U.S. Soccer
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Five Things About U.S. WNT Defender Sofia Huerta

On Sept. 14, FIFA approved a change of national association for Sofia Huerta, making her eligible to represent the United States at the international level. Huerta had previously represented Mexico at the youth and senior levels. The very next day, Huerta made her U.S. WNT debut, coming on in the 51st minute of the match against New Zealand in place of Taylor Smith. Here are five things you should know about the newest member of the U.S. WNT player pool:

The Gem State
Sofia Huerta was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, making her the first player from the state of Idaho to earn a cap with the USA.

Huerta grew up as the youngest of three children, with her sister Andrea (six years older), and brother Alex (four years older) and their parents Jody, a Wisconsin native, and Mauricio, who was born and raised in Puebla, Mexico.

“I lived in Boise until I left for Santa Clara in 2011,” said Huerta. “Boise is such a beautiful place. It’s outdoorsy, people are very active and everyone is really nice. I try to go back whenever I get a chance. My parents still live there.”

A Love for the Ages
While Huerta’s childhood may seem relatively normal and All-American, Huerta’s parents story is a fascinating one, and one that the 24-year-old is very proud of and loves to share.

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WNT Oct 17, 2017

U.S. U-17, U-20 MNTs Reach World Cup Quarterfinals in Same Year

A hat trick from Tim Weah and comprehensive 5-0 win by the USA in Monday’s Round of 16 match against Paraguay at the U-17 World Cup in India perhaps overshadowed a significant achievement for the USA’s Youth National Team program.

The win pushed head coach John Hackworth’s U-17 side into the tournament Quarterfinals, matching the finish that head coach Tab Ramos’ U-20 team achieved at their World Cup in Korea Republic earlier this year.

The USA joins England, who the U-17s will face in Saturday’s Quarterfinal, as the only two nations to accomplish the feat in 2017. The U.S. U-20 MNT took Venezuela to extra time where they eventually fell 2-1 in their Quarterfinal defeat in June, while England advanced to the Final, where they eventually downed La Vinotinto 1-0 to win their first youth World Cup. Notably, U-17 MNT captain Josh Sargent (below) also took part in the USA's run at the U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic.

The U.S. and England are far from the first two teams to reach the Quarterfinals of both tournaments in the same year. Since 1985 it’s happened 45 times, with the U.S. previously doing it in both 1993 and 2003.

That number decreases significantly when counted from 2007, the year in which the FIFA U-17 World Cup expanded to 24 teams and added an earlier knockout match before the Quarterfinals.

Prior to this year’s instances, it’s taken place just nine times and on eight occasions, at least one of the nation’s representative teams moved on to the Semifinals. 

See below:

Nations That Have Advanced to U-17 & U-20 World Cups in Same Year (since 2007)

Year

Country

Notes

2017

USA

U-17s Quarterfinal vs. England (Saturday); Lost U-20 Quarterfinal

2017

England

U-17s Quarterfinal vs. USA (Saturday); Won U-20 World Cup

2015

Brazil

Lost in U-17 Quarterfinal; Lost in U-20 Final

2015

Mali

Lost in U-17 Final; Finished Third in U-20 World Cup

2013

Uruguay

Lost in U-17 Quarterfinal; Lost in U-20 Final

2011

Brazil

Finished Fourth at U-17 World Cup; Won U-20 World Cup

2011

France

Lost in U-17 Quarterfinal; Finished Fourth at U-20 World Cup

2011

Mexico

Won U-17 World Cup; Finished Third in U-20 World Cup

2009

Italy

Lost both Quarterfinals

2007

Nigeria

Won U-17 World Cup; Lost in U-20 Quarterfinal

2007

Spain

Lost in U-17 Final; Lost in U-20 Quarterfinal

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U-20 MNT U-17 MNT Oct 17, 2017

GALLERY: U-17 MNT Takes Down Paraguay 5-0 to Advance to Quarterfinals

The U.S. Under-17 Men’s National Team continued its impressive performance at the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup, advancing to the Quarterfinal Round with an emphatic 5-0 win against Paraguay before 34,895 fans at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

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U-17 MNT Oct 16, 2017

PREVIEW: U.S. WNT Takes on Korea Republic Twice in October

CHICAGO (Oct. 16, 2017) – There are only four games remaining on the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 2017 schedule, with a pair of friendlies against Korea Republic coming up next, on Oct. 19 (7 p.m. CT; FS1) at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana and on Oct. 22 (2 p.m. ET; ESPN) at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The USA is 7-0-2 all-time against Korea Republic, which is ranked 15th in the world.

The two teams most recently met in 2015, a 0-0 draw in New Jersey in the final game before the USA traveled to Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. All nine games between the teams have taken place on U.S. soil even though the USA has played two friendly tournaments in South Korea in its history, but did not meet the hosts at either one.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Jane Campbell (Houston Dash;1/0), 24-Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 13/0), 1-Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 20/0)
DEFENDERS (6): 7-Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 9/0), 8-Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars: 53/11), 11-Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 1/0), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 101/2), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 131/0), 7-Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 15/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 9-Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC, 39/4), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 242/97); 20-Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 31/5), 3-Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 30/5), 6-Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 4/0)
FORWARDS (6): 19-Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC; 55/22), 13-Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride: 130/77); 23-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 92/43), 2-Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 28/6), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign; 125/33), 12-Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 11/3)

Both of the draws between the teams have been 0-0 affairs, the first coming in 2008 during the USA’s post-Olympic tour following the gold medal win in Beijing, and the second was the most recent meeting in 2015 in Harrison, N.J. The USA’s most recent win against Korea Republic came in 2013, a 5-0 result at Red Bull Arena. (The teams also played five days before that, a 4-1 U.S. win in Foxborough, Mass.). That match at RBA was a historic night for the USA as forward Abby Wambach became the greatest goal scorer in women’s international soccer as she scored four goals – all in the first half.  It was the third strike in the 29th minute that gave her 159 in her career and moved her past former teammate Mia Hamm to become the all-time leader in international goals. Lauren Cheney scored the fifth and final goal in that match. Only six players on the U.S. roster were a part of the team that played against Korea Republic in 2015: Julie Ertz, Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley O'Hara, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd and Christen Press. Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Ashlyn Harris and Alyssa Naeher were on the bench, but did not play.

Fans can follow all the action from #USAvKOR on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp, and follow the team along its journey on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (ussoccer_wnt).

STORYLINES

Milestones: On Sept. 15, defender Kelley O’Hara started and captained the USA against New Zealand to earn her 100th cap, becoming the 36th player in U.S. WNT history to play 100 or more times for her country. O’Hara debuted as a forward for the USA in 2010 against Mexico in San Diego and switched to playing primarily defender in 2012 when she played a key role in the USA winning the Olympic gold medal in London. While O’Hara reached her 100th cap last month, there is another player on the roster who is now approaching a milestone of her own and could reach it this upcoming camp. U.S. co-captain Carli Lloyd is the two-time reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year. She is the all-time active caps leader with 242 and is sitting on 97 goals, three away from becoming the sixth player to score 100 or more goals for the USA, and the first since 2009 when Abby Wambach scored her 100th.

One Year to Qualifying: The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup that will be contested from June 7-July 7, 2019, in nine cities in France is still on the distant horizon, as is the CONCACAF Qualifying tournament, which will be held about a year from now. The tournament host and teams have not been solidified, but the USA, Canada and Mexico will earn automatic berths into the final eight-team tournament, while the other five nations will have to go through pre-qualifying in their respective regions. From that eight-team tournament, three teams will qualify directly to France while a fourth will enter a two-leg playoff against the third-place team from South America. With just four games left on the 2017 schedule, the USA is focused squarely on the end-goal of 2018, a place among the 24 teams in France.

Consistent Starters: Only two players this year have started every game the USA has played so far: Samantha Mewis and Becky Sauerbrunn. Mewis has played 980 minutes so far, the most besides Becky Sauerbrunn’s 1,035. Mewis has 30 caps, has started all 12 matches and scored her fifth WNT goal against Brazil on July 30, tying the score at 1-1 with a grass-cutter from outside the penalty area. U.S. co-captain Sauerbrunn had her sixth career assist on Christen Press’s goal against Norway on June 11. With 131 caps, Sauerbrunn has moved ahead of Alex Morgan into 24th place on the all-time caps list (tied with Aly Wagner). She is one of 28 female players to play 125 or more times for the USA.

NWSL Championship: On Saturday, Oct. 14, the Portland Thorns defeated the North Carolina Courage, 1-0, to claim their second NWSL title and first since the league’s inaugural season in 2013. Lindsey Horan scored the game’s lone goal. Horan and Tobin Heath started and played all 90 minutes for the Thorns, while Long entered in stoppage time to help close out the win. On North Carolina’s side, Abby Dahlkemper, Samantha Mewis, Taylor Smith and Lynn Williams all started the match.

Heath and Smith Out With Injuries: Forward Tobin Heath (ankle) and defender Taylor Smith (shoulder) had to withdraw from training camp after suffering injuries in the NWSL Championship match on Saturday, Oct. 14. At this time, the players will not be replaced and the USA will have 20 players on the roster of which 18 will suit up for each match.

Success for Club and Country for Morgan: Alex Morgan comes into the matches with 77 goals after moving past Cindy Parlow into sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list. She scored three goals during the September matches and has now scored in her last three games for the U.S. after scoring her first WNT goal of the year in the 3-0 victory against Japan at the Tournament of Nations on Aug. 3, followed by one on Sept. 15 and twice on Sept. 19.

Morgan also ended her NWSL season on a scoring streak, scoring nine goals in her last 12 games for the Orlando Pride. In August, she was directly involved in nine of the 13 goals scored by Orlando and scored in all five matches, which earned her the NWSL Player of the Month recognition. She finished the season with nine goals (tied for fifth in the league with Lynn Williams) and four assists in 14 games (including the playoff semifinal) after rejoining the Pride midseason following a successful spell with French club Olympique Lyonnais that saw her win both a league title and the 2017 UEFA Women's Champions League.

South Korea Continues Road to France 2019: South Korea took a huge step towards earning a spot at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup when it won its group at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifying tournament. At that qualifying tournament, South Korea and North Korea tied 1-1 and both defeated Uzbekistan by 4-0 scores. That meant that winning the group and earning a berth to the final qualifying tournament came down to the goals scored against India and Hong Kong. South Korea beat Hong Kong 6-0 while North Korea beat them 5-0 and South Korea beat India 10-0 while North Korea beat them 8-0, which accounted for the three-goal difference which eventually sent South Korea to the final round of the 2018 Asian Cup, while North Korea, which won both the U-17 and U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cups in 2016, will not be participating in the next World Cup.

Korea Republic will now compete in the final eight-team 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup tournament that will be held in Jordan and will serve as the final World Cup qualifying tournament for France 2019. At that tournament, the top five teams will punch their tickets to the main event. The teams competing will be: Host Jordan, Japan, Australia, China PR, Korea Republic, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. READ: Five Things About Korea Republic.

In New Orleans and Cary: The U.S. WNT last played in New Orleans in the final game of 2015, which was also the farewell game for U.S. legend Abby Wambach, a 1-0 loss to China PR. The USA’s only other match in Louisiana was in New Orleans in July of 2003, a 1-0 victory against Brazil. The U.S. WNT will be playing its seventh game all-time at WakeMed Soccer Park, now named after long-time women’s soccer supporter Joe Sahlen, who owned the Western New York Flash in the NWSL before selling the club as it moved to North Carolina and became the Courage for the 2017 season. The Flash won the NWSL title in 2016. The USA has won all six previous games played at the venue.

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WNT Oct 16, 2017

More on Tim Weah's Historic Hat Trick vs Paraguay at the FIFA U-17 World Cup

The U.S. U-17 Men’s National Team stamped its ticket to the World Cup Quarterfinals with an emphatic 5-0 victory against Paraguay on Monday in New Delhi, and while offensive leaders Josh Sargent and Andrew Carleton both found the back of the net, the hat-trick performance from Tim Weah stood out in the USA’s first Knockout Round win at the tournament since 1999.

The son of 1995 World Player of the Year George Weah got the scoring started with a nifty 18th minute finish off a pass from Ayo Akinola, which took the USA into halftime leading 1-0. That set the stage for what could be the goal of the tournament thus far. After receiving a pass from Indiana Vassilev on the left, Weah cut inside and hit a swerving shot that he made look effortless as it whipped past sprawling Paraguay ‘keeper Diego Huesca in the 53rd minute.

“I don’t know what to say,” Weah remarked when asked about the goal. “I just cut back and my striker instinct told me to hit it. It ended up being a beautiful strike. Without the pass coming from [Indiana Vassilev], I wouldn’t have created the space to score this goal. I really thank him. I don’t score a lot of beautiful goals, most of my goals are tap ins – a striker’s real goal – but today I’m just so excited to have scored a brilliant goal.”

After Carleton and Sargent helped put the game out of reach, Weah then buried the game’s final strike in the 77th minute.

“This young man did it all,” head coach John Hackworth said of Weah following the match, “and the [second] goal by the way is not ‘brilliant’, it’s world class. I’m sure a lot of people are taking notice.”

If they weren’t already, they are now. Having signed his first professional contract with French giants Paris Saint-Germain in June, the younger Weah has begun to make his own name. On Tuesday, he became the first U.S. male player at any level to record a hat trick during a Knockout Round game at a FIFA World Cup. He’s also just the third American player to score a hat trick at the U-17 event, following in the footsteps of Judah Cooks (1993) and Freddy Adu (2003).

The performance came on the heels of the USA’s disappointing 3-1 defeat to Colombia on Friday, a game in which Weah played just the final three minutes after starting the side’s first two group matches.

“Sometimes if I don’t start, I come off the bench and do my job, so whenever I’m out there, whenever I’m starting, I come out there and try to give it my all,” said Weah. “I praise God today and I thank Coach Hackworth for starting me because if not for all of that, I would not have gotten the hat trick, which gives me three goals in four matches. I thank Andrew Carleton and the whole team for working with me and getting the win.”

For his part, Hackworth was pleased with how the team bounced back from last Friday’s loss.

“I alluded to the fact yesterday that I thought my team had played five [out of six] really good halves,” he said. “I always thought they’ve had a really good response when they come back from a performance that’s not up to our standards.”

Hackworth’s side now awaits the winner of Tuesday’s match between England and Japan in Saturday’s Quarterfinal in Goa. A victory in that match would see the USA move on to the Semifinals for just the second time and first since the 1999 team, featuring the likes of Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, achieved the feat.

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YNT U-17 MNT Oct 16, 2017
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