Carmel Valley’s Ella Emri named to U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team

Ella Emri played for the U17 Women's National Team in the U17 World Cup in India last year.

Carmel Valley’s Ella Emri has been named to the roster for the U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team. Ella will represent the USA at the 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, set for May 24-June 3 in the Dominican Republic.

A skilled defender, this is Ella’s second time being called up to play for the U.S.—she played for the USA in the 2022 U-17 World Cup in India last October.

Ella is a junior at Torrey Pines High School where she played varsity soccer as a freshman. She plays club soccer at San Diego Surf, currently on the ENCL 2004/2005 team.

Ella Emri.

The athletic Ella started playing soccer when she was just five years old. “I played about every sport you could imagine,” she said of participating in swimming, basketball, field hockey, lacrosse and flag football (“I was on an all girls team in a boys league…we won”). Soccer and basketball were the sports she stuck with the most—she played boys basketball up until seventh grade but eventually soccer took over as her number one passion. She loved the game and she was good at it, “getting that positive reinforcement back was always good”.

Born in Vancouver, Canada, Ella immigrated to the USA in 2013. Once she arrived in California she thrived on how competitive it is here: “The environment pushed me to want to get better.”

Ella has been playing at the center back position for a year—she switched last year from outside forward with the encouragement of her ENCL Coach Andres Deza.

“I think my strengths as a player are my heading, my technical ability, my physicality, my speed,” Ella said “I would just say my strength is my ability to grow and learn as a player and apply things that I’m learning as well.”

Her first call-up for the U-17 team saw her traveling to Spain and Dubai for pre-camps.

“Coming into that atmosphere I was a little nervous because the team had been together for awhile but they were super welcoming and they are just the greatest group of girls,” Ella said.

The U17 group grew close and built friendships and bonds on and off the field—she met several young women who will play at Stanford University, where she has verbally committed to play in 2024.

Ella was a starter in each World Cup game and scored a header goal versus India.

To get the call up again, to play for the U20 team was incredibly exciting and rewarding.

“I started crying a little bit,” she said. “I went downstairs and gave my mom a big hug. It was one of those moments, looking back at all the hard work and all those hard days.”

Because this is a U20 camp, Ella hadn’t been expecting it all—she will be one the younger players on the team comprised mostly of players from top universities. Before heading to the Dominican Republic, the team will train in Florida for a week.

“I’m obviously very honored to be even considered to be on this roster,” Ella said. “But now I’m on it and that’s just an amazing privilege just to wear the crest and represent it.”

At the tournament, the USA will be hoping to win one of three berths to the 2024 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. The team will kick off Group A play against Panama on Wednesday, May 24, face Jamaica on Friday, May 26 and finish the group stage against Canada on Sunday, May 28. Games will be televised on FS1 and FS2.

Ella is looking forward to playing against these countries as well as visiting the Dominican Republic for the first time. The team goal is, of course, to win the tournament and personally, Ella said she would like to learn and grow as a player.

Ella’s longterm goals are to make the senior national team and after college to go professional, playing overseas or in the NWSL, “It’s always been a dream to play in England for Man City or Chelsea,” she said. “I’ve always been a big fan of City.”