“Obviously it’s hard,” he said. “Sometimes when you lose just because your roster is depleted, it’s harder to compete. But I accept that those are the kinds of players we want to recruit because they make a difference.”
Though they missed the start of the school year and the subsequent opening weeks of class, the players aren’t absolved of academic duties.
“They’ve reached out to all of their professors and are in discussion with them via email,” Susan Maloy, academic adviser for the women’s soccer team, said.
“So they’re keeping up with their work while they’re away. They purchased their books prior to leaving,” she said. “They have all the assignments and information they need in order to do the work from where they are competing.”
The UNC players on the national squads also must balance concurrently playing two styles of soccer.
“It’s easier than I thought,” Green said of going back and forth between the two squads. “But it is a little tough just because I try to get rest periods in there and also just try to stay going hard-core with the Tar Heels. So it is a little difficult, but it’s nothing that I wouldn’t want to do. It’s all worth it.”
The trio is as important abroad as it is in Chapel Hill.
Playing in Tokyo, Ohai, Dunn and Heaberlin each played all 90 minutes of the United States’ 2-0 semifinal win against Nigeria, and Ohai’s goal against Nigeria earned her ussoccer.com Woman of the Match honors.
Back in the United States, the Tar Heels struggled early in the season to offset the absence of Ohai and Dunn, who accounted for more than 20 percent of the team’s goals last season.
“We know that our offense will continue to get better with the return of two of field player U-20 stars — Kealia Ohai and Crystal Dunn are wonderful attacking personalities,” Dorrance said.
“We know that if any team lost two of their best attacking options, it’d certainly be a struggle on offense … It’ll be kind of fun to see us score some goals even without them.”
UNC’s offense was sparked by the return of Green, who missed the first regular-season game but came back this weekend for the Notre Dame Adidas Invitational, where she had a hand in all three of UNC’s goals.
“It was just amazing to look back at the weekend and past month and see how much our team has grown,” redshirt senior Maria Lubrano said. “The soccer we’re playing is great, and we don’t even have all of our players back yet.”
Contact the desk editor at