It’s no secret that UC Berkeley takes pride in its people. And why shouldn’t it? Seven current faculty members are Nobel Laureates, and its star-studded list of alumni includes Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren, actor Gregory Peck, and chef and environmental activist Alice Waters. And that roster hasn’t even taken into account the exceptional athletes that walked under Sather’s greenish gate. Cal soccer alumni have done UC Berkeley particularly proud — they’ve made and are making waves in the sport of soccer both nationally and internationally. You can probably name at least one of them, so we’ll start with her.
1) Alex Morgan
#13 forward | United States Women’s National Soccer Team, Orlando Pride
When you’re on the topic of UC Berkeley alumni, you have to start with Alex Morgan. A leading scorer on the Cal women’s soccer team, the youngest member of the 2009 United States Women’s National Soccer Team and an Olympic gold medalist, Morgan possesses a phenomenal talent that has resulted in a prolific athletic career and international fame.
2) Stefan Frei
#24 goalkeeper | Seattle Sounders FC
Stefan Frei was born in Altstaetten, Switzerland and was a member of the Swiss Under-15 National Team. Later, Frei moved to the United States where he attended high school in Concord — during which time he also worked part-time at Soccer Pro — and went on to attend college at UC Berkeley. In 2009, he was selected by Toronto FC in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. He now plays for the Seattle Sounders FC, and was nominated for the 2014 MLS “Comeback Player of the Year.”
3) Joy (Biefeld) Fawcett
#14 defender | United States Women’s National Soccer Team, Ajax, San Diego Spirit
Joy Fawcett — neé Joy Biefeld — played on the Cal women’s soccer team from 1987 to 1989. In 1991, she joined the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and helped them win the FIFA World Cup. She’d go on to compete through the 2004 Olympics and ended her career as the Women’s National Team’s highest-scoring defender. Suffice it to say that Fawcett is not only a fellow Bear, but one of the most respected athletes in women’s sports team history.
4) Connor Hallisey
#22 midfielder | Sporting Kansas City
Connor Hallisey graduated from UC Berkeley in 2014, after playing four seasons on the Cal men’s soccer team. Hallisey suffered from injuries in his sophomore and junior years but returned his senior year to perform with remarkable success. A former member of the United States Under-18 Men’s National Team, Hallisey now plays for Sporting Kansas City.
5) Steve Birnbaum
#15 defender | United States Men’s National Soccer Team, D.C. United
During Steve Birnbaum’s senior year at UC Berkeley, he strained his LCL. Though the injury took him out of the game for his capstone season on the Cal men’s soccer team, Birnbaum was determined to overcome the setback. He returned for a fifth year, and, in 2014, was selected by D.C. United in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. He has since been recognized as a consistent and highly technical player, and was a favorite for the 2014 MLS “Rookie of the Year.”
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