[USA UNDER-20 WOMEN]U.S. Soccer has hired former U.S. international Michelle French (14 caps) as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 women's national team, completing plans outlined two years ago to staff the women's national team programs with five full-time youth hires. French will be the first full-time under-20 national team head coach.
French joins U.S. Soccer Technical Director April Heinrichs, Development Director Jill Ellis, Women's Head Development Coach April Kater and U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team Head Coach B.J. Snow as the five hires.
"Over the last 10 years Michelle has coached at the club level as well as every level of our youth national team programs," said Heinrichs. "While serving as the assistant coach to our U-18 youth national team these last two years, she has demonstrated that she's one of the brightest coaches in America. She understands the international game, values the technical level of today's game, is tactically nuanced, knows the physical demands, and as a former women's national team player, she is capable of assisting youth players in fine tuning their strengths, while improving their weaknesses."
The top priority for the 36-year-old French is to prepare the U-20s for qualifying for the 2014 U-20 Women's World Cup to be held in Canada. Her first competition will be in early March in La Manga, Spain, where the USA will face its counterparts from Norway, Germany and Sweden.
French has served as a scout for U.S. Club Soccer since 2009, was a coach in the Washington ODP girls program and has served as an assistant coach for various national teams.