U.S. U20 WNT continuing World Cup prep
The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will gather for a 10-day training camp from May 8-17 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, Calif.
U.S. U-20 WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova has called up 24 players, all vying for one of the 21 roster spots on the USA’s 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Team.
The U-20s will scrimmage twice against the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team, which will also be conducting a camp at the NTC. The matches will take place on Monday, May 14 at 7 p.m. PT in the Track & Field Stadium and on Thursday, May 17 at 4 p.m. PT on University Field 1.
Twenty of the players named for this camp were a part of the U.S. team that swept three games in La Manga, Spain in early April, downing the Sweden U-23 WNT, 4-1, tying the England U-20 WNT, 1-1, and defeating the Italy U-23 WNT, 3-1.
Klimkova’s roster is once again is a mix of three birth years, with seven players born in 1998 (the age cut-off year for the upcoming World Cup), 12 born in 1999 and five born in 2000.
Seventeen of the 24 players are in college with seven still playing youth club, six of them for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams. Defenders Jordan Brewster (Internationals SC) and Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC), midfielders Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat) and Jenna Nighswonger (LAFC Slammers), and forwards Sophia Smith (Real Colorado) and Penelope Hocking (So Cal Blues) are the players on the roster who have not yet enrolled in college.
The U.S. U-20 WNT has gone 6-0-4 this year with nine different players having scored in international matches, led by Smith, who has seven goals and 15 in her U-20 career. Midfielders Savanah DeMelo and Howell and forwards Abigail Kim and Civanna Kuhlmann have each scored twice.
The USA was drawn into Group C at the upcoming World Cup which will take place from Aug. 5-24 in four venues in the Brittany region of France. The U.S. opens the tournament on Monday, Aug. 6 against Japan (1:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. local), faces Paraguay on Thursday, Aug. 9 (1:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. local) and finishes the group against Spain on Monday, Aug. 13 (7:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. local). The USA will play its first two group games at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau and its third group game at Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan/Léhon.
The 16-team field for the tournament is a strong one, featuring Mexico, the USA, Haiti, host France, England, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Paraguay, China PR, Japan, Korea PRK and New Zealand. The USA has won the tournament three times (2002, 2008, 2012), as has Germany (2004, 2010, 2014), while Korea DPR has won it twice, in 2006 and most recently in 2016.
DEFENDERS (8): Jordan Brewster (Internationals SC; North Canton, Ohio), Emily Fox (North Carolina; Chapel Hill, N.C.), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; San Jose, Calif.), Samantha Hiatt (Stanford; Newcastle, Wash.), Tara McKeown (USC; Newbury Park, Calif.), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing, Mich.), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Jenna Nighswonger (LAFC Slammers; Huntington Beach, Calif.), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, N.C.), Delanie Sheehan (UCLA; Los Gatos, Calif.), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Penelope Hocking (So Cal Blues; Anaheim, Calif.), Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara; Nashville, Tenn.)
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