Yohannes, 16, becomes third-youngest USWNT scorer

Ajax midfielder Lily Yohannes became the third-youngest goalscorer ever for the U.S. Women’s National Team, slotting home in the 82nd minute in a friendly against South Korea on Tuesday night.

Yohannes has already made history just by being on the field for the match. When she entered the field, the 16-year-old became the youngest player to make an appearance for the national team since 2001, and just the eighth to make her debut before turning 17. By scoring, she followed only Kristine Lilly and Tiffany Roberts as the youngest USWNT goalscorers.

“It’s a dream come true, really,” Yohannes told TNT Sports after the USWNT won 3-0. “I played the scenario out in my head I don’t know how many times before. The support from my teammates all running up to me just made it that much more special.”


This is not last year’s USWNT – Dunn and Yohannes’ goals prove it

How did Yohannes score?

While a friendly cap doesn’t cap-tie a player, seeing Lily Yohannes enter the game in the 72′ was another step in the team’s ongoing post-World Cup refresh. She was given some freedom to drift off of Sam Coffey, looking to play in the wingers, which she looked comfortable doing right off the bat. At points she was also asked to navigate around the venerable Ji So-yun, a big ask for a first assignment, but an important one that demonstrated both a level of trust and a level of willingness to let Yohannes fly or fall on her own merits.

Yohannes picked “fly” by scoring her first goal, a calmly-placed shot that rolled right underneath goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi.

Yohannes has written her name into the record books, at just 16 years and 358 days old.

“Lily is a baller. From the day she came into camp, she was just making passes that you don’t see a 16-year-old make,” forward Sophia Smith said. “You don’t even see veteran players make these passes. She’s confident, she’s composed. We knew she was going to get into this game hopefully, and she came in and didn’t miss a beat.

“She looked like a natural out there, and then to get a goal on top of that is amazing and so well deserved.” — Steph Yang

Who is Lily Yohannes?

Born in Springfield, Va., Yohannes spent her early childhood playing the game along with her brothers and father in a community of fellow Ethiopian and Eritrean expats. When the family moved to the Netherlands, Yohannes played her way into the Ajax women’s academy system, eventually becoming a starter for the team this season.

She played in 20 matches this season, scoring five goals with four assists and helping Ajax reach the UEFA Women’s Champions League quarterfinals, where they fell to Emma Hayes’ Chelsea.

“She’s like the most mature 16 year old I’ve ever met,” USWNT midfielder Rose Lavelle said on Tuesday. “I feel like she’s more mature than me honestly. She’s been so impressive. I told her, ‘I will always remember my 100th cap because it was Lily’s first cap and her first goal.’

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(Photo: Brad Smith / ISI Photos / USSF / Getty Images)

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