Let Sofia Huerta hype herself up for just one moment - she deserves to, after all. By any measure, Huerta shouldn't be here; she shouldn't be with this team for this tournament for this moment; it feels unfathomable.
A woman who initially opted to play for Mexico couldn't have imagined herself playing for the U.S. women's national team. And a player that once had so many reasons to doubt herself could never have predicted that she'd have so many reasons to believe.
That's what got Huerta to this moment: belief. It's what got her from the wilderness to the World Cup. Seven years ago, she found herself playing for Adelaide United with no real idea of what would come next. On Friday night, she could very well start for the USWNT in Auckland in the first game of their 2023 World Cup.
The path to this point has been anything but a straight line. Huerta isn't like many of her team-mates, many of whom were tipped for success at an early age. For so long she was an outsider. Yet, here she is among the stars with a chance to represent her country at a World Cup.
"I've been in the league [NWSL] for 10 years," she says. "That is an accomplishment, for sure. I just signed a deal with Lotto. That's a big deal! I'm the first player from Idaho to become a female professional soccer player, the first to play for and against Mexico and the U.S. There are so many things! I know I just sounded a little cocky there, but I just think, in general, the mentality is now to focus on what you do have instead of what you don't.
"I think, right now, there are just so many things to be thankful for."
Ahead of the World Cup, the USWNT fullback sat down with GOAL to talk about the things she's thankful for, her winding path to a World Cup and how her one world-class skill got her to where she always dreamt of being.