Budding World Cup star with Team Argentina is 23-year-old from Beaverton

A budding superstar for Team Argentina at the World Cup and from Beaverton had her big break-through Thursday night.
Published: Jul. 28, 2023 at 9:04 PM PDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

(KPTV) - Not only are multiple stars for the Portland Thorns playing in this year’s World Cup but a budding superstar for Argentina from Beaverton had her big break-through Thursday night.

Sophia Braun scored a wonderful goal in Argentina’s 2-2 comeback draw in group play against South Africa. Braun’s game-changing blast in the 74th minute was a World Cup first for the 23-year-old.

Braun is a Jesuit High School Graduate who played in college for Gonzaga where she’s still working on her MBA.

SEE ALSO: Thorns’ Sophia Smith scores twice for US in 3-0 victory over Vietnam to open the Women’s World Cup

Sophia’s mom, Karina, was in the stadium cheering for her oldest kid and her home country.

“It still feels so surreal,” Sophia says.

Sophia is now and forever a first time World Cup goal scorer for her mother’s home country of Argentina.

“The dream lives on for now so that was the most exciting part for me but yeah, I mean, I think I have watched it like a hundred times and it still gives me goosebumps, but I was shocked on the field when it happened, and I am still shocked!”

Born and raised in Beaverton, the state champ with the Jesuit Crusaders Class of 2018 wrapped up her college playing career at Gonzaga in 2022 and is a pro for Club León in Mexico.

Just two matches into her journey down under, Sophia’s first World Cup experience has been magic with mom in the stands.

“She has seen me do that a few times,” Sophia says. “She’s been to a few thousand games probably of mine. I have grown up in the U.S. and haven’t been that connected to that part of me so it’s really special to be able to re-connect to that part and I know it means a lot for my mom and for her to be here is so special.”

Karina Braun was born and raised in Argentina. She moved to Portland with her American-born husband to raise three kids in the Rose City.

“I was surrounded by all the Argentina community, it was just very touching for me, all of the nice words that everyone has said about Sophie was just incredible, incredible to be there and live in it with her,” Karina says.

In 24 years working in operations at Nike, Karina’s fondest memory might be Sophia’s first foray into footy when she was 4 years old on Ronaldo Field on the world campus.

“It’s not only about soccer but she has had the opportunity to bond with my family, so soccer has given her so many chances, you know?” Karina says. “It’s not just what you do on the game but off the field, incredible opportunity for her.”

SEE ALSO: Portlanders fill Courthouse Square to cheer on Team USA in Women’s World Cup watch party

A budding star as a starting centerback for the Argentina national team, and this is just the start.

“It doesn’t get better than that. It just gets me closer - back to my roots. Seeing her singing the national anthem, you know?” Karina says. “It’s just a surreal experience. Feeling like she gained 24 sisters and they embrace her with her broken Spanish, and they help her.”

Sophia says she feels that she’s becoming more Argentine.

“I am drinking mate and learning Spanish the best I can and playing card games and all that,” Sophia says.

Next up, it’ll be game on with Sweden on Tuesday.

“I never gave up, even in college,” Sophia says. “I didn’t play every minute of every game, I wasn’t a starter my first two years and now I am playing in the World Cup and I scored a goal in the World Cup so I mean, anything can happen. As long as you work hard and keep believing.”