Michelle French names USA’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup roster
CHICAGO (via U.S. Soccer) – 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 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, being held in Edmonton, Montreal, Moncton and Toronto, Canada, from Aug. 5-24.
All three of the USA’s group games will be broadcast live across the ESPN platforms. The U.S. plays its first two Group B matches at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, opening its tournament on Aug. 5 against Germany at 5 p.m. local (7 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN) before facing Brazil on Aug. 8 at 8 p.m. local (10 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN). The USA will finish group play on Aug. 12 against China PR at Moncton Stadium with a kickoff at 5 p.m. local (4 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN). The curtain-raising clash between the USA, which has won this tournament three times, and Germany, which has it won it twice, will pit the countries that played in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Final in Tokyo.
“We have a good mixture of leadership, talent and great technical ability on all three lines,” said French. “We have a lot of tactical understanding and creativity based on the way they read the game, and I see a lot of grit and bite in the way we defend. The combination of these factors gives us a very well-rounded team.”
French named her squad after the first week of a two-week training camp in Seattle, Washington, which will be the last domestic event for the U.S. team before it leaves for Canada in late July. French put her player pool through a thorough evaluation process over the past year and a half, taking a hard look at almost 80 players in training camps and games.
“Because we have players that have previously played in the U-20 World Cup, and we have Lindsey Horan who is playing professionally, and we have players who had a great amount of time with the U-17s, in a lot different areas we have players that lead,” said French. “That’s not just vocally, but in how they conduct themselves on and off the field. As a staff, to know that we can rely on a number of different people to lead, is a great benefit to this team.”
Among the 21 players named are two who were a part of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Japan. Co-captain Cari Roccaro, who leads the roster in U-20 caps with 30, played every minute of the three knockout matches two years ago. Defender Stephanie Amack, the youngest player on the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup team, did not play in Japan but is expected to play a much larger role this time around.
“Everyone is thrilled to be on this World Cup roster,” said U.S. co-captain Andi Sullivan. “We know it was really tough to make these decisions, but we are very confident in our coaching staff and each other. We have our strongest team together now and we hope that everyone who was a part of this cycle, whether they made the final 21 or not, knows that they are a part of this journey as well. Now, we just can’t wait to get to Canada.”
The USA will bring a contingent of talented strikers who as a group add size, speed and versatility to the front line. Five of the six forwards named to the roster scored a combined 82 goals for their college teams during the 2013 season. Horan opted to skip college to play professionally and scored 20 goals in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain this past season (her second in France). Horan was a key member of the U-20s during the run-up to the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Cup but missed the tournament due to a knee injury. She is the USA’s leading scorer with 21 goals in 22 U-20 caps.
The USA has a young but skillful and hard-working midfield for the tournament, led by Rose Lavelle, a rising sophomore at Wisconsin who was the MVP of the 2014 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship last January in the Cayman Islands. Four of the five players on the roster who have yet to start college are midfielders in Stanford commit Sullivan (who has always seen extensive time at outside back), Tennessee commit Carlyn Baldwin, Duke commit Taylor Racioppi and UCLA commit Mallory Pugh, the USA’s youngest player, who still has two years of high school remaining. Sullivan and Baldwin will begin college this fall while Racioppi will be a high school senior.
The U.S. defense is an experienced bunch. Roccaro and Katie Naughton, both of whom attend Notre Dame, have played together in many matches for both college and country. Outside backs Sullivan, Brittany Basinger (Penn State) and Stephanie Amack (Stanford), all have extensive experience in USA’s youth national team system. Sullivan and Basinger were starters on the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup team.
The USA has an excellent trio of goalkeepers in Katelyn Rowland, Jane Campbell and Rose Chandler. The 5-foot-11 Rowland helped UCLA with the NCAA title last year. The 5-foot-9 Campbell was the USA’s starter at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and a starter as a freshman for Stanford last fall. The 5-foot-8 Chandler, who graduated a year early from high school and will attend Penn State this fall, made a late run for a roster spot.
- ESPN will broadcast 10 group matches and all four quarterfinals, plus both semifinals and the third-place and championship games across its various platforms. Only four matches are slated to be shown live on TV with the rest on tape-delay. However, all 18 matches ESPN is carrying will be live on ESPN3 or WatchESPN.
- The four live TV matches are the three group games for the USA and the Group C clash between England and Mexico on Aug. 9 from Moncton at 1 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
- Should the USA advance to the quarterfinal round, there is flexibility to carry that match live on TV as well.
- The age cut-off date for this Women’s World Cup is players born on or after Jan. 1, 1994. Nine of the 21 players selected by French were born in 1994, seven were born in 1995, three were born in 1996, one in 1997 and one in 1998, meaning five players are age-eligible for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
- Mallory Pugh, who is the youngest player on the roster and was born in 1998, could play in three consecutive U-20 Women’s World Cups. She will not turn 17 until April of next year.
- French selected one rising high school junior (Pugh), two rising high school seniors (Taylor Racioppi and Kaleigh Riehl), three graduating high school seniors (Andi Sullivan, Carlyn Baldwin and Rose Chandler) who will be freshmen in college this fall, nine rising college sophomores, five rising juniors and one rising senior in Katelyn Rowland.
- Thirteen different colleges are represented on the roster, led by Stanford with three players. Penn State and Notre Dame each have two players.
- Seventeen different youth clubs are represented on the roster.
- Twelve different states are represented, led by Virginia with four players and California and Georgia with three players each. New Jersey and Colorado each have two players.
- The 16 nations competing in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup are: host Canada; China PR, Korea DPR and Korea Republic from Asia; Ghana and Nigeria from Africa; Germany, Finland, France and England from Europe; the USA, Mexico and Costa Rica from CONCACAF; Brazil and Paraguay from South America; and New Zealand from Oceania.
U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Rosemary Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Amack (Stanford; Pleasanton, Calif.), Brittany Basinger (Penn State; Purcellville, Va.), Christina Gibbons (Duke; Raleigh, N.C.), Katie Naughton (Notre Dame; Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Kaleigh Riehl (BRYC; Fairfax Station, Va.), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Carlyn Baldwin (Tennessee; Oakton, Va.), Nickolette Driesse (Florida State: Wayne, N.J.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Taylor Racioppi (PDA; Ocean Township, N.J.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.)
FORWARDS (6): Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Summer Green (North Carolina; Milford, Mich.), Lindsey Horan (PSG; Golden, Colo.), Savannah Jordan (Florida; Fayetteville, Ga.), McKenzie Meehan (Boston College; Scituate, R.I.), Margaret Purce (Harvard; Silver Spring, Md.)
2014 U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup Team Bio Shorts
Jane Campbell (Kennesaw, Ga.)
The starter on the USA’s 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Team, she finished her U-17 career with an undefeated record of 10-0-5 and a total of 16 caps. At 5-foot-9, the daughter of two former fighter pilots has the height, athleticism and intangibles to be an impact goalkeeper at the international level. A starter as a freshman at Stanford, she heads into the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with six U-20 caps.
Rose Chandler (Atlanta, Ga.)
A great shot-stopper with a big presence, she is regarded as the top youth goalkeeper in the country. She graduated a year early from high school and will attend Penn State in the fall. Brave into the challenge, she possesses a tremendous training ethic and will add depth to the USA’s goalkeeping corps.
Katelyn Rowland (Vacaville, Calif.)
This will be her first youth Women’s World Cup, but she has been in the USA’s National Team programs since she was 14 years old. The first-choice goalkeeper for most of this cycle, she started four of the five matches at the qualifying tournament and currently has nine U-20 caps. Tall at 5-foot-11 and brave in the box, her stellar play was a key part of UCLA winning its first NCAA title last fall during her junior season.
Stephanie Amack (Pleasanton, Calif.)
The youngest player on the USA’s 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup team while still in high school, she didn’t play in Japan but now has a year of college soccer at Stanford on her resume and has shown excellent qualities at outside back and in the center-midfield. She’s one of the USA’s tallest field players at 5-foot-10 and scored three goals during the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament.
Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.)
The powerful outside back was a starter for the USA at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan and stepped right into the starting lineup at Penn State as a freshman. She can play on either the right or left side, is dangerous attacking down the flanks, and scored her first goal at the U-20 level during CONCACAF Qualifying, tallying against Guatemala.
Christina Gibbons (Raleigh, N.C.)
The flank defender made a late run to earn her spot on the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup roster after being called up to the U-20s for the first time in February. Tough and agile with bundles of energy, she started all 24 games as a freshman at Duke last fall and will add depth to the USA’s back line.
Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill.)
Tall at 5-foot-10 and smooth on the ball, Naughton brings a calm presence to the back line along with some world class ball-winning on the ground and especially in the air. A two-year starter at Notre Dame, she has consistently earned starts for the U-20s during this cycle and heads into the World Cup capped 16 times at this level.
Kaleigh Riehl (Fairfax Station, Va.)
One of three players to make the roster who is still in high school, she will be a senior at South County High School this fall and has committed to attend Penn State in the fall of 2015. A tough defender who will add depth to the USA’s back line, she played with U-20 teammate Carlyn Baldwin for the same youth club, Braddock Road.
Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y.)
The Long Island product is tough, vocal and a biting tackler. A veteran of the USA’s Youth National Teams, she played a key role on the team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. One of the USA’s team leaders and most-capped player with 30 games at the U-20 international level, she will be counted on to anchor the team. The Big East Rookie of the Year as a freshman at Notre Dame, she has played 37 college games despite missing the first part of her freshman season while in Japan for the U-20 WWC.
Carlyn Baldwin (Oakton, Va.)
Skillful and quick, Baldwin made a late run to earn a spot on the final squad. One of five players on the roster who have yet to enter college – she will attend the University of Tennessee in the fall – she adds depth and some tenacity to the U.S. midfield. She was teammates with Kaleigh Riehl on the same youth club, Braddock Road out of Virginia.
Nickolette Driesse (Wayne, N.J.)
Driesse made a late run to earn her spot on the Women’s World Cup roster and will add ball-winning and depth to the U.S. midfield. She played in 28 games – the only freshman to do so — with 27 starts in her first season at Florida State last fall.
Rose Lavelle (Cincinnati, Ohio)
The skillful Lavelle was the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year in 2013 and has a tremendous motor in the center of the midfield. She was named the MVP of the 2012 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship without scoring a goal and is a key connecter in the USA’s midfield while covering acres of real estate through her work ethic.
Mallory Pugh (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
The youngest player on the roster won’t turn 17 until next April. She was the leading scorer for the U-17 WNT during its last cycle but has shown the ability to step up to the next level, scoring twice in her four U-20 caps so far. A slashing dribbler with a great nose for the goal and a shot that is beyond her years, Pugh will be a valuable addition to the midfield corps. The rising junior still has two years of high school remaining.
Taylor Racioppi (Ocean Township, N.J.)
Tremendously skillful with a natural ability to push forward into the attack and shoot with both feet, she is the second-youngest player on the roster and has one more year of high school remaining. A key player during the last U-17 WNT cycle, she is one of two players (along with Mallory Pugh) from the 2014 U.S. U-17s to make this U-20 World Cup roster. She has committed to Duke for the freshman class of 2015.
Andi Sullivan (Lorton, Va.)
Perhaps the USA’s most versatile and consistent player, she was a starter at the 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup and has grown tremendously on the field in the last two years, excelling in whatever position she’s been deployed for the U-20s. She heads into the World Cup as one of the most-capped players on the roster with 15 games played and three goals. She will attend Stanford University as a freshman in the fall.
Makenzy Doniak (Chino Hills, Calif.)
In her two seasons at Virginia, she has played in 50 games, starting 43, and scored 30 goals. She was in the mix for the 2012 U-20 cycle but was ruled out due to an injury. Doniak also had her CONCACAF qualifying campaign cut short when she broke her hand in the first match, but she is now healthy, and her speed and power will benefit the USA’s front line.
Summer Green (Milford, Mich.)
The USA’s all-time leading scorer at the U-17 level with 19 goals in 24 caps, she has speed and the dribbling ability to break down defenders. She graduated early from high school and has already played two seasons of college soccer at North Carolina, scoring 14 college goals so far. Green set a U.S. record for most goals in a single CONCACAF qualifying tournament at any level when she scored 12 times in five games for the U-17s during the 2012 cycle. She scored twice against Gambia at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Lindsey Horan (Golden, Colo.)
The first American female ever to skip college soccer and sign professionally in Europe, she has had two excellent seasons in France for Paris Saint-Germain, one of the top women’s clubs in the world. Horan has been the leading scorer in each of her three youth WNT cycles, in 2010 with the U-17s, in 2012 with the U-20s, and in 2014 with this squad. Tall, strong and incredibly skillful, she has the power and finesse to score creative goals from all over the field.
Savannah Jordan (Fayetteville, Ga.)
A powerful runner who scored in every game of the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament, she had a spectacular freshman year at Florida last fall, earning SEC Offensive Player of the Year honors while scoring 22 goals, tying for third in the country. She is tremendously brave chasing goals in the penalty box and dangerous with either foot. She played youth club with teammate and goalkeeper Jane Campbell for the Concorde Fire.
MacKenzie Meehan (Scituate, R.I.)
A crafty goal-scorer, Meehan shared the Golden Boot honors as top scorer in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship by finding the net six times in just 260 minutes of action. As a sophomore at Boston College last season, she led the ACC with 20 goals, a remarkable nine of which were game-winners.
Margaret Purce (Silver Spring, Md.)
The first player from an Ivy League school to make a U-20 Women’s World Cup Team roster, she led Harvard to the conference title last season by scoring 11 goals and was the first freshman ever to be named the Ivy League Player of the Year. She was a member of the USA’s 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Team.