Heinrichs Names 18 Players for January Trip to China; Mixture of Youth and Veterans to Face China on January 11 & 14
Tiffeny Milbrett, Christie Pearce, Kate Sobrero, Siri Mullinix, Michelle French, Lorrie Fair and Nikki Serlenga represent the veteran group on the trip. All besides Milbrett are 24-years-old or younger. Heinrichs also called in five players with college eligibility remaining and six more that were high picks at the recent WUSA Player Draft, several of whom impressed the national team coaches at the WUSA Combine in Florida. Numerous 2000 Olympians were unavailable for the trip due to injuries or other circumstances.
Leading the way for the young guns is 5-foot-10 midfielder Aleisha Cramer, who just finished a banner freshman season at BYU that earned her First-Team All-American honors. A veteran of the U.S. Under-21 National Team program and the USA's 2000 Olympic residency camp, she helped lead the youth national team to the Nordic Cup championship last summer in Germany. Cramer was the third youngest player ever to play for the full U.S. National Team when she debuted at 16 years, 141 days in December of 1998.
Heinrichs also called in three-time All-American Mary-Frances Monroe, a slashing midfielder from the University of Connecticut, who earned her third career cap last week against Japan, as well as UCLA forward Stephanie Rigamat, who helped lead the Bruins to their first-ever NCAA Final Four this year by scoring 13 goals with 11 assists, including the winning goal in the NCAA semifinal match. The other two college players are defender Lauren Orlandos who anchored the defense for the Portland Pilots on their improbable run to the NCAA Final Four this year and midfielder Jena Kluegel, who played a key role in North Carolina's run to yet another national title. Orlandos scored the winning goal in sudden death overtime at the 1999 Nordic Cup Final in Iceland while Kluegel scored the winning goal in the 2000 Nordic Cup title game in Germany.
Two players that were drafted out of college will make the trip in defender Jenny Benson from Nebraska and forward Meredith Florance from North Carolina. Benson, who along with Kluegel was one of the best flank players in all of college soccer last season, earned First-Team All-American honors after helping the Huskers to a third-round appearance in the NCAA tournament. Florance had a spectacular senior season, pouring in an amazing 28 goals and notched the equalizing goal in the NCAA championship game. Benson was taken in the 3rd round of the Inaugural WUSA Draft by the Philadelphia Charge while Florance was drafted in the 2nd round by the Carolina Tempest.
Heinrichs and her staff watched several days of action at the WUSA Combine and nabbed four players for the trip, all with previous national team experience. As Thori Staples, Thori Bryan was a member of the 1995 Women's World Cup Team in Sweden, where she played in two games, and was also an alternate on the 1996 Olympic team. Bryan had an extremely strong showing at the WUSA Combine and was called-up for the U.S. match vs. Japan on Dec. 17, but did not see action. She debuted for the USA in 1993 and since then has earned 54 caps, but has just two appearances in the last three years. Always one of the fastest and most athletic players in the national team pool, she tested as the fastest player in the WUSA Combine and was the first American taken in the draft, and only American taken in the first round, going eighth overall to the Bay Area CyberRays.
Keri Raygor, 28, was a member of the national team pool from 1991-'94 as Keri Sanchez, earning eight caps including one start and one appearance as a substitute in Haiti at the 1991 CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament for the 1991 Women's World Cup. She played 31 solid minutes against Japan on Dec. 17. Her most recent appearance for the USA before that match was March 18, 1994, against Sweden at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, marking six years, 274 days between appearances for the national team. Raygor was selected by the Boston Breakers in the 2nd round of the WUSA draft. She is currently the assistant women's soccer coach at the University of Oregon and has a 20-month-old son.
Jen Lalor was a member of the 1995 U.S. Women's World Cup Team in Sweden and was in the national team pool from 1992-'95, earning 21 caps with one goal. The three-time All-American at Santa Clara University was taken in the 2nd round by the New York Power. Goalkeeper Jaime Pagliarulo will join Olympic starter Siri Mullinix on the roster. Pagliarulo has one cap for the full national team but played for the Under-21 National Team from 1993-'97, when she played in two Nordic Cups, in Germany and Sweden. The three-time All-American from George Mason University was taken in the 6th round by the San Diego Spirit.
The U.S. team will depart on Jan. 7th and return to the United States on the 15th. Former Women's World Cup Chair and Olympic gold medallist Donna de Varona will serve as the U.S. Soccer's head of delegation on the nine-day trip to China. A force behind Title IX and women's rights for years, de Varona won two swimming gold medals at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
|United States Women's National Team Roster|
USA vs. China
Jan. 11 - Pangyu, China
Jan. 14 - Hangzhou, China
|1||Pagliarulo, Jaime||GK||5-7||7/20/76||Hershey, Pa.||George Mason||San Diego||1/0|
|2||Fair, Lorrie||D/M||5-3||8/5/78||Los Altos, Calif.||North Carolina||Philadelphia||85/7|
|3||Pearce, Christie||D||5-6||6/24/75||Point Pleasant, N.J.||Monmouth||New York||87/4|
|4||Orlandos, Lauren||D||5-10||7/16/81||Lake Forest, Calif.||Portland||--||0/0|
|5||Serlenga, Nikki||M||5-5||6/20/78||San Diego, Calif.||Santa Clara||Atlanta||26/6|
|6||Raygor, Keri||D||5-4||12/25/72||San Jose, Calif.||North Carolina||Boston||9/0|
|7||Bryan, Thori||D||5-8||4/17/74||Joppatowne, Md.||N.C. State||Bay Area||54/0|
|8||Benson, Jenny||M||5-5||1/25/78||Huntington Beach, Calif.||Nebraska||Philadelphia||0/0|
|9||Florance, Meredith||F||5-7||5/10/79||Dallas, Tex.||North Carolina||Carolina||0/0|
|10||French, Michelle||D||5-4||1/27/77||Kent, Wash.||Portland||Wash. D.C.||11/0|
|11||Lalor, Jen||M||5-2||9/5/72||Bonita, Calif.||Santa Clara||New York||21/1|
|12||Cramer, Aleisha||M||5-10||7/29/82||Lakewood, Colo.||BYU||--||7/0|
|13||Kluegel, Jena||M||5-3||11/2/79||Mahtomedi, Minn.||North Carolina||--||3/0|
|14||Monroe, Mary-Frances||M||5-1||2/7/80||East Northport, N.Y.||UConn||--||3/0|
|15||Sobrero, Kate||D||5-7||8/23/76||Bloomfield Hills, Mich.||Notre Dame||Boston||63/0|
|16||Milbrett, Tiffeny||F||5-2||10/23/72||Portland, Ore.||Portland||New York||164/83|
|17||Rigamat, Stephanie||F||5-3||8/5/79||Irvine, Calif.||UCLA||--||0/0|
|18||Mullinix, Siri||GK||5-8||5/22/78||Greensboro, N.C.||North Carolina||Wash. D.C.||30/0|
|Head of Delegation||Donna de Varona||Greenwich, Conn.|
|General Manager||Nils Krumins||Chicago, Ill.|
|Head Coach||April Heinrichs||Charlottesville, Va.|
|Asst. Coach||Tracey Leone||Clemson, S.C.|
|GK Coach||Eric Yamamoto||Santa Clara, Calif.|
|Trainer||Gigi Garcia||Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.|
|Press Officer||Aaron Heifetz||San Diego, Calif.|
|Massage Therapist||Nestor Battung||Chicago, Ill.|
|Massage Therapist||Scott Street||Chicago, Ill.|
|Doctor||Dr. Joyce Tarbet||Chicago, Ill.|