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USA is heavy favorite in Montego Bay
October 31st, 2013 2:13AM

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[CONCACAF UNDER-17 WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA opens play at the Concacaf Under-17 Women's Championship on Thursday against Trinidad & Tobago in Montego Bay, Jamaica. The U.S. U-17s are 14-0-1 all-time in the regional championship with a 56-0 goal margin over the last two tournaments, but their lone tie would cost them a berth in the Under-17 Women's World Cup.

Five players have seven U-17 caps, including defender Mia Gyau, the daughter of former U.S. international Philip Gyau and sister of U.S. U-23 Joe Gyau. Mallory Pugh is the USA's leading scorer with six international goals, while Madison Haley -- daughter of former NFL star Charles Haley -- has four goals in five caps. Defender Ellie Jean's father, Dominican native Domingo Jean, pitched for the New York Yankees.

Twelve of the 20 players on the roster were born in 1997, the age cut-off for the 2014 U-17 Women's World Cup. U.S. head coach B.J. Snow, who left UCLA to take the job on a full-time basis, also named six 1998s and two 1999s in forwards Civana Kuhlmann and Frankie Tagliaferri, who will be eligible for the next U-17 World Cup as well.

Tegan McGrady, whose participation with the U-17s led to her much-publicized suspension last year from her high school team's playoffs by California's Central Coast Section, leads the team with 458 minutes played.

The U.S. U-17s are 4-1-2 in international play in the accelerated run-up to the Concacaf championship.

The 2010 team didn't qualify for the Under-17 Women's World Cup as it fell to Canada on penalty kicks in the semifinals. Because the finals were being held in Trinidad & Tobago, only the two Concacaf finalists qualified for the world championship.

That will be the case again in Montego Bay as the 2014 Under-17 Women's World Cup will be held at another Concacaf nation, Costa Rica, in the spring.

The USA opens against Trinidad & Tobago, which it has beaten 9-1 and 5-0 in their two previous meetings in the Concacaf U-17 Championship.

The Americans will continue Group B play against Guatemala on Saturday and Canada on Monday. They beat Canada 1-0 in the 2012 Concacaf U-17 final.

U.S. U-17 Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Kat Hess (LA Premier), 1-Lauren Rood (Washington Timbers)
DEFENDERS (7): 5-Gabriella Carreiro (FC Stars of Mass.), 7-Mia Gyau (Bethesda Lions), 6-Natalie Jacobs (Slammers FC), 10-Ellie Jean (Oakwood SC), 12-Tegan McGrady (MVLA SC), 9-Zoe Morse (Michigan Hawks), 13-Taylor Otto (CASL)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 2-Dorian Bailey (Sporting BVSC), 4-Marley Canales (San Diego Surf), 14-Taylor Racioppi (PDA), 19-Anika Rodriguez (So Cal Blues), 25-Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA)
FORWARDS (6): 3-Madison Haley (Dallas Texans), 8-Kelcie Hedge (Washington Premier), 11-Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush), 17-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado), 15-Zoe Redei (Eclipse Select), 22-Maddy Schultz (Northwest Nationals).


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