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Katie Naughton

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U.S. U-20 WNT Heads to Olympic Training Center as 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Prep Continues

CHICAGO (April 4, 2014) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has called 25 players to a camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., running from April 13-20. It will be the USA’s third-to-last domestic camp before the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup takes place in Canada in August.

The USA will have a domestic camp in May at the OTC, followed by trip to Europe in June and then a final domestic training camp in July before heading to Canada where it will face Germany, Ghana and Brazil in Group B play. The 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup runs from Aug. 5-24 in Edmonton, Moncton, Montreal and Toronto.

French has called up most of the usual core of regulars, but is giving several players first looks as she continues to formulate the roster ahead of the World Cup. Forward Lindsey Horan, the USA’s only professional player who is currently playing her trade at Paris Saint-Germain in France, was not made available for the camp due to club commitments.

The U-20s will play two scrimmages on Saturday, April 19, against college teams, taking on UCLA at 12:30 p.m. PT followed by USC at 2:30 p.m. PT.

Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1994, are age-eligible for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (4):
Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.), Madalyn Schiffel (USF; Citrus Heights, Calif.), Morgan Stearns (Virginia; San Antonio, Texas)
DEFENDERS (8):
Brittany Basinger (Penn State; Purcellville, Va.), Maddie Bauer (Stanford; Newport Beach, Calif.), Christina Gibbons (Duke; Raleigh, N.C.), Laura Liedle (Stanford; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Notre Dame; Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Kaleigh Riehl (BRYC; Fairfax Station, Va.) Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (6):
Morgan Andrews (Notre Dame; Milford, N.H.), Carlyn Baldwin (BRYC; Oakton, Va.), Rachel Hill (UConn; Rollinsford, N.H.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Liz Slattery (Florida; Cincinnati, Ohio)
FORWARDS (7):
Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Summer Green (North Carolina; Milford, Mich.), Darian Jenkins (UCLA; Riverton, Utah), Savannah Jordan (Florida; Fayetteville, Ga.), McKenzie Meehan (Boston College; Scituate, R.I.), Margaret Purce (Harvard; Silver Spring, Md.), Rebecca Rasmussen (Georgia; Golden, Colo.)

U-20 WNT’s Naughton Defending a Tradition

Defender Katie Naughton takes pride in her position on the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team. For inspiration and a visual picture of what it takes to play center back at the highest levels, she looks to a role model who has done it all.

At first glance, U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team defender Katie Naughton and U.S. WNT captain Christie Rampone have little in common.

Naughton (pronounced Nawt-IN), a 19-year-old out of Elk Grove Village, Ill., is just starting her career and is looking to qualify for her first World Cup at any level. Rampone, one of the legendary players in women’s soccer history, is the most-capped active player in the world with 287 games and is still going strong as she works toward her remarkable fifth Women’s World Cup tournament.

But if you look a little deeper, you will see that both are the oldest players on their respective national teams, both are center backs and leaders, and you can surely draw a line from Rampone back to Naughton, a thread that has pulled the young player along to achieve her soccer dreams.

Most importantly, Rampone is Naughton’s favorite player, her soccer role model and her inspiration to achieve her highest level in the game.

“She’s been through pretty much everything a soccer player can possibly experience,” said Naughton. “Her career has just been amazing. Her composure and leadership on the field and her knowledge of the game is just unparalleled. It’s really an honor to wear the same jersey as she does and even be a part of the same culture that she is.”

Naughton is coming off two excellent seasons at Notre Dame where she stepped right into the starting lineup as a freshman and has played all 45 matches of her career so far. Unlike Rampone, who didn’t have the benefit of youth national teams when she was growing up on the Jersey Shore, Naughton has come up through the U.S. system, playing with the USA at the U-15, U-17 and U-18 levels before becoming a consistent call-up to the U-20s during this cycle.

Naughton is grateful for every training session she gets with the national teams as she understands the fine line a center back must navigate and how hard it is to make the right choices at the right times.

“I think the biggest challenges of playing center back are the tactics of the game,” said Naughton, who will be the first member of her national team to turn 20 when her birthday comes along in February. “You have to have a feel for the game to know when is the right moment to step up, drop or hold the line and help dictate the movement of the midfield. You’re trying to keep everything organized for 90 minutes.”

That philosophy is one of the reasons Naughton admires Rampone so much and why she focuses on her movement every time she gets to watch the U.S. National Team perform.

“I almost wish Christie had a microphone on her during the games so I could learn from her words on the field,” said Naughton. “You can tell by her body language that she’s in control. She’s pointing or using her arms to push the team up the field, and she always works to have her feet in the right position to defend. It’s just little things like that that make a big difference.”

One thing Naughton has that Rampone doesn’t is tremendous height. At 5-foot-10, the Sockers FC product is excellent in the air and wins more than a lion’s share of head balls in the back. Although like Rampone, Naughton understands the importance of having a presence and being a leader.

“Back in the middle of your defense, you see everything that is going on in a game, so it’s your job to direct the players in front of you,” she said. “Along with the goalkeeper, you are the eyes of the team in the back, and having that perspective, you can use your voice to encourage everyone to be in the right spots and work as hard as they can.”

Rampone concurs.

“As a center back, being a leader is all in your delivery,” said Rampone, who has been watching the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship while the WNT is in camp. “When you finally get to know the game at the highest level and get confident in communicating with your teammates, it’s all in the delivery and your body language. You never want to be panicked. You always want to project confidence, and that helps your teammates perform better.”

So far in the Cayman Islands, Naughton has been performing well. She played all 120 minutes in the first two games and is trying to soak up everything about the experience of playing for her country in a qualifying competition.

“I think the experience is an honor in itself,” Naughton said. “Being here is a glimpse into what a future professional career could possibly look like, and you really start to focus on everything that it takes to make it to the top levels. It’s not just the soccer, but all the other little things to take into account. You have to be conscious of your nutrition, what you are doing during down time, getting your rest and making sure you’re doing all those things to the best of your ability so when the moment comes that you need to perform for the team you’re ready.”

Naughton has never met Rampone, although she hopes to one day. But if she could ask the U.S. veteran one question, what would it be?

“I would ask her what was the most pivotal time of her soccer career,” said Naughton. “I would love to talk to her about when she realized or had the confidence to know that this is what she wanted to do and had the ability to make it happen.”

For that answer, we go to Rampone herself.

“I probably knew I could play at this level in about my third camp in with my national team, but it was also readily apparent at that time that it would take a lot of work,” said Rampone. “I knew I had the physical ability, but I was going to need to get a lot fitter and more confident in my playing style. After transitioning from forward to the back line, and after the experience of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, that’s when I set my focus to making it happen.”

Rampone is pulling for her younger “sisters” as she most recently watched the USA’s 3-0 victory against Jamaica from the U.S. WNT camp in Los Angeles.

“Once you have that experience of a major tournament like a World Cup, it changes your focus and mindset,” Rampone said. “That’s why it’s so important for our U-20s to qualify for the World Cup and for Katie to get that experience. Once you’ve had a taste of being successful at that highest level, now it’s a matter of having the mentality to keep it going.”

And that’s the goal of Naughton and her teammates: to keep it going all the way to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. After all, there will always be chances for young players on the full National Team down the line. Rampone can’t play forever. Or can she?

French Names 20-Player U.S. Roster for 2014 CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands

CHICAGO (Dec. 23, 2013) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has named the 20-player roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, to be held from Jan. 9-19 in George Town, Cayman Islands.

The roster consists of 18 collegiate players, one professional and one player still in high school. The lone professional player is forward Lindsey Horan of French club Paris Saint-Germain, while midfielder Andi Sullivan from Bethesda SC is the youngest player on the roster, having just turned 18. Players born on or after January 1, 1994, are eligible for the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup.

“At every position, we feel these players are technically proficient and possess a great understanding of how we want to play in order to be successful as a team,” said French. "We have players with very unique qualities ranging from creative and effective finishers, to players who are threatening with their dynamic movement in the midfield, to players who are defensively strong and physical in one-on-one situations. Our overall athleticism will be another strength of this team.”

The 2014 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada.

The USA opens Group A play on Thurs., Jan. 9, against Costa Rica, faces Jamaica on Sat., Jan. 11, and finishes the group against Guatemala on Mon., Jan. 13. The winner of Group A will meet the Group B runner-up, and vice versa, in the semifinal matches on Fri., Jan. 17, and the Championship and Third-Place Matches will take place on Jan. 19. All three of the USA's group games kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and the tournament will be played entirely at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

“The process of narrowing the roster down to twenty players was extremely difficult,” said French, who saw 45 players in game action this year with the U-20s and many more during college matches this fall. “With such a short amount of time following the college season and before qualifying, it was crucial to find the right mix of players that complement each other's personalities on and off the field.”

Additional Notes:

  • Host Cayman Islands, Honduras, Trinidad & Tobago and Mexico are in Group B.
  • French, a member of the USA’s silver medal winning team at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, became head coach of this age group last February and will be coaching in her first qualifying tournament.
  • Eight players on the roster have played two years of college soccer, while 10 recently completed their freshman season.
  • Two players are from the 2013 NCAA Champion UCLA Bruins in goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland and midfielder Lauren Kaskie.
  • Four players are represented from Stanford University in Amack, goalkeeper Jane Campbell, former U-17 co-captain Maddie Bauer and outside back Laura Liedle.
  • Notre Dame has three players – Roccaro, former U-17 captain Morgan Andrews and defender Katie Naughton.
  • Penn State has two in defender Brittany Basinger and forward Mallory Webber. Naughton is the oldest player on the roster as she will turn 20 in February.
  • North Carolina, Virginia, Boston College, Florida, UConn, Harvard and Wisconsin have one player each on the roster.
  • While six players have yet to earn their first caps at the U-20 level, the roster is fairly experienced internationally with 10 players having represented the USA in a FIFA Women’s World Cup at the U-17 or U-20 level.
  • Three players on the roster – defenders Stephanie Amack, midfielder Cari Roccaro and striker Horan – were a part of the USA’s last qualifying team that won the 2012 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship in Panama. Horan, the team’s leading scorer during the last cycle, missed the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a knee injury, but Amack and Roccaro were a part of the squad that won the tournament, defeating Germany 1-0 in the championship game played in Tokyo, Japan.
  • Roccaro, the current team captain who played center-back at the last U-20 World Cup, leads the way with 22 career U-20 caps, while Horan has scored 13 goals at the U-20 level in 17 matches.
  • The 5-foot-9 Horan is the only player on the roster to have earned caps with the full WNT, playing off the bench against China at the Algarve Cup in Portugal last March and against Brazil on Nov. 10 where she picked up her first assist at the senior level.
  • Horan has seven goals in 10 appearances so far this season for PSG and scored 17 goals in 20 games last year in the Feminine Division 1.
  • Eight players on the roster were key members of the U.S. team that played at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan where the Americans tied eventual champions France and runners-up Korea DPR in group play but became the first women’s team in FIFA history to earn five points and fail to advance to the knockout stage.
  • Forward Savannah Jordan scored 23 goals as a freshman for the Florida Gators while Makenzy Doniak knocked in 20 as a sophomore in helping lead UVA to an undefeated regular season and a berth in the Women’s College Cup Final Four.
  • Sophomore McKenzie Meehan also scored 20 times for Boston College.
  • Harvard freshman Margaret Purce led the Ivy League in shots and tied for the lead in goals with 11.

UNITED STATES UNDER-20 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER
2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
George Town, Cayman Islands

Jan. 9-19

Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2):
Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Amack (Stanford; Pleasanton, Calif.), Brittany Basinger (Penn State; Purcellville, Va.), Maddie Bauer (Stanford; Newport Beach, Calif.), Lauren Kaskie (UCLA; Las Vegas, Nev.), Laura Liedle (Stanford; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Naughton (Notre Dame; Elk Grove Village, Ill.)
MIDFIELDERS (6):
Morgan Andrews (Notre Dame; Milford, N.H.), Rachel Hill (UConn; Rollinsford, N.H.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.), Mallory Weber (Penn State; Novi, Mich.)
FORWARDS (6):
Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Summer Green (North Carolina; Milford, Mich.), Lindsey Horan (Pairs Saint-Germain; Golden, Colo.), Savannah Jordan (Florida; Fayetteville, Ga.), McKenzie Meehan (Boston College; Scituate, R.I.), Margaret Purce (Harvard; Silver Spring, Md.)

Coaching Staff:
Head Coach: Michelle French Seattle, Wash.
Technical Director: April Heinrichs Clifton, Va.
Assistant Coach: Erica Walsh State College, Pa.
Goalkeeper Coach: Philip Wheddon Syracuse, N.Y.
Fitness Coach: Ryan Alexander Jonesborough, Tenn.

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