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Women’s Nike International Friendlies set to kickoff on Thursday

U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team
2017 NIKE Women’s International Friendlies Notes
Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
December 7-11, 2017

 The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National is hosting England, Finland and Brazil in the first Women’s Nike International Friendlies held in conjunction with the Development Academy Winter Showcase.

The tournament – which will feature doubleheaders on Dec. 7, 9 and 11 – serves as preparation for the U.S. team before it enters the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship being held this January in Trinidad & Tobago and will mark an important evaluation period for U.S. U-20 WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova and her staff before the qualifying roster is finalized next year. Klimkova named 24 players to a preliminary roster for the tournament and will name 20 players to suit up for each of the three games. She can change the 20-player roster for each match.

For full coverage, visit the Women’s Nike International Friendlies tournament page on ussoccer.com .

U.S. U-20 Women’s Nike International Friendlies Roster by Position:  DETAILED
GOALKEEPERS (3): Claudia Dickey (Charlotte Soccer Academy; Charlotte, NC), Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.)

DEFENDERS (9): Nicole Albrecht (Minnesota, Cedarburg, Wisc.), Julia Bingham (USC; Ontario, Calif.), Jordan Brewster (Internationals SC; North Canton, Ohio), Sydney Dawson (Internationals SC; North Canton, Ohio), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; San Jose, Calif.), Tara McKeown (USC; Newbury Park, Calif.), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing; Mich.), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (UCLA; Torrance, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Samantha Coffey (Boston College; Sleepy Hollow, NY), Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Taylor Kornieck (Colorado; Henderson, Nev.), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, NC), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.)

FORWARDS (6): Jordan Harr (Texas Tech; Sachse, Texas), Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.), Civana Kuhlmann (Stanford; Littleton. Colo.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara, Scottsdale, Ariz.)

WATCH THE WNIF ON USSOCCER.COMAll six matches of the tournament will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page and U.S. Soccer’s YouTube page from the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. with Mike Pepper calling the action. The matches are not geo-blocked, meaning fans in Brazil, England and Finland, as well as others around the world, can watch the games.

2017 WOMEN’S NIKE INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES SCHEDULE

Date Match-Ups Time (ET)

Thursday, Dec. 7 Brazil vs. Finland 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. England 6:30 p.m. ET

Saturday, Dec. 9 England vs. Brazil 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Finland 6:30 p.m. ET

Monday, Dec. 11 Finland vs. England 3:30 p.m. ET
USA vs. Brazil 6:30 p.m. ET

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The winner of the tournament will be determined on points, with three points for a win, one for a tie and zero for a loss. The tie-breakers are as follows: goal difference, goals scored and then the head-to-head result. If teams are still tied at that point, the next tie-breaker is Fair Play points.

USA BRINGS WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE TO FRIENDLIES : Two players on the roster were involved in the previous U-20 WNT cycle in midfielders Jordan Harr and Savannah DeMelo, with DeMelo representing the USA at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Forward Ashley Sanchez, who was the youngest player on the last U-20 Women’s World Cup Team and the captain of the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup Team, was originally named to this roster, but had to withdraw due to academic commitments. Eight players on the roster were a part of the USA’s 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Team in Jordan: goalkeeper Laurel Ivory, defenders Naomi Girma, Isabel Rodriguez and Karina Rodriguez, midfielders Jaelin Howell, Brianna Pinto, and forwards Sophia Smith and Civana Kuhlmann, who scored a hat trick in the USA’s opening game win against Paraguay.

NCAA CHAMP KUHLMANN STAYS IN FLORIDA: Of the 24 players named to the roster, 12 recently completed their freshman college seasons, five recently completed their sophomore seasons and eight are playing youth club, five for Girls’ Development Academy Teams. Two players from NCAA runners-up UCLA – defender Karina Rodriguez and midfielder Viviana Villacorta – as well as newly minted NCAA champion Civana Kuhlmann from Stanford, will come to the Nike Friendlies fresh off playing in the 2017 NCAA College Cup in Orlando, Fla. Kuhlmann scored nine goals for the Cardinal this season.

A CUP OF COFFEE IN “THE SHOW”: Three players on the U.S. roster have experience training with the full U.S. Women’s National Team, although none have been capped. Midfielders Jaelin Howell and forward Sophia Smith, who hail from the same hometown and club team, trained with the USA in April during friendly games against Russia. Midfielder Brianna Pinto was on the USA’s roster for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup, but did not see action.

YOUNG FEMALE PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES: Two players on the U.S. roster – midfielder Jaelin Howell and forward Sophia Smith – have been nominated for the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year award. Howell and Smith have had a terrific year for the youth national teams in 2017, and both also earned their first call-up to a senior team training camp in April. They have not yet been capped with the full WNT. The other nominees include forward Savannah McCaskill, midfielder Tierna Davidson and defender Kate Wiesner.

U.S. ROSTER NOTES

  • The U-20 U.S. WNT has used 35 players in nine international matches this year in preparation for World Cup qualifying, taking on Norway, Germany, France, Japan and England while compiling a record of 5-3-1.
  • The age cutoff to be eligible for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is players born on or after January 1, 1998. For this roster, U.S. WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova called up nine players born in 1998, 11 born in 1999 and four born in 2000, making them also age-eligible for the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
  • Santa Clara freshman Kelsey Turnbow was a late add to the roster, replacing Ashley Sanchez who withdrew due to academic commitments.
  • Sophia Smith of Real Colorado leads the team with six international goals while Stanford freshman Civana Kuhlmann has four and UC Berkeley freshman Abigail Kim has two.
  • The USA and England met twice in July at England’s National Team training center with the USA coming away with 2-1 and 2-0 wins. The USA goals were scored by Kuhlmann (2), Ashley Sanchez, and 6-foot-1 midfielder Taylor Kornieck.
  • Smith had the rare distinction of scoring for three different age group National Teams this year. In February, she scored for the U-18 WNT against England and Norway. For the U-20 WNT, she scored against Norway (twice), Germany (twice), France and Japan. For the U-23 WNT, she scored against Norway as well as the game-winner against the Portland Thorns.
  • For defenders Julia Bingham and forward Taryn Torres, these are their first call-ups to a U-20 WNT roster in this cycle. The rest of the roster has been in with the U-20s this year.
  • Twenty of the 24 players on the roster have U-20 caps, led by Savannah DeMelo who has 20 caps.
  • Smith is the top scorer on the roster with six international goals at the U-20 level.

USA UNDERGOES QUALITY 2017 PREPARATION SCHEDULE: The USA will head into the 2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies having played nine international matches this year against some of the best Youth Women’s National Team programs in the world. In 2017, the USA has played international matches in Spain, USA, England and Germany this year.

2017 U.S. U-20 WNT INTERNATIONAL RESULTS

Date   Opponent         Result    USA Goals                     Location

Mar. 3   Norway U-19   8-2 W      Kim (2), Harr, Hiatt,         La Manga, Spain
Smith (2), Kuhlmann, Turnbow
Mar. 5   Germany U-19 1-2 L       Smith                              La Manga, Spain
Mar. 7   France U-19     2-0 W     Smith, Turnbow              La Manga, Spain
April 14 UCLA               1-0 W     Kim                                 San Diego, Calif.
May 22  Japan U-20      1-2 L      Kuhlmann                       Carson, Calif.
May 24  Japan U-20      2-2 T      Richardson, Smith          Carson, Calif.
July 5    England U-20   2-1 W    Kuhlmann, Sanchez        Burton-upon-Trent, England
July 7    England U-20   2-0 W    Korieck, Kuhlmann          Burton-upon-Trent, England
July 10  Germany U-20  2-1 W    Kim, Smith                      Rheine, Germany
July 12  Germany U-20  0-1 L      —                                     Rheine, Germany

USA TO FACE MEXICO, JAMAICA AND NICARAGUA AT 2018 CONCACAF U-20 WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP: The USA will compete for a berth to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup during the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship being held in Trinidad & Tobago from Jan. 18-28. The USA will open its tournament on Jan. 19 against Nicaragua, then play on Jan. 21against Jamaica before finishing Group B play against Mexico on Jan. 23. The 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, which will be staged from Jan. 18-28, features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France. All three of the USA’s group games kick off at 6:30 p.m. local time/5:30 ET. As defending champion of this tournament, the USA was pre-seeded atop Group B, and the hosts T&T were pre-seeded atop Group A. The draw also placed T&T, Canada, Costa Rica and Haiti into Group A. All 16 matches of the tournament will take place across eight match days at Ato Bolden Stadium in Couva, Trinidad. More than half the field for the 16-team 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is set. Joining host France will be England, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain from Europe; Japan, Korea DPR and China PR from Asia; and Oceania qualifier New Zealand. Along with the three CONCACAF berths, there are still two berths from Africa and two from South America up for grabs.

2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship

Group B Schedule – USA

Date Match Kickoff (ET) Venue
Jan. 19 USA vs. Nicaragua 5:30 p.m. Ato Bolden Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 21 USA vs. Jamaica 5:30 p.m. Ato Bolden Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 23 USA vs. Mexico 5:30 p.m. Ato Bolden Stadium; Couva, Trinidad

U-20 WNT ON USSOCCER.COM

U.S. U-20 WNT – Jitla Klimkova on the Opponents

On England: “England has achieved their goal of qualifying for the World Cup so they will come with a prepared and experienced team.”

On Finland: “Finland is coming with an older age group team, which will make the tournament more competitive.”

On Brazil: It’s always fun to play against Brazil. They are a very physical and technical and are a team that can deal with our physicality. It will be a nice test to see how creative we can be against such a creative and athletic team.”

U-20 WNT BY THE NUMBERS
1.22 Goals allowed per international match by the U.S. U-20s this year
2.22 Goals scored per international match by the U.S. U-20s this year
6 Goals scored by Sophia Smith in 2017 to lead the team
8 U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups for which the USA has qualified
9 Most starts on the team this year in international matches, by Emily Fox, a veteran of the 2016 U-20 WWC
20 Career U-20 caps for Savannah DeMelo, the most on this WNIF roster
35 Players to see action in a U.S. U-20 international match this year
20 Goals scored by the USA in nine international matches this year
639 Minutes played in international matches this year, by Emily Fox

OPPONENT NOTES

BRAZIL

  • Brazil has brought a squad featuring eight players born in 1998, nine born in 1999 and like the USA, a few born in 2000. In Brazil’s case, it brought three 2000s (the USA has four).
  • Like the USA, Brazil is preparing for a World Cup qualifying tournament next January. The South American qualification tournament will take place in Ecuador from Jan. 10-28 with ten teams divided into two groups. After round-robin play, the top two teams in each group will qualify for the second round and that quartet will then play another round-robin format and that top two teams will represent South America at the World Cup in France.
  • Brazil are seven-times champion of the tournament (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 & 2015). No other team has won a South American U-20 women’s title. Argentina (three times), Colombia, Paraguay (twice) and Venezuela have all been runners-up.
  • Brazil has one player currently playing college soccer in defender Reiss who is a freshman at North Florida where she led the team in scoring with six goals and one assist.
  • The rest of the Brazilian roster is spread out over 10 different clubs in Brazil, including two at Santos F.C, the club of the legendary Pele.

BRAZIL ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Kemelli (3 B Sport), 12-Stefane (Team Chicago Brasil)

DEFENDERS (7): 2-Mona (Iranduba F.C.), 3-Thais Regina (3 B Sport), 4-Ingryd (3 B Sport), 6-Reiss (North Florida, USA), 13-Tainara (E.C. Victoria BA), 14-Isa (A.A. Ponte Preta), 16-Andressa (Team Chicago Brasil)

MIDFIELDERS (6): 5-Luana (Ferroviaria F S/A), 7-Angelina (Santos F.C.), 8-Karla Alves (Santos F.C.), 10-Victoria (Minas Brasilia), 15-Juliana (Ferroviaria F S/A), 18-Ana Vitoria (Corinthians/Audax)

FORWARDS (6): 9-Valeria (Tiradentes PI), 11-Brenda Woch (3 B Sport), 17-Kerolin (A.A. Ponte Preta)

ENGLAND

  • England qualified for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup by winning a playoff with Scotland.
  • England finished third in Group B at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship behind the Netherlands and France, losing 2-0 to the Dutch and 1-0 to the French, while also beating Italy 2-1. Scotland finished third in Group A behind Germany and Spain, necessitating the one-game playoff for fourth and final berth from Europe (as France already had an automatic berth as host).
  • England defeated their historic northern neighbors 2-0 on a goal in the first half from Zoe Cross, who plays for the University of Missouri, and one the second from Mollie Rouse, who plays for the University of Louisville. The result was a deserved one for England, which out-shot Scotland 24-8 and had 15-4 margin in corner kicks.
  • England has brought 14 players born in 1998 and seven players born in 1999.
  • Almost half of England’s roster plays college soccer in the USA. Those players are: G Sandy Maclver (Clemson), D Anna Patten (Florida State, USA), D Grace Fisk (South Carolina, USA), D Lotte Wubben-Moy (North Carolina, USA), D Lucy Parker (LSU, USA), M Mollie Rouse (Louisville, USA), M Zoe Cross (Missouri, USA), M Georgia Allen (Syracuse), F Alessia Russo (North Carolina, USA), and F Kes Elmore (Connecticut).
  • Forward Ellie Brazil is the only player in the tournament playing club soccer outside of her home country but not in the U.S. college system. The former Birmingham player plays in Italy with Fiorentina.
  • The remainder of the England roster plays for well-known domestic clubs who are embracing the women’s game: Manchester City, Aston Villa, Doncaster Rovers Belles, Arsenal, Birmingham City, Liverpool, Millwall and Watford Ladies.
  • While the USA has several players coming straight from the NCAA College Cup, so does England in Grace Fisk, a Penn State transfer to South Carolina who played in 20 matches for the Gamecocks this year, scoring three goals with one assist. Fisk shined at center back in her first season in Columbia, winning the 2017 SEC Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Gamecocks set a program single-season record in shutouts (16). She scored the game-winner in Carolina’s 2-0 over No. 16 Florida in the NCAA Quarterfinals, heading home a goal off a corner kick in the 13th minute.

ENGLAND ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), 13-Sandy Maclver (Clemson), 22-Sian Rogers (Aston Villa)

DEFENDERS (6): 2-Anna Patten (Florida State, USA), 3-Mayumi Pacheco (Doncaster Rovers Belles), 5-Grace Fisk (South Carolina, USA), 6-Lotte Wubben-Moy (UNC, USA), 12-Taylor Hinds (Arsenal), 15-Lucy Parker (LSU, USA)

MIDFIELDERS (5): 4-Chloe Peplow (Birmingham City), 8-Mollie Rouse (Louisville, USA), 10-Zoe Cross (Missouri, USA), 14-Georgia Allen (Syracuse), 20-Alicia Johnson (Liverpool)

FORWARDS (7): 7-Alessia Russo (North Carolina, USA), 9-Ellie Brazil (Fiorentina, Italy), 11-Niamh Charles (Liverpool Ladies), 18-Kess Elmore (Connecticut), 16-Rianna Dean (Millwall Lionesses), 17-Rinsola Babajide (Watford Ladies), 19-Charlie Wellings (Birmingham City)

FINLAND

  • Finland has brought a slightly older team to the tournament as its 20-player roster features eight players born in 1997 and 12 born in 1998. Like all three of the visiting teams, Finland has several players playing college soccer in the USA in 5-foot-10 goalkeeper Henriikka Mäkelä who plays at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., and midfielder Katriina Kuoksa who plays for former U.S. WNT player Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak at Central Florida.
  • Finland failed to advance to the final European qualifying tournament after finishing second to Scotland in its pre-qualifying group.
  • Finland defeated Ukraine (5-0) and Ireland (3-1), but was done in by a 2-1 loss to Scotland, which won the group.
  • The only player on the roster who scored in those games is forward Onna Ketola, who tallied against both Ukraine and Ireland.

FINLAND ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Henriikka Mäkelä (Univ. of the Pacific, USA), 12-Sonja Tajatalo (ONS)

DEFENDERS (8): 2-Nea Lehtola (Ilves), 3-Maaria Roth (Ilves), 4-Alina Schrey (TPS), 5-Roosa Toivanen (PK-35 Vantaa), 6-Emma Santamäki (TPS), 8-Selina Mustajoki (PK-35 Vantaa), 16-Juulia Grönlund (HJK), 18-Julie Forss (Ilves)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Aada Törrönen (ONS), 9-Ida Raustola (PK-35 Vantaa), 11-Tiia Savolainen (Pallokissat), 13-Katriina Kuoksa (Central Florida, USA), 14-Teesa Rinkinen (HJK), 17-Alina Kosunen (PK-35 Vantaa), 19-Anni Miettunen (FC Honka)

FORWARDS (3): 10-Onna Ketola (ONS), 15-Emilia Ukkonen (HJK), 20-Aino Kröger (Pallokissa