The U.S. U17 Women’s National Team is on its way to Guatemala for next week’s CONCACAF qualifying tournament. We’ve taken a look at each player on the 20 woman roster, and wrap up with the final five players below.
Summer Green, Midfielder, Millford, Michigan, Michigan Hawks
Like all of her U17 teammates, Summer Green has put in the work to get to this point – and then some.
But along with being a part of this youth national team, the versatile player is set to graduate high school a year early this spring and enroll at North Carolina this fall. There, she’ll follow in the footsteps of numerous legends of the U.S. Women’s National Team who played at Chapel Hill.
According to her club coach, Doug Landefeld, her prowess in front of goal is one of many traits that help set her apart.
“She developed into a very good finisher, can finish in a whole lot of ways,” he told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “She strikes the ball as well as we’ve had in a player in a very long time, and she works hard.”
On her club side she usually plays out wide, allowing her to get the ball and drift in towards the goal, making it difficult for defenses to mark her. Given her versatility, she can play either outside forward roles in the USA’s preferred 4-3-3, or even in central midfield.
And with all the talent she possesses, her humility remains constant, as she knows the power of putting the team before herself.
“During our last ECNL event she was with the 17s trying to make the team and she calls me on my cell phone and wished us good look and wonders how we did the day before,” Ladenfeld said.
Perhaps nothing better describes the level that she’s reached than the fact she’s spent time training with the Hawks’ Development Academy club Wolves at the U16 level over the past few months.
For Brittany Basinger, the upcoming chance to qualify for a World Cup is a dream come true.
She was first spotted at a U14 training camp a few years ago, and has made it this far to the cusp of a World Cup. A left back for her FC Virginia team, Basinger is set to play right back for the U17s but she’ll almost certainly contribute to the attack.
“She loves to get forward, she’s got a great work rate, is very fit,” her club coach Paul Ellis told TopDrawerSoccer.com. “We play a 4-3-3 so there’s always that space in front of her she’ll get into that space all day long. From left back, she’s the second leading scorer on our team right now.”
Outside of soccer, Basinger backs up her athletic prowess as a point guard on her high school basketball team. And while she didn’t exactly boast about her jump shot, she says that her defense is pretty mean.
But back to soccer, when she gets down to Guatemala, she’ll bring some family advice with her onto the pitch.
“My dad has always told my brother, sister and I to ‘leave it all on the field’,” she told TopDrawerSoccer.com over email. “I have tried to follow this advice and to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Sarah Robinson, Midfielder, Los Altos Hills, California, Mtn. View Los Altos SC
There are only 40 female high school athletes in the nation who get the chance to race at the annual Foot Locker Cross Country Championship. Those 40 individuals are determined by four regional races with the top ten finishers booking the trip to the final in San Diego.
Sarah Robinson was one of those 40 in 2011, but she never raced in the national event.
Robinson finished fourth in the West Regional in December, which was best among the sophomore class for that region. Yet, she relinquished her spot in the National Championship, which was held on December 10, due to a commitment with the U.S. U17 Women’s National Team.
The decision paid off for Robinson. The soon-to-be 16-year-old is bound for Guatemala with the U17 WNT for the CONCACAF Championship, as the youngest (and shortest) player on the roster.
“She covers a lot of ground,” U17 WNT head coach Albertin Montoya remarked about Robinson, who only stands at 5’2. “She doesn’t play little; she is tenacious.”
“She has done quite well for us,” Montoya added. “She could be starting or it could be [Lauren] Kaskie, depends on who is doing well in training.”
For Robinson, center midfield is where she has played throughout her soccer career.
“I have always been a center midfielder,” Robinson told TopDrawerSoccer.com over email. “I have been playing this position since I was young [and] I’ve always felt this position was best for me.”
To no surprise, Robinson says her favorite players to watch are some of the best midfielders in the world: Xavi, Iniesta, and Scholes. She also gave a nod to Messi, who is seemingly on everyone’s list.
The tough as nails midfielder added that the experience of representing the U.S. has been her favorite memory with the youth national team.
Margaret Purce, Forward, Olney, Maryland, Freestate Soccer Alliance
Described by her club coach Shannon Higgins-Cirovski as “a fierce competitor and an amazing athlete,” Purce is another talented forward traveling to Guatemala in hopes of firing the U.S. U17 Women’s National Team to a World Cup.
From a talent and tools perspective, Purce has what it takes to add something to any offense.
“She just loves to go to goal and her speed, quickness, and mentality are a handful for any defense,” Cirovski said.
She’s also very humble despite her obvious talent and keeps things loose around her club team by taking on a Russian and French accent from time to time.
Miranda Freeman, Defender, Lady Renegades SC, Royal Palm Beach, Florida
We weren’t able to reach Mandy, a fast and technical defender, but we interviewed her as a U15 GNT player in November of 2010, so we thought we’d share that with you instead. Watch our interview with her: HERE.