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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.S. U-20 WNT vs. Guatemala: Post-Match Quotes - Jan. 13, 2014

Post-Match Quote Sheet: U-20 WNT vs. Guatemala
CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship – Group A
Jan. 13, 2014

U.S. U-20 WNT head coach MICHELLE FRENCH
On being able to rest quite a few players in the third group match:
“It was obviously super important because there are some players that have played a lot of minutes and to have the opportunity to rest them and give them extra days of rest will be huge for us in the semis.”

On the match :
“It took a little while for us to display some sort of patience, whether it was cutting inside into numbers on the dribble or playing balls that were trying to split defenders when we could have played simple and wide. But, we finally ended up getting a goal, and we were especially dangerous on some set pieces in the first half. During the run of play in the second half we showed what we can do to be dangerous.”

On her impressions of the team after all three games:
“We have a lot of versatility in our players in regards to the positions they can play. When we demand things of them, they’re able to translate that information and put it on the field to show us that they understand the things we are working on. Lastly, they have a fight to them. They respond when they know they haven’t played well so to know those are some the characteristics of this team will be great moving forward.”

On the back line and goalkeepers allowing zero goals in group play:
“We continuously have been working on the continuity within our back line and we’ve spent a lot of time off the field with film. The fact they were able to go out there and execute the things we are asking them to do is great. We know as we move forward, there’s going to be some more challenges ahead of us, so there’ s still some areas we need to clean up to keep a clean sheet throughout the tournament. With having a new back line coming into this tournament, they’ve done really well.”

U.S. U-20 WNT midfielder RACHEL HILL
On the match
:
“I think we had a hard time getting into our rhythm at the beginning of the game, but as time wore on, we started to connect passes more, work together more and our movement was a lot better. That played a role in helping us get the game going.”

On what her favorite goals were from the night:
“Too many. “Sav” [Jordan] put in a solid PK, I think McKenzie finished well today, she had some solid goals, Mallory really lit it up when she came in, so I think everyone did well today.”

On her one-goal, four-assist performance:
“I think I did pretty well. I saw the field pretty well tonight. Some passes were a little off, but then you’ve just got to work hard to get it back.”

U.S. U-20 WNT defender BRITTANY BASINGER
On the match:

“We started off slower than we wanted, but we finally got it under control and started knocking the ball around like we wanted to. We kept possession and then the goals started coming.”

On winning 10-0:
“Our goal is always represent the USA as best we can and work as hard as we can for each other. We want to make a statement for the next game, and I think we’re ready.”

On scoring a goal as a left back scored from a tight angle near the end line:
“I’m not really sure what I was doing up there, but when I saw it come off the ‘keeper I was ready to knock it in.”

On looking forward to the semifinal:
“The next three days we’re just going to try to get our legs underneath us and get ready for the semifinal because that’s the game that will get us to the World Cup.“

U.S. U-20 WNT forward MCKENZIE MEEHAN
On the match:
“We weren’t that satisfied with the first half because we weren’t clean in our passing and we weren’t keeping great possession. We were getting a little anxious and going up the middle instead of playing wide. But at halftime, we made some proper adjustments and had a better second half.”

On her hat trick:
“A lot of the goals were team goals. The first one I was just in the right spot on the corner kick and the last one Rachel hit a really good ball and I just took a touch and finished it.”

On moving on to the semifinal:
“We’re excited for the playoff part of this. We came here to qualify for the World Cup so now that’s on the line in the next game. We are taking it one game at a time, but we want to win the semis and go on to win the whole thing.”

USA Tops Group A at CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship with 10-0 Win against Guatemala

  • McKenzie Meehan Notches Second Hat Trick of Tournament for USA, Adds an Assist
  • Mallory Weber Scores Two Goals, Dishes One Assist in First Cap for U-20 WNT
  • USA Faces Either Mexico or Trinidad & Tobago in Friday’s Second Semifinal at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2GO

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (Jan. 13, 2014) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team topped Group A at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship on Monday with a 10-0 victory against Guatemala – the USA’s largest win at this tournament since 2004. The USA will face either Mexico or Trinidad in the semifinals, which kick off Friday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Soccer 2GO.

The winner of the two semifinal matches and the third-place match on Jan. 19 qualify for the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Forward McKenzie Meehan scored three goals to lead the way for the U.S. – the second hat trick of the tournament for the Americans after Lindsey Horan notched three in the opening match against Costa Rica. She was followed on the score sheet by U-20 WNT debutant Mallory Weber, who scored two second-half goals after coming on as a sub for Savannah Jordan, who scored the USA’s final goal of the first half on a penalty kick.

Stephanie Amack, Brittany Basinger, Rachel Hill and Margaret Purce also tallied goals for the USA, with Hill also contributing four assists as she pulled the strings from the attacking midfield spot for a relentless American attack.

Guatemala did not record a shot in the match as Jane Campbell, making her first start of the tournament in goal for the USA, and defenders Laura Liedle, Cari Roccaro, Katie Naughton, who captained the side for the evening, Maddie Bauer, Brittany Basinger and Lauren Kaskie kept the team’s third straight clean sheet.

An early pair of chances for Jordan in the opening five minutes signaled the USA’s intent, before Meehan opened the scoring in the eighth minute. A corner kick from Morgan Andrews pinged around the Guatemala penalty area before falling to Hill, who chipped the ball to the far post where Meehan put a one-time half-volley past goalkeeper Yoselin Franco.

The USA was not afraid to unleash shots from long range with Andrews going closest in the 20th minute. Her shot went narrowly wide of Franco’s right post. Two minutes later Andrews served a solid corner kick into the heart of the Guatemala box where Amack rose highest to power home her first goal of the tournament.

A minute past the half-hour mark, Hill hit a shot from the top of the box on goal, but Franco spilled a rebound into the path of a crashing Basinger, who slotted her shot home with her left foot from a tight angle on the left side. The first international goal for the left back put the USA up 3-0.

Purce set up the final goal of the half with a slaloming run through the Guatemala defense, before she was brought down in the box by Celeste Gatica in the 38th minute. Jordan ripped the ensuing penalty kick into the right upper corner of the net to give the Americans a 4-0 lead at the break.

When the second half got underway, Maddie Bauer replaced Katie Naughton on the back line while Weber was inserted up front in place of Jordan.

Only three minutes after the restart, Liedle was hauled down on a corner kick and Hill stepped up to bury the second PK of the game in the 48th minute for her first international goal and a 5-0 USA lead.

Six minutes later, Purce dashed into the Guatemala box to steal a back pass off Franco’s feet. Before the goalkeeper could recover, Purce swiveled and rolled home her first U-20 international goal, and in doing so, became the 60th different all-time U.S. goal scorer at the tournament.

Meehan made it 7-0 in the 57th minute, taking a feed from Weber and picking out the top shelf of Franco’s net.

Weber bagged the next two goals on smart finishes off feeds from Hill and Meehan in the 61st and 67th minutes, respectively.

Meehan capped the scoring in the 74th minute after a slick square ball into the box from Hill helped give the striker her hat trick and cemented the final 10-0 score line in favor of the young Americans.

Additional Notes :

  • The USA rested a few regular starters as goalkeeper Jane Campbell made her first start of the tournament for the USA, while Stephanie Amack, Laure Liedle, Midge Purce and McKenzie Meehan also were handed their first starts of the competition.
  • The USA is now 28-2-1 all-time in the CONCACAF U-19/U-20 Championship and holds a 13-game winning streak dating back to the opener of the 2010 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Guatemala.
  • During that 13-game span, the USA has scored 58 goals and allowed three.
  • All 20 players on the roster have now seen action in the tournament with Campbell, midfielder Lauren Kaskie, Liedle and forward Mallory Weber getting their first run-outs against Guatemala.
  • Only center back Cari Roccaro has played all 270 minutes of the tournament so far.
  • Roccaro, who is in her second U-20 cycle, is the most-capped player at this level with 25 games played.
  • Ten U.S. players have shared the USA’s 19 goals scored in the tournament so far (which also includes an own goal from Costa Rica): Meehan (4), Horan (3), Jordan (3), Weber (2), Amack (1), Basinger (1), Green (1), Hill (1), Purce (1) and Sullivan (1).
  • Basinger, Bauer, Hill, Jordan, Kaskie and Weber were all looking for their first U-20 cap heading into the tournament. With Kaskie and Weber seeing the field against Guatemala, all six have now earned their first cap at this level.
  • Stephanie Amack’s goal was her first at the U-20 level.
  • Naughton is the oldest player on the roster as she will turn 20 in February.
  • Purce is the first player from Harvard to make a U.S. WNT qualifying roster. She was the Ivy League Player and Rookie of the Year. She led the Ivy League in shots and tied for the lead in goals with 11.
  • U.S. right back Sullivan wore the captain’s armband against Jamaica and regular U.S. captain Roccaro wore it against Costa Rica in the first match. Against Guatemala, Naughton became the third different player to captain the side in this tournament.
  • The 10-0 win was the fifth time the USA has scored double-digit goals in the U-19/U-20 qualifying tournament. It was the most lopsided victory since the team’s 11-1 win against Trinidad & Tobago on May 30, 2004, in the 2004 CONCACAF U-19 Qualifying Tournament; It was USA’s largest-ever win since the tournament moved from U-19s to U-20s in 2006.
  • Costa Rica follows the USA out of Group A after earning a hard-fought 1-1 draw that eliminated Jamaica in Monday’s early match.

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

Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Guatemala
Date: Jan. 13, 2014
Competition: CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship – Group A
Venue: Truman Bodden Sports Complex; George Town, Cayman Islands
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Attendance: 1,479
Weather: 79 degrees, humid

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 4 6 10
GUA 0 0 0

USA – McKenzie Meehan (Rachel Hill) 8th minute
USA – Stephanie Amack (Morgan Andrews) 22
USA – Brittany Basinger (Rachel Hill) 31
USA – Savannah Jordan (penalty kick) 39
USA – Rachel Hill (penalty kick) 48
USA – Margaret Purce 54
USA – McKenzie Meehan (Mallory Weber) 57
USA – Mallory Weber (Rachel Hill) 61
USA – Mallory Weber (McKenzie Meehan) 67
USA – McKenzie Meehan (Rachel Hill) 74

Lineups:
USA:
18-Jane Campbell; 10-Laura Liedle, 3-Cari Roccaro, 20-Katie Naughton (capt.) (2-Maddie Bauer, 46), 4-Brittany Basinger (8-Lauren Kaskie, 61); 7-Morgan Andrews, 16-Stephanie Amack, 14-Rachel Hill; 15-Margaret Purce, 11-McKenzie Meehan, 13-Savannah Jordan (12-Mallory Weber, 46)
Subs Not Used: 1-Katelyn Rowland, 5-Summer Green, 9-Lindsey Horan, 10-Laura Liedle, 17-Rose Lavelle, 19-Andi Sullivan
Head Coach: Michelle French

GUA: 1-Yoselin Franco; 3-Darlin Sermeño, 2-Lisbeth Mazarigos, 5-Sara Fetzer (11-Leslie Rosales, 88), 6-Jeniffer Barrios, 7-Alida Argueta, 13-Barbara Ramirez (9-Mia Espino, 46), 19-Celeste Gatica, 14-Aisha Solorzano, 15-Lauren Markwith, 8-Yoselin Sanchez
Subs Not Used: 4-Megly Ordoñez, 10-Vivian Herrera, 12-Estefani Rosales, 16-Yuvitza Mayen, 17-Madelyn Ventura, 18-Gabriela Rodriguez, 20-Stephanie Rodriguez
Head Coach: Benjamin Monterroso

Stats Summary: USA / GUA
Shots: 29 / 0
Shots on Goal: 19 / 0
Saves: 0 / 9
Corner Kicks: 9 / 1
Fouls: 6 / 4
Offside: 5 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Savannah Jordan (caution) 17th minute

Officials:
Referee: Melissa Borjas (HON)
Assistant Referee 1: Mayte Chavez (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Wendy Fisher (CAY)
4th Official: Irazema Aguilar (CUB)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: Rachel Hill

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.

Basinger Phones Home

After receiving a late call-up to the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team for this World Cup cycle, Brittany Basinger (pronounced BAY-Singer) had to find her way quickly. With the support of her coaches, family, friends and teammates, she has made her way to Azerbaijan for the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

Sometimes you have to take a step outside yourself to find out who you really are. Does the fuel to make that leap come from intense self-belief that you will find success? Or do you need a firm push to start that trajectory toward your full potential? For U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team defender Brittany Basinger, it was both.

The United States is a massive country filled with soccer players from all corners of the 50 states and everywhere in between.

An invitation to a U.S. National Team training camp is an achievement in itself. To keep getting call-ups is even more difficult. To earn a starting spot and make a Women’s World Cup Team is rarer still.

In January of 2012, none of this was on the mind of a 16-year-old Basinger, who was too busy playing high school basketball, being a normal teenager, playing lots of soccer and looking forward to college at Penn State, where she has committed for the fall of 2013.

But you never know who will be watching and when your chance will come. For Basinger, a thundering outside back from Purcellville, Va., her shot materialized when U.S. Soccer Development Director Jill Ellis went to see the FC Virginia club team coached by her brother, Paul.

Ellis was intrigued by Basinger’s willingness to attack from the back, her Ali Krieger-esque physique and what seemed be a no-fear policy into the tackle.

THE CALL-UP

Ellis chatted with her brother, who called Basinger after she got home from the club tournament and asked her a simple, yet loaded question, “What do you think about trying to play for the U-17 National Team?,” he said.

“Of course I told him I was interested,” said Basinger, but then came the difficult part. Venturing out of her comfort zone and down to Florida for a training camp in February where she would join twenty-plus girls she didn’t really know except by reputation. All that she knew was that they were awesome players.

“A couple of days later I received an email inviting me to camp,” said Basinger of U.S. head coach Albertin Montoya selecting her for her first U-17 event. “At first I wasn’t sure what to think. I played with these girls at the U-14 I.D. Camp in 2009 and never got called back up. I was small back then and the players were really, really good. I was scared and nervous about playing with them but excited about the opportunity and told myself I was going to make the best of it.”

Her dad, Jeff, tried to calm her nerves, telling her that the girls would welcome her, that she was going to play soccer, which is what she loves to do, and that she was going to be fine.

CELLULAR LIFELINE

After her first practice, she wasn’t so fine. “I was terrified!” said Basinger, who was as anxious about fitting in socially as she was about trying to keep up with the best players in the country in her age group.

So, like any teenager would do, she grabbed her cell phone and started making calls.

She called her coach: “Work as hard as you can and you’ll be fine,” he said.

She called her dad: “Make sure you always stay positive with yourself, and if you make a mistake put it behind you and move on,” he said.

She called her mom: “I love you! Have fun,” she said.

She called her grandparents: “We’re proud of you! Keep doing what you do best!” they said.

She texted her three best friends and club teammates -- Sarah (Hardison), Aubrey (Fletcher) and Charlotte (Ratcliff), who all told her: “Stop freakin’ out! You’re freakin’ us out! You will be fine! You are a stud!”

She then called her future college coach at Penn State, Erica Walsh, a veteran of the national team program’s coaching ranks, who gave her a great piece of advice.

“Coach Walsh told me to play one-touch so my play would be faster and I could play simple, and she said everything would be good from there…and so it began,” said Basinger with a smile, as she reflected back on her now long-gone rookie anxieties.

“It’s just not in my nature to give up on anything, so I powered through it. I was going to give it my best shot,” said Basinger.

PROVING GROUND

In Basinger’s first camp, the USA squared off against the German U-17s in a pair of friendly matches. If ever there was a tough first test for a newly called-up player, the Germans would be it.

“My parents though it was the coolest thing ever that I got to play for the USA against Germany, and they told me that even if things didn’t work out from there, I could still train and get better and have the experience behind me to build on,” said Basinger.

But a funny thing happened on her way to membership in the “One Camp Club”: she started getting comfortable, and that comfort led to better play, and that better play led to validation from her teammates. Instead of being caught in a downward spiral, Basinger was on her way up.

“I will always be thankful to all the girls because they were so welcoming, and that really did help me play better,” said Basinger, “I remember I was coming off the field and Morgan Andrews told me that I had played really well. I was so shy at that time that I wasn’t really talking to anyone, but hearing that from her, one of the players I knew, the captain, a girl who had a whole bunch of articles written about her, that really was great reassurance that I was doing something right.”

She did well enough at the Florida camp that she was invited to travel with the team to a tournament in La Manga, Spain, in March, and once again a teammate was there for her when she most needed it. Fortunately for Basinger, that teammate – her roommate on that trip – was Gabbi Miranda, a perennial nominee for the “Nicest, Sweetest Kid in America” award.

“Going on an international trip was scary,” said Basinger. “I didn’t know anyone that well yet and it was a long trip, but Gabbi really helped me get to know everyone, put me at ease and showed me the ropes. That’s when I started feeling comfortable on and off the field. In our second game over there against England, that’s when I really felt like everything was going to be ok and I was able to play my game.”

“IT MAKES ME FEEL LIKE A TANK”

And that game has been impressive for the U.S. U-17s, giving the team a tremendous physical presence at right back and a player who loves to get forward.

“I love the physical part of the game. It makes me feel like a tank,” said Basinger, whose curly, bouncing blond locks – usually bound tightly in a big bun on top of her head – and cherubic smile belie her propensity to run over opponents. “I love big hard tackles, especially when I win them, and I love the personal duel. If every player on the field can win her one-on-one challenges we’ll be a lot better off as a team.”

The right-footed Basinger has benefited from the fact that she plays left back for her club and right back for her country, giving her the chance to develop both feet, which is valuable not only in giving the USA versatility, but in crossing from the right flank and cutting inside from the wing if necessary.

“I love getting into the attack because playing defense can get boring in that you never get the glory,” said Basinger. “If you can cross a ball for a goal you really feel a part of it and can join in the celebration. I know whatever cross I send in, Summer Green or Midge Purce or any of the forwards are going to finish it.”

On the USA’s recent tour of eastern Europe in July, it was actually Basinger that got into the scoring rhythm herself. She tallied the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Austrian club champion Luz Graz and then scored the first-goal against the full Slovenia Women’s National Team in another 2-1 win.

Although to hear her tell it, they were typical defender goals.

“On my club team I am always on the goalkeeper for corner kicks, and my team always makes fun of me because the only goals I get are those shots from two feet away that hit me and bounce in,” she said. “For one of the goals in Europe, I was on the back post, and the ball bounced to me in mid-stride and it hit my knee and went in. The other was one of those two-footers.”

Of course, a goal is a goal, and as everyone knows – especially right backs – you take them as they come.

POWERFUL TOOL: SELF BELIEF

When Basinger looks back at her first camp, she almost finds it hard to believe how far she’s come.

“It was just a matter of believing in myself,” said Basinger. “I’m sure every girl has a similar experience coming into the national team, something so new, so fast and so tough, and everyone has to find their path to being the best they can be. I’m just so glad I had such a great support system from my coaches and my family and my teammates. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Now as Basinger prepares for some of the biggest games of her life at the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan, she is no longer afraid of anything. In fact, she wants to soak in all the emotions as she now knows how to turn them into positive energy on the field.

“It’s almost like I’m dreaming,” said the kid who eight months ago had no idea she’d be playing in a World Cup. “I don’t feel like it’s quite real yet, and I guess I’ll feel it when we get on the field for the games. Midge (Purce) and I were talking about it when we arrived in Cyprus (for the team’s pre-tournament training camp). We were talking about actually being at a World Cup and we were just getting goose bumps. I never thought I would be playing in a World Cup.”

Fortunately, a lot of other people did.

--ussoccer.com--

U.S. National Teams: Didn’t get her first call-up to the U-17s until February of 2012 … 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 … Started all five games during qualifying in Guatemala and played all but 18 minutes of the tournament … Has one international goal so far this year, scoring against Slovenia’s full Women’s National Team in a 2-1 victory in July of 2012 … Also scored the game-winner against Austrian women’s club champion Luv Graz in a 2-1 victory  in July of 2012 … Second on the team in minutes played in international matches this year heading into the Women’s World Cup with 1,088 … Attended the U.S. Soccer U-14 I.D. Camp in 2009.

Personal: Full name is Brittany Sue Basinger … May want to be a physical therapist … Also plays high school basketball and helped the Wolverines to the state semifinals in her junior year … Led the varsity basketball team in steals and assists … As a sophomore, she won the All-Academic Principal’s Award and the President Education Award in recognition of outstanding academic excellence … Says she likes being a normal teenager but doesn’t have much time because “soccer basically controls my life” … Both of her siblings are multi-sport athletes as well … Her brother, J.B., plays high school football and baseball and her sister, Brooke, plays high school basketball and lacrosse … Says the three words that best describe her off the field are “energetic, cheerful and unique” … The three words that best describe her on the field are “relentless, determined and tenacious” … Her motto is “It’s impossible to fail as long as you never quit” … The best present she ever received was her dog, Duchess, a bichon frise … Favorite class is math … Favorite food is steak … Favorite snacks are Grasshopper Fudge Mint cookies … You won’t catch her eating spinach … Favorite soccer players are Ali Krieger and Lionel Messi … Says the best part about being a soccer player is “always being in shape” … She has three pets, her dog Duchess and Maggie, a maltipoo, and one unnamed fish who ate all her other fish … Favorite superhero is Superman because “he always saves the day” … Favorite cereal is Fruity Pebbles … Favorite dessert is red velvet cake … First thing she notices about people is their smile … Favorite smell is the ocean.

College / High School: Has verbally committed to attend Penn State in the fall of 2013 … Attends Woodgrove High School … An All-District selection as a freshman … An All-Region selection as a freshman and sophomore … Only played a few games of high school soccer as a junior due to national team commitments, but returned to help the Wolverines win the Virginia AA state title.

Club: Played from U-15 to present for FC Virginia in the ECNL … From U-12 through U-14 she played for Herndon Hotspur … From U-19 through U-11 she played for Loudan Elite.

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