Spaniard Natalia Astrain takes charge of U.S. U-17 women's national team

Put in charge of the USA's quest to end its futility at the U-17 Women's World Cup is former Barcelona first-team women's coach Natalia Astrain, who arrived in the USA four years ago and served as a first-team assistant coach with the NWSL's Kansas City Cuurent this past season.

The USA hasn't reached the knockout stage of the U-17 Women's World Cup since the biennial tournament's first edition in 2008, when it finished runner-up under Coach Kazbek Tambi. It has since failed to qualify twice and exited at the group stage three times. The 2020 U-17 World Cup and its Concacaf qualifying tournament were canceled because of the pandemic. Tracey Kevins, recently named U.S. U-20 coach, had been preparing the U-17s after replacing Mark Carr.

Astrain became head coach of FC Barcelona's women's team in 2002 when the club took its first major step of upgrading its women's program and she led it to Superliga Femenina promotion during her tenure, which lasted until 2006. She came to the USA in 2017, served as the girls director at Rise SC in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, and assistant academy director with the Houston Dash. Astrain also served as head coach of the WPSL's FC Bay Area and has assisted with the USA's U-17 and U-15 nationals teams.

“She brings an impressive resume at every level of the game, both domestically and abroad," USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf said in a press release. "That blend of experience in the pro game and the academy system makes her an excellent choice to assist in the development of our U-17 players and help them reach the next level. We’re confident Natalia will do a great job preparing the group for World Cup qualifying next spring."

Year Finish (Coach)
2018 first-round exit (Mark Carr)
2016 first-round exit 1W-2L-0T (B.J. Snow)
2014 did no qualify (B.J. Snow)
2012 first-round exit: 1W-0L-2T (Albertin Montoya)
2010 did not qualify (Kazbek Tambi)
2008 runner-up: 3W-2L-1T (Kazbek Tambi)

* * * * * * * * * *

Astrain's first camp in charge started Nov. 17 in Chula Vista, Calif., five months ahead of the 2022 U-17 Women's World Cup qualifying tourney.

U.S. U-17 women's national team
Abigail Gundry (NC Courage; Wake Forest, N.C.)
Victoria Safradin (Internationals SC; Eastlake, Ohio)
Kealey Titmuss (Nationals; Grand Blanc, Mich.)
Jasmine Aikey (Mountain View Los Altos; Palo Alto, Calif.)
Alyssa Gonzalez (San Diego Surf; Lemon Grove, Calif.)
Savannah King (LAFC SoCal Youth; West Hills, Calif.)
Cambry Patrick (Solar SC; Allen, Tex.)
Cameron Roller (Solar SC; Sherman, Tex.)
Keegan Schmeiser (FC United Soccer Club; Bolingbrook, Ill.)
Samantha Smith (Boise Thorns FC; Boise, Idaho)
Maggie Taitano (San Diego Surf; Carlsbad, Calif.)
Gisele Thompson (Total Futbol Academy; Studio City, Calif.)
Mia Bhuta (Internationals SC; Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Anna Castenfelt (Utah Royals-Arizona; Paradisei Valley, Ariz.)
Shae Harvey (Slammers FC HB Koge; Hermosa Beach, Calif.)
Claire Hutton (World Class FC; Bethlehem, N.Y.)
Riley Jackson (Concorde Fire; Roswell, Ga.)
Charlotte Kohler (Mountain View Los Altos; Woodside, Calif.)
Lauren Martinho (NC Courage; Cary, N.C.)
Amalia Villarreal (Michigan Jaguars FC; Lansing, Mich.).
Melanie Barcenas (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.)
Onyeka Gamero (Beach FC; Cerritos, Calif.)
Erica Grilione (Davis Legacy; Roseville, Calif.)
Nicollette Kiorpes (NEFC; Worcester, Mass.)
Madison Krakower (Cedar Stars Academy Monmouth; Wayne, N.J.)
Mia Oliaro (NC Courage; Chapel Hill, N.C.)
Melina Rebimbas (Players Development Academy; Warren, N.J.)
Taylor Suarez (Charlotte Soccer Academy; Charlotte, N.C.)

U.S. Soccer brought in 35 players Oct. 10-17 in the first U-17 camp after the COVID interruption, run by Kevins and Matt Potter.

The 2022 U-17 World Cup -- for players born in 2005 or later -- is slated for India (Oct 11-30) and the qualifying tournament will take place April 23-May 8 in the Dominican Republic.

10 comments about "Spaniard Natalia Astrain takes charge of U.S. U-17 women's national team".
  1. R2 Dad, November 18, 2021 at 1:40 a.m.

    Would really like this coach to start at U12 and move up each year backfillingcwith like-minded and/or like-trained coaches. U17 she's just organizing the assembled talent. She could be so much more impactful by improving our girls (and their club coaches) with La Masia values. 

  2. Santiago 1314, November 18, 2021 at 11:50 a.m.

    Enhora Buena; PERO, Couldn't we Find an American Female Former Player/Now Coach to Lead a USA Team... I mean Really, Spanish Women "PRO" Teams were NOTHING back in Early 2000's...
    That's an Athletico Madrid Warm-up she's Wearing... Not Farca..
    What did she do between 2006-2017... DID SHE EVER PLAY.???
    Only been in USA since 2017, with 3 Rinky Dink Acadamies, Asst Coach on KC and now she is Going to Lead the "Re-birth" of USA Women's Program from the Bottom Up.????
    LET ME GUESS.???...Just like u20 Boys Coach: ONLY ONE WILLING TO MOVE TO CHICAGO.!?!?!?
    Y Natalia,,, NO HABLAS ESPANOL con Las Jugadoras... It will cost you a Job, Like it did Hugo Perez.!!!

  3. R2 Dad replied, November 18, 2021 at 12:43 p.m.

    Santi, we don't actually want old USWNT players unless they are Mia Hamm or other attacking players. Remember the Michelle French train wreck? NO MORE DEFENDER/KEEPER head coaches--they won't help us evolve to a more sophisticated style of possession play. Turbo, as Frank calls it, is still our primary filter, to the exclusion of other types of play and players. 

  4. Santiago 1314 replied, November 18, 2021 at 3:43 p.m.

    TRUE THAT.!!!

  5. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2021 at 8:35 a.m.

    Santie!! Santie!! She is qualified !!  Just by looks alone ,she qualifies as a fantastic coach.  GET WITH THE PROGRAM!!!   I know if Ships and I were back in college we'd serenading her trying to get her number ,but you wouldn't bother with her for she's wearing a Atletico Madrid warm up. But then ,again, your taste might prefer the Ellis, Rapinho look types  :)

    Santi ,You made some good about Natalie's backround as far as experience go.  I don't know much about Natalie but she at least could add something in a way of soccer philosophy she learned from Spain. Yes, R2 states we need more of the Mia Hamm types if it is an American coach...

    R2, is right on the mark. I would not except ex-goalies or defenders as coach, for these types by nature are more status quo and not creative oriented.  We need coaches with CREATIVE back rounds, hopefully who have good attacking backrounds.  We are at a stage of player development which is still so much turbo influenced that having a goalie or defender backround as coach does not suffice...If we had great technicians, a la Brazil, where upon creative just drips off there being then I wouldn't object to a coach being a former goalie so much.....


  6. Santiago 1314 replied, November 19, 2021 at 11:36 a.m.

    Yes Frank, Spanish Women are some of the Most Beautiful in the World(They Don't like Futbol Much though)... I know, I was Married to one for 20 years.!!!... tried "Gringa" on #2 (No Bueno) ... Gone back to Chicana Novia these Last 10 Years.

  7. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2021 at 11:56 a.m.

    LOLOLOLOLOL, Santie  I learned the beauty of Spanish women when I flew to Spain several times....The airhostess were gorgeous ,not a gram overweight and the dresses are so well cut and designed.  I find dutch women nothing to write home about although there are some nice ones..Audrey Hepburn types as exceptions.

    It is funny but in Holland women who have black hair have Spanish genes for Spain was in Holland for 80 years, back then..

    That women don't like Futbol in many countries is why the US team is so successful, no real competition..

    I think I'm going move to Chicago, if you know what I mean....

  8. Wooden Ships replied, November 19, 2021 at 2:02 p.m.

    I totally missed the warmup. Focus ships on the details. Frank, Frank, Frank into the weeds we go. 

  9. frank schoon replied, November 19, 2021 at 2:53 p.m.

    Ships, with her looks , who would ever look at her badge....I think Santie needs to look at the bigger picture, LOL

  10. Santiago 1314, November 19, 2021 at 5:57 p.m.

    Unless I miss my Guess; Astrain is a Basque Name... No one really knows where they or their Language comes from...
    Spain is just Barely Hanging together... Got the Basques and the Catalans trying to Split Off... Gonna End up like Yugoslavia if they not Smart.!!!

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