It’s been a whirlwind of a summer for Kyra Carusa. 

On July 20, the San Diego native walked out of the tunnel in Sydney in front of 75,000 fans against Australia as the Republic of Ireland made its FIFA World Cup debut. Carusa would start all three matches for Ireland, a country she qualified to represent through her grandparents.

“I’m so happy my grandmother kept her original birth certificates, marriage certificates, emigration papers, because if she hadn’t, I wouldn’t even be able to be sitting here today,” said Carusa. 

Following her World Cup debut, Carusa signed with her hometown club on Aug. 16, and made her NWSL debut one week later in front of loved ones at Snapdragon Stadium 

“I don’t think that you would have told 18-year-old me that I’d be in the World Cup, in one summer and then, you know, the next week, be playing with the professional team here in San Diego and get to do that kind of full circle experience,” Carusa said. “I wouldn’t even think it was imaginable at that time, but it’s kind of wild now that I’m sitting here, and it’s actually happened.”

A second-half substitute, Carusa entered the match for the Wave in the 62nd minute with the game leveled at 1-1. Midfielder Makenzy Doniak hit a corner kick that found the head of Carusa that was timed perfectly and found the back of the net to secure a much-needed three points for San Diego. 

For Carusa, her game-winning goal was just the start of the impact she hopes to make on her new club. With just a few crucial weeks left in the regular season, Kyra intends to finish the regular season strong and help San Diego clinch its second-ever NWSL playoff run.

When asked about her goals with the Wave, Carusa said, “I think that coming in with San Diego right now, I understand that regardless of how the rest of the season has gone, the most important part is what we have in front of us right now and to control what we can control and to ensure that we put our fate in our own hands, and that will literally separate those in this league.”

Carusa and the Wave continue in action this Sunday, Sept. 3, against the Houston Dash at Snapdragon Stadium for the club’s World Cup Welcome Back. Kickoff against the Dash is slated for 5:00 p.m. PT and tickets to the game are available here. The contest will also be streamed live on Paramount+.