Mia Bhuta

Local teen co-captaining the U17 World Cup soccer team is breaking records. Meet Mia Bhuta.

Photo above of Mia Bhuta courtesy of KDKA.

A local teenaged girl from Mt. Lebanon Township was the co-captain of the Under-17 World Cup U.S. soccer team. She’s also the first Indian-American to play for any FIFA team — female or male.

17-year-old Mia Bhuta was back in Mt. Lebanon recently and took time to kick the ball around with some young girls before returning for the soccer pre-season at Stanford University. Like those girls, Mia started playing soccer in Mt. Lebanon when she was 5, and later played for the Century United and Riverhounds club teams. Then when she was 15, she got called to play for the U.S. national team.

In October, Mia scored a goal in the Under-17 World Cup in India – the country her Dad immigrated from when he was 16. Mia is the first player of Indian descent to appear in any World Cup game for U.S. Soccer at any level, and her soccer career has been inspiring for Indian girls who don’t have the same opportunities Mia had growing up in Mt. Lebanon.


“Being able to play in that country and just see all the faces of so many young girls who finally have people to look up to and see that it’s possible to achieve their dreams was really amazing,” Mia said.

While she was in India, Mia worked with her team and the Indian team captain to collect cleats and other equipment to give to local girls.

“We just put that together and went to meet some of these girls and hear their stories and share ours and provide them with some of the things that we hope that they can have in the future,” she said.

Mia credits her family for helping her reach this level: “Both of my parents have inspired me a lot. And my older brother, he was always training with me off the field. And now I have my younger sister, who is someone I look to every day just as a reminder of the future generation that I want to inspire.”

Mia graduated early from Mt. Lebanon High School and now plays soccer for Stanford University. She’s majoring in “symbolic systems” which combines science, linguistics and philosophy. She hopes someday to use it for a job in technology and business. She was named “Youth Soccer Player of the Year” by United Soccer Coaches, and she is the highest capped player on the Under-17 national team. That means she appeared in games more than any other player.

It’s a lot for a 17-year-old to juggle, between college classes, the school team and the national team. But Mia seems to take it in stride.

“I think just managing my time is something that I’ve really learned just from a young age. Sometimes I’m missing weeks at a time from school, but just knowing that if I can stay ahead of my work and keep training, it will be fine,” she said.

Mia is now training with the Under-20 national team for the World Cup next summer and someday hopes to play in the Women’s World Cup and Olympics. But along the way, she’s embracing her role in soccer history and using it to help girls, both in India and the U.S., reach their goals, too.

She said, “I think now we’re at the point where girls – we believe in ourselves, and we know what we’re capable of. But now we just need the support from the people around us to help everyone achieve their goals.”