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WNT Set for Semifinal with Women’s World Cup Berth on the Line

The U.S. WNT is focused and ready for its semifinal clash with Mexico in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. After handily winning Group A, the U.S. team is taking nothing for granted as a victory will earn a berth to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Johnston Answers the Call

After initially not making the 20-woman roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, Julie Johnston was invited to Kansas City to train with the U.S. team for a week prior to the tournament. She thought she’d be leaving before the first game.

But things change quickly in the world of international soccer and after an injury to her good friend and former U-20 teammate Crystal Dunn, Johnston has been handed the #19 jersey for the her first World Cup qualifying tournament with the senior Women’s National Team.

“In the last camp before this tournament, I really wanted to make the 20-player roster and my whole focus going into that camp was to play and train like I was going to be a part of the team,” said Johnston, a 22-year-old former Santa Clara University star. “Then not making the team was definitely hard, but this team is so good that you just have to value the time you get. When I was offered to come in and train I was so excited because as a young player every training with these players helps you grow.”

Truth be told, her bags were packed and she was ready to head home before the coaching staff made the change official. It wasn’t easy seeing her good friend head to the airport instead.

“Crystal and I are very close and we’ve been through a lot together in soccer, so to replace her on the roster was bittersweet,” said Johnston. “I know these things happen, but I also know how hard she worked to make this roster and how deserving she was to be here, so it was emotional for both us.”

Now that she’s officially among the 20 players that will attempt to qualify the USA for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, her mentality hasn’t changed.

“I initially wanted to come in a do well as if I was on the 20-player roster,” said Johnston, who in her four caps and during training has seen time both at defensive midfield and at center back. “I wanted to learn how it is to prepare for a World Cup qualifying tournament, to get a feel for the whole experience and now I’m going to do whatever the team needs me to do.”

Johnston, who was the NWSL Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Red Stars in 2014 after being the third overall pick in the draft, is ready to step up if needed, and considering the USA will likely play five games in 12 days, she surely will be. Known for her world class ball-winning and grit, she’s also focusing on contributing to the attack and is tremendous going after crosses from set pieces in the opposing penalty box.

“One of the most important things, especially for a young player, is to learn from the players around you,” said Johnston. “My goals are to get totally confident playing at high pace with the best players in the world, understand my roles and play whatever positions I’m asked. I’m excited for the next step of this journey.”

Tournament Notes: WNT 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship

2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship
U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kansas
Oct. 15, 2014

U.S. WNT STARTS ROAD TO THE WORLD CUP: The U.S. Women’s National Team will enter its sixth CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament when it goes for one of three automatic berths at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which runs Oct. 15-26 in four cities in the United States: Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The USA has won four of the five qualifying tournaments since 1991, falling only in the 2011 edition when U.S. WNT was upset by Mexico in the semifinal. The USA heads into the tournament with a 10-2-3 record in 2014 while scoring 48 goals and allowing 11. 

USA FACES TRINIDAD & TOBAGO, GUATEMALA AND HAITI IN QUALIFYING: The USA opens its tournament on Oct. 15 against Trinidad & Tobago at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas, in a match televised on Fox Sports 2 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Fans can also follow all the games on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp. The USA then heads to Bridgeview, Illinois, to continue Group A play against Guatemala on Oct. 17 (8 p.m. CT on Fox Sports 1) and finishes the first round in Washington, D.C., against Haiti on Oct. 20 (7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1). Group B consists of Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Martinique (which is not a full-fledged member of FIFA and therefore cannot qualify for the CONCACAF Championship semifinals). 

2014 U.S. WNT SCHEDULE:

Date

Opponent

Result/Time (ET)

U.S. Goal Scorers/TV

Venue

Jan. 31

Canada

1-0 W

Leroux

Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas

Feb. 8

Russia

7-0 W

Lloyd (2), Press (2), O’Reilly,

Leroux, Wambach

FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Fla.

Feb. 13

Russia

8-0 W

Own Goal (2), Rodriguez, Wambach, Brian, Holiday, Leroux, Press

Georgia Dome; Atlanta, Ga.

March 5

Japan^

1-1 T

Leroux

Parchal, Portugal

March 7

Sweden^

0-1 L

-

Albufeira, Portugal

March 10

Denmark^

3-5 L

Press, Leroux, Rapinoe

Albufeira, Portugal

March 12

Korea DPR^

3-0 W

Wambach (2), O’Reilly

Parchal, Portugal

April 6

China PR

2-0 W

Holiday, Rapinoe

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.

April 10

China PR

3-0 W

Lloyd (2), Leroux

Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, Calif.

May 8

Canada

1-1 T

Leroux

Investors Group Field; Winnipeg, Canada

June 14

France

1-0 W

Leroux

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

June 19

France

2-2 T

Morgan (2)

Rentschter Field, East Hartford, Conn.

Aug. 20

Switzerland

4-1 W

Rapinoe, Lloyd, Press, Wambach

WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, N.C.

Sept. 13

Mexico

8-0 W

OG, Morgan (2), Wambach (2), Engen, Leroux, O’Reilly

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

Sept. 18

Mexico

4-0 W

Rodriguez, Rapinoe, Heath, Morgan

Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, N.Y.

Oct. 15

T&T*

8:30 p.m.

 

Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

Oct. 17

Guatemala*

9 p.m.

 

Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.

Oct. 20

Haiti*

7:30 p.m.

 

RFK Stadium; Washington, D.C.

^ Algarve Cup   *2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship 

CONCACAF WOMEN’S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING HISTORY:

  • The USA is 22-1-0 all-time in CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying.
  • The USA won the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in 1991, 1994, 2002 and 2006. As host, the U.S. WNT did not have to qualify for 1999. The USA played Canada in the championship game of each of those first four tournaments.
  • The USA finished third in 2010 after losing to Mexico, 2-1, in the semifinal and defeating Costa Rica 3-0 in the third-place match.
  • The USA has scored 137 goals in WWC qualifying (an average of 5.8 per game) while allowing 5. 

QUALIFYING FORMAT: The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship features eight countries divided into two groups of four, with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play moving on to the semifinals. All the countries will play one match in each of the three first-round venues. Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas; Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois; and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., will each host two doubleheaders, one each for Groups A and B. PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, will host the semifinals on Oct. 24, along with the third-place and championship games on Oct. 26. The two finalists and the winner of the third-place match will qualify directly for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. The fourth-place team will enter a two-leg playoff against South American third-place finisher Ecuador for a final berth.

CONCACAF VENUE HISTORY: The USA will be familiar with all four venues for the 2014 CONCACAF Championship, having played 15 games in its history at the four stadiums: one at Sporting Park, four at Toyota Park (including a Women’s World Cup playoff match in 2010), eight at RFK Stadium and two at PPL Park. The USA has never lost a match at these venues.

Stadium

City

Record

GF

GA

The Skinny

Sporting Park

Kansas City, Kan.

0-0-1

1

1

Only match; a 1-1 tie with CAN in 2011

Toyota Park

Bridgeview, Ill.

3-0-1

8

2

1-0 win vs. Italy in 2010 sent USA to WWC

RFK Stadium

Washington, D.C.

8-0-0

25

5

Most recent was 7-0 win vs. MEX in 2013

PPL Park

Chester, Pa.

2-0-0

5

2

Both vs. CHN, most recently 4-1 win in 2012

15 IN, 9 TO GO: Switzerland, England, Spain, France, Norway, Germany and Sweden have qualified from Europe for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Scotland will face the Netherlands and Italy takes on the Ukraine in the semifinals of the UEFA playoffs that will produce one more European qualifier. Five teams qualified from the 2014 Asian Women’s Cup – Japan, Australia, China PR, Korea Republic and Thailand. Japan defeated Australia 1-0 in the Asian Cup championship game while China defeated Korea 2-1 for third. Perhaps the biggest news was the qualification of Thailand to its first Women’s World Cup. Thailand defeated host Vietnam 2-1 for fifth place and became the first team to wholly benefit from the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams. In the recently completed South American qualifying tournament, Brazil won the competition with Colombia finishing second and Ecuador third to earn a playoff against the fourth place finisher from CONCACAF. The remaining nine countries will come from Europe (1 more), CONCACAF (3.5), Africa (3), South America (.5) and Oceania (1). The Confederation breakdown of World Cup berths is as follows:

Host:

Canada

CONCACAF

3.5 + host, up from 2.5

Europe

8 total, up from 4.5 + host in 2011

South America

2.5, up from 2

Africa

5 total, up from 3

Oceania

1, same as in 2011

Asia

3 total, up from 2



Johnston Replaces Dunn on U.S. CONCACAF Women’s Championship Roster

CHICAGO (Oct. 14, 2014) – One day before the USA kicks off the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship on Wednesday against Trinidad & Tobago at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas (7:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 2), U.S. head coach Jill Ellis has made a roster change due to injury, replacing defender Crystal Dunn with defender/midfielder Julie Johnston.

An MRI confirmed that Dunn suffered a mild sprain to the medial collateral ligament in her right knee at training last Friday and will be out for 2-4 weeks.

“It’s an unfortunate situation and we definitely feel for Crystal, but we are confident that Julie can come in and contribute to our qualifying campaign,” said Ellis. “She’s a versatile player, she’s been training well and she’s ready to go.”

Johnston, who has four caps, including two appearances this year, was the 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Red Stars and scored her club’s first and last goals of the season.

She was the captain of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan (a team on which Dunn also played a key role) and was awarded the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament, a rare honor for a defender.

Johnston has been training with the U.S. team in Kansas City, Mo., since camp began on Oct. 6.

After the match against T&T, the USA will continue Group A play against Guatemala on Friday, Oct. 17, at 8 p.m. CT (FOX Sports 1) at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, and finish the first round against Haiti on Monday, Oct. 20, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., at 7:30 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1).

Photo Gallery: WNT Completes Sweep of Mexico in Rochester

Photos from the U.S. WNT's second of two matches against Mexico in preparation for the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship.


The 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year  … A member of the full WNT and U-23 WNT player pools … The captain of the U.S. team that won the 2012 U.S. Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … Won the bronze ball as the third-best player in the tournament, a rare honor for a defender … marshaled a U.S. defense that defeated three extremely talented group winners in the knockout rounds of the tournament, downing Korea DPR, Nigeria and Germany in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final, respectively, while allowing just one goal … Started all six games of the U-20 Women’s World Cup and played all but 32 minutes of the tournament  … A member of the team that won the 2012 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship and earned a berth to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … Played in three games in the qualifying tournament and scored three goals, including one in the 4-0 semifinal victory over Mexico that sent the USA to Japan … Scored a goal against Switzerland at the La Manga tournament in Spain this year … Heading into the Women’s World Cup, she has 13 U-20 caps and four goals … Attended U.S. Under-18 Training Camps in 2010 and 2011 … Attended the U.S. Under-14 National Identification Camp in 2006. First cap: None. First goal: None.

Played U-9 through U-12 for Arsenal GSC … Played U-13 through U-19 for Sereno Soccer Club … Won the state title nine times with Sereno Soccer Club … Was the captain at Sereno. 

Full name is Julie Beth Johnston … Nicknames are JJ, Jules, Ju … Majoring in Communications … Enjoys cooking and baking, travelling, hanging out with friends and family and doing Pilates … Favorite foods are almond/peanut butter and chicken … Favorite dessert is anything chocolate … Favorite movies are Bridesmaids, The Notebook, and Superbad … Favorite TV shows are Modern Family and Family Guy … Sister plays Melanie plays soccer at Grand Canyon University … Father David played football at Louisiana State University … She was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the National Honor Society at Dobson HS.

As a junior, and despite missing the team's first seven games while leading the USA to the U-20 Women’s World Cup title, Johnston was a First-Team All-WCC selection while leading the team in goals with eight and points with 21 … She added five assists and had three game-winning goals … She finished second in the conference in goals per game (0.53) and points per game (1.40) … She was named NSCAA First-Team All-American and a MAC Hermann semi-finalist for the second year in a row … As a sophomore, she was a MAC Hermann Trophy Semifinalist, an NSCAA First-Team All-American and All-WCC First-Team … Started all 21 games and led the Broncos with nine goals and four assists... Scored four game winning goals (at Cal Poly, vs. WSU, vs. Cal and vs. Nevada) … As a freshman, named the 2010 WCC Freshman of the Year, Second-Team All-West Region, First-Team Soccer America All-Freshman, Second-Team All-WCC and WCC All-Freshman ... Played in 20 games, starting 16 and totaling 1,519 minutes played ... Led the team with five assists … Opted not to play soccer at Dobson High School, but rather volunteered as a student athletic trainer.

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