[UNDER-20 WOMEN'S WORLD CUP] Two former Soccer America Freshmen of the Year, Virginia's Morgan Brian and North Carolina's Crystal Dunn, are among the 21 players Coach Steve Swanson named to represent the United States at the 2012 Under-20 Women’s World Cup Aug. 19-Sept. 8 in Japan. Lindsey Horan, the USA’s top scorer this year who recently signed a two-year contract with Paris St. Germain, was ruled out of the tournament after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery.
Besides Brian, three other 2011 Women's MVPs -- Maya Hayes(Penn State), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest) and Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois), the daughter of former U.S. international Angelo DiBernardo -- were also picked.
The USA plays its first two Group D matches at the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium, opening on Aug. 20 against Ghana before facing China three days later. The Americans will finish the group stage on Aug. 27 against Germany at Miyagi Stadium in the town of Rifu near Sendai. The group finale will feature two teams that have won the tournament twice.
“Overall, this is a talented group of players with a good blend of technical ability, creativity, unselfishness and teamwork,” said Swanson. “This team is truly representative of the entire nation, not only in terms of geography but also in the fact that so many quality coaches and teachers have helped develop these players through club, high school and college soccer along the way.”
Among the 21 players named are five who were on the U.S. team that participated in the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany:Mollie Pathman, Samantha Mewis, Bryane Heaberlin, Dunn and Hayes.
“The roster is a good blend of youth and experience, and we feel one of the strengths of this team is how they play together,” said Swanson. “The core of the team has been together almost every month for the past seven months and they have developed into a close-knit team over that time. There is a good chemistry and spirit that runs through this team and hopefully in an event like the World Cup, where talent alone can take you only so far, it will make a difference for us.”
All players will be in college except defender Stephanie Amack, who just finished her junior year of high school.
GOALKEEPERS (3):Bryane Heaberlin (North Carolina; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jami Kranich (Villanova; Hamden, Conn.), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas)
DEFENDERS (6):Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast; Pleasanton, Calif.), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina; Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara; Mesa, Ariz.), Kassey Kallman (Florida State; Woodbury, Minn.), Mollie Pathman (Duke; Durham, N.C.), Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury; East Islip, N.Y.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois; Naperville, Ill.), Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Samantha Mewis (UCLA; Hanson, Mass.), Taylor Schram (Penn State; Canonsburg, Pa.)
FORWARDS (6):Kelly Cobb (Duke; Chugiak, Alaska), Maya Hayes (Penn State; West Orange, N.J.), Kealia Ohai (North Carolina; Draper, Utah), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest; Melbourne, Fla.), Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford; Coppell, Texas), Becca Wann (Richmond; Chesterfield, Va.)