Just For Kicks: Valley Stars One Win Away From Title

The Valley has been known to have a connection to some of sports biggest stars who perform in the biggest events.

Sunday evening in Edmonton will be no different as the U.S. faces Japan in the Women’s World Cup title match. It’s a goal they hope achieve with the help of defender Julie Johnston from Mesa and forward Sydney Leroux from Scottsdale.

“Julie Johnston kind of came on as an unknown,” FOX soccer analyst Kyndra de St. Aubin told Sports360AZ.com in a recent phone interview. “She has been a superstar on that back line for the U.S.  which has been so good.”

So good, with help of standout goalie Hope Solo, the Americans have only allowed one goal to this point. The Dobson High alum Johnston has been a stabilizing final wall in front of the embattled Solo who entered tournament play under the national microscope for her off-the-field behavior.

Leroux took a less conventional path to Arizona, unlike the native Johnston. Born in Canada, she moved in-state at the age of 15 and attended Scottsdale Horizon High School living with multiple host families.

“She hasn’t gotten to play a ton of minutes,” de St. Aubin said of the 5’7 Leroux. “She’s one of those fireplug forwards who [gives] all-out effort.”

Win or lose this weekend both have certainly made The Grand Canyon State proud.