U.S. Soccer announces inaugural Women’s Beach Soccer National Team roster
CHICAGO (July 26, 2019) – U.S. Soccer will field a Women’s Beach Soccer National Team for the first time when the first women’s Concacaf tournament for beach soccer is held in El Salvador from Aug. 3-6.
The Concacaf qualifying tournament for the ANOC World Beach Games will feature a four-team group that includes Mexico, El Salvador and the Bahamas in addition to the USA. ANOC stands for the Association of National Olympic Committees. The men’s qualifying tournament, which is also being staged in El Salvador at the same venue, will take place concurrently.
The USWBSNT will face Mexico on Aug. 3, El Salvador on Aug. 4 and the Bahamas on Aug. 5. Only the group winner advances to the ANOC World Beach Games to be staged in Qatar from Oct. 12-16.
The qualifying competition for the World Beach Games was added to the U.S. schedule in June after the World Beach Games were officially moved from San Diego to Qatar in May (thus requiring the U.S. to qualify for the tournament finals since the USA was no longer serving as host). The programming gives U.S. Soccer the opportunity to provisionally field a Women’s Beach National Team in an official world championship for the first time.
The current U.S. Men’s Beach Soccer National Team technical staff, led by head coach Eddie Soto and assistant coach Francis Farberoff, will coach the women’s team in the qualifying competition. The team will also have new, USWBSNT goalkeeper coach Ryann Torrero on staff for the event. The 10-player squad features eight field players and two goalkeepers.
Women’s beach soccer features four field players and a goalkeeper with three 12-minute periods and unlimited substitutions on the fly.
Additional USWBSNT programming will be evaluated based on available international competitions and competitive opportunities in the future.
U.S. BEACH WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER – ANOC WORLD BEACH GAMES QUALIFYING
GOALKEEPERS (2): Melissa Lowder (San Diego, Calif.), Christine Yount (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (4): Bethany Haynes (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Paxton Scott (Santa Cruz, Calif.), Jeane Sunseri-Warp (San Jose, Calif.), Megan Wharton (Columbus, Ohio)
MIDFIELDERS/FORWARDS (4): Elizabeth Eastman (Gilford, N.H.), Kelly Fitzgerald (Laguna Niguel, Calif.), Lauren Leslie (San Clemente, Calif.), Samantha Witteman (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
- Most of the roster (seven of the 10 players) hails from Southern California and has extensive experience playing in beach soccer tournaments in the USA or abroad.
- Midfielder/forward Samantha Witteman, a former U.S. U-23 WNT player, was a star at UC Berkeley and played almost 30 matches in the NWSL over two seasons, one with the Orlando Pride and one with the North Carolina Courage.
- Midfielder/forward Kelly Fitzgerald also played collegiately at UC Berkeley.
- Goalkeeper Christine Yount played collegiately at San Diego State and goalkeeper Melissa Lowder played at Santa Clara, where she was a consistent three-year starter.
- Defender Paxton Scott played collegiately at Cal-State Monterey Bay before deciding to focus on beach soccer.
- Midfielder/Forward Lauren Leslie played at San Diego State San Diego State and Point Loma Nazarene University, and has experience playing for clubs in Netherlands and Spain. She is currently a youth coach in the SoCal Blues Soccer Club out of Orange County, Calif.
- Defender Megan Wharton played collegiately at NAIA Ohio Dominican.
- Midfielder/forward Elizabeth Eastman lives in Europe where she plays beach soccer in Switzerland and won the 2016 European Beach Soccer title with Swiss Grasshoppers.