The Under-16 Girls’ National Team will play its first matches of 2020 during a trip to England from Feb. 15-25 for a UEFA Development Tournament that also features the hosts, Spain and Denmark.
The U-16s held a 28-player training camp in late January and from that roster, 20 players were selected to go to England.
Former professional player Katie Schoepfer, who played in the WPS and NWSL, earned All-American honors at Penn State and played for the U.S. Under-23 WNT, will coach the team. Eighteen of the players were born in 2004, the birth year for this age group, and two players were born in 2005.
Jen Lalor, a member of the USA’s 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team and U.S. Soccer’s current Club Development Manager for the Southwest, will serve as one of the assistant coaches.
Eight players on the roster – goalkeeper Nona Reason, defenders Elise Evans, Maggie Taitano and Gisele Thompson, midfielders Maggie Cagle and Sofia Cook, and forwards Allison Montoya and Katherine Rader -- were a part of the U.S. team that won the 2018 Concacaf Girls’ U-15 Championship while playing a year up.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Mackenzie Gress (Lyndhurst, N.J.; STA Development Academy), Nona Reason (San Clemente, Calif.; San Diego Surf)
DEFENDERS (6): Taylor Bloom (Huntington Beach, Calif.; Beach FC), Sydney Cheesman (Lafayette, Colo.; Colorado Rush), Tessa Dellarose (Grindstone, Pa.; Pittsburgh Riverhounds), Elise Evans (Redwood City, Calif.; San Jose Earthquakes), Maggie Taitano (Carlsbad, Calif.; San Diego Surf), Gisele Thompson (Studio City, Calif.; Real So Cal)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Maggie Cagle (Phoenix, Ariz.; Phoenix Rising), Sofia Cook (Huntington Beach, Calif.; LA Galaxy), Jill Flammia (Manakin-Sabot, Va.; Richmond United), Ally Lemos (Glendora, Calif.; Legends FC), Peyton Marcisz (San Mateo, Calif.; San Jose Earthquakes) Yuna McCormack (Mill Valley, Calif.; San Jose Earthquakes)
FORWARDS (6): Tyler Isgrig (Arlington, Texas; Solar SC), Lumi Kostmayer (Southbury, Conn.; Sky Blue - NYSC), Mia Minestrella (Redondo Beach, Calif.; Beach FC), Allison Montoya (Los Altos, Calif.; MVLA SC), Katherine Rader (Stuart, Fla.; Weston FC), Alivia Uribe (Sammamish, Wash.; Reign Academy)
The USA will face Spain on Feb. 19, take on England on Feb. 21 and finish against Denmark on Feb. 24. All the matches will be played at England’s National Training Center at St. George's Park, located about 145 miles north of London. As part of the UEFA Development Tournament, each player on the roster is required to play at least 90 minutes over the three matches.
The U.S. Under-16 Girl’s National Team was re-instituted in 2015. Prior to that year, U.S. Soccer had not had programming at the U-16 level since 2007. When FIFA instituted a world championship at the U-17 level for 2008, the U-16 age group was absorbed into the U-17s. In 2015, as part of an overall commitment to player development, new programs at the U-16 and U-19 levels were started back up and U.S. Soccer now has a total of eight Youth National Teams for both its men's and women's programs: U-14, U-15, U-16, U-17, U-18, U-19, U-20 and U-23.
Those additions created two separate programming tracks for even-birth-year players and odd-birth-year players, allowing for a more consistent approach toward development and additional opportunities for players to participate in National Team events and matches.
If a player was born in an odd year, which are the age-cut-off years for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, her track through the U.S. Women’s National Team programs will be U-15 (two years), U-17 (two years) and U-19 (two years). Players born in even years, which are the age-cut-off years for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, will follow the path of U-14 (one year), U-16 (two years), U-18 (two years) and U-20 (two years).
This year’s U-16s are in the second year of their two-year cycle.