U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Laura Harvey has named a 20-player roster to represent the USA at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, to be held Feb. 22-March 8 in the Dominican Republic.
The USA will open the tournament on Friday, Feb. 22 against Cuba, continue Group C play on Sunday, Feb. 24 vs. host Dominican Republic and wrap up the opening stage on Tuesday, Feb. 26 vs. Honduras.
“I am excited to get our World Cup qualifying campaign started,” Harvey said. “With the new Concacaf format, the schedule is extremely demanding, and we are going to need to plan well to make sure we utilize all of our players throughout the tournament. I’m looking forward to seeing what level we can put out on the field and I’m hoping that throughout the campaign we can show growth as a collective team and see some individuals shine.”
The roster consists of 16 collegiate players and three youth club players. Forward Sophia Smith is the only professional on the roster. She was the top pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft by the Portland Thorns, becoming the first teenager to be taken #1. Midfielder Talia DellaPeruta is currently playing as an amateur in Germany with Frauen-Bundesliga club FC Koln.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2000 are age-eligible for the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship. Harvey named 12 players born in 2000, five born in 2001 and three born in 2002.
Four players will attempt to qualify for their second U-20 World Cup in Smith, defender Naomi Girma, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Alexa Spaanstra. In total, 10 players have represented the USA at a youth World Cup, while nine have participated in a youth World Cup qualifying tournament.
2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship Roster by Position (College or Club; Hometown; U-20 Caps/Goals)
DEFENDERS (7): Maycee Bell (North Carolina; Wichita, Kan.; 4/1), Sierra Enge (Stanford; Cardiff, Calif.; 0/0), Naomi Girma (Stanford; San Jose, Calif.; 25/0), Shae Holmes (Washington; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 2/0), Brianna Martinez (Notre Dame; Albuquerque, N.M.; 4/0), Emily Mason (PDA; Flemington, N.J.; 2/0), Kennedy Wesley (Stanford; Rossmoor, Calif.; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Talia DellaPeruta (Köln/GER; Cumming, Ga.; 4/0), Katelyn Duong (Minnesota; Portland, Ore.; 3/0), Jenna Nighswonger (Florida State; Huntington Beach, Calif.; 4/1), Brianna Pinto (North Carolina; Durham, N.C.; 32/4), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.; 13/2), Summer Yates (Washington; Pasco, Wash.; 4/2)
FORWARDS (5): Mia Fishel (UCLA; San Diego, Calif.; 0/0), Rebecca Jarrett (Virginia; Clifton, N.J.; 5/0), Samantha Meza (Solar Soccer Club; Dallas, Texas; 7/1), Trinity Rodman (So Cal Blues SC; Newport Beach, Calif.; 2/1), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 27/23)
Smith was recently called up to the senior Women’s National Team for the squad’s annual January camp, while Pinto was named 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year in December. Smith was voted the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. Bell, Girma, Pinto and Smith were all called to the full WNT’s December Identification Camp, though Bell and Girma had to withdraw from the event due injuries.
The 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship introduces a new qualifying format that will feature 20 teams -- 16 divided into four groups of four, and four who have already advanced to the Round of 16 via pre-tournament qualifying.
The top three finishers in the four groups will advance to the Round of 16 and join the four teams already qualified for the knockout round. From there, the teams will play a single-elimination tournament with the top two finishers qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
In years prior, the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship has qualified three teams to the U-20 Women’s World Cup, but Concacaf countries Costa Rica and Panama have both been granted automatic bids to the tournament as co-hosts, reducing the number of berths for the Confederation.
All 39 matches of the tournament will take place in two venues in the Dominican Republic -- Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo and Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal.