kelley O’Hara was a member of the team at that time and still is.

Patterson lived her entire life in Peachtree City before moving to South Carolina to attend college. She was eligible to try out for the Philippines squad because her maternal grandfather is a native of that country, born and raised there before joining the U.S. military at 19 years of age. Her maternal grandmother is a native of Hawaii but has Filipino ancestry.

She traveled to Corona, Calif, a few days after Christmas for her second tryout and was notified at the beginning of January that she made the team. A large number of players on the national team actually have lived most of their lives in the United States but are eligible for reasons similar to hers.

Patterson in the process now of obtaining citizenship in Philippines, which is a requirement to play for the national team. That process should be completed before the tournament in April. Interestingly, she has never visited the country but will certainly change this summer if not sooner.

The next few months will be busy, as she has a few commitments at Winthrop she wants to fulfill, both academic and soccer-related. Although the collegiate team’s official season is in the fall, spring is an important time for the squad and there are actually five matches to be played during that time. There are also some classes, online and in person, she wants to complete during the spring term before devoting herself full-time to soccer for a while. Thankfully, she has some professors whom she said have done a great time accommodating her.

Eight teams will compete in the Asian Cup event with the top five qualifying the World Cup. Patterson’s team will begin play April 6 against the host country at Amman International Stadium.

Other matches for the Philippines in the group stage will be against China and Thailand, the remaining teams in Group A. Group B consists of Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam. Japan won the tournament in 2014, followed by Australia and China. Japan is also the only Asian team to win the Women’s World Cup, doing so in 2011 with a win over the United States in the final in Germany.

The top two teams in each group qualify for the Women’s World Cup and move on to the semifinals. The third-place team in each group will play for the fifth and final slot. Patterson said her team needs a win and a tie to ensure itself a berth next year in France.

Patterson has played in every game her first two seasons at Winthrop and started all but two. She is a defender but scored one goal and one assist during her freshman year. She chose the Rock Hill, S.C. school because of its smaller size and said her academic performance is much better in that type of environment.

She was All-Region three straight years at Starr’s Mill playing for head coach John Bowen. The Panthers were state runner-up to McIntosh her sophomore year and state champions her junior year. Her final match as a senior was a state semifinal loss to Columbus.

“Dylan has been a leader since she stepped on the field as a freshman. She has always bonded her teammates together and even accepted a new position without missing beat,” said Bowen. “She was a member of our leadership team as a upperclassman and looked out for other players. She genuinely loves the game and works hard to get better so it is no surprise she is finding new avenues open to her. Dylan is a fantastic player but an even better person.”