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Whitney Engen

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MEET WHITNEY
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Whitney Engen's Story - One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.

Whitney Engen grew up in what you might call a “fun household” where her parents were always encouraging her and her brother through games and activities. Today, she knows those experiences helped mold not only her competitive nature, but also her ability to thrive in such an environment. She now feels comfortable dealing with the good days and the bad ones, whether it be while competing for and earning a spot on the USA’s Women’s World Cup Team, or catching a tossed ice cube in a cup after a full 360-degree spin.

Harris & Engen: BFFs

Coming from vastly different backgrounds and bringing tremendously different personalities and world views to Chapel Hill, N.C., U.S. Women’s National Team players Ashlyn Harris and Whitney Engen nevertheless forged a symbiotic friendship in college that allowed both to blossom as people, students and players.

U.S. WNT Continues Victory Tour with 7-2 Win in Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (Aug. 19, 2015) – The World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team continued its Victory Tour with a 7-2 win against Costa Rica in front of a record crowd of 20,535 at Finley Stadium. The crowd was the largest for a stand-alone WNT friendly in the southeastern region of the United States.

Members of the military led the team out on the field and a moment of silence was observed before kickoff in memory of the tragedy that took place on July 17 when a gunman opened fire on two military sites in Chattanooga, killing five servicemen. During the game the WNT players wore black armbands in memory of the victims.

The U.S. WNT will be auctioning off their autographed game-worn jerseys on ussoccer.com to raise money for the families of the victims. More information on the start of the auction will be provided soon.

After the U.S. took an early 2-0 lead behind goals from Carli Lloyd and Heather O’Reilly, the match was delayed for 83 minutes due to lightning. After returning to the field, the U.S. continued their dominance with additional goals from Abby Wambach, O’Reilly, Alex Morgan and Amy Rodriguez. The WNT also benefited from an own goal, but Costa Rica was able to find the back of the net twice in second half for their first ever goals against the U.S. in 12 meetings.   

The U.S. players will now return to their NWSL clubs for the stretch run of the season and continues its Victory Tour with a pair of matches against Australia in September, at Ford Field in Detroit on Sept. 17 and at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama on Sept. 20. Tickets are going fast with 30,000 already sold in Detroit and 27,000 in Birmingham. For more information on tickets, click here.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Carli Lloyd, 7th minute:
Lloyd’s spectacular blast from 31 yards off a direct free kick deflected off a Costa Rican defender in the wall, hit the bottom of the crossbar at the upper left corner and bounced down into the goal to give the WNT an early lead. USA 1, CRC 0 SEE GOAL

USA – Heather O’Reilly, 13th minute: Carli Lloyd received a pass at the top of the box, spun towards goal and blasted a shot on frame. The Costa Rican goalkeeper responded with a tremendous diving save, but couldn’t hold the ball and Heather O’Reilly followed up to finish the rebound and double the WNT lead. USA 2, CRC 0 SEE GOAL

USA – Abby Wambach (Lori Chalupny), 18th minute: Carli Lloyd started the run down the right side and as she approached the end line sent a cross over to Lori Chalupny, who was positioned in the left side of the box. With the defense closing in, Chalupny sent the ball back across to Abby Wambach, who one-timed it home with her left foot. USA 3, CRC 0

USA – Carli Lloyd (Megan Rapinoe), 20th minute: The goal came off a corner kick from Megan Rapinoe. Rapinoe whipped in a cross and Lloyd knifed though the defense, leapt into the air and volleyed home from close range for her second goal of the game. USA 4, CRC 0

USA – Heather O’Reilly (Abby Wambach), 23rd minute: Abby Wambach, who just five minutes before had scored a goal of her own, dribbled powerfully down the left side. O’Reilly made a run to the near post, and Wambach, who has been the recipient of many O’Reilly crosses in the past, was the distributor this time around. O’Reilly met Wambach’s cross with her a powerful header high into the net for her second score of the game. USA 5, CRC 0

USA – Katherine Alvarado (Own Goal), 31st minute: Off another corner Lloyd made a run into the box and Alvarado was grabber her the whole time. The driven ball skipped through traffic inside the penalty box, bounced off her shin and skipped into the back of the net. USA 6, CRC 0

CRC – Cristin Granados (Carolina Venegas), 56th minute: Carolina Venegas made a great move to get around Tobin Heath near the end line and then threaded a ball back to Granados in the seam. With a first-time shot she pushed it past a diving Hope Solo from close range. USA 6, CRC 1

CRC – Karla Villalobos (Mariana Benavides), 69th minute: Mariana Benavides got a long ball up and through the U.S. defense to Villalobos who took a few controlling dribbles near the top of the box and finessed a bending ball over Naeher and into the upper right corner. USA 6, CRC 2

USA – Alex Morgan (Amy Rodriguez), 81st minute: After substitute goalkeeper Yolian Sala made a great kick save, Costa Rica poorly cleared the ball away and it found Amy Rodriguez on the right side of the box. Rodriguez took a great touch to beat a defender and sent a perfect back post cross to Alex Morgan who chested it into the net for the seventh score of the game. USA 7, CRC 2 SEE GOAL

Next on the Schedule: The WNT continues the 2015 Victory Tour with a stop in Detroit on Sept. 17 to take on Australia at Ford Field, where more than 30,000 tickets have already been sold.
Broadcast information: FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports GO (7 p.m. ET; Sept. 19)
Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt@ussoccer_esp); FacebookInstagram

Milestone Watch:

  • Tobin Heath earned her 100th cap with the WNT. She is the 33rd player to play 100 times, having made her debut with the USA in 2008. She will be honored before the USA’s next match in Detroit.
  • Wambach extended her record as the world’s all-time leading goal scorer, notching the 184th goal of her career.
  • Heather O’Reilly’s brace pushed her career scoring total to 45 goals. She has scored two goals in each of the last two games and has now tallied four multi-goal games in her career.
  • Lloyd’s two scores gave her 71 for her career, just four short of tying Cindy Parlow for sixth on the USA’s all-time goal scoring list.
  • Shannon Boxx earned her 193rd cap, moving past Brandi Chastain into sole possession of 11th place on the USA’s all-time caps list.
  • Carli Lloyd earned her 204th cap to move into a tie for eighth place on the USA’s all-time caps list with Tiffeny Milbrett.
  • Alex Morgan’s 53rd goal moved her into a tie for ninth place with Carin Gabbara on the USA’s all-time scoring list.

Additional Notes:

  • In the game’s 15th minute, the game paused for lightning delay, which lasted 83 minutes.
  • Prior to the match, Lori Chalupny was honored for earning her 100th cap. On May 10 against Ireland in San Jose, Chalupny, who announced her retirement from international soccer on Aug. 17, became the 32nd American female to play 100 times for her country. She debuted for the USA at the age of 17 in 2001 and has won a U-19 Women's World Cup title, an Olympic gold medal and a Women's World Cup title.
  • The match was the second for the WNT at Finley Stadium and with the win the team improved to 2-0-0 in the Chattanooga. The USA last played there in 1997, when it defeated Sweden 3-1 at the home of the National Premier Soccer League's Chattanooga FC and the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga Moccasins football and women's soccer teams.
  • The WNT is now 5-0-0 all time in the state of Tennessee, where it has outscored opponents 17-5.
  • Carli Lloyd’s 70th goal made her the seventh player in U.S. history to score 70 or more goals.
  • Heather O’Reilly has scored multiple goals in each of the WNT’s last two games.
  • Costa Rica’s first goal was the first it has scored against the USWNT in the history of the series between the two teams.
  • The USA remains perfect against Costa Rica, improving its all-time record to 12-0-0. 

#USWNT Victory Tour Opens With Record Crowd in Pittsburgh

The #USWNT opened the Victory Tour by putting on an eight goal show in front of more than 44,000 fans in Pittsburgh

Highlights: WNT Puts Eight Past Costa Rica to Open Victory Tour

The #USWNT kicked off the 2015 Victory Tour in style with an 8-0 win over Costa Rica.
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THE BEGINNING

“I wanted to be a gymnast more than anything in the world,” says Engen. “But when you’re a five-foot-seven, 100 pound third grader, it’s not really going to work out for you. I was a huge, huge kid. I’ve basically been this size my whole life.” So she focused on soccer.

Whitney Engen

She loved driving to games in her father’s old diesel Mercedes, the whole car shaking, her dad blaring opera music as they wound up the hill toward her game. But on the field, things weren’t going much better than gymnastics, “I rode the bench; rode it hard. I only went in if we were winning by so many goals that there was no way I could screw it up.” She went to individual training sessions; she did everything she could to figure out how to break into the team. “This experience taught me two things: that it’s good to persist even when you’re not having success, and that I did not want to sit on the bench.” The next year, Engen switched teams – to one that included her future National Teammate Christen Press – ended up playing every minute, and loved it. “It changed my whole outlook on soccer.”

Whitney Engen

FAMILY GAMES

“In my family, everything was a competition,” says Engen. When they were little, it was a race to see who could get on their pajamas first, “My parents would be like, ‘Ready, set, go!” and we’d be stomping up the stairs, banging open drawers, ripping off clothes.”

There were also living room obstacles courses. Whitney’s mother would set up circuits – vault the chair, summersault over the couch, jump over the table. “My parents would be standing there laughing, calling out, ‘Four, five, six!’ and I’m trying to book it through the house,” says Engen.

In the car, there was the “Seat Belt Olympics:” gold if you were the first to get yours on, silver if you were second, bronze if you were third, lead if you were fourth. “Obviously, lead was the worst. You never wanted to get lead,” laughs Engen. “It was a full blown race to get in the car, but then you’d pull too hard, too eagerly and the seat belt would get caught … it was a delicate balance. To this day, it’s unsaid; we get in the car, and you’re still trying to see who got their seatbelt on first. It’s the personal satisfaction of having won.”

Whitney Engen

LAW

Engen’s parents instilled the idea that there should always be a ‘Plan B’ in case soccer didn’t work out. Law school was her back up plan. “Laws are things that are black and white, yet there’s a lot of gray in the field too. If it was just ‘right’ and ‘wrong,’ there wouldn’t be a need for lawyers. The lawyers come in because there are interpretations. It’s kind of like a puzzle, and I liked the idea of finding the most right answer.”

U.S. National Team – A central defender who adds a commanding aerial presence at the back and on offensive set pieces.

2015:
2015 FIFA Women's World Cup Champion... Named to the 2015 U.S. FIFA Women's World Cup roster, her first World Cup selection ... Has appeared in three matches for the USA this year... Started and played in the USA's first two matches of the year against France on Feb. 8 and England on Feb. 13... Was named to the 2015 Algarve Cup roster that claimed the USA's 10th Algarve Cup title, but did not see any action and was replaced by Christie Rampone after suffering a hamstring injury during training in Portugal... 2014: Engen took a big step forward with the WNT in her third year with the program, playing 1,051 minutes in 13 games while starting 11 … She scored two goals, finding the net against Mexico on a header off a corner kick that was assisted by childhood friend and youth soccer teammate Christen Press, and against Guatemala on a header from a set play in the opening match of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, where she helped the USA secure its berth to the Women’s World Cup …  2013: Had her best year for the WNT to date, playing in eight games at center back while starting seven … Scored her first international goal on March 8 against China PR at the Algarve Cup in Portugal … 2012: Did not play in a match for the U.S. WNT … 2011: Earned her first two senior team caps, coming off the bench against Norway and Finland during group play at the Algarve Cup in Portugal … Trained extensively with the team in the lead up to the Women’s World Cup … 2010: First call-up to the senior team came in March of 2010, and she trained with the team during matches against Mexico in San Diego and Salt Lake City, Utah … Also called in to train in October of 2010 during two friendly matches against China … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team in 2009 … Played with the U.S. U-20s in 2006 and 2007 … First Appearance: March 4, 2011, vs. Norway … First Goal: March 8, 2013 vs. China PR.

Professional / Club –2014: Traded from the Houston Dash to the Western New York Flash on Oct. 16 for Carli Lloyd, Becky Edwards and a draft pick … Allocated to the expansion Houston Dash for the second NWSL season, joining the team after her Swedish club Tyresö finished runner-up in the UEFA Women’s Champions League… Played in 11 games for the Dash, starting all of them … 2013: In a season that ran from March to October, Engen marshalled a Liverpool Ladies defense that helped the club win the FA Women’s Super League on the last weekend of the season, holding off Bristol Academy to finish four points clear and break Arsenal’s 10-year stronghold atop English women’s soccer … Started and played in 20 of Liverpool’s 21 games (she missed one due to WNT duty) and scored once … Following her stint in England, she signed with Tyresö in Sweden and helped the club win its Round of 32 UEFA Women’s Champions League series against French power Paris Saint-German and Round of 16 series against Danish club Fortuna … In the second leg against Fortuna, she scored a spectacular back-heel flick volley off a free-kick service from U.S. teammate Meghan Klingenberg … 2012: In October 2012, Engen signed with English club Liverpool Ladies for the 2013 FA WSL and arrived in England in January of 2013 … Played with the Pali Blues in the W-League during the summer … 2011: At the end of the WPS season, Engen joined Swedish team Tyresö FF on loan, playing seven games with six starts while scoring one goal with one assist in Damallsvenskan … Signed with the Western New York Flash and played a key role in helping the team to the WPS regular season title and the WPS championship in its first year of existence … Played in 17 of the team’s 18 regular season matches, starting them all, and led the Flash in minutes played with 1,530 … Played every minute in the championship game shootout victory over Philadelphia … Was named the WPS Defender of the Year and to the 2011 WPS Top XI … 2010: Taken fourth overall by the Chicago Red Stars in the 2010 WPS Draft … She started all 24 games for the Red Stars and played all but four minutes of the season … 2009: Played for the Pali Blues in the W-League …Youth club: Played youth club for Slammers FC, winning back-to-back state and regional titles in 2004-05 ... Took part in two national championships with the Slammers, taking second in 2004 and third in 2005 ... Won two ODP national titles with the Cal South ’86 State Team.

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