USA U-20 Women’s National Team Announces Squad for 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
U.S. U-20 WNT Head Coach Michelle French Names Roster for 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has named the 21 players who will represent the United States at the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, being held in Papua New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3.
The U.S. opens the tournament on Monday, Nov. 14 against France, faces New Zealand on Thursday, Nov. 17 and finishes the group against Ghana on Monday, Nov. 21. The USA will play its first two group games at PNG Football Stadium and its third group game at Sir John Guise Stadium. Both stadiums are located in Port Moresby, the capital city of Papua New Guinea. All the matches will be broadcast on the FOX family of networks.
“Throughout this cycle, we have gone through an extensive process evaluating a number of players in various environments,” French said. “The final World Cup roster is comprised of players that provide great depth and versatility in every position. The way in which players competed to be a part of the roster, their commitment to be a part of this cycle, and their overall dedication to each other, has been tremendous. This group of players is highly motivated which has proven to be the impetus for their individual and collective development, particularly over the last six months.”
French officially named her squad after the completion of the most recent training camp in in Florida at which the USA defeated the Venezuela U-20 Women’s National Team twice, by 6-2 and 5-1 scores.
USA Under-20 roster for FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup 2016
Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.),
Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.),
Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.)
Madeline Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.),
Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.),
Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.),
Ellie Jean (Penn State; Coventry, Conn.),
Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza, Calif.),
Taylor Otto (North Carolina; Apex, N.C.),
Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.)
Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.),
Katie Cousins (Tennessee; Forest, Va.),
Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.),
Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho),
Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio),
Courtney Petersen (Virginia; Canton, Mich.),
Parker Roberts (Florida; Leawood, Kansas)
Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues: Monrovia, Calif.),
Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.),
Jessie Scarpa (North Carolina; Lakeland, Fla.),
Ally Watt (Texas A&M; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
Among the 21 players named are three who were a part of the USA’s 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Team. While goalkeeper Rose Chandler and defender Kaleigh Riehl did not play in Canada two years ago, they have been key players throughout the cycle. Chandler earned the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper during the qualifying tournament and Riehl has been a steady leader of the backline during 2016.
The third is Mallory Pugh who started at the last U-20 Women’s World Cup as a 16-year-old and would go on to debut for the senior Women’s National Team at the beginning of this year. She currently has 17 caps and four goals for the WNT, which includes her goal against Colombia in the 2016 Olympics, making her the youngest American soccer player to score in an Olympic Games. After scoring four goals over the two games against Venezuela, Pugh has 23 caps and 17 goals for the U-20s. She led the team in qualifying with seven goals and four assists where she won the Golden Boot as top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player. Pugh leads a contingent of forwards that also includes UNC junior Jessie Scarpa, who scored five times at qualifying, and the speedy Ally Watt from Texas A&M.
“I think this team is very dynamic, both on and off the field,” Pugh said. “We all have this drive when we wake up in the morning to inspire each other to get better and that’s really special. Off the field, it’s one of the most tight-knit and positive teams I’ve ever been a part of during my career. We have some big challenges ahead in PNG and we’re looking forward to them.”
Forward Ashley Sanchez, who scored three goals and captained the USA at the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan, was also named to the roster and will be the youngest player on the team and the only one born in 1999. Sanchez had three goals with five assists at the CONCACAF U-20 Qualifying tournament and scored the game-winning goal in the championship game against Canada.
The USA has a group of skillful and hard-working midfielders led by Emily Ogle, a sophomore at Penn State. All of the midfielders have extensive youth National Team experience and Marley Canales (UCLA) and Kelcie Hedge (Washington) were a part of the last U-17 WNT cycle. Katie Cousins (Tennessee), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC), Courtney Petersen (Virginia) and Parker Roberts (Florida) add depth to the midfield.
The defensive core includes three players who were a part of the last U-17 cycle in Ellie Jean (Penn State), Taylor Otto (UNC) and Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame). Madeline Elliston and Sabrina Flores have quite a bit of youth National Team experience and cut their teeth in college soccer last season for Penn State and Notre Dame, respectively. Emily Fox (FC Virginia) adds depth and versatility to the group of backs.
The USA has three quality goalkeepers in Casey Murphy (Rutgers), Chandler (Penn State) and Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC). Murphy and Heinsohn are both six-foot-one.
“The experience and knowledge this group of players will gain through their participation in the U-20 World Cup is extremely valuable,” French said. “Players have two opportunities at the youth level to try to qualify and compete in a World Cup, so being a part of this roster is massive. The more exposure our Youth National Team players can get to major world events, the heightened physical and emotional demands, and top international competition, the more the players will be prepared moving forward in their respective National Team careers.”
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