The U.S. Men’s National Team coaching staff was out in Europe this week, taking in matches as Bruce Arena works towards filling out his roster for the MNT’s crucial World Cup Qualifying matches at the end of March.
At midweek, Danny Williams’ 77th minute equalizer helped spur Reading’s 3-2 comeback win vs. Brentford. Trailing 2-1, a combination up the right unleashed Jamaica international Garath McCleary, who drove to the end line before turning in a cross for Williams, who slid through to poke past Brentford goalkeeper Daniel Bentley. The goal was Williams’ fourth of the season and helped fourth-place Reading stay in the race for the English Championship’s automatic promotion places.
MULTI ANGLE | After Brentford took the lead, Danny Williams poked in an equaliser to get the Royals on terms again... pic.twitter.com/KtQEFv6kN6— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) February 15, 2017
In UEFA Champions League play, Christian Pulisic played the final eight minutes for a Borussia Dortmund side that had plenty of chances, but couldn’t convert in a 1-0 defeat at Benfica. Moments after entering the match, Pulisic’s volley from the top of the area deflected through traffic before forcing an impressive reaction stop out of Benfica goalkeeper Ederson Moraes. Dortmund will look to overturn to the 1-0 deficit when they return to Signal Iduna Park for the second leg on March 8.
Fabian Johnson and Borussia Mönchengladbach will also have to turn around a 1-0 defeat they suffered in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League tie with Fiorentina. Johnson played 77 minutes on the left wing for ‘Gladbach, and will travel to Stadio Artemio Franchi for leg two this Thursday.
In Scotland, Perry Kitchen’s cross from the left picked out Arnaud Sutchuin Djoum for the 64th minute equalizer in Heart’s 1-1 draw with Inverness. The result keeps the Jam Tarts firmly in fourth place in the Scottish Premier League table.
WATCH: Perry Kitchen Dishes Second Assist of the Season
Back in Germany, John Brooks put in one of his best performances of the season, nearly leading Hertha Berlin to 1-0 victory against league leaders Bayern Munich only to have the German giants equalize through Robert Lewandowski on the last play of the game.
In Holland, Matt Miazga got the start for Vitesse and was active on two different set pieces as the club fell 1-0 to second-place Ajax. Eighth place Vitesse sits one place out of the Eredivisie’s final Europa League qualifying spot with 11 matches to play.
In Mexico, Edgar Castillo returned to the Monterrey starting XI, helping Los Rayados keep a clean sheet in a 1-0 win vs. Pachuca. On Sunday, Paul Arriola went the distance for Club Tijuana, while Joe Corona played 73 minutes in a wild 3-3 draw away to Pumas UNAM.
A complete look at how the MNT’s foreign-based contingent performed during the past week:
Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana) – 90 minutes in 3-3 draw at Pumas UNAM (Feb. 19)
Jonathan Bornstein (Queretaro) – 90 minutes in 4-1 win at Necaxa (Feb. 18)
Terrence Boyd (Darmstadt) – 57 minutes in 2-0 loss at Hoffenhein (Feb. 18)
John Brooks (Hertha Berlin) – 90 minutes in 1-1 draw vs. Bayern Munich (Feb. 18)
Edgar Castillo (Monterrey) – 90 minutes in 1-0 win vs. Pachuca (Feb. 18)
Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 90 minutes in 2-0 loss vs. Ingolstadt (Feb. 18)
Joe Corona (Club Tijuana) – 73 minutes in 3-3 draw at Pumas UNAM (Feb. 19)
Julian Green (Stuttgart) – 62 minutes in 2-1 win at Heidenheim (Feb. 17)
Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough) – 90 minutes in 3-2 FA Cup win vs. Oxford United (Feb. 18)
Emerson Hyndman (Rangers) – 90 minutes in 2-1 loss in 2-1 loss a Dundee (Feb. 19)
Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach) – 77 minutes in 1-0 UEFA Europa League loss vs. Fiorentina (Feb. 16); 80 minutes in 2-1 loss vs. RB Leipzig (Feb. 19)
Perry Kitchen (Hearts) – 77 minutes, ASSIST in 1-1 draw vs. Inverness (Feb. 18)
Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest) – 90 minutes in 2-1 loss vs. Sheffield Wednesday (Feb. 18)
Matt Miazga (Vitesse) – 90 minutes in 1-0 loss vs. Ajax (Feb. 19)
Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt) – 90 minutes in 2-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt (Feb. 18)
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) – 8 substitute minutes in 1-0 UEFA Champions League loss at Benfica (Feb. 14); 23 substitute minutes in 3-0 win vs. Wolfsburg (Feb. 18)
Tim Ream (Fulham) – 90 minutes in 3-2 win vs. Nottingham Forest (Feb. 14); 90 minutes in 3-0 loss vs. Tottenham Hotspur (Feb. 19)
Danny Williams (Reading) – 90 minutes, GOAL in 3-2 win vs. Brentford (Feb. 14)
William Yarbrough (Club Leon) – 90 minutes in 2-2 draw vs. Santos Laguna (Feb. 18)
DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United) – 90 minutes in 2-2 draw at Norwich City (Feb. 14); Plays Monday, Feb. 20 vs. Aston Villa (3 p.m. ET)
Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur) – In 18, DNP in 3-0 FA Cup win at Fulham (Feb. 19)
Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca) – In 18, DNP in 1-0 loss vs. Monterrey (Feb. 18)
Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge) – In 18, DNP in 2-1 win vs. Westerlo (Feb. 17)
Aron Johannsson (Werder Bremen) – In 18, DNP in 2-0 win at Mainz (Feb. 18)
Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana) – Injured (meniscus injury); Not in 18 for 3-3 draw at Pumas UNAM (Feb. 19)
Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna) – In 18, DNP in 2-2 draw at Club León (Feb. 18)
Bobby Wood (Hamburg) – Injured in warmups, Not in 18 for 2-2 draw vs. Freiburg (Feb. 18)
Photos from the U.S. U-20 Men's National Team's 1-0 loss against Panama at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa in Tibas, Costa Rica, in the opening group stage game of the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship. A 37th minute goal from Panama’s Leandro Ávila assisted by Ronaldo Córdoba marked the difference in the game. The U-20 MNT plays its second match against Haiti, on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at Estadio Nacional de Costa Rica in San Jose.Read more
Germany has announced its 2017 SheBelieves Cup roster while France and England will soon follow suit. The USA announced a 25-player pre-tournament training camp roster on Feb. 8 and head coach Jill Ellis will name the final 23-woman roster closer to the start of the tournament.
As Germany was first out of the gate, here are five things to know about the roster that will represent the current Olympic champions in the U.S. from March 1-7.
Germany Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Laura Benkarth (SC Freiburg), 1-Almuth Schult (VfL Wolfsburg), 21-Lisa Weiß (SGS Essen)
DEFENDERS (9): 2-Josephine Henning (Olympique Lyonnais), 3-Kathrin Hendrich (1. FFC Frankfurt), 5-Babett Peter (VfL Wolfsburg), 7-Pauline Bremer (Olympique Lyonnais), 14-Anna Blässe (VfL Wolfsburg), 17-Isabel Kerschowski (VfL Wolfsburg), 23-Verena Faißt (Bayern München), 24-Kristin Demann (1899 Hoffenheim), 29-Felicitas Rauch (1. FFC Turbine Postdam)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 4-Leonie Maier (Bayern München), 9-Alexandra Popp (VfL Wolfsburg), 10-Dzsenifer Marozsan (Olympique Lyonnais), 13-Sara Däbritz (Bayern München), 27-Sara Doorsoun (SGS Essen), 31-Linda Dallman (SGS Essen)
FORWARDS (5): 11-Anja Mittag (VfL Wolfsburg), 15-Mandy Islacker (1. FFC Frankfurt), 18-Lena Petermann (SC Freiburg), 20-Lina Magull (SC Freiburg), 26-Hasret Kayikci (SC Freiburg)
Steffi Takes the ReinsFor the first time in more than a decade, Germany will have a new coach roaming the sidelines. Steffi Jones, a legendary international player and 2003 Women’s World Cup champion, has replaced Silvia Neid – also a legend as a player and a coach – as the head coach of the Germany Women’s National Team. Neid, who took the positon in 2005, finished her highly successful 11-year tenure by winning the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics. She also won the 2007 Women’s World Cup and the 2008 Olympic bronze medal. She was named the FIFA Women’s World Coach of the Year in 2010, 2013 and 2016. Neid has transitioned into a player development position with the DFB.
Jones received much praise for her work as president of the organizing committee for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. It was a ground-breaking event for women’s soccer and especially women’s soccer in Europe. As a player, Jones played the majority of her career for her hometown FFC Frankfurt team, but also played in the USA with the Washington Freedom in 2002-2003, helping the club to the championship in 2003. Jones is a dual German and American citizen as she is the daughter of a German mother and an American father. Germany has yet to lose under Jones, winning four games (including two Euro qualifiers and two friendly matches) and drawing one so far, a 1-1 tie with Norway in a friendly on Nov. 29, 2016 in Germany’s most recent match.
Replacing NadineAfter the retirement of legendary goalkeeper and captain Nadine Angerer, the 2013 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year, Germany has been looking for her successor. Angerer was the first goalkeeper, male or female, to win the award, and as a two-time FIFA Women’s World champion she leaves some big shoes to fill. Angerer, who is currently on the coaching staff for the Portland Thorns in the NWSL, retired from international play in late 2015, but Germany has some excellent young net-minders coming up.
Twenty-six-year-old Laura Schult has been getting most of the caps. She back-stopped Germany to the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup title on home soil and was in goal for both the 2016 SheBelieves Cup and Germany’s 2016 Olympic gold-medal run, where she only allowed five goals in six matches. In her 38 caps, Schult has amassed a 32-3-3 record. She is being pushed by both 24-year-old Laura Benkarth, who played against the USA in the final of the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan (along with three other players on the German roster), and 29-year-old veteran Lisa Weiss. Both have played three times for the senior side.
Always AnjaThe Germany roster includes a plethora of talent, but perhaps no one is more lethal than striker Anja Mittag. Mittag has played 149 times for her country and has scored 49 goals. She is tall, fast, strong, determined and has a knack for finishing goals from difficult spots. Mittag comes into SheBelieves as the most experienced player on the roster who throughout her 149 games has been part of 111 wins for Germany, 20 draws and only 18 losses. She scored five goals at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada, including a hat trick in Germany’s opening match vs. Ivory Coast.
Mittag started all three games at the 2016 SheBelieves Cup and scored the first goal of the game in the de facto final against the United States on March 9. Despite not scoring at the 2016 Olympics, Mittag started every game and was a crucial piece of the team’s run to its first Olympic gold medal.
Besides Angerer’s retirement, in the past two years Germany has also said farewell to veterans Célia Šašić, Melanie Behringer and Saskia Bartusiak, all integral members of Germany’s success in the last decade. But just like the USA’s infusion of young and new talent, Germany has welcomed tremendously talented youngsters Pauline Bremer, Sara Däbritz, Leonie Maier, Dzsenifer Marozsan, Alexandra Popp and Lena Petermann – all players born in or after 1991, who have quickly established themselves as a powerful group in the new era of Germany women’s soccer. Popp and Marozsan were two of the stars on Germany’s team that won the 2010 FIFA U-20 women’s World Cup at home. Popp won the Golden Boot in that tournament, scoring 10 goals, and was the tournament MVP.
Bremer, who is 20 years old, has played for Germany since she was part of its U-15 WNT. For the senior team, she has seen action in 11 games and has already scored three goals, a solid ratio for a defender.
Däbritz battles for the ball with France’s Eugenie Le Sommer
Twenty-two-year-old Däbritz played in two games at last year’s SheBelieves Cup and was part of the German team at the 2015 Women’s World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. She scored two goals at the World Cup and three goals at the Olympics, one in Germany’s opening game against Zimbabwe, one in its second game against Australia, and one in Germany’s 2-0 semifinal win against Canada. Overall, she has 38 caps with Germany (32 of those are wins), and has scored eight international goals, five coming at major tournaments.
Peterman, who is 23 years old, led Germany to the title at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and is one of five players on the German roster for the SheBelieves Cup who played on that team. She is another playing starting to find her footing in the highly competitive Germany Women’s National Team. Despite having only played in nine games with the senior squad, she has already scored four goals – two at the 2015 World Cup.
A trio of young German players can already be called world class in Leonie Maier (24-years-old), Dzsenifer Maroszán (24) and Alexandra Popp (25). All three were members of Germany’s 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup roster as well as the 2016 SheBelieves and Olympic Games squads. Marozsán and Popp, who have long been hailed as two of the top young players in the world after performing so well for Germany’s U-20 WNT, both scored at the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. In Canada, Popp scored against Ivory Coast, while Maroszán tallied her goal in the knockout stage against Sweden. In Brazil, Popp scored against Zimbabwe in the opening match of the tournament and Maroszán scored a crucial goal in the gold-medal game against Sweden, helping Germany take the title with the 2-1 win. Despite their young age, Marozsán and Popp have played 69 and 77 times and have scored 35 and 30 goals, respectively. Maier, who has recovered from a major knee injury, has 37 caps and seven goals to her name, including one at last year’s SheBelieves Cup.
A EURO Scoring Machine
Germany has long been a European power, but its dominance has been extremely impressive. During UEFA Women’s EURO qualifying, Germany scored 35 goals and allowed zero. Ten of the players on the 2017 SheBelieves Cup roster scored a combined 25 goals, with Alexandra Popp leading the way with five goals in four games.
Anja Mittag, Isabel Kerschowski, Leonie Maier and Pauline Bremer each added three, while Sara Säbritz, Lina Magull and Mandy Islacker had two each. Lena Petermann and Dzsenifer Marozsán round out the goal scoring group with a goal apiece.
Germany has won six consecutive European titles. The last time Germany wasn’t reigning European champion was in 1994.Read more
From March 1-7, 2017, U.S. Soccer will host the second annual SheBelieves Cup, the most elite four-team international women’s soccer tournament of the year. Three doubleheaders will be staged in the northeast region of the United States as we welcome back three of the best teams in the world: Germany, France and England. Here are five things to know about this year’s SheBelieves Cup.
Top of the FIFA Rankings
The participants of the SheBelieves Cup – just like last year – make up four of the top five ranked women’s national soccer teams in the world. The USA, the reigning World Cup champions, sit atop the rankings followed by current Olympic champions Germany. France is third and England is fifth.
Those Elusive Goals
In last year’s SheBelieves Cup, the USA defeated England and France by 1-0 scores and downed Germany, 2-1, in the de facto championship game to take the inaugural tournament title. Germany finished second, England was third and France was fourth. In fact, none of of the games were decided by more than one goal with the results coming down to three 1-0 victories, two 2-1 victories and one 0-0 draw. Even though the USA only scored a total of four goals in the three games during the tournament, the quality made up for the quantity, providing plenty of excitement and thrilling games. Scoring important goals on the biggest of stages can define a player or a team and that was proven out as three of the four goals the USA scored in the tournament finished ranked in the top five of the WNT’s Top 10 Goals of 2016.
- WATCH: WNT’S Top 10 Goals of 2016
Dunn vs. England
Against England, Crystal Dunn scored the game-winning goal with a perfect shot to the upper 90. After a competitive first half, Dunn came in as a substitute in the 67th minute and in the 72nd minute, Meghan Klingenberg did some nice work on the ball to the left of the penalty area, then slipped a pass between two England defenders to Dunn, who took two touches into the left corner of the box and ripped a shot into the top right corner for an incredible finish to propel the USA to a 1-0 U.S. victory.
Morgan vs. France
Few things are more exciting than scoring a game-winning goal in second half stoppage time and Morgan electrified the crowd of 25,363 fans in Nashville when she did exactly that. Against France in a game that been a display of excellent soccer for 90 minutes, Mallory Pugh brought the ball down at midfield, took a few touches as she sprinted forward and then played Morgan in behind the defense with a perfectly-weighted pass. She out-sprinted her defender and cut her left-footed shot into the lower right corner from just inside the penalty area for a slick game-winning finish at 90+1.
Morgan vs. Germany
Voted as U.S. Soccer’s Best Goal of 2016, the game-tying score against Germany brought the USA back into the game after an early strike from Anja Mittag had given the European champions the lead in the de facto SheBelieves Cup final. In the 35th minute, Meghan Klingenberg evaded a defender near midfield and lofted a ball over the top of the German defense down the left side into the path of the sprinting Morgan. She let the ball bounce twice, as she muscled out a first defender, before deftly lifting it over Saskia Bartusiak with her left foot and ripping a right-footed shot into the net in two fluid steps.
Schedule Format and How to Watch
The tournament format will be the same as last year as the four teams will each participate in three doubleheader events at three different venues over a seven-day period. The USA's match vs. Germany will kick off at 7 p.m. ET on FS1; USA vs. England will be televised at 5 p.m. ET on the main FOX network, and USA vs. France will be live at 7 p.m. ET on FS1.
Replacing Algarve Cup
Before the SheBelieves Cup was established in 2016, the U.S. WNT’s early year competition for most of the last 20 years included the Algarve Cup in Portugal. A 10-time champion of the tournament, the Algarve Cup is an important part of the history of the program, but for 2016, U.S. Soccer the decisions to develop its own tournament where the best female soccer players in the world would come to test their mettle in a four-team, seven-day tournament.
The SheBelieves Cup then replaced the Algarve Cup for the WNT, while providing a chance for soccer fans in the Unites States to watch the bests teams in the world on U.S. soil.
The Best Players in the World
Probably the most exciting prospect of the SheBelieves Cup, not only for teams and players but also for fans in the United States, is that the tournament provides the opportunity to watch some of the most talented women’s players on the planet.
- 5 Things to Know: SheBelieves Cup opponents
France's Eugine le Sommer at the inaugural SheBeleives Cup.
This doesn’t just include the 2015 and 2016 FIFA Women’s Player of the Year in Carli Lloyd, or the speedy and technical Tobin Heath, but also forward Eugenie Le Sommer and midfielder Amandine Henry; Germany forwards Alexandra Popp and Anja Mittag and England defender Stephanie Houghton and attacking Karen Carney – all considered among the best in the world at their respective positions -- just to name a few.Read more
Dubbed the “Mayor of Hannover” thanks to playing the entirety of his 15-year career with German side Hannover 96, the three-time World Cup veteran MNT defender retired in 2014 as the club’s leader in Bundesliga appearances with 300. When he finally hung up his boots, he moved immediately into Die Roten’s management ranks, where he began as an assistant in the club’s academy.
“I’m working towards earning my [UEFA PRO] coaching licenses here in Germany and am currently the head coach of the U-17 Academy team,” Cherundolo told ussoccer.com this week. “I’m just trying to get as much experience as I can, at as many levels as I can.”
The Hannover 96 U-17 Academy Team with head coach Steve Cherundolo (pictured far left)
While most of his management experience has come at the youth level, the former Hannover captain did take a short stint as a first-team assistant in April of 2015. He temporarily joined newly named head coach Michael Frontzeck’s staff as the club rallied to stay up in the Bundesliga that season.
“That was a great experience, a successful one where we ended up staying in the top division. That was fun, that was good and then I decided to go on my own route. I wanted to coach my own team and to do my own things, so then I started with the Under-17s and this is my second season. I’m enjoying it a lot."
A mainstay at right back for much of his time with the MNT, Cherundolo is one of only 17 U.S. players all-time to be part of three or more FIFA World Cup rosters. A near automatic choice at right back for three different National Team coaches, Cherundolo’s 87 career caps surely would have pushed passed 100 if he spent even a few years of his club career stateside.
Steve Cherundolo celebrates a goal for Hannover against Wolfsburg in October 2004
Instead, the San Diego native continues to be a rarity in the game’s modern era, happily continuing his reign as a “one club man” with Hannover.
“It’s not something you envision. I think every young American, every soccer player who starts somewhere at a club hopes that they have a long career and certainly that was something I was able to achieve. That was great, but I had no idea I’d spend my entire career here in Hannover. It just seemed to work out that every contract extension it seemed to be the right decision for both the club and myself. I’m fortunate it did work out that way as a player, and it’s continued now for me as a coach.”
While his main focus is towards helping develop young talent for Hannover, Cherundolo says he still keeps tabs on the only other team he’s played for, and praised the recent hiring of Bruce Arena as MNT head coach.
Steve Cherundolo and Landon Donovan stand for the National Anthem ahead of the USA's 2010 World Cup match vs. Slovenia
“From my standpoint, he’s the right guy for the job,” Cherundolo said about the man that handed him his MNT debut in 1999. “Bruce brings a ton of experience, and as a player I was able to learn an unbelievable amount about always being competitive not only on game day, but in training as well.”
Part of Arena’s rosters at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups, Cherundolo said the veteran manager’s ability to motivate players combined with his knack for fielding a starting XI that gives his team the best chance to win has made Arena the most successful coach in MNT history.
- FROM THE ARCHIVES: Steve Cherundolo discusses making the 2002 FIFA World Cup roster
- FROM THE ARCHIVES: In Threes With Steve Cherundolo
“It may not have been the best 11 players, but it was certainly the group that mixes well together and is the strongest side to be successful at the end of the game. I think that’s something that Bruce does very, very well, and I think that’s one of his strongest traits as a coach.”
Due to be eligible for the entry into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2018, Cherundolo looks back fondly on the memories made during his international career. From Landon Donovan’s game-winner against Algeria in 2010 and the matches in which the U.S. clinched qualification to his three different World Cups, above all the 38-year-old counts the time he got to spend with his fellow U.S. teammates as his favorite moments from a 13-year international career.
Cherundolo and U.S. teammates celebrate finishing atop the 2009 Hexagonal on Oct. 14, 2009
“On the road, on the planes, in the hotels – those are moments that for me were very personal, gratifying and moments that I cherished very much. There were some fabulous memories and there wasn’t one camp that I can recall that I wasn’t happy while I was there.
“There were amazing experiences and amazing players. U.S. Soccer has done a great job of creating atmospheres in camp where it was enjoyable for players, but also very professional at the same time. I think it’s a privilege to have been involved in the program for so long and every training camp was something special.”Read more