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College Cup: Breaking down the historic dominance of UNC women’s soccer

Julia Dorsey #7 of North Carolina Tar Heels celebrates her second half goal against the Florida State Seminoles during the semifinals round at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park on December 02, 2022 in Cary, North Carolina. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)

The North Carolina Tar Heels women’s soccer team will play in their 26th national championship game on Monday, marking what has been decades of dominance on the field.

They made their NCAA tournament debut all the way back in 1982, and won. Since then, they’ve been one of the most consistent teams in the NCAA, having participated in every single NCAA tournament and always in the national championship conversation.

The list of notable alumni is long and includes: Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Heather O’Reilly, Meghan Klingenberg, Lucy Bronze, Tobin Heath, Crystal Dunn, Allie Long and Ashlyn Harris. Current US Soccer president Cindy Parlow Cone is also an alum.

Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at their dominance, by the numbers.


The Tar Heels have been runners-up just five times, including in 2018 and 2019. They made the semifinals in 2020 but did not advance past the Elite Eight last year.


From 1986 through 1994, UNC rattled off nine-straight NCAA championship titles. They would win again from 1996-1997 and 1999-2000. In total, they won eight titles in the 1990s.


Despite their dominance, the Tar Heels have not won a national title since 2012, making this year the 10th in which they have not won.


Of the 40 national championships for women’s soccer, UNC has won 21 of them. They’ve also won 23 of 27 total Atlantic Coast Conference championships.