After a successful World Cup qualifying campaign in December that also yielded a CONCACAF title, the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team begins its almost year-long preparation for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup with a training camp in Los Angeles from Jan. 3-10.
The USA earned its berth to the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup by winning its semifinal match of the qualifying tournament against host Honduras and then defeated Canada for the regional title, 1-0. The eighth FIFA Women’s World Cup for this age level (the first two were held as U-19 events) will take place from Nov. 13-Dec. 3 in Papua New Guinea.
The 16-team field for the tournament is now set and it’s a strong one, featuring Canada, Mexico, the USA, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, France, Germany, Spain, and Sweden.
U.S. head coach Michelle French has named 26 players to this camp being held at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif., with part of the event overlapping the full U.S. Women’s National Team camp.
Due to the CONCACAF qualifying tournament taking place during the end of the NCAA playoffs, French brought a young team to Honduras which featured just eight college players and 12 high school-aged players. For this January event, 22 of the 26 players are in college and just 13 of the 20 players from the qualifying roster are in camp, although there are several injuries and team captain Mallory Pugh was called up to the senior team. Ashley Sanchez, who scored three goals with five assists in qualifying, including the game-winner in the championship game, will return to train with the U-17 WNT this month as that squad prepares for its World Cup qualifying tournament in March.
DEFENDERS (9): Julia Ashley (North Carolina; Verona, N.J.), Alana Cook (Stanford; Far Hills, N.J.), Maddie Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.), Alex Thomas (LSU; New Orleans, La.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Savannah Demelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Dibiasi (Stanford; Littleton, Colo.), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio), Courtney Petersen (Virginia; Canton, Mich.), Mayra Pelayo (Florida; West Palm Beach; Fla.), Haley Pounds (Texas A&M; Spring, Texas), Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kansas), Shannon Simon (Washington; Torrance, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Mimi Asom (Princeton; Fairview, Texas), Cecelia Kizer (Mississippi; Overland Park, Kan.), Taylor Racioppi (Duke; Ocean Township, N.J.), Jessie Scarpa (North Carolina; Lakeland, Fla.), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; Colorado Springs, Colo.)