U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp Update
December 10, 2007
PIA ERA BEGINS
The U.S. Women’s National Team hit the field on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 8 for the first practice session of a five-day mini-camp, the first training under new head coach Pia Sundhage, who addressed the team for the first time in a meeting prior to departure to The Home Depot Center. On a cold, wet and windy night, the first practice under Sundhage was a 90-minute training, as the players got their legs back under them after the month layoff since the end of the Women’s World Cup and the three-match post-WWC tour vs. Mexico. After a long year in 2007 that included 24 matches and a third-place finish at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the team was set to regroup in January in preparation for the Four Nations Tournament in January, but Sundhage’s hiring on Nov. 13 necessitated the mini-camp, giving both coach and players a valuable opportunity to get to know each other before jumping into a major competition at the beginning of 2008.
U.S. Women’s National Team Training Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (9): Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.), Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.), Nikki Washington (Mesquite, Texas), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.);
FORWARDS (6): Michelle Enyeart (Hemet, Calif.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Casey Nogueira (Raleigh, N.C.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).
2008 SCHEDULE STARTING TO TAKE SHAPE
While much of the 2008 schedule for the U.S. women is still to be determined as head coach Pia Sundhage continues to formulate her plans, this much is known. The U.S. team will play in three major tournaments in the first four months of the year, starting in January at the annual Four Nations tournament in China. The game schedule, venues and opponents have yet to be finalized (although with U.S. and China, you have half the field), but the U.S. team will enter training camp in early January at The Home Depot Center before leaving for China a little more than a week into the new year. The U.S. team will also once again enter the Algarve Cup in Portugal in mid-March with the final schedule still to be determined. The most important tournament, however, will take place in April in Chihuahua, Mexico, as the USA is one of six teams entering the CONCACAF Final Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament being held from April 2-13. Should all go well in Mexico, the U.S. team will likely have another springtime Residency Training Camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., as well as a slate of domestic games, and possibly a foreign tour.
BEIJING VIA MEXICO
The 2008 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Final Round qualifying tournament will be held April 2-13 at the Estadio Olimpico Universitario in the city of Chihuahua, the capital of the northern state of Chihuahua, Mexico. The six-team tournament will determine the two CONCACAF countries that will participate in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. The six participating teams include the defending Olympic champion USA along with Canada and Mexico from the North Zone, all of which received byes into the Final Round. Joining them will be Costa Rica, which recently qualified from the Central American Zone, and two teams from the Caribbean in Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. For the first time, the Olympic Women’s Soccer Tournament will feature 12 teams, up from 10 in 2004 and eight for both 2000 and 1996. Seven of the 12 teams for Beijing are already set. By virtue of their finish at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Germany and Norway will represent Europe. Sweden recently won a two-game playoff with Denmark and will be the third European entrant. Japan and North Korea have qualified from Asia, and China has an automatic berth as host. Argentina has qualified from South America, forcing Brazil into a playoff against the second place finisher from Africa. Qualifying in Africa is on-going with Ghana and Nigeria in position to battle for the lone automatic berth. One team will also qualify from Oceania.
U-20s MOVING ON UP
The U.S. training camp roster features seven players culled right from the college ranks for this camp. It was a bittersweet call-up for the septet, all of whom were available for the training camp because their college teams were knocked out of the NCAA Playoffs before the NCAA Final Four. All seven have played with the U.S. U-19s or U-20s, but just three are capped with the full team, led by midfielder Yael Averbuch who has played just two games for the WNT.
Yael Averbuch, Midfielder
Played for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. Scored six goals with six assists for UNC as a junior this fall. Two caps came over 50 minutes of action at the 2007 Four Nations tournament in China.
Rachel Buehler, Defender
Played for the USA at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Canada, helping the USA to the title, and at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. Finished her career at Stanford this fall. Played in 81 games in her college career, starting every game over the past three seasons. Uncapped at the senior level, but did train with the USA during Residency Camp this year.
Michelle Enyeart, Forward
A key member of the USA’s current U-20 pool, she played for the USA at the Pan American games in Rio de Janeiro last summer. Led the Portland Pilots in scoring during her sophomore year this fall with 12 goals and 15 assists. Uncapped at the senior level.
Tobin Heath, Midfielder
Played for the USA at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia, mostly in the back. Had two goals and five assists for the Tar Heels this season as a sophomore. Uncapped at the senior level, she is age-eligible for the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.
Casey Nogueira, Forward
Played for the USA at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia. Had 13 goals and three assists for the Tar Heels this season as a sophomore, leading the team. Has one cap at the senior level, earned at the Four Nations Tournament in China last January, and she is age-eligible for the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile.
Nikki Washington, Midfielder
A member of the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team player pool, she had seven goals with seven assists for the Tar Heels last season, including the winning goal in the ACC championship game. Uncapped at the senior level.
Angie Woznuk, Midfielder
Played for the USA at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Canada, helping the USA to the title, and at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, where she was one of the best players in the tournament, winning the Silver Ball as the second most-valuable player and the Bronze Boot as the tournament’s third-leading scorer. Finished her career at Portland this fall, scoring nine goals with seven assists. Has one cap at the senior level, earned in 2005 against Iceland.
WHERE THEY ARE, NOW
Sixteen of the 21 members of the USA’s 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team are at mini-camp, but where are the other five? Read below for answers.
Kristine Lilly just needs some rest, which she has earned after 340 caps, 20 years on the National Team and five Women’s World Cups. The U.S. captain has also yet to decide if she will attempt a run to the 2008 Olympics.
Taking a Breather
Defender Stephanie Lopez went from an intense Residency Training Camp to an even more intense starting role at the 2007 Women’s World Cup and then straight into an emotional senior season at the University of Portland. The 21-year-old needs a breather. And oh yeah, she’s getting married next weekend.
Midfielder Angela Hucles is in Africa during humanitarian work.
Bun in the Oven
Defender Tina Ellertson is pregnant with her second child, but plans to return to action following the birth. She’s due in April.
Midfielder Marci Jobson has retired from international play. She’s also the new head women’s soccer coach for the Baylor University Bears, leaving Northern Illinois, where she was the head coach for three seasons.