U.S. Soccer

U.S. WNT Defeats Mexico 4-0 in Final Tune-Up for CONCACAF Women's Championship

Amy Rodriguez, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Alex Morgan Tally Goals;
USA Eyes 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship Starting Oct. 15 vs. Trinidad & Tobago at Sporting Park in Kansas City

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WNT Sep 18, 2014

-U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report- 

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Sept. 18, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Sahlen’s Stadium; Rochester, New York
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Attendance: 5,680
Weather: 54 degrees, partly cloudy 

Scoring Summary:       1      2      F
USA                                 3      1      4
MEX                                0      0      0 

USA – Amy Rodriguez (Megan Rapinoe)                          9th minute
USA – Megan Rapinoe                                                        37
USA – Tobin Heath (Amy Rodriguez)                                44
USA – Alex Morgan (Heather O’Reilly)                            79 

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo (capt.); 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 3-Christie Rampone, 25-Meghan Klingenberg (19-Crystal Dunn, 61); 12-Lauren Holiday (16-Julie Johnston, 46), 10-Carli Lloyd, 15-Megan Rapinoe (20-Abby Wambach, 46); 2-Sydney Leroux (23-Christen Press, 67), 8-Amy Rodriguez (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 17-Tobin Heath (9-Heather O’Reilly, 46)
Substitutions Not Used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Jill Ellis 

MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago; 2-Arianna Romero, 3-Monica Alvarado, 5-Paulina Solis, 13-Bianca Sierra; 6-Liliana Mercado (11-Kenti Robles, 57), 7-Nayeli Rangel, 10-Stephany Mayor, 17-Veronica Perez (capt.) (14-Christina Murillo, 90+2); 9-Tanya Samarzich (8-Teresa Noyola, 67), 20-Charlyn Corral (19-Luz Duarte, 87)
Substitutions Not Used: 12-Brissa Rangel, 15-Guadalupe Cruzaley, 16-Jazmine Ponce, 18-Jackie Acevedo, 21-Lizbeth Angeles
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar 

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots:  16 / 4
Shots on Goal: 7 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 8 / 1
Fouls: 16 / 14
Offside: 3 / 2 

Misconduct Summary:
MEX – Stephany Mayor (caution)                     72nd minute 

Officials:
Referee: Marie-Soleil Beauboin (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Marie Charbonneau (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Suzanne Morisset (CAN)
Fourth Official: Michelle Pye (CAN) 

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Carli Lloyd

11 Questions With U-17 WNT Forward Ashley Sanchez

ussoccer.com: This has been a long cycle and you are finally at the World Cup. Can you talk about how the team has grown over the past two years?
Ashley Sanchez: “Off the field, we’ve become more professional, whether it be eating better, improving our fitness or taking our preparation more seriously. I feel like at the beginning of the cycle, I was just a kid, and our coaches and staff have really helped us learn how to take care of our bodies and get ready to play. Throughout the cycle, we were all competing against each other for positions, but since the team was named I feel like we’ve grown more as a team. We know our roles and we feel very united.”

ussoccer.com: You bounced back and forth between the U.S. U-17s and the U-20s in the past year. What was that experience like?
AS: “It was kind of hard to adjust to all the different players and their individual styles, but off the field, I feel like I’ve been able to keep in touch with both sets of teammates and continue to create that bond, which is important with whatever team I’m with. It’s been busy for sure, but I’m really excited to have the opportunity to play with both teams. Playing with great players is the best way to get better and the experience with both teams has really helped me develop as a player.”

ussoccer.com: You got to train for a few days with the full U.S. Women’s National Team in April. What did you gain from that experience?
AS: “It was good to see the highest level and to know that I have a lot of work to do to get there. To see those professional players and how they train and their mindset was super valuable. They are world champions for a reason and I just wanted to learn all I could. I have to admit that the speed of play and the physicality was eye-opening, but it was a great experience and hopefully I can go back one day.”


In April, Sanchez spent a few days training with the full U.S. WNT in Orlando

ussoccer.com: The U-17 WNT has a strong bond off the field. Who makes you laugh the most?
AS: “All my teammates are pretty funny, but Civana Kuhlmann and Jaelin Howell always crack me up. We have so many inside jokes that I’m sure people have no idea what we’re talking sometimes, but that’s okay. We’re teenagers so it’s good to be weird sometimes. It helps us get rid of stress from soccer and school off the field, which is important.”

ussoccer.com: The opening game of the World Cup is just a few days away. Are you thinking about that game at all, or are you taking it day-by-day?
AS: “I think it hasn’t really hit me yet that we’re here playing in the World Cup. We spent a few days in Cyprus that were really quiet and relaxing, and we got some good work done, but I know that we are mentally in a good place. I think once we have our pre-game training and see the stadium it’s going to get real really fast.”

ussoccer.com: The U-17 WNT has had some excellent results this year but will be facing some talented teams in group play. What do you expect from the level of play at this tournament?
AS: “It’s hard to know because we’ve never been in this situation before. It’s the first World Cup for all of us, but I know that all the teams will come out and compete as hard as they can. I know that all the teams in our group have really talented players and they want to win as much as we do, which is a lot. We have to be consistent and get the results we need in group play so we can qualify for the knockout rounds and then keep getting better in those games.”

ussoccer.com: You are wearing the number 10 jersey in this tournament. What does that mean to you?
AS: “The number 10 obviously has great history in our sport. It’s supposed to be a play-maker and a goal scorer and Carli Lloyd wears it so well on the full team, but I just want to keep contributing in the best ways I can for the team in whatever role I am asked to play. I love scoring goals, but I also love passing to my teammates and I know we have some really dangerous attacking players on the team so we’re excited to show what we have.”

ussoccer.com: Which player do you like better: Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal and Chile, or Hugo Sanchez, the great Mexican player?
AS: “Since you just told me I wasn’t even born when Hugo Sanchez was playing, I’d have to go with Alexis Sanchez. But I do really like watching him play. He’s very creative and scores some fantastic goals. He wears the Sanchez name very well.”


Sanchez likes to wear a scrunchie in her hair when she plays, thus making sure to dominate opponents while being stylish 

ussoccer.com: You’ve been sporting a “scrunchie” in your hair during training. Is this a throwback to the 1980s and will you be wearing it during the World Cup?
AS: “I didn’t even know they wore scrunchies in the 1980s. It’s just a stylish look for a stylish gal. And yes, you might see it in the World Cup.”

ussoccer.com: Would you rather score on a bicycle kick or a diving header?
AS: “A bicycle kick, as long as I don’t injure myself, which I’m pretty sure I would if I tried it. But I guess if it scored, it would be worth it.”

ussoccer.com: You’re only 17 years old and you’ve been to eight foreign countries including Jordan. What do those experiences mean to you as a young person?
AS: “I like being able to travel and play soccer. I feel really fortunate to have had these experiences, see new places and see how big this world is. Being in Jordan is really special and different as I’ve never been to this part of the world before. I hope we can all take in as much of the culture and sites as possible while still focusing on soccer.”


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U-17 WNT Sep 27, 2016

For Club and Country: U.S. WNT Players Ready for NWSL Playoffs

When the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs commence on Friday, Sept. 30 (8 p.m. ET on FS1) as the Washington Spirit host the Chicago Red Stars, and on Sunday, Oct. 2 (5 p.m. ET; FS1) when the Portland Thorns welcome the Western New York Flash, 11 U.S. Women’s National Team players will see action with their respective teams as they compete against each other for a chance to claim the coveted NWSL Championship trophy.

The NWSL recently completed its historic fourth season, and amidst tough competition and passionate rivalries, four teams rose above the rest: Portland Thorns FC, Washington Spirit, Chicago Red Stars and Western New York Flash.

The Thorns lead the way with five WNT players, while the Red Stars have three, the Spirit has two and Western New York has one. All 11 players are of course key contributors to their clubs, which only strengthens the already existing bond between a domestic professional league in the USA and the National Team.

We take a look at the WNT players on each playoff team and look back at their NWSL regular season performances:  

Portland Thorns FC

  • Tobin Heath: Heath’s excellent year on the field has certainly drawn acclaim for her play both for club and the National Team. In 14 games played this season for PTFC, Heath set up 10 goals, a new Thorns and NWSL record for most assists in a single year, which has placed her in the running for the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player award. A handful of those assists were for her club and country teammates, Allie Long and Lindsey Horan. In addition to her assists record, Heath has scored one goal for Portland, and scored four goals while recording seven assists for the USA. The latter includes this perfect pass to Carli Lloyd in the WNT’s most recent game against the Netherlands on Sept. 18 in Atlanta.

  • Lindsey Horan: Horan, who just completed her first regular season in the NWSL after playing professionally in France for three years, started and appeared in 15 games for the Thorns, scoring five goals. Out of those five, her most important one probably came this past Sunday when her diving header found the back of the net for the game-winning goal in the 3-1 Portland victory against SBFC that clinched the 2016 NWSL Shield. Horan has scored two goals for the USA this year, adding four assists and appearing in all but one game.


Lindsey Horan and Emily Sonnett will both play in their first NWSL post season this year for the Portland Thorns

  • Allie Long: Long has credited the NWSL and the Portland Thorns with tremendous value in helping her grow as a player. After a two-year hiatus from international soccer, Long got called back into the WNT mix in April and quickly earned a starting spot. Long finished the Thorns’ regular season with six goals and two assists in 15 games (playing every minute), with all six goals coming over the final five games of the season. She has 28 career regular-season goals, which ranks in the top three all-time in the NWSL and is in the running for the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player award. Additionally, she notched her first international goal for the USA back in April 6, 2016 against Colombia, and now has three goals and two assist in her blossoming National Team career.

  • Meghan Klingenberg: Her savvy and gritty play has made her a staple in the Portland backline where she has started all 14 regular season games in which she appeared. Additionally, she has played 20 games for the USA in 2016, including 18 starts while recording four assists.

  • Emily Sonnett: In her debut NWSL season, the No. 1 overall pick of the NWSL draft quickly established herself as a starter from the get-go, featuring in the starting XI in all 15 games she played in, and logging in all 1350 minutes – tied for fourth-most minutes on the team with Allie Long. She is up for the 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year award.

Washington Spirit

  • Crystal Dunn: After winning the 2015 NWSL MVP award, Dunn came back this year full of confidence and has continued to shine on the field. Despite not lighting up the league in goals like she did last year, she has played a key role in the Spirit’s excellent season while scoring two goals with five assists in 13 games. Dunn has certainly shone brightly for the National Team, scoring 12 goals in 2016, third-most on the team (and including a five-goal game), recording five assists, and appearing in all 21 games for the WNT (only other player to do so is Press).


Crystal Dunn has scored 12 goals for the USA and twice for the Washington Spirit in 2016

  • Ali Krieger: Krieger will captain the Washington Spirit as they go into the playoffs for the third consecutive year and will hope to go one step further this time around, making the championship game and competing for the league title. Krieger is part of a strong Washington backline that allowed just five goals at home all season, the fewest in the league. She started 14 games in the regular season and notched one goal to help the Spirit claim a home playoff game for the first time in franchise history. Krieger has appeared in 16 games for the USA this year. She made her Olympic debut against Colombia on Aug. 9, 2016, becoming the oldest first-time women’s soccer Olympian in U.S. history.

Chicago Red Stars

  • Julie Johnston: She appeared and started in 12 games this season for the Red Stars and played every minute in all of those matches. She marshalled a back line in front of first year Red Star and fellow WNT teammate, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Johnston has scored three goals in 2016 for the WNT – the highest number of any defender on the roster – but has not found the net for the Red Stars this season. She will be looking not only to keep her net clean, but the playoffs would be a prime time to tally her first club goal of 2016. Furthermore, Johnston is up for the 2016 NWSL Defender of the Year award.

  • Christen Press: A dynamic attacker with a tremendous shot with either foot, she has scored six goals for the USA this year and leads Chicago with eight goals (fifth-best in the league) in 14 games. Additionally, Press leads the league on shots on goals (39) and is in second behind WNY’s Lynn Williams in shots taken with 62. She is also in the running for the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player award. Press, who is one of only two players to have appeared in every WNT match in 2016, will captain the Red Stars into the post-season. She has 35 goals in 76 caps for the WNT.


Alyssa Naeher is up for the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award after earning a
 league-leading six clean sheets with the Red Stars in 2016

  • Alyssa Naeher: Acquired by Chicago from Boston for the 2016 season, Naeher started in all 13 games she appeared on this year, recording six clean sheets and tied for first place in the league. She is up for the 2016 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. Naeher has also started three games for the USA this year and has a 3-0-0 record while allowing only one goal.

Western New York Flash

  • Samantha Mewis: In just her second NWSL season, Mewis started all 14 games she played for Western New York this year and scored five goals, third-most on the team. She has played in 10 games for the WNT in 2016 and scored her first international goal this year – a long-range shot from just inside the box against Puerto Rico during Olympic Qualifying.


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WNT Sep 27, 2016

WNT Weekend Rewind: Portland Wins NWSL Shield, Regular Season Wraps Up

After 20 weeks of intense matchups, a high level of play and some heated rivalries, the historic fourth regular season of the National Women’s Soccer League came to a close this past weekend. The Portland Thorns won the 2016 NWSL Shield with a 3-1 victory against Sky Blue FC on the last day of play, while Western New York Flash booked its place in the post season with a dominant 4-0 win against the Boston Breakers.

The NWSL playoffs begin on Friday, Sept. 30 at 8 p.m. ET on FS1 as the Washington Spirit hosts the Chicago Red Stars at the Maryland SoccerPlex, and continue on Oct. 2 at 5 p.m. ET also on FS1 as the Portland Thorns welcome the Western New York Flash to the fortress that is Providence Park.

FC Kansas City Finishes Season with Four-Game Unbeaten Run After 2-1 Win Against the Orlando Pride
For the second time this season, Becky Sauerbrunn and FC Kansas City defeated Ashlyn Harris, Alex Morgan, and the Orlando Pride to finish its season on a four-game undefeated streak. Freshly retired from international play, Heather O’Reilly scored the game-winner on a penalty kick. Despite missing the playoffs for the first time in franchise history, FCKC found its chemistry late in the year to finish strong and get one last win on the road.

Western New York Flash Earns Convincing 4-0 Win Against the Boston Breakers to Secure Playoff Spot
All Western New York needed to book its ticket into the post-season was a draw against Boston, but the Flash did not take any chances, winning 4-0 in a dominating fashion that included a very early goal. Samantha Mewis contributed with a score in Western New York’s shutout of Boston, while Whitney Engen was able to play a full 90 for the Breakers despite still nursing a sore hamstring.

Chicago Red Stars Top Washington Spirit 3-1
In a matchup that we will see again on Friday in the first semifinal of the 2016 NWSL postseason, the Chicago Red Stars largely ended (even though the result of the Portland game was yet to be determined the next day) the Washington Spirit’s hope for a NWSL Shield celebration when they came out on top 3-1 at Toyota Park on Saturday evening. Christen Press scored a goal for the Red Stars, her eighth goal of the season, while Crystal Dunn scored the sole goal for the Spirit.

Portland Thorns Win NWSL Shield with 3-1 Win against Sky Blue FC
With the Washington loss the night before, Portland knew it could win the 2016 NWSL Shield for the first time in its history with a win. Allie Long found the back of the net twice for Portland and Lindsey Horan scored on a diving header to lift the team to the top of the league on the final night of NWSL regular season action. Tobin Heath assisted on one of Long’s goal, making it her 10th assist of 2016, a new Thorns and NWSL record for most assists in a single season. With the win, Portland set a new single-season record for most wins (12, tied with Washington this year) and points (41) in a season.

Seattle Reign Scores Late Goal to Top Houston Dash, 3-2
The Reign maintained its perfect record (7-0-0) against the Dash with a 3-2 win in Houston on Sunday night in the final match of the 2016 NWSL regular season. Carli Lloyd scored for Houston in the first half to give the home side a 2-0 lead into the half. Seattle mounted an impressive comeback in the second half and scored three goals in the final 30 minutes of play to take the win and finish their season on a high note. 

Morgan Brian – 90 minutes (Houston Dash)
Carli Lloyd (capt.) – 90 minutes, GOAL (Houston Dash)
Crystal Dunn –  90 minutes, GOAL (Washington Spirit)
Whitney Engen (capt.) – 90 minutes (Boston Breakers)
Ashlyn Harris – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Tobin Heath – 90 minutes, assist (Portland Thorns FC)
Lindsey Horan – 90 minutes, GOAL (Portland Thorns FC)
Julie Johnston – 90 minutes (Chicago Red Stars)
Meghan Klingenberg – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)
Ali Krieger (capt.) – 90 minutes (Washington Spirit)
Allie Long – 90 minutes, GOAL (2) (Portland Thorns FC)
Samantha Mewis – 90 minutes, GOAL (Western New York Flash)
Alex Morgan (capt.)  – 90 minutes (Orlando Pride)
Alyssa Naeher – did not play (Chicago Red Stars)
Kelley O’Hara – 90 minutes, assist (Sky Blue FC)
Christen Press (capt.) – 90 minutes, GOAL (Chicago Red Stars)
Megan Rapinoe – 65 minutes (Seattle Reign FC)
Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.) – 90 minutes (FC Kansas City)
Emily Sonnett – 90 minutes (Portland Thorns FC)

FINAL LEAGUE STANDINGS

NWSL

Pts

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Portland Thorns *

41

20

12

3

5

35

19

16

Washington Spirit *

39

20

12

5

3

30

21

9

Chicago Red Stars *

33

20

9

5

6

24

20

4

Western New York Flash*

32

20

9

6

5

40

26

14

Seattle Reign FC

30

20

8

6

5

29

21

8

FC Kansas City

26

20

7

8

5

18

20

-2

Sky Blue FC

26

20

7

8

5

24

30

-6

Houston Dash

22

20

6

10

4

29

29

0

Orlando Pride

19

20

3

15

2

14

47

-33

Boston Breakers

11

20

3

15

2

14

47

-33

*Playoff Spot Clinched


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WNT Sep 26, 2016

Naomi Girma: A Worldly Experience

In 1982, Girma Aweke arrived in the United States in search of a better life and education. After spending his early years in Ethiopia, he made his way to San Jose State University, where he studied engineering.

Seble Demissie, the second youngest of eight children, arrived in the USA in 1987 after earning her undergraduate degree in Ethiopia with the same goals. She did some short term training at the University of Pittsburgh and then earned her MBA at Long Beach State.

It was in Northern California, among the tight-knit Ethiopian community, that the two met, fell in love, married in 1995, and settled in San Jose. Living out their version of the American dream, he as an engineer in the medical field and she working in finance and banking.

Both became American citizens, and they had two children, son Nathaniel and daughter Naomi, who was born in 2000. Sixteen years later, the daughter of immigrants, a first generation American, is on the cusp of representing – and perhaps captaining -- the United States in a youth Women’s World Cup.

It was the Ethiopian community that first drew Naomi Girma to soccer. (In Ethiopia, the children take the first name of their father as their last name). Girma Aweke was one of the organizers of “maleda soccer” (maleda meaning “dawn” in Amharic, the official language of Ethiopia), a gathering of Ethiopian families that served to strengthen the bonds of the community.

“I was five years old when I first started playing,” said Naomi, who heads into the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan as one of the USA’s starting center backs. “Girls and boys played together and they always divided soccer games into little kids, medium kids and big kids. I always begged to play with the big kids. Eventually, my parents let me.”

Through these free play weekend afternoons, which also featured other sports and a big BBQ to end the day, Naomi’s love for the game was nurtured. At age nine, she started playing club soccer for the Central Valley Crossfire and grew into one of the USA’s elite female players for her age. She has committed to Stanford University for the fall of 2018 and has captained the U.S. U-17 WNT on several occasions.

A starting center-back for the U-17 WNT, Girma has captained the USA on several occasions. 

Naomi realizes that her upbringing was quintessentially American, but she has a tremendous appreciation for her culture and her parents’ story.

“Obviously I grew up in the United States, but I’ve never lost sight of my heritage,” said Naomi, who still can speak Amharic, her first language. “I’m incredibly proud and honored to play for my country, but I’m also proud that may parents were able to come here and carve out a better life for our family. In a way, it even makes this whole experience even more special.”

Naomi got to experience her heritage first-hand the summer before she entered sixth grade when she and her family spent a month in Ethiopia, traveling to the capital Addis Ababa, where her mom grew up, as well as Nazareth, where her dad was raised and where her grandmother still lives. She admits to sensory overload and some culture shock, but the people, the amazing food and the fact that she came face-to-face with her ancestry made it the trip of her young lifetime.

“We met a lot of family, extended family and people who we would call family even if they aren’t related,” said Naomi. “It was my first time out of the country and it was a wonderful experience, but it was definitely eye-opening. There’s was so much poverty, especially in Addis Ababa, and so over-crowded. I saw where my parents grew up and how different it is to our lives and our neighborhood in San Jose. It really made me appreciate how hard my parents worked to give us the lives we have today.”

Ethiopia is known for its distance runners, most notably Olympic champions Haile Gebrselassie (Naomi’s middle name is Haile), Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar, but Naomi gravitated more towards the sprints, running track during freshman year and competing in the 100 and 400 meters while running the anchor in the 4x100 and 4x400 meters. That’s not to say she doesn’t have stamina as well, as she consistently finishes among the top few players on the U.S. U-17 WNT in endurance tests.

“I always enjoyed running,” said Girma. “When I was little, I loved to play tag. It was fun to catch all the kids and I just kept going all day.”

She is still very tied to the local Ethiopian community, celebrating Ethiopian holidays with several families who live close by during get-togethers that feature lots of traditional foods. Her favorites are kitfo, minced raw beef marinated in a spice mix, and awaze tibs, a spicy lamb dish. And the maleda soccer is still going strong.

The young maleda soccer players have a special place in Naomi’s heart. Parents of the kids she played with when she was little still come up to her to congratulate her on her soccer successes. Ethiopia has never participated in a FIFA Women’s World Cup at any level, but Naomi will become the first player of Ethiopian descent to represent the USA in such a tournament.

U-17 WNT's Kiara Pickett, Naomi Girma and Karina Rodriguez enjoy some time off while training in Cryprus ahead of the start of the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan

“I think all the players on this team are role models, and even though we are only teenagers I think we can understand and appreciate that,” she said. “And if other first generation Ethiopian kids or other immigrants can see me and aspire to play for the United States, then that’s really cool.”

Girma Aweke was just a bit older than Naomi is now when he came to the United States. It’s amazing what can happen in one generation.


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U-17 WNT Sep 26, 2016
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