Arizona’s Julie Johnston named one of world’s best female soccer players

Feb 18, 2016, 10:33 AM | Updated: 10:23 pm
United States' Julie Johnston celebrates a goal with teammates during the U.S. Women's World Cup so...
United States' Julie Johnston celebrates a goal with teammates during the U.S. Women's World Cup soccer victory tour, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

PHOENIX — An Arizona native made soccer history on Thursday.

Julie Johnston, who was born and raised in Mesa, was named to the first-ever FIFPro World Women’s XI team, which is essentially an honorary all-star team made up of players from around the globe.

The team was selected by members of FIFPro, a multinational organization that represents professional female soccer players. This year was the first the group selected a World Women’s XI team, but it is expected to choose teams annually moving forward.

The United States had the most players of any nation on this year’s team. Johnston was joined by fellow defender Meghan Klingenberg, goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Carli Lloyd, who was also named this year’s FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.

Johnston enjoyed a big year for the U.S. Women’s National Team. The centerback started every game for the team during its seven-game run through the Women’s World Cup, which culminated in a 5-2 win over Japan.

She was named the player of the match in the United States’ 1-0 win over Nigeria on June 16, a win that helped the U.S. advance out of group play to the knockout stage.

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’s rule specialist said the goal should have counted.

After the tournament was over, Johnston was named to the FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Squad.

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Arizona’s Julie Johnston named one of world’s best female soccer players