CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – U.S. Soccer has announced the hiring of Jitka Klimkova as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team and Mark Carr as head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team.
Klimkova has been a U.S. Soccer Women’s Development Coach since January of 2015, serving as the head coach of the U.S. Under-19 Women’s National Team, while Carr has been a U.S. Women’s Development Coach since November of 2014, serving as head coach of the U.S. Under-15 Girls’ National Team. Both have also worked as assistant coaches for other age groups. In its continuing efforts to be a world leader for the women’s game, U.S. Soccer has had full-time head coaches for the U-20 and U-17 Women’s National Teams since 2013.
U.S. Soccer will also announce its 2017 coaches for the U-14, U-15 and U-16 Girls’ National Teams and U-18 and U-19 Women’s National Teams in the near future.
The several years of experience with their respective age groups will serve Klimkova and Carr well as they transition to the U-20 and U-17 levels. Klimkova will oversee all aspects of the U-20 WNT program and will be charged with preparing the team for CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World cup that will be held in France. Her first U-20 WNT camp will start on April 8 in San Diego.
Carr will oversee all aspects of the U-17 WNT program and will be charged with preparing his squad for CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup that will be held in Uruguay. He will coach the U-17 WNT for the first time at the Delle Nazioni Tournament in Gradisca, Italy in late April.
The coaches will also manage the integration and programming of the National Teams just below their age groups – for Klimkova the U-18 and U-19 WNTs and for Carr the U-15 and U-16 GNTs — to maximize the evaluation and movement of players between the age groups for training camps and matches during the World Cup cycle.
“Over the last few years we’ve hired a cadre of Development Coaches as part of a plan to expose them to the international game and develop them into future candidates for our World Cup age-groups,” said Women’s Youth National Teams Director April Heinrichs. “In hiring Mark and Jitka as our U-17 and U-20 coaches respectively, we’re putting two of our best and most experienced coaches in front of our best players. They have age-appropriate head coaching experience on the international level, are familiar with our player pools, methods of coaching, style of play and philosophy. Mark and Jitka will start with their respective teams in their upcoming camps without skipping a beat.”
Klimkova, who also speaks Czech, German and Russian, has more than 20 years of coaching and playing experience at the national team, professional and youth club levels in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and her native Czech Republic.
Klimkova, 42, came to U.S. Soccer from the New Zealand Football Federation, where she was head coach of the New Zealand U-17 Women’s National Team, coaching the team at the 2014 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Costa Rica, and an assistant coach for the Ferns U-20 Women’s National Team over 2013 and 2014. She was also the assistant coach for the senior New Zealand Women’s National Team in 2014.
“I love working for U.S. Soccer and continuing to embrace the many challenges of being successful at the international level,” said Klimkova. “I have always dreamed big, had ambitious goals and worked hard to achieve those goals, which are qualities we will ask for from our players. My main motivation is to work with extremely talented players, coaches, support staff to help make all of us better. I look forward to continuing to create a positive and successful culture within our Youth National Teams.”
In 2016, Carr coached the U.S. team that participated for the first time in the CONCACAF U-15 Girls’ Championship (the second time the tournament has been held). Carr led the USA to wins in all seven games by shutout and defeated Costa Rica 5-0 in the semifinal and Canada 2-0 in the championship game to take the regional title. The core of that team will be transitioning to the U-17 level this year, making Carr familiar with the player pool.
Carr, 38, came to U.S. Soccer after spending three years (2012-2014) as the Girls’ Premier League Director and Technical Director for the Lonestar Soccer Club in Austin, Texas. Prior to joining U.S. Soccer full-time, Carr has been active in the Women’s National Team programs, serving as a scout, helping run U.S. Soccer Training Centers in Texas and assisting with the U-14 Girls’ National Team camps.
“Working day in and day out with U.S. Soccer and learning from some incredible people around me while coaching the U-15 Girls’ National Team has prepared me to take on this fantastic opportunity,” Carr said. “Moving up with this group is a natural progression that I feel very comfortable with and I’m extremely honored and excited to continue the development journey with this special group of players. My focus will be to help each player grow and develop and continue through our pathway, while at the same time, embracing the opportunity to qualify for the 2018 U-17 Women’s World Cup and then doing our best to win it.”