Irish National Team Calls Up Murphy
“I’ve always wanted to use my Irish heritage to make myself available for the team,” Murphy told the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) upon signing. “I’ve played in different countries and had different experiences, so I’m ready for this one.”
— FAIreland ?????? (@FAIreland) August 29, 2020
A five-year pro since graduating from Tech after the 2015 Big 12 Championship season, Murphy’s pursuit of a senior cap will be accelerated by her heritage. With grandparents hailing from Limerick, the historic country’s third-oldest city, Murphy has held an Irish passport for years. Throughout her pro career, the passport has helped her seamlessly travel to Sweden, Netherlands, Iceland and, most recently, England, for stints with various teams.
What the passport also did was make her eligible for selection to the Irish National Team.
That selection came last week with a phone call from Republic of Ireland manager, Vera Pauw. The Dutch coach, who managed the Houston Dash while Murphy was there, actually forgot Murphy possessed an Irish passport. When she remembered, she got in contact with Murphy and invited her to join the squad.
“I am a little bit embarrassed,” Pauw laughed. “Alli was a player at Houston Dash when I was there and I should have known she had an Irish passport. It completely just went out of my mind. [When I was reminded] We picked up contact. Now we will be together.”
In 2018, Murphy left the Dash after receiving limited playing time to pursue technical growth in Europe. She made stops with PEC Zwolle (Netherlands), UMF Selfoss (Iceland) and, now, the London City Lionesses (England). To Pauw, it was Murphy’s decision to leave the States that has afforded her the opportunity to claim a senior cap.
“She really improved from that,” Pauw said. “If she had stayed at the level she was in Houston, she would not have made the squad. She made the decisions to make steps to become a better player. You can do that as a player, you can take it in your own hands. She has done that and it shows.”
Perhaps least surprised by a successful pro career and, now, a national team call-up, is Tom Stone, who signed the former high school All-American in 2012.
“Alli has been a committed professional since graduating in 2015,” said Stone. “She has put the work in on teams in the NWSL and around the world to bring her game to this point. We are thrilled for her, and I am confident that Ireland will be quite happy with their selection.”
“I’m very grateful and excited for this opportunity,” Murphy told Tech Athletics. “I’m excited to see where this path will lead me in my soccer career.”
Murphy’s addition to the Irish side comes as The Girls in Green pursue qualification to the EUFA Women’s EURO 2021. In normal years, the tournament would also present opportunities for FIFA World Cup qualification, but due to COVID-19 it has yet to be determined if the 2021 tournament will be a part of the qualifying schedule.
Ireland currently sits atop its EURO 2021 qualifying group with 13 points through five matches. Their Sept. 14 opponent, Germany, is one point behind with 12. The two are competing for the top spot in the group, which will be rewarded with automatic qualification for EURO 2021. Ireland rounds out its group stage schedule away at bottom-of-table Ukraine on Oct. 23 and Germany at home on Dec. 1. Should the Germans hop Ireland in the group standings, the Irish could qualify by being one of the top three of nine group runners-up or by winning a playoff between the other six runners-up.