The 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup kicks off on Friday in Jordan, marking the first time a Middle East nation has hosted a female soccer world championship.
For the USA, which opens against Paraguay on Saturday, the U-17 World Cup is the only female world championship it has yet to win.
It finished runner-up at the inaugural U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008, failed to qualify in 2010, exited in the first round of the 2012 World Cup -- albeit without losing a game in a group that included eventual winner North Korea and runner-up France -- and failed to qualify in 2014.
The most famous alums from a U.S. U-17 World Cup squad hail from the 2008 team: 2015 World Cup winner Morgan Brian and 2016 Olympian Crystal Dunn.
The current team is coached by former UCLA coach B.J. Snow, who in 2013 became the first full-time coach for the U.S. U-17s.
Snow’s first team outscored its qualifying foes 26-1 but fell to Mexico on penalty kicks in the semifinals to miss the 2014 U-17 World Cup. The squad included Mallory Pugh, now a regular with the full national team who played in last summer’s Olympics.
“That team was a really talented group that has shown to be special as they make up a majority of the U-20 national team now and have players like Mal Pugh,” said Snow. “I think the difference between that cycle and this cycle is we had five months of preparation (before 2013), whereas this cycle we’ve had two years of preparation.”
In qualifying for Jordan, the USA outscored its five foes, 18-2, and won the Concacaf Championship with a 2-1 final win over Mexico. Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues) and Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA) led the USA in scoring with five goals, followed by Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush) with four. Sanchez and defender Kiara Pickett also played for the U.S. U-20s in their successful qualifying campaign for the 2016 U-20 World Cup.
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.).
• Eight U.S. players from California (six from Southern, two from Northern); three players from Colorado and two each from Michigan, Florida and New Jersey; and once each from North Carolina, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia.
• The top two finishers from the four groups of four teams qualify for the quarterfinals.
• Host Jordan, European champion Germany, and defending champion Japan and North Korea were seeded.
USA’s GROUP D
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.
U-17 Women's World Cup Champs
2008 North Korea
2010 South Korea
TV Schedule: 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup
(All times ET)
Friday, Sept. 30
7:55 am Venezuela vs. Germany FS2
9:55 am Mexico vs. New Zealand FS2
10:55 am Cameroon vs. Canada FOX Soccer Plus
12:55 pm Jordan vs. Spain FOX Soccer Plus
8:55 am Nigeria vs. Brazil FS1
8:55 am Ghana vs. Japan FOX Soccer Plus
11:55 am USA vs. Paraguay FOX Soccer Plus
5:00 pm/1:00am England vs. North Korea FOX Soccer Plus/FS2
8:55 am Spain vs. New Zealand FS2
8:55 am Venezuela vs. Cameroon FOX Soccer Plus
11:55 am Germany vs. Canada FS2
11:55 am Jordan vs. Mexico FOX Soccer Plus
Tuesday, Oct. 4
8:55 am USA vs. Ghana FS2
8:55 am Nigeria vs. England FOX Soccer Plus
11:55 am Brazil vs. North Korea FS2
11:55 am Paraguay vs. Japan FOX Soccer Plus
Friday, Oct. 7
8:55 am Spain vs. Mexico FS2
8:55 am New Zealand vs. Jordan FOX Soccer Plus
5:00 pm/3:00 am Germany vs. Cameroon FS2/FOX Soccer Plus
11:55 am Canada vs. Venezuela FOX Soccer Plus
Saturday, Oct. 8
8:55 am Brazil vs. England FS1
8:55 am North Korea vs. Nigeria FS2
11:55 am Japan vs. USA FS2
5:00 pm Paraguay vs. Ghana FS2
Wednesday, Oct. 12
8:55 am Quarterfinal FS2
11:55 am Quarterfinal FS2
8:55 am Quarterfinal FS2
11:55 am Quarterfinal FS2
Monday, Oct. 17
8:55 am Semifinal FS2
11:55 am Semifinal FS2
Friday, Oct. 21
9:55 am Third-place game FS2
12:55 pm Final FS2
All games can also been see live and on-demand streaming via the FOX Sports GO app, online at FOXSportsGO.com, and on-demand at FOXSoccer2Go.com. The free promo code, which can be activated Sept. 30 to Oct. 31, to watch games at FOXSoccer2Go.com is “U17WNT” – to be entered in the registration page when prompted.