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Why Alana Cook picked the USWNT over England: ‘This is home’

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Alana Cook was one of two players to speak with reporters from London on Tuesday. (Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

When Alana Cook makes her World Cup debut for the USWNT, she will do so as one of just a few players who has played for two different national teams.

Because her father holds British citizenship, Cook also is eligible to represent England. And it was for England that she received her first senior international call-up in September 2019, when she served as a training player for the Lionesses’ friendlies against Portugal and Brazil.

But the USWNT came calling soon after that, with Cook receiving her first senior call-up for the United States in October 2019.

Still, while Cook spent a lot of time in the USWNT’s youth ranks, playing for the U-17, U-20 and U-23 squads, the England call-up provided “an eye-opening moment” for her.

“I said, ‘For the sake of my career, I should go look,’” Cook said of her mindset at the time. “I was like, I deserve to give myself the opportunity, and went into camp. I think it dawned for me that playing with the U.S., win, lose or draw, for the rest of my career I would always be proud to be with the U.S. and to put on the jersey and fight for this team.

“So I think it was an eye-opening moment, it kind of reaffirmed everything that I knew. Playing for the USA, this is home, this is who I want to play for, this who I want to fight for. And you know, I would always be proud to do that.”

Now she’s proud to carry on the USWNT legacy as the team fights for its third straight World Cup this summer.

“I think it definitely carries a lot of weight,” she told fellow USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara. “To pick up where you guys are bringing us in and then to kind of carry it forward. … Like, you guys have fought that battle for us. And I think we talk a lot about: What will be our battle moving forward?

“So I think it’s definitely something we acknowledge, that it’s amazing to come in to inherit the program where you guys have brought it to, but that’s not enough, right? Our legacy is also to carry that forward. And to know that the fight isn’t over. We just have to make sure that we’re making something else better for people below us too.”