US SoccerUS Soccer

JK Q&A: World Cup Qualifying, Copa America Top 2016 Priorities For MNT

With the 2015 slate now over for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with for a two-part Q&A. In Part Two,  Klinsmann reviews the year, the lessons learned from 2015, the progression of players, and the keys to a successful 2016. The team finished the year 10-6-4, with some disappointments as well as some impressive results. How would you characterize 2015?

Jurgen Klinsmann: “Looking at 2015, obviously there have been some ups and downs no doubt about it. We wanted to win the Gold Cup and we didn’t end up winning it. We wanted to qualify for the Confederations Cup through the CONCACAF Cup final with Mexico at the Rose Bowl, and we lost that game in the 118th minute, so two disappointments to swallow. They were not easy to swallow and people got very critical, and rightfully so. On the other side there were a lot of upsides, a lot of good things that happened in 2015 with important wins on the road in Europe against Holland and Germany. We had fun games as well. We beat Peru, the third place team of the Copa America, in Washington D.C. We started the World Cup Qualifiers off on the right foot. “

“Then looking at our youth teams, our Olympic team didn’t make it right away to the Olympics. They have to go through Colombia for a playoff in March, which we believe they can do. Our Under-20 team played a tremendous World Cup in New Zealand and finished unfortunately against the World Champions in a penalty shootout in the Quarterfinals. That was a huge result for our U-20’s. Our Under-17’s were disappointing and didn’t live up to the expectations in the World Cup in Chile. So a lot of stuff has happened in 2015, and not to forget our Women’s National Team won the World Cup. It’s been a busy year and it’s been a transition year as we always said. We wanted to introduce young players and new players and see how far they are in their process in becoming real options for the Senior National Team. We’ve got a lot of answers about those young players, but the process is always ongoing. We will continue to reevaluate all the players and all the things that we are doing in order to prepare ourselves the best way possible for the World Cup 2018 in Russia. We are all excited for 2016, there’s no doubt about it. It gives us the Copa America Centenario, which is big. Hosting that is a real honor for the United States, and we want to compete with those teams.” During this transition year, there were 49 different players who got caps. How much of that is a function of circumstance as opposed to looking at as much of the player pool as possible in the year following the World Cup?

JK: “It’s maybe interesting for a lot of the fans to know that the National Team of the United States functions in a very different way than the national teams in Europe or South America. An example is the January camp, where we introduce so many new players coming out of the player pool of MLS that get a first taste of the Senior National Team level. Having two games at the end of that camp earns them a cap and maybe gives them national team status, but then you don’t see them anymore because maybe they were simply not good enough to break into the team right now. We always have to juggle between the players in MLS, players in Mexico and players in Europe, so depending on what game is on the schedule, we choose players from different pools and from different situations in order to hopefully end up with positive results. All that together makes us a country that introduces more players to the Senior National Team than other countries.  If I compare to Germany for example, you might only go with 20-25 players all year. That’s not happening with the United States. We have sometimes a game here playing Mexico in a friendly only with MLS players, or we have the January camp or other friendly games where certain players aren’t available and we leave those players with their MLS clubs, which we did many times,  to let them help develop their club. That teaches us that we constantly have to look around and communicate with coaches and especially the players to make them understand that if you want to be a National Team player you have to stand out. If you want to be a National Team player, you have to work more than your teammates in your club. We have to constantly give them specific messages to help them distant themselves from the average player. In this process you are becoming very pushy with this message as a coach in order to make it clear that if you want to be one of the best in the world one day, you have to do more. That is a fun process that the coach is responsible for, and when you see the players coming through that got those messages and they actually implement those things that you tell them, it’s an exciting sign. That’s why we are excited about 2016, especially with the Copa America in our country.” A lot was made of the playing time for Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks. The team was 3-1-1 when Brooks and Alvarado started together, 5-2-2 overall when they were on the field together. How did you think they progressed?

JK: “When the fans and the media talk about the competition and every single spot on the team, it’s a good thing. You want to have competition. You want to have young players trying to push out the experienced/older players. With Ventura Alvarado and John Brooks we have two very exceptional, young center backs with a huge amount of potential. Having given them the games and the time they need to progress and having also given them time to make mistakes - which happened here and there in the Gold Cup - you prepare them for a bigger future. You prepare them for the bigger stage. Having these two young players in our roster is huge and they will only get better. The competition becomes more interesting because you have Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler, the two experienced guys, trying to defend their spot. We always said you have to play well in order to defend your spot, and the other guys have to push you off. This is the process we are in. I think this is exciting because the fans have always something to discuss, argue and debate about, and we coaches just have to make sure that overall we are going in the right direction.” You said that often a team learns more from negative results than from positive ones. With some of the setbacks of this year, what are some of the things you and the team have learned?

JK: “The learning curve for 2015 was that you can never rest, you can never be sure, you can never take things lightly. The fact that we lost the semifinal to Jamaica in the Gold Cup – no matter how you can argue with the referee’s decisions – was an experience that the players need to go through. They need to be – and we coaches as well – critical about what we did, what mistakes did we make individually and as a whole team, and what led to the disappointment in not winning it. This is a very important learning curve that the players also say ‘I have to admit and respect that I made a mistake on a particular goal or this incident on the field” and we coaches say ‘maybe there we could have made a different substitution or done something different.’ This is important for a team to grow, but most importantly with negative results you learn about a team in terms of the chemistry, in terms of the camaraderie, in terms of who is there when things go wrong. This is a very important question to answer, especially going towards Russia 2018, because in a World Cup you can only go far with a team where everybody supports each other. There has to be givers out there that go to the extreme. This is when you see in moments when things go wrong what characters come out. So this was a good learning curve.” Was this a challenging year for you?

JK: “When you go through different phases between two World Cups, it’s always challenging for a coaching staff. After a World Cup 2014 in Brazil where nobody expected us to come out of the “Group of “Death” against Ghana and Portugal with Christian Ronaldo, the challenge was introducing new talent, making a transition, and at the same time getting results and obviously qualifying for the Confederations Cup, which didn’t happen. For a coach it becomes very challenging to analyze every piece of it, what went right and what went wrong. From that point of view, 2015 was a good learning curve for us. We saw what went the right way and what went the wrong way. What’s important in looking at the bigger picture is to see if this team is maturing. Is it progressing? Are there enough younger players pushing into that pool that will hopefully also raise the quality of that pool? Are they challenging themselves in their club environments to play in the highest club possible that they can play at? So from the coaching perspective, it’s been an interesting year.” What will some of the keys be to a successful 2016?

JK: “In order to make 2016 really successful, the highest priority is World Cup qualifying. We need to get through the first group phase, which I think we can do already in the next two games in March against Guatemala. Winning at Guatemala and winning at home you’re pretty much through to the next round. So this is the top priority for 2016. The second priority is Copa America. You want to do well. You want to show your opponents from down south that you can compete with them and that you can get good results against South American teams that obviously are very, very good teams. It’s an honor to have teams like Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and so on play in Copa America in our country. We want to challenge them.” How important is it for the U-23s to qualify for the Olympics and for the fans to get out and support the group?

JK: “Having our U-23’s qualify for the Olympics is huge because we want them badly to go to Rio in 2016. It’s crucial to them to have that experience and to challenge themselves with the top teams down there and to go through that learning curve. That means you have to qualify in the playoff against Colombia. First they’ve got to go down to Colombia and get a good result, and then you come back to the United States and play the second leg. So for that game in the U.S., they need all the support in the world. They need support from the fans to come to the game and pushing them through to the Olympics. If they are not making it, it simply will be a bummer because they need that learning curve. If they can make it to the Olympic tournament, it will make them mature faster in the process to become a Senior National Team player. Our support will be 1,000 percent with the Olympic team at the end of March, and I’m sure our fans will back them up.” You always have huge compliments for our fans, and the support only seems to keep getting better and better…

JK: “Our biggest appreciation goes out to all the fans that have supported us for years now, those who’ve been to Brazil, who come to every friendly game and every qualifying game now. If you look at the process the American Outlaws went through over the last couple of years, it’s a fairytale story. It’s unbelievable when I tell people in Europe how they organize themselves in all the different chapters and how they organize all the different trips to the games. We played in Europe and they were there. There were even a couple hundred down in Trinidad & Tobago. The development of our fans over the last years is just unbelievable. We appreciate that. We appreciate every little cheer and support in all kinds of forms. I hope that the fans enjoy that in the same way.”

Fabian Johnson On Fire For Club And Country

While 2015 may be winding down, U.S. world cup veteran Fabian Johnson has been turning it up for club and country. With Champions League, Bundesliga and World Cup qualifying all on his plate the last 30 days, the Brorussia Mönchengladbach midfielder has made a huge impact, scoring five goals spanning four matches that were at times as classy as they were significant.

In the span of seven matches, the 27-year-old netted twice in the Champions League – including against last year’s runner up Juventus – two in one game against Hoffenheim that led to a spot on the  Bundesliga Team of the Week, and the game-winning goal against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the MNT’s 6-1 victory to open 2018 World Cup qualifying.

Johnson’s strike for the USA came from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box and marked his first of the year for the National Team and the second of his international career. He then contributed 90 minutes four days later when the U.S. picked up a point on the road against Trinidad & Tobago on Nov. 17 in Port of Spain.

Johnson made his way back to Germany to continue his stride for ‘Gladbach, netting three times in three days. In the Champions League match against Sevilla, Johnson collected the ball with one touch and fantastically curled the ball between two defenders and the goalkeeper in the 4-3 win.

Johnson proved to be a hero for his club by scoring both the opener and the tying goal on Nov. 28 against his former team, ultimately earning Bundesliga Player of the Week. Setting the match off on the right foot, Johnson cut into the box after losing a defender to receive a well-placed ball that he then slotted past the goalkeeper in the fifth minute. After Johnson’s opener, the game teetered back and forth until the final whistle with Johnson having the final say. In the 87th minute, Johnson ran into the opposition box where he faked out two defenders and drove a strike out of reach of the goalkeeper to equalize the game at 3-3. The draw helped Mönchengladbach climb up one spot in the Bundesliga standings to fourth overall.

Johnson and ‘Gladbach face their stiffest test of the season when they welcome defending champion and league leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday (9:30 a.m. ET – FS1, foxsoccer2go). Here’s hoping Fabian continues to make the holiday season a reason to celebrate…

#RoadToRussia: MNT Off to Hot Start vs. St. Vincent

Jozy Altidore's two goals led the way for the U.S. MNT, which began the Semifinal Round of 2018 World Cup Qualifying with a bang by scoring a 6-1 win against St. Vincent and the Gernadines at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Mo. Bobby Wood, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron and Gyasi Zardes also tallied for a USA squad in search of an eighth consecutive World Cup berth.

JK Q&A: MNT Ends 2015 on a High, Confident in Deep Player Pool Ahead of Busy 2016

With the 2015 slate now over for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with for a two-part Q&A. In Part One, the MNT boss discusses the team’s accomplishments, player progression and lessons learned in 2015. Part Two of the Q&A in which Klinsmann previews the challenges and excitement of a busy 2016 calendar for the MNT will be available on in the coming days. Going into Port of Spain, Trinidad to face the Soca Warriors was a tough match. Are you pleased with how the team dealt with the challenges of that game on the road?

Jurgen Klinsmann: “I think with the game in Trinidad & Tobago, we all knew it was going to be a tricky one. It’s a good team that proved that in the Gold Cup. And away from home, there’s a rule: don’t lose. At least get one point and don’t give the home team the three points. I think we achieved that. Did we want to win both games? Yes, it would have been nice to have six points now, but four points is ideal going into the two games now with Guatemala. Winning those two games would mean that we are qualified for the next round, so our big goal for March is going to Guatemala and get three points right away, at home in Columbus, one of our favorite places to go, and then look forward to the next round.” Throughout the first two qualifiers you were able to get a lot of young players opportunities. How valuable was it to get them that experience at this stage?

JK: “For coaches, but also for the fans, one fascinating topic is always, ‘how do young players progress? How do they learn? How fast do they learn? How fast they can make a real improvement on the senior National Team?’ When you talk about young players, we talk about DeAndre Yedlin, we talk about Gyasi Zardes. Both of them had a very busy 2015. Gyasi played 19 games for the MNT, which is pretty amazing, but the most important part there is that everybody can see a learning curve. Everybody can that they are maturing. Everybody can see that they are growing and becoming senior players. This is what this path is about, bringing younger players, give them time and give them moments where they don’t perform or have a bad game and carry them through. Teach them during this path and what they have to improve and hopefully see the benefit later on. At the end of 2015 we saw a lot of good answers from Gyasi Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin and I’m sure we will see even more good stuff in the upcoming year.” Bobby Wood finished with four goals in his last eight games. What changes have you seen in him in the last year?

JK: “With Bobby Wood, we’ve developed a player over some time. Even if he wasn’t a full part of the National Team program yet, we were in touch with him, following his path in Germany in the 2. Bundesliga. We explained to him that it’s not going to all happen in a short period of time. When he came in the first couple of times, he was shy and nervous, which is totally normal for the young players when they join the senior National Team. He had to get a feel for the thin air on the higher level. He tried to learn as quickly as he could. He developed more personality, more confidence. For a striker, confidence is always connected to scoring goals. After the first couple of games came the moment when he came on the field against Holland and in the last minute scored the winning goal for us, which was huge, not because you beat Holland in their own country, but it was huge for him that he started to believe in himself. A couple days later he scores the winning goal against Germany in Germany where he plays, which is another big confidence booster. He’s becoming used to the pressure, the expectations of scoring. The expectations for a forward are to score, not every game, but try to score every second game or at the very least every third game. This is his learning curve now and hopefully he keeps learning, keeps improving, keeps helping us and keep on going through that transition of a World Cup cycle between the two World Cups.” In these last two games you also expanded the team’s options at key positions, including both fullback spots. What type of flexibility does this provide moving forward?

JK: “2015 made it clear that we struggled in a couple of areas. The most difficult area for us is the fullback positions. We moved the center backs to the fullback position. We moved Fabian Johnson from left back to right back, which is the position he played in the World Cup – and was probably one of the best right backs in the World Cup in Brazil last year. But he ended up in his club team in Germany playing left winger. So moving him constantly from left winger to left back or to right back, it doesn’t really help him. And for us, one question remains: how do we fill in those left back and right back positons with a high-quality solution? In the last games, we had Tim Ream helping us out as a left back. He plays center back in Fulham. We had Michael Orozco out as a right back, which he did tremendously well, but he’s playing center back for Tijuana. Hopefully in 2016 it will help us develop younger players in the fullback positions. For us, the next important team to look at is the Olympic team and see what Andi Herzog brings through that team in order to develop a younger player into that full back position for the senior team.” A lot of people had positive things to say about Darlington Nagbe. What did you learn about him from this camp?

JK: “We found a player that is really good handling the ball in both directions. He is responsible defensively, to always go behind the ball and to defend, and help out. When we go forward, he knows when to pass, when to dribble, when to keep things racing forward, and also when to take some risks in a certain moment. He has a change of pace in one-on-one situations when he goes at defensive midfielders. He has the confidence to get past them and to get closer to the box. Darlington is a real nice option now going forward. He had to wait a long time, and we’ve been waiting for him as well, but it’s a great fit and we are glad to have him on board.” You spoke of the importance of having Brad Guzan and Tim Howard on board for the next three years. How did the initial phase of rotation work out?

JK: “Having Tim Howard and Brad Guzan on board is huge. Both are top goalkeepers in the English Premiere League, very experienced and especially they are great teammates. We’ve got to keep them rotating toward Russia 2018. Then we’ve got to make some decisions once games come up, but having both of them gives us a huge boost of confidence and the backline feels real confident having one of them in goal.” The challenge to younger players has been to push the established guys for starting spots. What is the importance of that process and how has it gone within the team?

JK: “When asking the younger players to step up and challenge the experienced ones, you want them to challenge themselves on a higher level, whether it’s going to the highest club level as quickly as you can and become a starter there and make your statement, like DeAndre Yedlin does now at Sunderland. In camp, we want them to fight harder to push established players for the spots, because if you want to steal the spot, you have to do more to try and move him out. This is an interesting process between two World Cups. Taking the example of Jones, he’s not ready to give his spot up. He’s 34 years old, but he’s a rock. He’s in there every time it matters, he stands his man. He makes it clear to the younger players that he’s not giving up his spot. These kind of competitions are real important with the team.” How do you view the midfield partnership between Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones?

JK: “It’s real critical between Bradley and Jones, like all the fans know, they are important to our team. These two always coordinate themselves on the field. They are experienced and know what to do in specific situations. We constantly go over their tactical approach in a game because they can play many different ways. Now you can complement a Jermaine Jones or a Michael Bradley with a more defensive midfielder, like a Kyle Beckerman, or you can complement them with more offensive midfielders, like a Darlington Nagbe or Mix Diskerud. But the heart of this team is always in the center of the park, which is Bradley and Jones.” What did you see from Jozy Altidore throughout 2015?

JK: “2015 for Jozy Altidore has been a transition year, but it has become a year where he has gotten stronger toward the end. He had some injury issues. He had some fitness issues in the beginning of the year. We had the episode in the Gold Cup where he was not in the shape where he needed to be. Toward July, August and September he got more into a flow. He started to score goals for Toronto and he got stronger for the National Team, as well. This is a very positive sign for us to have Altidore playing well. We plan to bring him into a very busy 2016 with the biggest highlight of Copa America next June.” What has been your impression of the MLS playoffs?

JK: “Watching the MLS playoffs has been tremendously exciting. The games in the first round with the penalty shootout, to Portland and Kansas City, to games that were very close, very tight and hard fought. It’s been very exciting. The stadiums are packed, the fans are fully engaged and the teams battle themselves through. Sometimes you have your favorite pick then you realize after a game or two, your favorite is not there anymore and out of the playoffs. It’s at another level this year and I can’t wait to see the MLS Cup final!”

U-20 WNT Head Coach Michelle French Names Roster for Womens World Cup Qualifying

CHICAGO (Nov. 25, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has named the 20-player roster for the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, to be held from Dec. 3-13 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The roster is made up of eight collegiate players and 12 high-school aged players who are still playing youth club soccer. The roster ranges over four birth years from 1996-1999 with the youngest player being 16-year-old defender Kiara Pickett. Players born on or after January 1, 1996, are eligible for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup.

"While finalizing the roster for this qualifying competition posed different challenges due to the college season, we are very happy with the players we have named to the roster. We have a great mix of talent, sophistication, and athleticism at every position,” said U.S. head coach Michelle French. “The group is comprised of players with experience in CONCACAF competitions, as well as quite a few who will be playing matches of this magnitude for the first time. As a result, we are looking forward to watching the team grow during the tournament.”

Roster by Position: Detailed Roster   
GOALKEEPERS (2): Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.)
DEFENDERS (7): Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park; Calif.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza; Calif.), Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kan.), Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)
FORWARDS (4): Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zoe Redei (Eclipse Soccer Club; Highland Park, Ill.), Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.)

The 2015 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the tournament semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

The competition will be played at Francisco Morazan Stadium and Olympic Stadium. The USA will play all its Group B games at Olympic Stadium and opens the tournament on Friday, Dec. 4, against Mexico (7:30 local/8:30 ET on FOX Sports 2), faces Panama on Sunday, Dec. 6 (7:30 local/8:30 ET on FOX Soccer Plus) and finishes group play against Haiti on Tuesday, Dec. 8 (7:30 local/8:30 ET on FOX Soccer Plus).

"We had the opportunity to see a number of players over the past few months, and those players certainly did a fantastic job of making the final roster decisions difficult, which is what we want to see,” said French, who saw 57 players in game action this year with the U-20s and many more during college matches this fall. “Our goal was to find the right mix of players available for selection that complemented each other on and off the field. I’m confident we have done that.”

2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship Group B Schedule - USA

Date                Match                          Kickoff (CT)   Venue                          TV
Dec. 4              USA vs. Mexico         7:30 p.m.         Olympic Stadium        FOX Sports 2
Dec. 6              USA vs. Panama         7:30 p.m.         Olympic Stadium        FOX Soccer Plus
Dec. 8              USA vs. Haiti             7:30 p.m.         Olympic Stadium        FOX Soccer Plus 

Additional Notes:

  • French, a member of the USA’s silver medal winning team at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, became head coach of this age group in February of 2013 and coached the USA to the championship of the last CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament in the Cayman Islands that earned the USA a trip to the last U-20 World Cup in Canada.
  • Goalkeeper Rose Chandler and forward Mallory Pugh are the only two players on the roster who were on the U.S. team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
  • Pugh was a starter in all four games the USA played in Canada in 2014 and is the only player on the roster with World Cup experience.
  • Six-foot-one goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn is the granddaughter of Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn.
  • Chandler, who is currently the back-up ‘keeper at Penn State, where she has played in five matches off the bench this year, is one of two players on the roster whose college team is still in contention in the NCAA Playoffs.
  • The other is Texas A&M forward Michaela Harvey, who will join the U.S. team in Honduras upon completion of her college season.
  • Of the eight college players on the roster, four are freshmen (Chandler is a red-shirt freshman) and four have played two years of college soccer in Harvey, Clemson sophomore defender Shannon Horgan, Notre Dame sophomore defender Sabrina Flores and UNC sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa.
  • The freshmen are: Chandler, Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame), Parker Roberts (Kansas) and Kelcie Hedge (Washington).
  • Six players on the roster were a part of the U.S. U-17 WNT that failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after falling to Mexico in penalty kicks during the semifinal at the qualifying tournament in Jamaica despite dominating the match. Those players are midfielder Marley Canales (San Diego Surf), Hedge, Jacobs, defender Taylor Otto (CASL), Pugh (Real Colorado) and forward Zoe Redei (Eclipse).
  • Two players -- Chandler and Horgan -- have yet to earn a cap at the U-20 level.
  • Pugh is the leading U-20 cap-winner and scorer on the roster with 14 and six respectively. Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC) and Canales have seven U-20 caps each.
  • Two players are age-eligible for the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Tea in defender Kiara Pickett (5 caps for the U-17s this year) and forward Ashley Sanchez (six caps and 11 goals for the U-17s this year).
  • The 20 players on the roster come from 20 different youth clubs in 13 different states. There are five players from Southern California on the roster and one from Northern California, two from Georgia and two from Texas.
  • In addition to the three U.S. group matches, the FOX family of networks will air Mexico vs. Haiti on Dec. 6 (6 p.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus) and Mexico vs. Panama on Dec. 8 (6 p.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus).
  • Both semifinals (Dec. 11 at 6 and 9 p.m. ET), the third-place match (Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. ET) and the championship match (Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET) will also air on FOX Sports 2.
  • Host Honduras, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica are in Group A.

Schedule Set for 2015 Nike International Friendlies and Development Academy Winter Showcase

CHICAGO (Nov. 24, 2015) – The 2015 Nike International Friendlies and U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Showcase will take place at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, from Dec. 2-7.

During the competition, the U.S. Under-15 Boys’ National Team (’00) will take on teams from Brazil, England and the Netherlands. The U-15 BNT and its opponents consist of players born in the year 2000 or after, who will aim to represent their countries at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India. Led by head coach John Hackworth, the USA’s roster for the tournament will be released in the coming days. 

The tournament will feature three doubleheaders, with the USA playing in the later game of each match day. The U.S. is set to play England on Dec. 2, the Netherlands on Dec. 4 and will round out the competition against Brazil on Dec. 6.

All matches will be streamed on and U.S. Soccer’s YouTube page with Mike Pepper again providing commentary for a third year running. The first game of each match day will kick-off at 3 p.m. ET with the USA game following at 6 p.m. ET.

The Academy Winter Showcase will again simultaneously take place alongside the Nike Friendlies. The U-17/18 teams of BW Gottschee and Chargers Soccer Club will compete on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. ET, and the Philadelphia Union U-15/16 will play against LA Galaxy U-15/16 on Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. ET.

The Nike Friendlies began in 2001 to provide top-level competition for men’s Youth National Teams, and has become a premier annual event for youth soccer. In 2008, U.S. Soccer’s Development Academy joined for the Winter Showcase, allowing the U.S. Scouting Network to evaluate players from across the country at different age levels.

2015 Nike International Friendlies and DA Winter Showcase Viewing Schedule

Wednesday, Dec. 2
Netherlands vs. Brazil, 3 p.m. ET
USA vs. England, 6 p.m. ET

Thursday, Dec. 3
BW Gottschee U-17/18 vs. Chargers Soccer Club U-17/18, 3 p.m. ET

Friday, Dec. 4
Brazil vs. England, 3 p.m. ET
USA s. Netherlands, 6 p.m. ET

Saturday, Dec. 5
Philadelphia Union U-15/16 vs. LA Galaxy U-15/16, 3 p.m. ET

Sunday, Dec. 6
England vs. Netherlands, 3 p.m. ET
USA vs. Brazil, 6 p.m. ET

WNT Brings 28-Player Roster for Final Matches of 2015 Victory Tour

CHICAGO (Nov. 24, 2015) – The 2015 Women’s World Cup champions will conclude their Victory Tour with four matches in December. The WNT will take on Trinidad &Tobago on Dec. 6 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu (3 p.m. local/8 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1/FOX Sports GO) and Dec. 10 at the Alamodome in San Antonio (8 p.m. CT on ESPN2/WatchESPN), before finishing one of the most successful years in program history with matches against China PR on Dec. 13 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (5 p.m. MT on ESPN2/WatchESPN), and Dec. 16 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans (7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 1/FOX Sports GO).

The match in New Orleans will be the final game for retiring U.S. forward Abby Wambach, who is the world’s all-time leading international scorer with 184 career goals in 252 caps.

“It has been a fantastic and thrilling year and we are looking forward to ending it on a high note, and especially honoring Abby and her legendary career in New Orleans,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “T&T and China are very competitive teams and once again we’ll look to these games to continue the process of preparing for Olympic Qualifying, especially now that we know our path during the qualifying tournament in February.”

With the retirements of Lauren Holiday, Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny, who all played their final WNT matches in October, twenty players from the Women’s World Cup roster will be at all the venues. Ellis has once again added 2015 NWSL MVP and leading scorer Crystal Dunn to the roster. Dunn has scored three goals and added three assists for the USA while starting the last four matches of the Victory Tour.

Ellis has also called in seven additional players who will train with the U.S. team during the trip and are available to play in the matches.

Tickets for all of the December matches are on sale at

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Univ. of Virginia)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (7): Lindsey Horan (PSG), Sydney Leroux (Western NY Flash), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (unattached)

Additional Notes:

  • Of the eight players named to the roster who were not members of the 2015 Women’s World Cup winning team, two are getting their first call-ups: Danielle Colaprico, the NWSL Rookie of the Year and a midfielder from the Chicago Red Stars, and Rose Lavelle, a junior midfielder at Wisconsin, who was one of the top players for the USA at the 2014 Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Colaprico is 22 years-old and Lavelle is 20.
  • In addition, Ellis gave second call-ups to defenders Jaelene Hinkle and Emily Sonnett, as well as forward Stephanie McCaffrey, all of whom are 22 years old and earned their first caps in October in matches against Brazil. McCaffrey also scored her first international goal, bagging the fourth and final score in stoppage time of the 4-1 win against the Brazilians on Oct. 25 in Orlando, Fla.
  • Should the University of Virginia advance to the NCAA College Cup, Sonnett, who is a senior for the Cavaliers, would not join the U.S. squad until the match in San Antonio.
  • Rounding out the younger players on the roster are forward Lindsey Horan, who is currently playing in France for Paris Saint-Germain and earned her third cap on October 25 vs. Brazil, and Western New York midfielder Samantha Mewis, who earned her fourth cap against Brazil on Oct. 21. The 21-year-old Horan will not be with the team in Hawaii due to club commitments, but will join the squad for the final three games.
  • The match in Honolulu on the island of Oahu marks the first trip for the U.S. Women to the 50th state and the first international match hosted by U.S. Soccer in Hawaii.
  • It will also be only the second soccer match between national teams staged at Aloha Stadium. The Philippines defeated Chinese Taipei 1-0 at the venue in 1976 in a match that was a part of a triple-header that also featured the Hawaii All-Stars against the San Diego Jaws (which played one season in the NASL) and the New York Cosmos against Team Honda from Japan, a match that featured four goals from Pelé.
  • Hawaii will be the 32nd U.S. state (not including the District of Columbia) in which the American women have played since the program’s inception in 1985.
  • The U.S. WNT has played T&T eight times in its history, most recently a 1-0 victory during group play of the qualifying tournament for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Abby Wambach’s goal in the 54th minute was the difference. Five of the eight games have been in CONCACAF qualifying competitions.
  • The U.S. Women have played 12 matches all-time in the state of Texas, including two visits to San Antonio. The USA played at the Alamodome in October of 2013, a 4-0 victory against Australia. The USA also played a pre-Olympic warm-up match in San Antonio in 1996 at Blossom Field, a 3-0 win vs. Sweden.
  • The USA will be making its third visit to University of Phoenix Stadium, home to the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, after playing there in November of 2011 (1-1 tie with Sweden) and December of 2012 (2-0 win vs. Ireland).
  • The match in Glendale marks a homecoming for U.S. defender Julie Johnston, who was named to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup All-Star Team. She hails from nearby Mesa, Ariz.
  • China has been one of the most frequent opponents in U.S. history. The U.S. has played China 54 times, more than any country besides Canada.
  • Since 1991 - a span of 24 years - the U.S. and China have failed to play a match in a calendar year only five times.
  • The USA is 33-8-13 all-time vs. China.
  • The USA’s most recent meeting with China came in the quarterfinal at the 2015 Women’s World Cup – a 1-0 win by the USA in Ottawa, Canada, on a goal from Carli Lloyd.
  • The U.S. Women have played in New Orleans just once before. That match took place in 2003 at Tad Gormley Stadium. This one will be the first for the U.S. Women at the famed Superdome, home to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints.




MNT to Play FIFA World Cup Qualifier in Columbus Against Guatemala in March

CHICAGO (Nov. 23, 2015) – The U.S. Men’s National Team will return to MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, to play its second home match of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying on March 29 against Guatemala. 

The match will be televised live on ESPN2 and UniMas. Ticketing information will be provided at a later date.

Home of Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC, few venues have provided as much of a home-field advantage as MAPFRE Stadium. Since first opening in 1999, the MNT has gone 7-0-3 all-time and 6-0-2 in eight World Cup Qualifying matches at the venue. Most notably, the site has played host to four straight World Cup Qualifiers against Mexico, each finishing with the famous “Dos a Cero” score line.

The match will occur four days after the U.S. plays their third game of the Semifinal Round against Guatemala at Estadio Mateo Flores in Guatemala City. The U.S. is 15-4-6 all-time against Guatemala, with a 13-0-1 record on home soil and 7-0-5 mark against the Chapines in World Cup qualifiers. The U.S. will enter the match with a 25-game unbeaten streak against Guatemala dating back to 1988, which is the longest run the MNT currently has against any opponent worldwide.

The U.S. began the six-match Semifinal Round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying with a 6-1 victory against St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Nov. 13 in St. Louis, followed by a 0-0 draw at Trinidad & Tobago in Port of Spain on Nov. 17.