Mia Bhuta, who was born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, made a sparkling debut in the Women’s U17 World Cup opening match of Group A round-robin play, with the United States Women’s National Team,in her father’s home nation in Bhubaneswar, India on Tuesday.
The USWNT routed India, 8-0 in the match, as the game featured several special moments for Bhuta, a midfielder, who entered the match at halftime and wore the captain’s armband.
Bhuta, whose father was born in Mumbai and grew up in Gujarat before emigrating to the USA at the age of 16, is the first player of Indian descent to represent the USA in a World Cup, which she did so at the age of 16.
It got even better for Bhuta after entering the match. In the 62nd minute, the midfielder buried an incredible left-footed shot from distance in the top left corner. She also picked up the assist.
Bhuta scored the eighth and final goal in the 62nd minute. It was a fabulous left footed strike from well outside the box that sailed into the upper left corner.
— John Krysinsky (@JohnKrysinsky) October 12, 2022
“The feeling was incredible, and the crowd was amazing,” Bhuta said in the post game interview. “It was something I’ve never experienced before.”
“That goals was extra special to me. My grandfather couldn’t be here tonight because he just had bypass surgery, and he’s recovering in the hospital.”
Prior to the start of the World Cup competition, Bhuta released the following statement:
— Mia Bhuta (@miabhuta) October 11, 2022
The result was the largest margin of victory in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup as it opened the tournament with seven different players scoring for the USA, led by a brace from forward Melina Rebimbas while forwards Onyeka Gamero and Taylor Suarez, midfielders Charlotte Kohler and defenders Ella Emri and Gisele Thompson also scored.
The USA will now take on Brazil on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 a.m. ET (FS2) in the team’s second match of the group stage. Brazil beat Morocco 1-0 in its opening game of the tournament, meaning the USA sits atop Group A in the early going.