The 21 U.S. girls aiming to make history

By Mike Woitalla

The USA has won three Women's World Cups, four Olympic titles, and three U-20 Women's World Cups. The only world championship on the female side the USA has never won is the U-17 Women’s World Cup, a biennial competition that launched in 2008.

The fifth edition will be hosted by Jordan Sept. 30-Oct. 21 and U.S. coach B.J. Snow has named the USA’s 21-player roster.

"This is an immensely exciting time for our players and staff," Snow said. "After a thorough evaluation process over the course of the last two years, we feel that we have selected a group of players capable of embracing the challenges that a World Cup presents. The selection process has been excruciatingly intense and this is a direct result of the depth of the player pool for this age group. We evaluated over 120 players within our training camps this cycle and they all deserve a ton of credit."

The USA, which qualified as Concacaf champion, faces Paraguay, Ghana and Japan in Group D.

Twelve players in the squad were born in 1999, the cutoff for this year’s U-17 World Cup, five were born in 2000, and four in 2001. Three of the 2001s -- defenders Kennedy Wesley and Kate Wiesner and forward Jordan Caniff -- played in the Concacaf Championship while Jacksonville Armada’s Lia Godfrey, who turns 15 in November, joined the squad afterward.

So Cal Blues forward Ashley Sanchez, 17, who won the Golden Ball at the qualifying tournament, was part of a full national team camp in April and played for the U.S. U-20s when they won the qualifying tournament for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, scoring three goals, including the winning goal in the 1-0 final victory over Canada, and notching five assists. Defender Kiara Pickett also played in U-20 World Cup qualifying.

Sanchez, one of four So Cal Blues players in the squad, has scored 18 goals in 16 U-17 national team games. She scored five goals in U-17 Concacaf qualifying, as did PDA’s Frankie Tagliaferri, who like the Colorado Rush’s Civana Kuhlmann is her second cycle with the U-17s. Kuhlman, who scored for goals in qualifying, is the team’s the second leading scorer with 10 goals in 15 games.

Eight players hail from California clubs, six of which are Southern Californians.

States Represented (Clubs):
8 California.
3 Colorado.
2 Florida, Michigan, New Jersey.
1 North Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia.

USA 2016 U-17 Women's World Cup roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Hillary Beall (So Cal Blues; Laguna Beach, Calif.), Laurel Ivory (West Florida Flames; Surfside, Fla.), Meagan McClelland (PDA; Kearny, N.J.).
DEFENDERS (7): Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Isabel Rodriguez (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (So Cal Blues; Torrance, Calif.) Emily Smith (De Anza Force; Los Gatos, Calif.), Kennedy Wesley (So Cal Blues; Rossmoor, Calif.), Kate Wiesner (Slammers FC; Monrovia, Calif.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Jordan Canniff (Richmond United; California, Md.), Lia Godfrey (Jacksonville Armada; Fleming Island, Fla.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Alexa Spaanstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.), Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA; Colts Neck, N.J.), Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Penn.).
FORWARDS (4): Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Adrienne Richardson (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Oakdale, Minn.), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.).

After finishing runner-up at the inaugural U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008, the USA failed to qualify in 2010, exited in the first round of the 2012 World Cup -- albeit without losing a game -- and failed to qualify in 2014.

U-17 Women's World Cup Champs
2008 North Korea
2010 South Korea
2012 France
2014 Japan

Both times the USA failed to qualify, it fell in the semifinals in penalty shootouts in tournaments in which only the top two finishers qualified, because Concacaf nations hosted the World Cup -- Trinidad & Tobago and Costa Rica getting automatic bids.

In addition to the USA, Concacaf’s Canada and Mexico for this year’s U-17 World Cup.

Paraguay: The third-place finisher in South American qualifying, reached the last two U-17 World Cups and exited in group play.
Japan: Qualified for all four previous U-17 World Cups, won the title in 2014 and finished runner-up in 2010.
Ghana: Reached the quarterfinals in 2014 and finished third in 2012.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mallory Pugh returns to U-20s

Mallory Pugh, the 18-year-old attacker who played in three games at the Rio Olympics and scored in a 2-2 tie with Colombia, is part of Coach Michelle French's 20-player roster for the U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational at which the USA will play South Korea (Sept. 14), England (Sept. 16) and Brazil (Sept. 18).

The USA, Brazil and South Korea are preparing for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea (Nov. 13-Dec. 3).

Mallory Pugh

Pugh, who played in the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup, was the captain, leading scorer (7 goals) and Golden Ball winner at 2015 Concacaf U-20 Women's Championship the USA won en route to qualifying for the 2016 U-20 World Cup.

Like the other college-age players on the U-20s, Pugh, who committed to UCLA, is sitting out the 2016 college season.

The roster includes three players who have been playing mainly for the U-18 national team: the San Diego Surf’s Julie Doyle, Shea Moyer of Pennsylvania’s FC Revolution, and Parker Goines of Oklahoma’s TSC Hurricane.

U.S. U-20 women’s national team
GOALKEEPERS (3): Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Brooke Heinsohn (NEFC; Norfolk, Mass.), Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7): Madeline Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Ellie Jean (Penn State; Coventry, Conn.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Cousins (Tennessee; Forest, Va.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio), Courtney Petersen (Virginia; Canton, Mich.), Parker Roberts (Florida; Leawood, Kansas).
FORWARDS (3): Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.); Jessie Scarpa (North Carolina; Lakeland, Fla.), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; Colorado Springs, Colo.).

1 comment about "The 21 U.S. girls aiming to make history ".
  1. Ginger Peeler, August 27, 2016 at 12:36 p.m.

    Are these players, who are sitting out the 2016 college soccer season, still attending their colleges during this period or are they sitting out their classes also? If they're still attending class, how does that work with their scholarships? Does US Soccer pay to the colleges the amount their scholarships covered toward tuition? How does that work?

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