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Sophia Smith honors Katie Meyer with USWNT goal celebration

(Lynne Cameron/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Sophia Smith honored Katie Meyer’s memory in the U.S. women’s national team’s World Cup opener on Saturday, imitating her former college teammate’s iconic 2019 national championship celebration following her second goal.

After VAR confirmed Smith’s goal in first-half stoppage time, giving the USWNT a 2-0 lead over Vietnam, the forward motioned to her zipped her lips and threw away the key. It was a reference to Meyer, who used the same celebratory gesture after saving a penalty kick to help Stanford win the 2019 NCAA title. Meyer, a starting goalkeeper and team captain, died by suicide while still a student at Stanford in March 2022.

“That was for Katie,” Smith told reporters after the USWNT’s 3-0 win over Vietnam. She said planned the celebration alongside center-back and fellow Stanford graduate Naomi Girma.

“That was pretty iconic what she did in the College Cup, and we just want to honor her in every way,” Smith added.

Ahead of the World Cup, Girma, Smith and other members of the USWNT launched a campaign promoting mental health in honor of Meyer. Girma also wrote a heartfelt tribute to her friend and former teammate for The Players’ Tribune, titled “This Is For Katie.”

Smith had plenty of opportunities to celebrate against Vietnam, contributing to all three of the USWNT’s goals with two goals of her own and one assist.

“I tell everyone: I want to win a World Cup and whatever comes with that comes with that,” she said after the game.