U.S. under-20 women aim to maintain perfect record

The Under-20 Women's World Cup is the only one of FIFA's five age-group competitions — U-20 men and women, U-17 men and women and U-23 (Olympic) men — at which the USA has played in every world championship.

The USA's U-20 women have gone 11 for 11 in qualifying and played in all 10 world championships, winning in 2002, 2008 and 2012 and going to the semifinals three other times. (The USA qualified for the 2020 U-20 Women's World Cup, which was postponed, then cancelled, due to Covid-19.)

Even without its age-eligible stars playing in the NWSL, the USA is favored to win the 2023 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, at which it opens against Panama on Wednesday, and qualify for the 2024 U-20 Women’s World Cup

The Concacaf tournament, which will send the op three teams to next year's world championships, will be held in Santo Domingo and San Cristobal, Dominican Republic.

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Concacaf U-20 Championships schedule:
Wednesday, May. 24 USA vs. Panama, 7 p.m. on FS1
Friday, May 26 USA vs. Jamaica, 6 p.m. on FS2
Sunday, May 28 USA vs. Canada, 6 p.m. on FS2
Thursday, June 1. Semifinals at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. 
Sunday, June 3. Third-place Game at 3 p.m. and Final at 6 p.m. 
Note: All times ET.

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The USA has won a record seven Concacaf U-20 women's championships, including six of the last seven.  Since finishing second in 2018, the USA has won all 14 games at the Concacaf championship by a margin of 93-1.

Three NWSL players – Portland Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie, San Diego Wave midfielder Jaedyn Shaw and Angel City FC forward Alyssa Thompson – are part of the U-20 player pool. They played for the USA when it was eliminated in group play at the 2022 U-20 Women's World Cup in Costa Rica.

NWSL players Chloe Ricketts (Washington Spirit) and Melanie Barcenas (San Diego Wave) were both born in 2007, making them eligible for the 2004 and 2006 Under-20 World Cups.

North Carolina forward Ally Sentnor (who played all three games in Costa Rica) and Cal-Berkeley's Teagan Wy (a backup keeper) are the only holdovers from the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup roster. 

Six players on the current U-20 roster were a part of the USA’s 2022 Under-17 Women’s World Cup team: goalkeeper Valentina Amaral, defenders Ella EmriSavannah King and Gisele Thompson, Alyssa Thompson's younger sister, midfielder Lauren Martinho and forward Onyeka Gamero. The U-17s reached the quarterfinals in India.

Coach Tracey Kevins' U-20 squad includes 13 players on college teams (three from North Carolina and two each from UCLA, Stanford and Virginia) and eight players (five from California) who still play youth ball. 

The collegians include Kat Rader, the 2022 ACC Freshman of the Year at Duke, and Elise Evans, the 2022 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year at Stanford.

The U.S. players will know many of the other players on the other seven Concacaf teams competing in the Dominican Republic. Sixty play for U.S. schools or club teams.

U.S. Concacaf U-20 Championships roster:
Goalkeepers (3): Valentina Amaral (Florida Kraze Krush SC), Mackenzie Gress (Penn State), Teagan Wy (Cal-Berkeley)
Defenders (6): Tessa Dellarose (North Carolina), Ella Emri (San Diego Surf SC), Elise Evans (Stanford), Savannah King (Slammers FC HB Koge), Leah Klenke (Notre Dame), Gisele Thompson (Total Futbol Academy)
Midfielders (6): Jasmine Aikey (Stanford), Sofia Cook (UCLA), Jill Flammia (Virginia), Shae Harvey (Slammers FC HB Køge), Ally Lemos (UCLA), Lauren Martinho (North Carolina Courage Academy)
Forwards (6): Maggie Cagle (Virginia), Madeline Dahlien (North Carolina), Jordynn Dudley (United Futbol Academy), Onyeka Gamero (Beach FC), Kat Rader (Duke), Ally Sentnor (North Carolina)

Photo: Ally Sentnor (at 2022 U-20 Women's World Cup). Credit: Daniela Porcelli/ISI Photos.

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