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Homecoming: Julie Johnston, women’s national soccer team to play in Phoenix

The United States Women's National Team celebrates with the trophy after they beat Japan 5-2 in the FIFA Women's World Cup soccer championship in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Sunday, July 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

PHOENIX — Two Arizona-born soccer stars will make their homecoming when the U.S. Women’s National Team plays China in Phoenix later this year.

The stop, announced Wednesday by U.S. Soccer, is part of the Americans’ victory tour to celebrate their latest World Cup-winning summer. The teams will square off at University of Phoenix Stadium on Dec. 13 at 5 p.m.

Two women from the team, centerback Julie Johnston and forward Sydney Leroux, were raised in the Phoenix area.

Johnston, the second-youngest player on the American team, received accolades throughout the team’s World Cup-winning run, including being named to the World Cup All-Star team.

The Mesa native didn’t miss a single minute and was named the player of the match in the 1-0 win over Nigeria. During that game, Johnston made several keys plays — including stopping a breakaway — and scored a goal that was disallowed by a narrow offsides call. Fox TV’s rule specialist said the goal should have counted.

The 23-year-old defender also contributed two assists in the tournament.

Leroux was born in Canada and moved to Seattle at 13, then to Scottsdale. She attended Horizon High School and also played for Sereno.

The forward played in four World Cup games, including the United States 2-0 win over Germany in the semi-final.

The Phoenix game is a rematch of the World Cup quarterfinals. The U.S. topped China 1-0 on a goal from World Cup MVP Carli Lloyd — assisted by Johnson — on their way to winning the entire tournament.

Tickets for the December match go on sale Oct. 30.

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