U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team head coach Albertin Montoya has named the 21 players who will represent the United States at the 2012 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup being held in Azerbaijan from Sept. 22 through Oct. 13.
The U.S. opens the tournament against France on Sept. 22 at Lankaran Stadium in Lankaran at 1 p.m. local (4 a.m. ET) before traveling to the capital city of Baku, where the remaining two Group B matches will be played. The USA will continue first round action against Gambia at Dalga Arena on Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. local (8 a.m. ET) and finish group play on Sept. 29 against Korea DPR (5 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET), the country that defeated the USA in the championship game of the inaugural U-17 Women's World Cup in 2008 in New Zealand. The USA-North Korea clash will take place at Bayil Stadium.
Montoya named the squad after a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from Aug. 19-26, at which the USA defeated the China U-17 Women's National Team in two friendly matches by 2-1 and 5-1 scores.
The U.S. U-17s have compiled an overall record of 22-5-6 over 2010 and 2011 heading into the Women's World Cup, including a 13-1-4 mark in international games. All 21 players on the roster were born in 1995, the year that the second-ever FIFA Women's World Cup was staged in Sweden.
Most of the 21 players named are relatively experienced at the U-17 level as the U.S. team has played 14 internationals this year prior to traveling to Azerbaijan. Forward Summer Green leads the way in both U-17 caps and goals with 21 and 17 respectively, but she is surrounded by some talented teammates.
The core of this U.S. team has risen through the ranks together in the U.S. youth national teams, starting at the U.S. Under-14 Identification Camp in 2009. In fact, 16 players on the Women's World Cup roster attended that U-14 I.D. Camp staged in Pomona, Calif. Most of these players were just 13 years old when the USA participated in the first FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in 2008.
The USA has a talented and diverse group of attacking players led by Green, who set a U.S. record for most goals scored in a CONCACAF qualifying tournament at any level when she amassed 12 in just five games to help the USA win the regional title in Guatemala and earn a berth to Azerbaijan. The USA features players with size, speed, strength and craftiness on the front line in Green, Emily Bruder, Margaret "Midge" Purce, Amber Munerlyn and Darian Jenkins. The combination of these players can give the USA various looks against different opponents. The U.S. has scored a combined 33 international goals at the U-17 level.
The USA also has depth in the midfield, which is anchored by team captain Morgan Andrews, whose sophisticated game belies her youth. Andrews is joined by several players with the ability to contribute on both sides of the ball. Morgan Stanton, Lauren Kaskie, Joanna Boyles, Andi Sullivan and Antionette Payne have been effective players whether they are in the first 11 or coming off the bench, and all have shown the ability to impact the game striking on goal from midfield.
The U.S. defense, which did not allow a goal during qualifying, is led by center back and co-captain Madeline Bauer, a player who is smooth on the ball and gritty in the tackle. Her usual partner in the center defense is the physically dominating Miranda Freeman. Gabbi Miranda provides composure and a sweet left foot at left back while Brittany Basinger, a relatively late call-up during this cycle, is a thundering right back who can attack down the flank, as well. Adding depth to the defense will be Elizabeth Raben, usually a center back, and Morgan Reid, usually a flank defender, as well as Claire Wagner, who made a late run to make the final roster.
In goal, the USA has one of the best in the world at her position in Jane Campbell. Athletic and tall at 5-foot-9, Campbell is a rare specimen at the U-17 level. She will be joined by two other talented and tall net-minders in the 6-foot Carissa Miller and the 5-foot-10 Morgan Stearns.
U.S. U-17 Women's World Cup Team Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire South; Kennesaw, Ga.), Carissa Miller (Sereno FC; Cave Creek, Ariz.), Morgan Stearns (McLean MPS Power; San Antonio, Texas)
DEFENDERS (7): Brittany Basinger (FC Virginia; Purcellville, Va.), Madeline Bauer (Slammers FC; Newport Beach, Calif.), Miranda Freeman (Lady Renegades SC; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Gabbi Miranda (Colorado Rush; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Elizabeth Raben (Colorado Rush; Greenwood, Colo.), Morgan Reid (Chelsea Ladies; Cary, N.C.), Claire Wagner (Chelsea Ladies; Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Andrews (FC Stars of Mass.; Milford, N.H.), Joanna Boyles (Chelsea Ladies; Raleigh, N.C.), Lauren Kaskie (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Antionette Payne (Concorde Fire; Birmingham, Ala.), Morgan Stanton (Colorado Rush; Lakewood, Colo.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.)
FORWARDS (5): Emily Bruder (Utah Avalanche; Sandy, Utah), Summer Green (Michigan Hawks; Milford, Mich.), Darian Jenkins (Sparta SC; Riverton, Utah), Amber Munerlyn (So Cal Blues; Corona, Calif.), Margaret Purce (Freestate Soccer; Olney, Md.)