U.S. National Teams: A member of the U.S. team that won the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship in Guatemala and qualified for the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup … Played in three games in Guatemala, starting two … Played for the U.S. U-15 GNT in 2010 and attended the U.S. U-14 I.D. Camp in 2009.
“I guess I’m a pretty go-with-the-flow type of person,” says Lauren Kaskie, showing just those qualities as she relaxes – the college kids might say ‘chills’ – on a comfortable couch in a Cayman Islands hotel room, where she and her teammates on the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team have traveled to participate in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship.
Tanned, as you would expect of a player with Italian lineage who grew up in the sunny desert of Las Vegas, and muscled but not quite stocky, the 5-foot-5 midfielder exudes an emotional calm that has benefited her greatly so far in her young career.
Despite being one of the elite youth players in the country since her mid-teens – she was a member of the USA’s 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup squad – Kaskie has first-hand experience of how keeping a positive perspective and staying grounded can benefit an athlete.
She knows that no matter what team you are on, there are just 10 starting field player positions available. A reserve on the U-17 team at that World Cup in Azerbaijan, she played just a few minutes in the tournament but picked up an assist just one minute after coming into the game against Gambia.
As a freshman at UCLA, she once again found herself coming off the bench as part of a stacked roster with one of the best midfields in the country. She played in all 26 of the team’s matches, starting just one, and scored just once, but that was a “golden goal” on the road against Stanford, earning a 2-1 victory that signaled UCLA’s reemergence as the dominant team in the Pac-12.
Kaskie used her fine college campaign where she helped UCLA to its first NCAA title, plus a brief but impactful performance at the USA’s one post-college training camp this fall, to make the roster for Women’s World Cup qualifying despite having yet to earn a U-20 cap.
And yes, once again, at the qualifying tournament, she will likely be a reserve.
“I’ve learned to accept and embrace the role, predominately because it helps me get minutes and I enjoy being an energizer for my teammates,” said Kaskie. “My goal coming into any game is to pick up the team and try to give my best effort to make something happen. Your mindset is, ‘how can I positively enhance my teammates and the game in general?’ Yeah, I might not be a starter, but I know how to earn the minutes and utilize them to my and my teammates’ advantage.”
Kaskie admits she knew she was a long-shot to be in the Caymans. She had been in just a few U-20 camps since “graduating” from the U-17s and in fact was a late call-up to that final pre-qualifying training camp in December, arriving mid-way through the event. She participated in just one training session and played 60 minutes in an intra-squad, but that was enough for U.S. head coach Michelle French to include her on the roster.
“I’m big on my faith,” said Kaskie. “So I feel like we are given these moments to utilize our gifts and talents, and that just happened to be one of my moments. “
“She played way her way into that last camp with her college performance, and at camp she showed enough of what we were looking for, both on and off the field, to bring her into this team,” said French. “Lauren has a lot of positive qualities, whether it’s her ability to serve the ball with her left foot, her vision, her mobility or her versatility. For the last couple of roster spots we were looking for players would impact us in different positions, but also how they would gel and come in and make a difference off the field, and it’s been a seamless process with her.”
Kaskie admits that it took work to be able to wrap her arms around a reserve role but that her dad, Brian, was a big factor in helping her gain perspective as she matured as a person and player.
“My dad has instilled in me the mentality that you just have to do your best all the time and you need to be satisfied with that because the rest is out of your hands,” said Kaskie. ” In the past, I put too much thought into things. Spending energy worrying about things out of your control is a waste. He’s helped me stay level-headed and taught me how to go about things in a rational way.”
Every coach likes quality left-sided players, and Kaskie fills that role, able to serve in driven crosses from the run of play or on set plays as well as shoot from distance, as she did against Stanford during the college season. In addition, while she can be soft-spoken, she almost always wears a wide smile that contributes to team chemistry.
“It takes a really confident person with a positive attitude to be able to adjust to any role within a team,” said French. “I think you saw with Lauren, especially with UCLA at the Final Four, that she has the ability to be a good teammate and knows her role. Then you look at how great she played when she went into the game and was able to make a difference and earn even more playing time.”
That’s not to say that being a reserve is easy. Any top player used to starting and playing every minute of every game during her entire youth club career can get thrown for off a bit when she’s asked to come off the bench. But it’s something that many elite players must learn to cope with.
“I feel it’s definitely harder to be a reserve than a starter,” said Kaskie. “You have to be able to go into the game and match the intensity and energy levels while at the same time bringing it even higher to get that momentum going in a game. You’re like a shape-shifter, basically. You have to be ready to do whatever the team needs at the time you go into the match. That’s the job and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. “
UCLA doesn’t lose many seniors from their NCAA title team, so Kaskie will find herself in a battle for playing time as a sophomore as well. But that doesn’t bug her (not much does). She’ll be ready to play whatever role is asked of her.
“I’ve definitely grown from my experience at UCLA playing behind what is basically our starting midfield for our Under-23 National Team,” said Kaskie. “That doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop trying to earn a starting spot on every team I’m on, but my freshman year put me in a position to be an asset to this U-20 team and I’m going to make the most of the opportunity.”
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.”
- 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
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.)
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.)
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.
Personal: Full name is Lauren Alissa Kaskie … Nickname is Lo … Enjoys going to the beach, getting her nails done, hanging out with her best friends and snowboarding … A HUGE Los Angeles Lakers fan … Dad, Brian, was a walk-on for the University of Nevada-Reno football team and became an All-American, eventually getting a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys … Three words that best describe her off the field are “shy, cautions and analytical” … Three words that describe her on the field are “intense, competitive and diverse” … Her motto is “it will always get better no matter the circumstances” … Best present she ever received was making the U.S. National Team, or her car … Craziest ambition is to become a Nike sports model … Her dream job is to play pro soccer … Favorite foods are sushi, pizza and Philly cheesesteak … Favorite snack is spinach and artichoke dip with pita chips … She doesn’t like ketchup … Favorite soccer players are Mia Hamm and Lionel Messi … Has two small dogs, a shih-tzu named Maddy and a Yorkie named Tinkerbell … Two of her favorite musical artists are Drake and Maroon 5 … Favorite cereal is Chocolate Cheerios … Favorite dessert is frozen yogurt and/or cheesecake … Favorite smell is freshly baked cookies and rain.
College / High School: Has verbally committed to attend UCLA in the fall of 2013 … Attends Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas … Played high school soccer only her freshman and sophomore years, earning All-Northwest, All-Sunset Region and All-Southern Nevada honors both years … The 2011 Nevada Gatorade Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year.
Club: Played U-16s until present for the LV Heat … Played U-12 to U-16 for Neusport … From U-10 through U-12 she played for the Tabagators … Helped Neusport win the 2010 U-14 state title … In 2008, Neusport was the Nevada and regional champions as U-12s … Won the 2007 U-11 Nevada state title with the Tabagators.