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Global May 01, 2012

Three D.C.-area locals spearhead U.S. U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign

By Charles Boehm

The United States Under-17 Women’s National Team has already arrived in Guatemala to conduct final preparations for CONCACAF U-17 Women’s World Cup qualifying, which kicks off with a match against the Bahamas on Thursday, and three local products look likely to play pivotal roles in the tournament.

Last week coach Albertin Montoya told The Soccer Wire that he expects Andi Sullivan (Lorton, Va., Bethesda SC), Midge Purce (Olney, Md., Freestate SA) and Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va., FC Virginia) to feature in his starting 11, and offered warm praise for all three.

Sullivan, a longtime youth national teamer who recently committed to play college soccer at Stanford University, can play almost anywhere on the field, while the speedy Purce is used up top in Montoya’s 4-3-3 alignment.

“Two players that I am very excited about having on our team. Just incredible individuals,” said Montoya of the duo. “I put a lot of emphasis on team chemistry and those two players bring so much to the team on and off the field.

“Midge Purce came to us a little bit later in the process and she’s really been a pleasant surprise, and has improved in every camp she’s been in with us. So we’re very excited about having her up top and the special things she brings to the game. Andi Sullivan has been the player that’s been starting since we started about a year and a half ago. She’s got a little bit of everything: she’s got the feet, she’s got the vision, she’s got a great touch, a good feel for the game, and a good leader. These are two players who I think are going to have a wonderful tournament.”

Basinger earned one of the final roster spots for this week’s tournament, having shown steady improvement in U-17 camps earlier this year. Montoya expects her to add a valuable dimension as a right back capable of contributing on both ends of the field.

“She’s another player that joined us late – if I’m not mistaken, she’s the last player to have joined us, just a few camps ago. And now she’s the likely starter at right back,” he said. “I am a big fan of hers – she’s got a lot of room still to grow, but she’s come in and had an immediate impact, and I think has taken over that role.

“She is a player who continues to get better every single session,” added Montoya. “She constantly puts everything she’s got into it and she’s working hard to understand our system. I’m very excited for her and I think she’s going to have a stellar tournament.”

[ +Click here to learn more about the United States’ quest for a spot in the FIFA U-17 World Cup later this year ]