Nine rising stars
Her voice lilts when she talks about her favorite soccer scenario. "I love a one-on-one breakaway," Leroux says. "I enjoy that moment of Who's going to win?" As a kid in Vancouver, she watched endless video of stylish scorers, from Pele to Diego Maradona. So when she arrived stateside at 15 (her American dad affords her dual citizenship), she knew just how to impress her teammates on the U.S. under-19 squad, creating speedy dashes that ended with a dramatic strike. Leroux, who turns 22 in May, is now the youngest member of the U.S. national team (that's her in the foreground), although she admits that things didn't come quite so easy at first. "Everything was much faster," she says. "I had to change my game a bit." It worked: In her second cap this past January, Leroux scored five goals in one half of an Olympic qualifier against Guatemala.