U23 WNT heading to Austin for training camp
The U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team will come together from Jan. 23-28 in Austin, Texas for its first training camp since the onset of the global pandemic.
With former U-23 head coach Matt Potter being named on Tuesday as the head coach for the Kansas City Current in the National Women’s Soccer League, Houston Dash assistant coach Twila Kilgore (formerly Kaufman), one of four women to earn the USSF Pro License, will run the camp to which 18 players have been called up. She will be assisted by former U.S. international Amy LePeilbet, who earned 84 caps between 2004 and 2012 and helped the USA win the Olympic gold medal at London 2012. The U-23 camp will run concurrently with the final six days of USWNT head coach Vlakto Andonovski’s January training camp in Austin. The U-23s will be a part of a closed-door scrimmage against the full USWNT at the end of training camp.
The U-23 roster features seven current college players, two current NWSL players with one season of pro experience and nine players that were selected in either the 2021 or 2022 NWSL Drafts, or have their rights held by NWSL clubs, but have yet to play in the league.
DEFENDERS (6): Emily Madril (Navarre, Fla.: Florida State), Alyssa Malonson (Spring, Texas; OL Reign), Kate Wiesner (Monrovia, Calif.; Penn State), Kiki Pickett (Santa Barbara, Calif.; NC Courage), Lilly Reale (UCLA; Hingham, Mass.), Alexis Loera (Thornton, Colo.; Kansas City Current)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Croix Bethune (Alpharetta, Ga.; USC), Mikayla Colohan (Kaysville, Utah; Orlando Pride), Chardonnay Curran (Ewa Beach, Hawaii; Kansas City Current), Brianna Pinto (Durham, N.C.; NC Courage), Sydney Studer (Eastvale, Calif.; Washington State)
FORWARDS (5): Penelope Hocking (Anaheim, Calif., USC), Kelsey Turnbow (Scottsdale, Ariz.; San Diego Wave FC), Diana Ordonez (Prosper, Texas; NC Courage), Alexa Spaanstra (Brighton, Mich.; Virginia), Mia Fishel (San Diego, Calif.; Orlando Pride)
The U-23s have not had any activity since the fall of 2019. The team was set to begin its 2020 schedule by participating in the Thorns Spring Invitational, a pre-season tournament against NWSL teams in Portland, Oregon in late March and early April, but then the sporting world shut down due to COVID-19.
Of the 18 players called up, three have experience training in senior USWNT camps in defender Kiki Pickett, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Mia Fishel. Pinto was the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.
Defender Emily Madril is the one player on the roster who helped Florida State to the 2021 NCAA Championship, and she was named the 2021 Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Alexis Loera was the 2021 West Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Year for Santa Clara, where she won the 2020 NCAA title along with former teammate and fellow U-23 camp call-up forward Kelsey Turnbow. Pickett made the game-winning penalty kick in the shootout to give Stanford the 2019 NCAA Championship.
Two of the three 2021 MAC Hermann Trophy finalists are in camp in midfielder Mikayla Colohan from BYU and Turnbow. The third finalist, midfielder Jaelin Howell from Florida State who won her second MAC Hermann Trophy on Jan. 7 to become one of six players to win the award back-to-back, will be in the senior USWNT training camp in Austin.
Three of the top four scorers in the Pac-12 last season are in camp in Croix Bethune (16 goals) from USC, Fishel (12) from UCLA and Penelope Hocking (12) from USC. Bethune was the 2021 Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year and Hocking was the 2021 Pac-12 Forward of the Year. In addition, last season’s leading scorers from the ACC – Diana Ordonez from Virginia (18 goals) -- and the WCC, Colohan from BYU (19 goals) – are in camp. Ordonez and Colohan were their respective conference’s Offensive Players of the Year. Turnbow had 11 goals for Santa Clara and Alexa Spaanstra had seven for Virginia, meaning the midfielders and forwards in this camp who played college soccer during the 2021 season had a combined 98 goals across NCAA Division I. Midfielder Chardonnay Curran had three scores for Oregon last season.
Seven players in camp have been on a roster for the USA at a youth FIFA Women’s World Cup. Four players were members of the team that won the Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship in early 2020: goalkeeper Claudia Dickey, Pinto, Spaanstra and Fishel.
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