College stars headed to Concacaf qualifying

[U.S. UNDER-20 WOMEN] Morgan Brian, the 2011 Soccer America Freshman of the Year, and three other 2011 Women's MVPs were named to the U.S. under-20 national team's 20-player roster for the CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship to be held March 1-11 in Panama City.

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 U.S. roster also includes North Carolina defender Crystal Dunn, the 2010 Soccer America Freshman of the Year.

Fifteen players are college sophomores or freshmen, while the remaining five are high school seniors.

"We are excited about the challenge that the qualifying tournament presents for us at this point in time," said U-20 coach Steve Swanson. "We have prepared extremely hard these past two camps in order to be ready for what we know will be a strong field and a difficult environment in Panama."

The U.S. will kick off Group B play against Guatemala March 2, then face Cuba March 4, and wrap up group play against host Panama March 6. The semifinals will be played March 9.

The finalists and the winner of the third-place game qualify for the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Japan.

The U.S. team is coming off an impressive sweep of three matches at the Four Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain.

U.S. Under-20 Women's Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Bryane Heaberlin (Clearwater Chargers), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans).
DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast), Olivia Brannon (Virginia), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina), Kassey Kallman (Florida State), Mollie Pathman (Duke), Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury).
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara), Sarah Killion (UCLA), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame), Sam Mewis (UCLA).
FORWARDS (6): Micaela Capelle (Portland), Maya Hayes (Penn State), Lindsey Horan (Colorado Rush), Kealia Ohai (North Carolina), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest), Chi Ubogagu (Stanford).

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