PREVIEW: U-20 USWNT set to begin World Cup Qualifying quest
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team
2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship
Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Feb. 22 – March 8, 2020
The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will begin its journey at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship on Saturday, Feb. 22 vs. Cuba (3 p.m. ET). The march marks the USA’s first step towards qualification for the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, to be played this summer in Costa Rica and Panama. The U-20 WNT continues Group C play on Monday, Feb. 24 vs. host Dominican Republic (3 p.m. ET) and wraps up the group stage on Wednesday, Feb. 26 vs. Honduras (6 p.m. ET).
All of the USA’s Group C matches will be played at Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. Follow the U-20 WNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com as well as U.S. Soccer Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
2020 Concacaf Women’ Women’s U-20 Championship
Group C Schedule – USA
|Date||Match||Kickoff (ET)||TV Info||Venue|
|Feb. 22||USA vs. Cuba||3 p.m.||Concacaf Go, TUDN, Concacaf Facebook, Concacaf YouTube||Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
|Feb. 24||USA vs. Dominican Republic||3 p.m.||Concacaf Go, TUDN, Concacaf Facebook, Concacaf YouTube||Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
|Feb. 26||USA vs. Honduras||6 p.m.||Concacaf Go, TUDN, Concacaf Facebook, Concacaf YouTube||Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic|
WATCH U-20 WNT QUALIFYING: The 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship will be streamed on Concacaf Go app and TUDN as well as via Concacaf Facebook and YouTube. Concacaf Go is accessible in the Concacaf app, available for download in the App Store and Google Play Store.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: This year marks the 10th edition of the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship. The tournament began in 2002 as the CONCACAF Women’s U-19 Championship.
The year’s tournament features a new 20-team format after all previous tournaments were comprised of eight teams in two groups of four. This year, sixteen countries have been drawn into four groups of four, while four countries advanced directly to the Round of 16 via a pre-qualifying tournament. The top three finishers in each group will qualify to the Round of 16, where they will be joined by the four teams from the pre-qualifying tournament. From there, it’s a knockout bracket to the tournament final. The two winners of the semifinal matches will qualify to the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
This year’s Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship will only send two teams to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, rather than the usual three, due to the World Cup being played in the Concacaf region and hosts Costa Rica and Panama both receiving automatic bids.
GOING FOR SIX: The USA has won five Concacaf championships at this level, including four of the last five. The first tournament, held in 2002, did not produce a champion as the two group winners advanced to the first FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup without semifinals or a championship game being played. The USA then won five of the next eight tournaments, losing the final to Canada in 2004 and 2008 and to Mexico in 2018. The USA has advanced to the final at every tournament that has held one, facing Canada five times and Mexico three times. This year, the U.S. will look to win its first title since 2015 after falling to Mexico in a penalty kick shootout in 2018.
SUCCESS IN U-20 QUALIFYING: The USA has put together a 37-2-4 record all-time at this tournament. After racking up some big goal-scoring numbers during the early days of the competition, the U.S. has scored 255 goals in its nine appearances at the tournament, while allowing just 17. Last year’s tournament was the USA’s tightest test yet in the region as the team faced three tough matches to finish the group stage with nine points before edging Haiti on a penalty kick shootout to clinch its World Cup berth.
The U.S. has qualified for all nine FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups that have been contested, winning the tournament in 2002, 2008 and 2012.
LAUNCHING PAD TO FULL WNT: Many of the players who have scored for the USA in this tournament have gone on to become familiar WNT call-ups. Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Megan Rapinoe, Yael Averbuch, Rachel Buehler (now Van Hollebeke), Amy Rodriguez, Allie Long, Lauren Cheney (now Holiday), Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Kristie Mewis, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston (now Ertz), Morgan Brian, Mallory Pugh and Andi Sullivan have all scored in this competition and gone on to earn caps with the full WNT. Most recently, Tierna Davidson scored the USA’s lone goal in the 2018 tournament final before moving on to the senior WNT in full.
Current WNT players Crystal Dunn and Samantha Mewis also represented the USA through two U-20 cycles. Fourteen of the players listed above have played for the USA in a Women’s World Cup at the senior level. Nine helped the WNT take home the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
QUALIFIED TO COSTA RICA/PANAMA: More than half of the field for the 16-team 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is already set. In addition to hosts Costa Rica and Panama, France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain have qualified from Europe, New Zealand has punched its ticket from Oceania and Japan, Korea DPR and Korea Republic have clinched their berths from Asia. In addition to the two bids awarded at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, two teams each will qualify from Africa and South America this spring/summer.
RUN-UP TO DR: The U-20 WNT enters World Cup qualifying after facing a collection of the world’s top teams throughout 2019, topping the likes of Sweden, Germany, and Japan. The USA closed out the year with an exciting run at the 2019 Nike International Friendlies, finishing the tournament with a 2-1 win over France on goals from midfielder Alexa Spaanstra and forward Trinity Rodman.
The timing of the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship at the start of the year after the college season made the player selection process less difficult. Fifteen of the 20 players on the roster are currently in college while three are playing for youth clubs. Forward Sophia Smith is the sole professional on the roster after she was drafted by the Portland Thorns last month, becoming the first teenager to be taken No. 1 overall in the NWSL College Draft. Midfielder Talia DellaPeruta is currently playing as an amateur in Germany with Frauen-Bundesliga club FC Koln.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2000 are eligible for the 2020 U-20 Women’s World Cup and head coach Laura Harvey named players from three birth years: 12 players born in 2000, five born in 2001 and three born in 2002. The roster features two of the last three U.S. Soccer Young Female Players of the Year in Smith (2017) and midfielder Brianna Pinto (2019).
2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship Roster by Position (College or Club; Hometown; U-20 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Claudia Dickey (UNC; Charlotte, N.C.; 0/0), Julia Dohle (Penn State; Scarsdale, N.Y.; 6/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Maycee Bell (UNC; Wichita, Kan.; 4/1), Sierra Enge (Stanford; Cardiff, Calif.; 0/0), Naomi Girma (Stanford; San Jose, Calif.; 25/0), Shae Holmes (Washington; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 2/0), Brianna Martinez (Notre Dame; Albuquerque, N.M.; 4/0), Emily Mason (PDA; Flemington, N.J.; 2/0), Kennedy Wesley (Stanford; Rossmoor, Calif.; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Talia DellaPeruta (Köln/GER; Cumming, Ga.; 4/0), Katelyn Duong (Minnesota; Portland, Ore.; 3/0), Jenna Nighswonger (Florida State; Huntington Beach, Calif.; 4/1), Brianna Pinto (UNC; Durham, N.C.; 32/4), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.; 13/2), Summer Yates (Washington; Pasco, Wash.; 4/2)
FORWARDS (5): Mia Fishel (UCLA; San Diego, Calif.; 0/0), Rebecca Jarrett (Virginia; Clifton, N.J.; 5/0), Samantha Meza (Solar Soccer Club; Dallas, Texas; 7/1), Trinity Rodman (SoCal Blues SC; Newport Beach, Calif.; 2/1), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 27/23)
- Defender Sierra Enge makes her first U-20 WNT roster appearance of the 2019-20 cycle. Enge is one of three players on the roster who helped Stanford win the 2019 NCAA Championship at last December’s College Cup in San Jose, Calif.
- Goalkeeper Julia Dohle and forward Alexa Spaanstra have appeared in the most U-20 WNT camps this cycle at six each.
- Defender Naomi Girma, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Sophia Smith helped the U.S. qualify for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and reach that final in Trinidad and Tobago.
- Goalkeeper Julia Dohle, defender Kennedy Wesley, midfielder Talia DellaPeruta and forwards Mia Fishel and Trinity Rodman helped the U-17 USWNT clinch its second-straight Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship in 2018 in Nicaragua.
- Sixteen players have been capped at the U-20 level, led by 32 U-20 appearances for Pinto and 27 for Smith. The four players without U-20 appearances are Enge, goalkeeper Claudia Dickey, defender Kennedy Wesley and forward Mia Fishel.
- Smith is one of the U-20 WNT’s most-prolific scorers ever, netting 23 goals during the 2017-18 cycle. She will aim to add to her total at World Cup qualifying, her first U-20 appearance of the 2019-20 cycle.
- Sydney Leroux is currently the all-time leading scorer for the USA at the U-20 level with 29 goals in 34 U-20 caps. Current U.S. WNT midfielder Lindsey Horan had 24 U-20 goals in 26 caps and current U.S. WNT forward Mallory Pugh had 19.
- Kelly Wilson had 31 goals and Lindsay Tarpley had 24 goals at the U-19 level during their 2001-2002 cycle. The World Cup tournament was played as a U-19 event in its first two iterations, in 2002 and 2004. Kerri Hanks finished the 2003-2004 cycle with 22 career U-19 goals.
- The three players born in 2002 — defender Emily Mason, DellaPeruta and Rodman — are age-eligible for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
- Twelve states are represented on the roster, with the most players (6) coming from California. Two players each also come from Colorado, New Jersey and North Carolina.
- Players from nine different colleges are on the qualifying roster, with the most coming from NCAA finalists North Carolina (four) and Stanford (three). Two players each also come from Virginia and Washington.
USA VS. CUBA
- The USA has faced Cuba twice at the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, in the group stages of the 2008 and 2012 tournaments, winning the games by a combined 15-0 margin.
- In 2008, the USA topped Cuba 9-0, boosted by a hat trick from Kelley O’Hara. Alex Morgan also scored.
- Cuba qualified to the group stage as the 14th-ranked team in the Concacaf Women’s Under-20 rankings.
- Cuba has called seven players born in 2000, seven born in 2001, four born in 2002 and two born in 2003 to the Dominican Republic.
- All 20 of Cuba’s players are based domestically in Cuba. The most (6) play for Santiago de Cuba.
CUBA ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB):
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Elika Acea (FC Cienfuegos), 12-Alianne Matamoro (FC Santiago de Cuba)
DEFENDERS (6): 6-Analia Cespedes (FC Camaguey), 4-Yusnelvis Espinsosa (FC Holguin), 15-Yeisika Hernandez (FC Cienfuegos), 2-Maday Lopez (FC Granma), 3-Yerly Palma (FC Camaguey), 5-Yaniuvis Suarez (FC Santiago de Cuba)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 14-Maria Alvarez (FC Santiago de Cuba), 20-Lisyanis Cruz (FC Camaguey), 10-Lucy Cruz (Guantanamo), 17-Ismelis del Toro (FC Santiago de Cuba), 16-Claudia Prats (FC Habana)
FORWARDS (7): 8-Cecil Aldana (FC Granma), 19-Gianna Borrego (FC Habana), 13-Yedasy Gongora (Guantanamo), 7-Maristania Mengana (FC Santiago de Cuba), 18-Eunises Nuñez (FC Habana), 9-Katheryn Rodriguez (FC VIlla Clara), 11-Eliane Valdez (FC Santiago de Cuba)
BY THE NUMBERS:
3 – Birth years represented on the U.S. roster: 2000 (12), 2001 (5) and 2002 (3).
4 – Players who have been called to the senior WNT camp: defenders Maycee Bell and Naomi Girma, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Sophia Smith. All four were called to the WNT’s December Identification Camp, though Bell and Girma had to withdraw due to injury. Smith participated in last month’s January Camp with the full team.
5 – Non-collegiate players on the roster, including one professional (Sophia Smith), one based abroad (Talia DellaPeruta) and three youth club players (Emily Mason, Samantha Meza and Trinity Rodman)
5 – Concacaf U-20 tournaments, out of nine total, in which the USA has won all of its games.
6 – Players on the roster from California, the most of any state.
9 – Different colleges represented on the roster, with players coming from the ACC, Big Ten, SEC and Pac-12.
9 – Players have previously participated in a youth World Cup qualifying tournament.
10 – Players have previously represented the USA at a youth World Cup.
13 – Different countries that the USA has faced at this tournament.
18 – Games the USA has scored five or more goals at this tournament.
25 – Match unbeaten streak for the U.S. at the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship.
28 – Games that the U.S. has recorded a shut-out at this competition.
32 – Caps for midfielder Brianna Pinto, the most on the roster.
23 – U-20 goals for forward Sophia Smith, the most on the team. She’s currently third all-time in U-20 goals for the USA.
37 – All time-matches won at this tournament.
67 – Players have logged minutes for the U-20s so far this cycle.
647 – Minutes played by midfielder Alexa Spaanstra, the most of any player so far this cycle.
HEAD COACH LAURA HARVEY
Laura Harvey was named head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team in January. In the full-time position, she is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the U-20 WNT program as she prepares to the team for Concacaf qualifying for the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
- This will be the first Concacaf World Cup qualifying tournament for Harvey Harvey who brings a wealth of experience from NWSL, where she won the NWSL Shield with Seattle Reign FC in 2014 and 2015. In both years, the Reign reached the championship game and she was named NWSL Coach of the Year.
- Harvey currently ranks second all-time in career NWSL wins, compiling a 72-52-38 overall record from 2013-2019.
- This year, Harvey is the second female candidate to participate in the U.S. Soccer Pro License Course. Harvey currently holds a USSF “A” Coaching License and a UEFA “A” Coaching License.
- Harvey is no stranger to youth international tournaments. As an assistant, she helped the England U-17 WNT reach the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and helped guide the England U-19 WNT to a runner-up finish at the 2010 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship.
- Previously, Harvey has worked as a head and assistant coach for the U-23 WNT as well as a scout for the U-17 WNT.
- Before moving to NWSL, Harvey enjoyed a highly successful run leading Arsenal from 2008-2012, ending her tenure with three straight FA WSL titles, two Continental Cup wins and one FA Women’s Cup trophy. She also reached the UEFA Women’s Champions League Semifinals twice.