The Under-16 Girls’ National Team will travel to Italy from April 19-29 to participate in the 1st International Women’s Tournament of Gradisca. These will be the first international matches of the year for the U.S. U-16s and first since the program was re-instated last year.
The six-team tournament will take place in Gradisca d’Isonzo, which is located in northeast Italy close to the border with Slovenia. The USA will compete in Group A with Italy and Iran. It will be the first meeting between the USA and Iran in women’s international soccer at any age level. It will also be an historic match of sorts as it will be the first time a U.S. Women’s National Team at any age level has ever faced a country from the Middle East.
The tournament has existed for boys’ U-15 teams for 13 years, but this is the first year to feature a girls’ competition as well. The U.S. U-15 Boys’ National Team will also be competing in the tournament.
Head coach Tricia Taliaferro has called up 20 players to the U.S. squad for the tournament, featuring 17 players born in 2000, two in 2001 and one in 2002. The USA will be playing against older sides made up of players born in 1999, which is the age cut-off year for the upcoming 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.
France, Mexico and England are in Group B. The USA will face Italy on April 25, Iran on April 26 and play a placement match on April 28.
After the group stage, the top two teams in each group will play for the championship, the two second places teams will play for third and the two third place teams will play for fifth.
The group matches will be feature 35-minutes halves while the placements games will be 40-minutes halves.
This age group is in the second year of a two-year cycle before becoming the U-18s and then the U-20s with the goal of playing in the 2020 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup.
U.S. U-16 GNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Hensley Hancuff (Oklahoma FC; Edmond, Okla.), Katie Meyer (Eagles SC; Newbury Park, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (8): Maycee Bell (Sporting KC Blue Valley; Wichita, Kan.), Madelyn Desiano (So Cal Blues; San Clemente, Calif.), Sierra Enge (Carlsbad Elite; Cardiff, Calif.), Shae Holmes (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Brianna Martinez (New Mexico Rush; Albuquerque, N.M.), Kylie Minamishin (Honolulu Bulls; Miliani, Hawaii), Makenna Morris (Bethesda Tempo; Germantown, Md.), Sarah Piper (Texas Rush; The Woodlands, Texas)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Croix Bethune (Concord Fire; Alpharetta, Ga.), Coriana Dyke (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Nohemi Mendoza (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Jenna Nighswonger (Slammers FC; Huntington Beach, Calif.), Madeline Vergura (FC Stars; Concord, Mass.), Summer Yates (Pac NW; Pasco, Wash.)
FORWARDS (4): Lia Godfrey (JFC Storm; Fleming Island, Fla.), Rebecca Jarrett (World Class; Washington Township, N.J.), Emaly Vatne (Michigan Hawks; Sterling Heights, Mich.), Olivia Wingate (FC Stars; Wilmington, Mass.)