She’s one of the biggest celebrities in Brazil, despite the fact that she lives in America and can barely speak Portuguese. She’s a versatile defender and scorer, good enough to lead her school in scoring while holding down the left-back slot for the Brazilian Under-20 National Team.
Most notably, she’s already considered one of the best throwers in the world, making Rory Delap look like a pitcher in a slow-pitch softball league. All this, and she’s not yet 18 years old.
Leah Lynn Gabriela Fortune (born December 13, 1990), known as “Leah,” is a left-back who plays for the Brazilian Women’s Under-20 National Team. Fortune was born in San Paulo, Brazil, to American parents, and is a dual citizen of both the United States and Brazil. She’s been living in Chicago since she was two years old, attends Wheaton Academy in West Chicago, and played for Team Chicago in the Illinois Women’s Soccer League (IWSL). She has orally committed to Clemson University after considering numerous top-notch soccer programs in the United States.
Leah is most famous for her somersault throw-in style, dubbed “The Mortal Somersault,” which has led to her becoming a Youtube celebrity, as well as an effective weapon for her team. The somersault isn’t merely crowd-pleasing. Leah, who developed the style after doing gymnastics as a child, uses the somersault to generate velocity and momentum as she whips a long throw into the box for her teammates. She can fire a throw-in all the way to the far post, which stretches out the opposing team’s defense considerably.
The Somersault became a staple on Sportscenter after the Brazilian U-20’s defeated Argentina in the CONMEBOL U-20 Championships in March 2008. In her second game in the tournament, Leah connected with forward Pamela on a flip throw of more than 20 yards for the team’s first goal in a 5-0 rout of Paraguay. The move immediately made her into a celebrity in Brazil, and she was besieged with autograph requests everywhere she went in Brazil.
Leah isn’t just a good thrower. Her coaches say that she is strong and fast, and can shoot with both her legs. Even though she plays left-back for Brazil, she normally plays striker for her school, where she tallied 27 goals and notched 17 assists during the 2008 season.
Even though she currently plays for Brazil, under FIFA rules, Leah can still choose to play for the United States upon turning 21. Despite the strength of the U.S. Women’s team, as well as the fact that she barely speaks two words of Portuguese, it appears as if she’ll be choosing Brazil. Her heroes are Marta and Kaka, and her dream is to play for Brazil in the Olympics and World Cup.
In her spare time, she enjoys photography and spending time with her parents and two older sisters.
Brazilian U-20 Women’s National Team:
2008 CONMEBOL U-20 Championships – Winners
2008 FIFA U-20 World Cup — Quarter Finals (Germany)
Leah Throw-In Against Chile, FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup:
Leah Throw-In Against Mexico, FIFA U-20 Championships: