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Kealia Ohai

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U.S. U-23 WNT Opens Year with 1-0 Victory against Japan in La Manga, Spain

CHICAGO (March 1, 2014) - The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team won its first match at the Six Nations Tournament in La Manga, Spain, defeating Japan 1-0 on a 56th-minute goal from Kealia Ohai, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2013 NWSL College Draft by the Houston Dash.

In a match that saw a skillful Japan squad dominate possession, the U.S. defense and goalkeeper Abby Smith of the University of Texas held strong to earn the shut-out, while Ohai, who scored the game-winning goal in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Final against Germany, did so again 11 minutes into the second half.

The goal was set up by former Wake Forest star forward Katie Stengel when she dribbled to the right side of the six-yard box, drawing the Japanese goalkeeper out, before squaring to Ohai who scored into the empty net.

The U.S. roster featured six players from the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan, which was coached by current U-23 WNT head coach Steve Swanson. Three more U-23 age-eligible 2012 world champions – midfielders Samantha Mewis and Sarah Killion of UCLA and Morgan Brian of Virginia – are with the full U.S. WNT at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

Swanson’s starting 11 featured seven players who will be playing in the NWSL next season – four 2014 College Draft picks and three one-year veterans – including Meleana Shim of the inaugural-season champion Portland Thorns FC. 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year Erika Tymrak came on at halftime for Stanford’s Chioma Ugobagu.

The USA will continue the competition with matches against the Under-23 teams of Sweden on March 3 and Norway on March 5.

-U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team Match Report-

Match : U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team vs. Japan Under-23 Women’s National Team
Date
: March 1, 2014
Competition
: Six Nations Tournament
Venue
: La Manga Football Centre; La Manga, Spain; Field A
Weather:
64 Degrees

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
JPN                         0 0 0
USA                        0 1 1

USA – Kealia Ohai (Katie Stengel) 56th Minute

Lineups:
USA:
18-Abby Smith; 14-Arin Gilliland, 13-Abby Dahlkemper, 6-Kassey Kallman, 17-Caprice Dydasco; 10-Chioma Ubogagu (15-Erika Tymrak, 46), 9-Meleana Shim (16-Jenna Richmond, 46), 4-Danielle Colaprico (2-Shea Groom, 71); 7-Kealia Ohai; 5-Maya Hayes (22-Jennifer Hoy, 46), 27-Katie Stengel (8-Emily Sonnett, 80)
Substitutes not used: Aubrey Bledsoe, Amanda Frisbie

Head Coach: Steve Swanson

JPN: 1-Rei Takenaka; 11-Yoko Tanaka (13-Mai Kyokawa, 73), 9-Mina Tanaka (15-Kaede Sato, 86), 10-Chinatsu Kira, 8-Hanae Shibata (16-Miki Irie, 78), 12-Saki Ueno (5-Chisato Takamura, 58), 14-Natsuki Yoshimi (6-Chiaki Shimada, 64), 7-Ami Sugita, 2-Saki Ishii, 3-Ruka Norimatsu, 17-Hisui Haza
Substitutes not used: Mana Mihashi, Nene Inoue
Head Coach: Nakamura Jun

Stats Summary: USA / JPN
Shots: 11 / 9
Shots on Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 2 / 5
Fouls: 3 / 9
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct:
USA – Danielle Colaprico (caution) 35th minute

Officials:
Referee: Marte Soro (NOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Birgitta Solberg (NOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Sonia Khan (NOR)
Fourth Official: T. Christensen (DEN)

U.S. U-23 WNT to Open Year in La Manga, Spain, with Three International Matches

CHICAGO (Feb. 21, 2014) – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team will open its 2014 campaign with a challenging trip to La Manga, Spain, for the Six Nations Tournament running from Feb. 24-March 6. The USA will play three international matches, facing the U-23 sides of Japan (March 1), Sweden (March 3) and Norway (March 5).

U.S. head coach Steven Swanson will bring a 20-player roster to Spain featuring a mix of young pros and top collegiate players. Swanson named nine NWSL players, six that are heading into their rookie season and three that played in the league last year in Meleana Shim (Portland Thorns FC), Jennifer Hoy (Chicago Red Stars) and Erika Tymrak (NWSL Rookie of the Year with FC Kansas City). Tymrak just completed a three-week stint with the senior Women’s National team and currently has three caps and one goal for Tom Sermanni’s team.

The roster includes four first round picks from the 2014 NWSL Draft including No. 2 overall in forward Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), No. 5 in defender Kassey Kallman (FC Kansas City), No. 6 in forward Maya Hayes (Sky Blue FC) and No. 7 in defender Amanda Frisbie (Seattle Reign FC). Additional draftees include: midfielder Jenna Richmond, who went in the second round at No. 16 overall to FC Kansas City and midfielder Frances Silva who was the first pick of the third round, going No. 19 overall to FC Kansas City.

The roster also includes five members of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan: Ohai (who scored the game-winner in the World Cup Final), Kallman, Hayes, Texas goalkeeper Abby Smith and Stanford forward Chioma Ubogagu.

The remainder of the roster is completed by some of the top collegians in the country, including 2013 MAC Hermann Trophy finalist Abby Dahlkemper of UCLA.

The U.S. U-23 WNT will be followed into La Manga by the U.S. U-18 Women’s National Team, which will play international matches there on March 8, 10 and 12.

U.S. U-23 WNT Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2):
Aubrey Bledsoe (Wake Forest; Cincinnati, Ohio), Abby Smith (Texas; Dallas, Texas)
DEFENDERS (6):
Abby Dahlkemper (UCLA; Menlo Park, Calif.), Amanda Frisbie (Seattle Reign FC; McKinney, Texas), Arin Gilliland (Kentucky; Lexington, Ky.), Jaelene Hinkle (Texas Tech; Castle Rock, Colo.), Kassey Kallman (FC Kansas City; Woodbury, Minn.), Emily Sonnett (Virginia; Marietta, Ga.)
MIDFIELDERS (6):
Danielle Colaprico (Virginia; Freehold, N.J.), Caprice Dydasco (UCLA; Honolulu, Hawaii), Jenna Richmond (FC Kansas City; Centreville, Va.), Meleana Shim (Portland Thorns FC; Honolulu, Hawaii), Frances Silva (FC Kansas City; Overland Park, Kan.); Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City; Bradenton, Fla.)
FORWARDS (6):
Shea Groom (Texas A&M; Liberty, Mo.), Maya Hayes (Sky Blue FC; West Orange, N.J.), Jennifer Hoy (Chicago Red Stars; Sellersville, Pa.), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash; Draper, Utah), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest; West Melbourne, Fla.), Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford; Coppell, Texas)

Voting Begins for 2012 Female and Young Female Athlete of the Year Awards

CHICAGO (Nov. 26, 2012) – U.S. Soccer has announced the opening of polls for the 2012 Female and Young Female Athlete of the Year awards. Fans can vote for finalists in each category on U.S. Soccer’s Facebook page throughout the week. The winners will be announced Monday, Dec. 3.

Vote Now on U.S. Soccer’s Official Page on Facebook
• Read ussoccer.com Bios Athlete of the Year Nominees: Female | Young Female

The list of Female Athlete of the Year finalists includes three previous winners: midfielder Carli Lloyd (2008), goalkeeper Hope Solo (2009) and Abby Wambach (2003, 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2011). The past winners are joined by first-time nominees midfielder Megan Rapinoe and forward Alex Morgan.

Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, defender Crystal Dunn, defender Julie Johnston and forward Kealia Ohai all earn their first nominations for Young Female Athlete of the Year. Nominees must be age eligible for any of the Youth National Teams and can only win the award once in their career.

The U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year awards are the oldest and most prestigious awards of their kind, dating back to 1984 for the men and 1985 for the women, while the Young Male and Young Female awards were added in 1998. This was the first year U.S. Soccer named a Disabled Athlete of the Year.

Earlier this month Clint Dempsey was named 2012 Male Athlete of the Year and Rubio Rubin named Young Male Athlete of the Year. Felicia Schroeder earned the 2012 Disabled Athlete of the Year award.

Online votes for the Athlete of the Year awards are equivalent to 50 percent of the total votes. As in years past, the other 50 percent will be represented by votes compiled from members of the national media and U.S. Soccer representatives (from National Team coaches to the National Board of Directors).

U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year Finalists
Carli Lloyd, Midfielder
Alex Morgan, Forward
Megan Rapinoe, Midfielder
Hope Solo, Goalkeeper
Abby Wambach, Forward

U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year Finalists
Jane Campbell, Goalkeeper
Vanessa DiBernardo, Midfielder
Crystal Dunn, Defender
Julie Johnston, Defender
Kealia Ohai, Forward

World Cup Final Quote Sheet: U-20 WNT vs. Germany

U.S. U-20 WNT vs. Germany
2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup – Final
Tokyo National Stadium; Tokyo, Japan
Sept. 8, 2012

U.S. head coach STEVE SWANSON
On the resilience of the U.S. team:
“Obviously, we are thrilled. What a great performance by the team. I would say that this is a reflection of many people’s efforts and we just have a very together team. We faced some adversity in group play, but I think true to this team’s nature they really rebounded well, learned lessons and put it all out there tonight.”

On how wining the World Cup was a team effort:
“I look around our program and I see a very committed and hard-working group. We’re a team all the way through. We have a wonderful coaching staff that works together extremely well. We have a wonderful team who doesn’t care who gets credit. It’s about success, it’s about performing and it’s about winning and I think our character showed through tonight. Our team was very strong and together and that made the difference.”

On the organization of the World Cup:
“Japan did a wonderful job organizing this tournament and there was tremendous atmosphere out there tonight. I am very grateful for everything this organizing committee put together to create this tremendous World Cup.”

On what tactics changed from the game against Germany in group play:
“I think we felt in the first game we played a little too central. We felt there was some space on the flanks we could exploit. We wanted to get Maya (Hayes) into some space and I thought she did a good job staying wide and looking for runs in behind and we felt there was some space in there last game that we didn’t take advantage of as much as we could have. We looked to penetrate a little more than we did in the first game which I think helped us. From the coaches perspective, we wanted to use the width a little more and get behind their back line a little bit more.”

On the U.S. team playing some excellent skillful soccer throughout the tournament:
“The kind of programming we have put in place has really emphasized the technical side. Certainly I think we can be better overall, but I think it has improved a great deal in the U.S. Hopefully you could see a determination by our team to play, to try to possess the ball and build attacks. We’ve made that a priority with this team. It’s a challenge for our country that we are working on and something that we are emphasizing.”

On learning from each game:
“We did have a lot of difficult games and it speaks to the competitiveness of the tournament and the game worldwide that there are no longer just a few teams that can compete here and I think that’s great for the women’s game overall. One thing about our team is that they are good students. They learn. They play hard together, they have a great resolve, but I think the biggest thing for us and what separated us, is that we applied the lessons from previous games and I think you need to do that in a tournament like this.”

On learning from the other teams in the tournament:
“I think there are a lot of things our team and our country can take away from this tournament in terms of the areas we can improve on. There are still some things we can get better at and I think we are striving for that. I think our youth national teams are set up right now so there is a vision and a philosophy that permeates all the programs. That was needed and that will help us even more now. The technical side is an area we can get better at and there are a lot of things we can learn from Nigeria, from Germany and from Japan, which had a wonderful, technical and organized team. Hopefully, the other countries can take some things from our team as well.”

On how losing to Germany in group play motivated the players:
“The thing you have to understand about American teams and American players is there’s nothing better for our players than to come up with a challenge. We were beaten in that first game against Germany and I think our players had it in their minds to get after it this game. We knew that we played well against Germany but that the result didn’t go like we wanted. I think there were a lot of positives to be taken from that first game Germany game and to be able to play them again to have the mentality our players had made a big difference.”

On the USA’s defense throughout the Women’s World Cup:
“Our defense really improved throughout the tournament. In these last three games they deserved an awful lot of credit. To play the three group winners and come out with a victory in each game says a lot about our team, but especially our defense. I thought they were magnificent and I include our goalkeeper in that. One of the things that is tough to do against the Germans, and certainly the Nigerians because they are so fast, is just to stay compact. I felt that in the first game against Germany we got a little stretched in the second half and they are very good at exploiting space and that was something we talked about at the beginning of the game and at halftime. They have some very good attacking players and they really push the line and at times our defense got stretched a little bit, but our midfield worked really hard to compensate and I thought we got a great effort from our forwards as well so we needed everyone to play well and play hard defensive and we got that and I think that was a key to our win.”

U.S. defender CRYSTAL DUNN

On rebounding from some adversity early on in the tournament:

“We had some struggles in the beginning and that could have easily broken us, but I think coming out of group play we had to learn from our mistakes and I think they really gave us a push through the quarters to the semis to the final.”

On Germany starting all of its matches strong:
“We knew Germany is a high-pressing team and off the bat, we knew they would push in the first 30 minutes we had to handle it. We got the goal at the end of the first half really settled us down, kept us focus and we held them off until the end of the game.”

On getting forward into the attack and setting up the game-winning goal:
“I like to wait for my chances. I’m an outside back so I have to stay connected with my back line, but if I see some space there I am going to take it. On the goal, I saw the defender kind of isolated and her nearest cover was kind of far back so I took her on and once I got past her I just tried to find one of our players in the box.”

On lessons learned from facing Germany in group play:
“We all felt good coming into the game. We knew what Germany was about. Playing them in group play obviously gave us a good perspective of what they can bring. Yes we lost 3-0, and it was very shocking to us, but we learned from our mistakes. Just marking tight in the box and not letting them get any chances they didn’t really deserve.”

On the USA scoring the first and only goal Germany gave up in the tournament:
“We knew going into this game they had not given up a goal, so they defensively they were very organized and compact and we had to find ways in and around their back line, so it was a great feeling scoring on them.”

U.S. defender JULIE JOHNSTON

On the rematch with Germany:
“We had one goal, and that was to win. This was a team that was standing in the way. We had to play smart, but we knew their tendencies, we knew how they played and how they scored on us (in group play). It was our job to play better than we did before and I think that showed.”

On the match:
“We knew Germany was never going to let up. They are a team that never stops working hard and we need to match them or do better. We came in to the game with heart, with a passion for our sport and gave it everything we had.”

U.S. forward KEALIA OHAI

On the support the full U.S. WNT has shown for the U-20s through emails, tweets and videos:
“It’s been incredible to watch the full team win the Olympics. They are our idols and we look up to them so much. Being in this tournament and getting so much support from them has been a dream.”

On scoring the winning goal:
“They’re really tough on defense and their goalie is incredible so it was an honor to be able to play in that game and score that goal.”

On lessons learned from the group play:
“Our group was really tough, so coming out of that, we realized that we needed to fix some things, mostly psychologically. We also need to fix our shape and some other things, but I think that loss really helped us.”

On the importance of getting the first goal against Germany:
“One of our biggest points was that they’ve never been down. We’ve been tied, we’ve been down and we’ve had to fight our back. You don’t know how you will react to that until you’ve been in that situation so we felt if we could score a goal, they’ve never been in that spot, so scoring the first goal was really big. In the second half they were coming hard so we knew we just needed to weather the storm because they’re front-runners are really good and our goalie came up huge.”

On the team’s belief heading into the Women’s World Cup Final:
“We believed we would win. Going into the game, we didn’t care if they beat us 3-0 or they were better than us, today they’re not going to beat us. We truly believed that going in and that’s one of the reasons we ended up winning the whole thing.”

On the team’s experience in Japan:
“It was an amazing experience and we’ve learned so much about this culture and we are so honored to be able to play here in Japan. It means the world to us.”

On the journey to the Women’s World Cup title:
“It’s been incredible. It’s been a long journey. We’ve been together a year and half, but everything is worth it. All of our sacrifices, all the beep tests, it’s just hard to describe in words.”

On her goal:
“I saw Crystal taking it down the flank and I knew she would get something off so in my head I was thinking, ‘you’ve got to get in the box.’ I sprinted as fast as I could, got in the box, it went past Stengel and I shot it and I just couldn’t believe it.”

U.S. goalkeeper BRYANE HEABERLIN

On the last 30 minutes when Germany was pushing hard for an equalizer:
“That last half hour was crazy. They were coming at us, shooting the ball, crossing the ball, and my defenders were sliding all over the place, heading the ball away. They came up big and we pulled through it.”

On the match:
“Germany hadn’t given up a goal the whole tournament so I am so proud of the forwards that scored a goal, but to not let Germany score in a full 90 minutes after they beat us 3-0 in group play. I am so proud of our backs. They’re my girls.”

On what she did at the final whistle:
“I have envisioned that moment in my head so many times and I never really knew what I would do. I kind of saw myself with my arms in the air running around, but I just jumped on my center-back because she played awesome. Then we dog-piled. It was awesome.”

U.S. midfielder MORGAN BRIAN

On winning the U-20 Women’s World Cup:
“It was more than I’ve ever dreamed about. Once we got on that podium and got handed the medal it all became so real.”

On getting another crack at Germany:
“Going into group play we hadn’t played them since last year and I think we were kind of surprised and made some mistakes, but we fixed them this time and won when it mattered.”

On the tactics for the Final:
“We wanted to turn their backs and beat them on the outside and that’s what happened on the goal.”

On the journey to winning the U-20 Women’s World Cup:
“It’s been an amazing journey. We’ve put a lot of effort into it and I love this team and I love these girls.”

U-20 WNT Crowned 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Champions with 1-0 Victory in Tokyo, Japan

  • U.S. Captures Third U-20 World Cup Crown, Blanks Defending Champion
  • Kealia Ohai Scores Game-Winning Goal in 44th Minute, Her Second of the Tournament After Also Scoring in Semifinal
  • U.S. captain Julie Johnston Wins Bronze Ball as Tournament’s Third Best Player
  • USA Ends Germany’s Record Shutout Streak at 610 Minutes

TOKYO, Japan (Sept. 8, 2012) – The United States defeated defending champion Germany 1-0 in front of 31,114 fans to capture the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup on Saturday.

The match marked the first time ever that the USA and Germany – two long time women’s soccer powers – had met in the final of a world championship tournament.

Forward Kealia Ohai scored in the 44th minute to end Germany’s record shutout streak and it held up as the game-winner that earned the Americans their third World Cup crown in this tournament’s history. The U.S. won the first-ever FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup Final against Canada in 2002 and captured the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR.

Ohai’s goal, which came at the perfect time to give the USA momentum heading into the locker room at halftime, was created by U.S. right back Crystal Dunn who maneuvered down the right flank before cutting past Germany’s Annabel Jaeger to the inside. Dunn powered in front of the German defender and then took a hard touch to the end line before cutting a cross back into the seam to the middle of the penalty box.

The ball initially looked like it would roll to U.S. forward Katie Stengel, but it got past her and Ohai was on the spot to bend a perfect 12-yard shot into the left side netting past Germany goalkeeper Laura Benkarth. Ohai’s effort in running at the Germany back line while also sprinting all over the field to defend was inspirational and her performance was worthy of a game-winning goal.

That goal put an end to Germany’s record shutout streak at 610 minutes and it was the first and only goal Germany conceded during the tournament. The victory also reversed a 3-0 loss to Germany that the USA suffered in the final match of group play and completed a trifecta of victories over group winners in all of the knockout round games.

The USA defeated Group C winner Korea DPR in the quarterfinal, Group B winner Nigeria in the semifinal and Group C champs Germany in the final.

The Germans had scored three or more goals in four of their previous five games, with a 1-0 victory over Ghana during group play the closest a team had gotten thus far. The 2010 U-20 WWC champions reeled off a 4-0 victory against China and a 3-0 win against the USA in group play, a 4-0 victory against Norway in the quarterfinals and a 3-0 win against Japan in the semifinal.

U.S. head coach Steve Swanson made one change to his starting lineup from the quarterfinal and semifinal, inserting Stengel at center-forward in place of Kelly Cobb and the powerful striker did well to hold the ball up top for the USA before being replaced by Chioma Ubogagu on the hour mark.

Once again the USA’s center-midfield of Sarah Killion, Vanessa DiBernardo and Morgan Brian were superb in setting the rhythm of the U.S. attack while also helping keep the talented Germans at bay. The trio cut off and won a slew of German passes during the 90 minutes. In the 68th minute, Hayes – who put in some hard running during her time on the field despite feeling a bit ill before the match – was replaced by Samantha Mewis and the tall midfielder was once again exquisite in her role while helping keep possession, win tackles and secure the victory.

Germany showed some excellent moments in the attack on the night, but the Americans put together a tremendous defensive effort led by captain Julie Johnston – who won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament -- and goalkeeper Bryane Heaberlin. The Germans fired 17 shots to the USA’s nine, but most were from distance and put just five on goal, all of which were saved by Heaberlin.

Johnston’s center-back partner Cari Roccaro was tremendous all night in covering German passes at the USA’s restraining lines while proving unbeatable in one-on-one challenges. Outside backs Dunn and Mollie Pathman were stellar in shutting down Germany’s potency from the flanks. The U.S. backs came up with quite a few timely and brave clearances, especially in the latter part of the match as the Germans pressed hard into the attack.

As Germany went all out for an equalizer in the second half, the Americans countered extremely well and came close on several occasions to getting a second goal. In the 87th minute, Ohai beat Benkarth to a through ball and rounded the ‘keeper, but her touch took her too deep and a defender was able to recover. Ubogagu also had a late chance on a breakaway that was deflected over the crossbar for a corner kick.

Heaberlin saved her best game for the final and earned her third shutout of the tournament. In the 72nd minute, she pushed Leonie Maier’s strike from way out onto the crossbar as it was headed for the upper right corner. Heaberlin also had several clutch saves in the closing minutes including a lunging stop to her right on a Lina Magull shot in the 89th minute. One minute into stoppage time, she snagged a pile-driver from Maier that was headed into the upper right corner as the ball stuck in her gloves.

Magull had an excellent chance to draw Germany level with the last kick of the match, but Heaberlin remained cool to produce a crucial sprawling save to the lower left corner.

Seconds later, the final whistle blew and the Americans were world champions.

Additional Notes:

  • Kealia Ohai became the seventh woman to score a winning goal in the run of play in Women’s World Cup or Olympic Final, joining Michelle Akers (1991 WWC), Tiffeny Milbrett (1996 Olympics), Lindsay Tarpley (2002 U-19 WWC), Alex Morgan (2004 U-20 WWC), Abby Wambach (2004 Olympics), and Carli Lloyd (2008 and 2012 Olympics). Of course Brandi Chastain scored the winning penalty kick in the 1999 WWC.
  • Maya Hayes made her team-leading 43rd career U-20 appearance on Saturday.
  • Five U.S. players scored in the 2012 U-20 Women’s World Cup: Hayes (4), Kealia Ohai (2), Vanessa DiBernardo (1), Chioma Ubogagu (1) and Morgan Brian (1).
  • Mandy Laddish was the USA’s final sub of the game, coming on for Killion in the 89th minute.
  • Earlier in the day, host Japan defeated Nigeria 2-1 to win the third-place match with Asuka Nishikawa’s 50th-minute goal proving to be the game-winner.
  • Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsan was the Golden Ball winner as the tournament’s best player. Japan’s Hanae Shibata won the Silver Ball.
  • Kim Un Hwa of North Korea won the Golden Boot with seven goals in just four games. Yoko Tanaka of Japan won the Silver Boot with six goals and two assists and Lena Letzen of Germany won the Bronze Boot with six goals.
  • Germany’s Laura Benkarth won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper in the tournament and Japan won the Fair Play Award.
  • The 2012 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup begins in two weeks in Azerbaijan and the USA will face France, Gambia and Korea DPR in Group B play.

- U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: United States U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Germany
Date: Sept. 8, 2012
Competition: 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup; Final
Venue: Tokyo National Stadium; Tokyo, Japan
Kickoff: 6:20 a.m. ET (7:20 p.m. local)
Attendance: 31,114
Weather: 80 degrees, hot and humid

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                            1          0          1
GER                            0          0          0

USA – Kealia Ohai (Crystal Dunn)                44th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Bryane Heaberlin; 4-Crystal Dunn, 8-Julie Johnston (capt.), 3-Cari Roccaro, 2-Mollie Pathman; 16-Sarah Killion (14-Mandy Laddish, 89), 10-Vanessa DiBernardo, 6-Morgan Brian; 7-Kealia Ohai, 12-Katie Stengel (9-Chioma Ubogagu, 60), 5-Maya Hayes (13-Samantha Mewis, 68)
Subs not used: 11-Becca Wann, 15-Kassey Kallman, 17-Taylor Schram, 18-Abby Smith, 19-Stephanie Amack, 20-Kelly Cobb,  21-Jami Kranich
Head Coach: Steve Swanson

GER: 1-Laura Benkarth; 2-Leonie Maier, 4-Jennifer Cramer, 5-Luisa Wensing, 6-Kathrin Hendrich (20-Lina Magull, 66); 7-Annabel Jaeger, 8-Melanie Leupolz (18-Silvana Chojnowski, 78); 16-Anja Hegenauer (3-Carolin Simon, 59), 10-Ramona Petzelberger (capt.), 11-Lena Lotzen; 14-Dzsenifer Marozsan
Subs not used: 9-Nicole Rolser, 12-Meike Kaemper, 13-Sophie Howard, 15-Karoline Heinze, 17-Katharina Leiding, 19-Marie Pyko, 21-Anke Preub
Head Coach: Maren Meinert

Stats Summary: USA / GER
Shots: 9 / 17
Shots on Goal: 4 / 5
Saves: 5 / 3
Corner Kicks: 6 / 12
Fouls: 5 / 6
Offside: 2 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
None

Officials:
Referee: Pernilla Larsson (SWE)
Assistant Referee 1: Maria Sukenikova (SVK)
Assistant Referee 2: Sanja Rodak (CRO)
Fourth Official: Nami Sato (JPN)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match:
Julie Johnston

Pretty Name, Dynamic Game

She hails from a land-locked state and is more used to seeing mountains than the ocean. Although the biggest body of water near her is filled with salt, there are no sea creatures. And she owns a snowboard, not a surfboard.

Still, Kealia Ohai’s name evokes images of white sand, crashing waves, swaying palm trees and light tropical breezes.

The Salt Lake City, Utah, native, whose name is pronounced Kay-LEE-uh, is named after a beach on one of the most stunningly beautiful islands in perhaps the USA’s most beautiful state, Hawaii.

Ohai’s father, Ben, was born in Hawaii. He moved to California when he was 10 and then later attended BYU (he was on the wrestling team), where he met her mother, Cindy, and he gave the third of their four daughters a name that is an ode to his upbringing.

“I always joke with my parents because I used to be mad at them for naming me something that is so hard to pronounce,” said Ohai, whose sisters Cambria, Megan (who won an NCAA soccer title at USC in 2007) and Aubrey got off a bit easier. “It was embarrassing as a little kid because no one, especially my teachers, could say my name correctly, but I’ve grown to love it. Nowadays, if someone struggles, I just skip the awkwardness and say, ‘just call me K.’”

Kealia Beach is on the northeast side of Kauai, a small but popular spot for surfers and boogie boarders. In the winter, it can have powerful waves, strong currents and a nasty riptide.

Kealia the person and the player shares some of the same qualities with her namesake half-mile stretch of sand. Off the field, she’s got a Hawaiian attitude, easy going and carefree. On the field, she more resembles the crashing surf, running the wings for the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team with tremendous speed and intensity, eager to initiate wave after wave of attacks at the opponent’s goal.

“When I’m not playing soccer I’m more relaxed and usually go with the flow,” said Ohai, a 5-foot-5 bundle of energy who grew up in Draper, Utah, a suburb 20 minutes from Salt Lake City. “I’m not shy and I like to have fun, but I don’t get too stressed about too many things. I’m not bouncing off the walls. But in a game, I’m not the type of player that is going to calm us down and slow the game down. I’m more intense and I go crazy a little bit.”

Just like the waves at Kealia Beach.

Ohai has been a part of the U.S. National Team programs since she was 13. She was in the player pool for the 2008 cycle for the U-17s and the 2010 cycle for the U-20s, yet this is her first youth World Cup.

“I’ve come up through the ranks with these girls, but for this cycle I really wanted to step up and be a big personality on the field,” said Ohai. “I just felt like this was my time. You don’t get to play in a World Cup very often and I really wanted to have this experience. At the beginning of this cycle, I knew I wanted to be here, hopefully start and make an impact.”

So far, it’s been educational, exciting and pretty much an amazing experience for the rising junior at North Carolina.

“I expected it to be a lot different than any other games I’ve played, but you never know until you are here,” said Ohai. “I’ve played quite a few international matches, but nothing like this. It’s just awesome. It’s so different playing at a level where every team and every defender is going to be good. It really challenges you as a player.”

Like many of the U.S. U-20s, Ohai has aspirations of playing professional soccer and getting a shot with the full team one day and understands how invaluable this opportunity can be to play in a youth World Cup. These FIFA youth tournaments helped launched the careers of 2012 Olympic gold medalists Heather O’Reilly, Rachel Buehler, Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Amy Rodriguez, Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Cheney, among numerous others.

“It’s been a really good experience to try to prepare myself for later down the road,” said Ohai, who had an assist via crosses in each of the first two group matches. “I want to take the next steps in soccer, and it’s an experience like nothing you could have with college or club. Every game and every point are important. You have to be ready to play 90 minutes and you just have to be here to understand the level and the intensity. I’ve heard (youth World Cup veterans) Crystal (Dunn) and Sam (Mewis) tell us how different it is, but you have to be in the moment to understand. It’s a different world.”

Ohai went east to Chapel Hill for college, farther away from Hawaii, but she’s looking forward to the day when she can get back to the islands, as her aunt and cousins still live on Kauai.

“I haven’t been back in a few years, because the summers have been just too busy,” said Ohai. “But I definitely want to go back again soon.”

As she has in the past, she’ll go sit on Kealia Beach, collect a bit of sand and take in the tranquility. That is, until the waves start crashing. Then perhaps she’ll be inspired to get out a ball and engage her cousins in a game of beach soccer, and no doubt Kealia will score a goal at Kealia Beach.

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 four matches at qualifying (240 minutes total), starting three and scored one goal with two assists while setting up both goals in the 2-1 comeback victory over Canada in the championship game ... Scored two goals against Switzerland and one goal against Norway in at the La Manga tournament in Spain in February ... Scored against New Zealand in May ... Was a part of the U.S. Under-18s in 2010 ... A member of the U.S. Under-17s in 2010 ... Also played for the U.S. Under-15s in 2007.

Full name is Kealia Mae Ohai … Nickname is Kea or K … Her name is of Hawaiian origins (her father Ben grew up in Hawaii) and there is a beach on the island of Kauai named Kealia … As a freshman, she was also named to the All-ACC Academic Team and honored on the 2010-11 ACC Academic Honor Roll … Enjoys reading, cooking, and baking … Her specialties are desserts and especially red velvet cake … Loves to watch movies … Favorite movies are A Knight’s Tale, Just Friends, and Sex and the City … Favorite TV shows are Revenge and Vampire Diaries … Sister Megan was a part of the University of Southern California women’s soccer team that won the NCAA title in 2007 … Favorite foods are sushi, steak, and crab legs … Likes listening to The Killers, Tegan and Sara, and The xx.

Played and started 20 games as a sophomore for UNC while scoring six goals and with six assists … Named First-Team All-ACC as a freshman at UNC  when she played in all 24 games with 22 starts and led UNC in goals with 14 … Voted to the ACC All-Freshman Team … Also earned First-Team Soccer America All-Freshman Team honors … Was Parade All-American at Alta High School … She was also named NSCAA All-American, NSCAA High School Player of the Year, and Gatorade Player of the Year for Utah … She was the Division 5A MVP … Won the Utah state championship all four years of high school... Club: Played from U-11 through the present time for the Utah Avalanche … Won the state title four times.
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