U.S. roster revealed for U17 CONCACAF Champ
U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team head coach B.J. Snow named the 20-player roster for the 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship to be held in St. George's, Grenada, from March 3-13. The tournament will send the top three finishers to the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup being held in Jordan from Sept. 30-October 21.
The cut-off date to be eligible for the upcoming U-17 Women's World Cup is players born on or after Jan. 1, 1999. Snow chose 12 plyers born in 1999, but also included five players born in 2000 and three 14-year-olds born in 2001.
"We are extremely excited about the team that will be representing the United States at World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Grenada," said Snow. "It was a tremendously challenging process to narrow down the final roster and that's a credit to all of the players we've been able to evaluate in camps over the last year."
U-17 WNT CONCACAF Qualifying Roster by Position:
DEFENDERS (7): Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles SC; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Isabel Rodriguez (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (So Cal Blues; Torrance, Calif.), Emily Smith (De Anza Force; Los Gatos, Calif.), Kennedy Wesley (So Cal Blues; Rossmoor, Calif.), Kate Wiesner (Slammers FC; Monrovia, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA; Colt Neck, N.J.), Taryn Torres (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Pa.)
FORWARDS (6): Jordan Canniff (Richmond United; California, Md.), Rachel Jones (Tophat; Lawrenceville, Ga.), Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexa Spaanstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.)
The tournament will take place at two stadiums, the Grenada National Stadium and the Grenada Athletic Stadium. The USA opens the competition on March 4 against Jamaica, will face Mexico on March 6 and finish group play against Costa Rica on March 8. The USA's first two group games kick off at 3:30 p.m. local time/2:30 p.m. ET, while the final group game begins at 1 p.m. local time/12 p.m. ET. The semifinal matches take place March 11 and the Championship and Third-Place Match on March 13.
2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship
The eight nation competition will feature two groups of four teams each and will send three countries to the 2016 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup to be held from in Jordan. After round-robin play within the groups, the top two finishers in each group will cross-over for the semifinals with the winners of those games, along with the winner of the third-place match, earning berths to the World Cup.
Just four teams have qualified for the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup so far: host Jordan plus Japan and Korea DPR, which earned their berths by reaching the Final AFC U-16 Women's Championship during November of 2015 in China PR, and New Zealand out of Oceania. The remaining 12 nations will qualify over the course of this year.
"The main focus for our U-17 National Team is to evaluate and develop players that have the potential to navigate through our Youth National Team system and it's critical that we always keep this mindset at the forefront of our philosophy," said Snow. "At the same time, we never want to lose site of the tradition of winning and the standards that have been created by those that have preceded us. At this level there is always a fine line in the selection process of deciding who gives us the best chance of winning now vs. those players who have the best chance of moving forward with our National Teams. With this current roster, we feel we have identified a group of young players that gives us the balance of being able to compete with the top teams in the world now but who also possess the potential to be the future of U.S. women's soccer."
Snow will bring this roster to the four-team 2016 U-17 Women's NTC Invitational that will run from Feb 11-15 as the USA hosts Japan, Korea Republic and England. The NTC Invitational will serve as final preparation for the CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship. All the Invitational matches will be held at Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California.
"This group of players has been resolute in their commitment to prepare for the upcoming qualification tournament both individually and collectively," said Snow. "The NTC Invitational will give us yet another preparation platform that will enable us to test ourselves against three excellent opponents. It will allow us to hopefully get the truest snapshot of where we are as a team so we can continue to refine our preparation as we gear up for World Cup Qualifying. Our sole goal at this point in time is to try and make our country proud by going to Grenada and qualifying for the 2016 FIFA U-17 World Cup."
Each of the match days in the round-robin NTC Invitational (Feb. 11, 13 and 15) will feature a doubleheader with the USA playing the second game of the day. The winner of the competition will be based on total points with the first tie-breakers being overall goal difference and then total goals scored. Admission to the matches is free to the public, as is parking. For the second time, following last year's tournament, all six matches will be shown live on ussoccer.com.
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