Kuhlmann goals make difference for U.S. U17 women

USA's Civana Kuhlmann (white jersey) was the only player to score in both the 2013 and 2016 editions of the CONCACAF Under-17 Women's Championship. (Photo: Mexsport)

ST. GEORGE’S, Grenada – You could say it was fate.

At the 2013 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship, the United States was eliminated from contention after falling to Mexico on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw in the semifinals.

Despite having no opportunity to qualify for the U-17 Women’s World Cup, the Americans played one more game two days later, posting an 8-0 win over Jamaica in the match for third place.  A 14-year-old named Civana Kuhlmann scored the last goal with only seconds left on the clock.

In the recently completed 2016 edition of the same competition, Kuhlmann once again scored the last goal for the Americans.  On this occasion, however, it broke a 1-1 deadlock against Mexico with four minutes left in normal time of the final at the Grenada Athletics Stadium.

“It feels amazing,” Kuhlmann beamed, when asked to describe the sensation of scoring the last goal for the U.S. in two straight CU17W tournaments.  “Since the result was different last time, it really hurt last time.  All the hard work to make it different this time really paid off and it’s never felt better.”

Many of Kuhlmann’s goals were of the acrobatic variety.  Her strike against Mexico was no different as she somehow managed to power a shot past goalkeeper Miriam Aguirre with her right thigh from four-yards out off a right-sided cross by Sophia Smith.

U.S. head coach B.J. Snow was impressed by Kuhlmann’s tireless desire to find the back of the net and the effort she puts into making that happen.

“I think one of the things that really separates her is her aggressive attitude to put herself into positions to score goals,” said the 39-year-old.  “Sometimes that’s an innate characteristic that doesn’t come along very often, where she’ll do anything to put her body, any body part, to score goals. 

“She’s kind of relentless, she’s ruthless in the box to get to those spots.”

Kuhlmann ended up with four goals in Grenada, taking her career CU17W total to six.  Rather dwell on her accomplishments, the now 16-year-old preferred to divert the credit to others.

“It’s the great service of my teammates and I’m just able to get something on it,” remarked Kuhlmann.  “Really, it’s just them doing the hard work.”

Even more so, Kuhlmann was pleased with the USA’s overall performance that resulted in it capturing a record-extending third CU17W crown.

“My team played great,” she finished.  “We fought the whole time.  That’s why the goal was so rewarding because of my teammates and how hard they fought.  I wouldn’t have been able to do it without them and they really made it special.”