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News | Oct. 6, 2017

From Defense to Offense: Representing Navy at the Defender’s Cup

By Allison Ziegler, Defense Service Office Pacific

Lt. Rosemarie Lombardi, a judge advocate stationed at Defense Service Office Pacific, Branch Office Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, was selected for the U.S. Women’s Armed Forces Soccer Team, which recently competed in the Defender’s Cup in San Antonio, Texas, as part of the first ever all-female team.

Lombardi, a native of Colorado, currently works as an attorney to provide defense and personal representation services to the Pacific area of operations. She started playing soccer at a young age and continued playing throughout college.

“I have always loved playing soccer and I feel honored to have had the chance to represent U.S. military women and to have played with such an incredible group of female athletes.  It was truly a memorable experience and so much fun,” said Lombardi, who played forward and outside midfielder throughout the tournament.

The Defender’s Cup, the only military open soccer tournament in the nation, celebrated its sixteenth year over Labor Day weekend with forty teams competing from bases and installations around the United States. While typically a male-dominated tournament with a large Air Force presence, this year’s tournament was quite different.  Although the U.S. Women’s Armed Forces Soccer Team did not advance to the finals, they made a huge impact on the tournament by being the first all-female team to ever play in the tournament.  

The Women’s Team also played a local semi-professional team from the Women’s Premium Soccer League, the San Antonio Athenians.  Although their match ended in a tie (0-0), the Women’s Team accomplished their goals of spreading awareness of the program and recruiting players.

“It was an amazing weekend for the women's program: first all-female team to play in the Defender’s Cup and an outstanding game against the San Antonio Athenians. The future looks very bright with new talent found from 40 base teams this weekend,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Derrick Weyand, U.S. Women’s Armed Forces Soccer Team Head Coach.  

The U.S. Women’s Armed Forces Soccer Team is composed of approximately 15 women from all ranks and branches of the military. The team also participates in the Conseil International du Sport Militaire (CISM) World Women’s Football Cup.  The next CISM World Women’s Football Cup will take place at Ft. Bliss, Texas in Summer, 2018. 

"It is an exciting opportunity to represent your service and the U.S. military on a national stage,” said Lombardi. "There is something incredibly special about playing a sport you love for your country with a group of women who also serve; I am extremely grateful for the opportunity."
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