U.S. under-17 girls national team coach Kazbek Tambi has named the 20-player roster that will compete at the 2008 CONCACAF U-17 Girls Championship, beginning Friday in Trinidad & Tobago.
Of the 20 players named to the roster, 15 were born in 1991, three in 1992 and two in 1993. The roster also features the sister duo of Kristen andSamantha Mewis. The sisters, who are one year apart in age, are the first sisters to play together on a World Cup qualifying team.
Victoria DiMartino is also on the U-17 squad just weeks after her sister, Gina, helped the U.S. U-20 Women's National Team qualify for the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile. Their older sister, Christina, played in the 2006 Under-20 Women's World Cup.
"I'm really excited about this group," said Tambi, the former New York Cosmos player who is now the Seton Hall women's coach. "We've been fortunate to have a lot of training camps under our belt over the last several months and we've gotten better with each camp. It's a very high motivated group, a very talented group and they're dream is the same as mine, which is try to get to a World Cup, first and foremost, and then to try to win it, also."
It will be the first CONCACAF tournament staged at the U-17 women's level. Three teams from the regional qualifying for the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup to be held later this year in New Zealand.
The U.S. U-17 Women are drawn into Group A along with Costa Rica, El Salvador and host Trinidad & Tobago. Group A matches will take place July 18-22 at Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad.
Group B, which will play their matches at Dwight Yorke Stadium in Tobago, consists of Canada, Jamaica, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
The two two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals, The winners of the semifinal matches on July 24 with advance to New Zealand along with the winner of the third-place match on July 27.
"Given that it's the first ever [championship] at this age bracket, we have a group of players who haven't had this kind of experience," said Tambi. "To some degree, this is kind of like a first-time experiment and we'll be learning on the job when we get there. Our plan is to take each game at a time and treat it like it's the biggest game and try to prevail in each game and then move on to the next."
U.S. U-17 GIRLS ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS: Alexa Gaul (Eclipse Select, Ill.), Taylor Vancil (Eclipse Select, Ill.), Kelsey Wys (Parkland Predators, Fla.)
DEFENDERS: Morgan Brian (Ponte Vedra, Ga.), Amber Brooks (Arsenal World Class, Pa.), Cloee Colohan (Black Diamond Park City SC, Utah), Crystal Dunn (Albertson Fury, N.Y.), Alexis Harris (Dallas Texans, Texas), Julia Roberts (McLean Freedom, Md.)
MIDFIELDERS:Kathryn Bennett (Crossfire, Wash.), Olivia Klei (Pleasanton Rage, Calif.), Kristen Mewis (SC Scorpions, Mass.), Samantha Mewis (SC Scorpions, Mass.), Sydney Payne (RSL Florida, Fla.), Erika Tymrak (IMG Soccer Academy, Fla.)
FORWARDS: Tani Costa (Leahi SC, Haw.), Victoria DiMartino (Albertson Fury, N.Y.), Samantha Johnson ( Real So Cal, Calif.), Rachel Nuzzolese (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Courtney Verloo (South Side Strikers, Ore.)