The U.S. opens the tournament against France on Sept. 22 at Lankaran Stadium in Lankaran at 1 p.m. local (4 a.m. ET) before traveling to the capital city of Baku, where the remaining two Group B matches will be played. The USA will continue first round action against Gambia at Dalga Arena on Sept. 25 at 5 p.m. local (8 a.m. ET) and finish group play on Sept. 29 against Korea DPR (5 p.m. local / 8 a.m. ET), the country that defeated the USA in the championship game of the inaugural U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008 in New Zealand. The USA-North Korea clash will take place at Bayil Stadium.
Montoya named the squad after a training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., from Aug. 19-26, at which the USA defeated the China U-17 Women’s National Team in two friendly matches by 2-1 and 5-1 scores.
The U.S. U-17s have compiled an overall record of 22-5-6 over 2010 and 2011 heading into the Women’s World Cup, including a 13-1-4 mark in international games. All 21 players on the roster were born in 1995, the year that the second-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup was staged in Sweden.
Most of the 21 players named are relatively experienced at the U-17 level as the U.S. team has played 14 internationals this year prior to traveling to Azerbaijan. Forward Summer Green leads the way in both U-17 caps and goals with 21 and 17 respectively, but she is surrounded by some talented teammates.
The core of this U.S. team has risen through the ranks together in the U.S. youth national teams, starting at the U.S. Under-14 Identification Camp in 2009. In fact, 16 players on the Women’s World Cup roster attended that U-14 I.D. Camp staged in Pomona, Calif. Most of these players were just 13 years old when the USA participated in the first FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2008.
The USA has a talented and diverse group of attacking players led by Green, who set a U.S. record for most goals scored in a CONCACAF qualifying tournament at any level when she amassed 12 in just five games to help the USA win the regional title in Guatemala and earn a berth to Azerbaijan. The USA features players with size, speed, strength and craftiness on the front line in Green, Emily Bruder, Margaret “Midge” Purce, Amber Munerlyn and Darian Jenkins. The combination of these players can give the USA various looks against different opponents. The U.S. has scored a combined 33 international goals at the U-17 level.
The USA also has depth in the midfield, which is anchored by team captain Morgan Andrews, whose sophisticated game belies her youth. Andrews is joined by several players with the ability to contribute on both sides of the ball. Morgan Stanton, Lauren Kaskie, Joanna Boyles, Andi Sullivan and Toni Payne have been effective players whether they are in the first 11 or coming off the bench, and all have shown the ability to impact the game striking on goal from midfield.
The U.S. defense, which did not allow a goal during qualifying, is led by center back and co-captain Maddie Bauer, a player who is smooth on the ball and gritty in the tackle. Her usual partner in the center defense is the physically dominating Mandy Freeman. Gabbi Miranda provides composure and a sweet left foot at left back while Brittany Basinger, a relatively late call-up during this cycle, is a thundering right back who can attack down the flank, as well. Adding depth to the defense will be Lizzy Raben, usually a center back, and Morgan Reid, usually a flank defender, as well as Claire Wagner, who made a late run to make the final roster.
In goal, the USA has one of the best in the world at her position in Jane Campbell. Athletic and tall at 5-foot-9, Campbell is a rare specimen at the U-17 level. She will be joined by two other talented and tall net-minders in the 6-foot Cassie Miller and the 5-foot-10 Morgan Stearns.
- The USA will head into the Women’s World Cup having compiled a record of 12-0-2 this year in international matches.
- The two ties came against the England U-19s and the China U-20s.
- The age cut-off date for this Women’s World Cup is players born on or after Jan. 1, 1995. All of the players on the roster were born in 1995 with Darian Jenkins being the oldest with a Jan. 5 birthday.
- The youngest player is Andi Sullivan, who has a Dec. 20 birthday.
- Twenty of the 21 players are still in high school. The exception is Summer Green, who graduated a year early and is enrolled at the University of North Carolina.
- Seventeen different youth clubs from 14 states are represented on the roster with the Chelsea Ladies out of North Carolina and the Colorado Rush leading the way with three players each.
- At the U-17 level, each confederation (outside of the smallest Oceania) gets three berths to the World Cup tournament. Just nine countries return from the 2010 tournament and that does not include defending champion Korea Republic.
- The USA will hold a pre-tournament training camp in Cyprus and will depart for Europe on Sept. 12.
- The 16 nations competing in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup are: host Azerbaijan; two additional teams from Europe in France and Germany; three Asian teams in Japan, Korea DPR and China PR; three from Africa in Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia; the USA, Canada and Mexico from CONCACAF; Brazil, Colombia and Uruguay from South America; and New Zealand from Oceania.
U.S. U-17 Women’s World Cup Team Roster By Position - Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire South; Kennesaw, Ga.), Cassie Miller (Sereno FC; Cave Creek, Ariz.), Morgan Stearns (McLean MPS Power; San Antonio, Texas)
DEFENDERS (7): Brittany Basinger (FC Virginia; Purcellville, Va.), Maddie Bauer (Slammers FC; Newport Beach, Calif.), Mandy Freeman (Lady Renegades SC; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), Gabbi Miranda (Colorado Rush; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Lizzy Raben (Colorado Rush; Greenwood, Colo.), Morgan Reid (Chelsea Ladies; Cary, N.C.), Claire Wagner (Chelsea Ladies; Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Andrews (FC Stars of Mass.; Milford, N.H.), Joanna Boyles (Chelsea Ladies; Raleigh, N.C.), Lauren Kaskie (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), Toni Payne (Concorde Fire; Birmingham, Ala.), Morgan Stanton (Colorado Rush; Lakewood, Colo.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.)
FORWARDS (5): Emily Bruder (Utah Avalanche; Sandy, Utah), Summer Green (Michigan Hawks; Milford, Mich.), Darian Jenkins (Sparta SC; Riverton, Utah), Amber Munerlyn (So Cal Blues; Corona, Calif.), Margaret Purce (Freestate Soccer; Olney, Md.)
2012 U.S. U-17 Women’s World Cup Team Bio Shorts
Jane Campbell (Kennesaw, Ga.)
The lean and athletic net-minder has an impressive presence in the penalty area for a young goalkeeper. She’s an excellent communicator and leader in the back for a U.S. team that has been stingy in allowing goals this year. She missed the USA’s recent trip to Eastern Europe with a minor injury but has played more games than any goalkeeper this year and is 9-0-3 in international matches in her career.
Cassie Miller (Cave Creek, Ariz.)
At 6-foot, she’s the tallest of the USA’s goalkeepers and an intimidating figure in the goal. She has backed up Campbell for most of the cycle but has still seen action in 10 overall matches this year (to Campbell’s 11) and is 4-0-0 all-time in international matches.
Morgan Stearns (San Antonio, Texas)
Stearns has been in the U.S. WNT youth programs since she was 13 but made a late run at the Women’s World Cup Team to earn a spot as the third goalkeeper. Athletic, hard-working and brave, she rounds out the top-notch goalkeeping trio for the U-17 level.
Brittany Basinger (Purcellville, Va.)
Although her first call-up came relatively late in the cycle, Basinger has shown superb defending and tackling qualities at outside back as well as the ability to get into the attack. She has played in all 14 international matches this year, starting 13, and on the recent tour of Eastern Europe scored the winning goal in the victory over Austrian champion Luv Graz and a goal against the Slovenia Women’s National Team.
Maddie Bauer (Newport Beach, Calif.)
A tremendous ball-winner in the air and on the ground, she is one of the USA’s leaders in the back with 17 U-17 caps under her belt. She has played all but 16 minutes of the USA’s international matches this year, and her smooth skills and calmness under pressure from opposing forwards helps the USA establish its rhythm to start the attacks.
Mandy Freeman (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.)
She has experience with 18 U-17 caps, is an excellent one-on-one defender and has dynamite closing speed. She is hard into the tackle and a physical presence in the center of the defense. Paired with Bauer in the back, the duo form a strong partnership down the spine but also are well versed in setting the attacking tempo and linking with the midfielders and forwards.
Gabbi Miranda (Highlands Ranch, Colo.)
A true-left footer at left back, she has excellent ball skills and is one of the USA’s most composed players on the ball. She is talented at sending crosses in from the wing and earned a starting spot early in the cycle which she has held down through Women’s World Cup prep.
Lizzy Raben (Greenwood, Colo.)
The tall and wiry Raben is versatile and can play both in the center of the defense or at outside back. She came into the championship game of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament against Canada as a late game sub and played very well to help the Americans hold a 1-0 victory.
Morgan Reid (Cary, N.C.)
A strong and intense defender, she is also the point guard on her high school basketball team. Reid has the experience of being in the player pool for the majority of the cycle and has one international goal, scored against the Japan U-17s in a 2-2 tie in 2011. She has played mostly outside back for the USA.
Claire Wagner (Cary, N.C.)
She made a late run to join the Women’s World Cup Team and is the least capped player on the roster with two U-17 full internationals under her belt. At 5-foot-9, she is good in the air and can read the game well from the back. She’ll add depth to a solid core of U.S. defenders.
Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H.)
The captain of the USA is an excellent playmaker and tremendous at winning the ball in the air. She can shoot effectively from distance, and her ability to send long balls to either flank is top class. A key component to the U.S. midfield, she has played most of the minutes this year and scored on a direct free kick in CONCACAF qualifying against Panama in the match that qualified the USA for Azerbaijan. She is the first player from New Hampshire to represent the USA at a Women’s World Cup.
Joanna Boyles (Raleigh, N.C.)
A smooth player on the ball in the center of the pitch, Boyles is tall and excellent in the air both defensively and offensively. She can also crack a shot from distance and did so for her lone goal of qualifying, beating the goalkeeper high into the right corner of the net in a victory against Trinidad & Tobago.
Lauren Kaskie (Las Vegas, Nev.)
The left-footed Kaskie is a sturdy center-midfield player who is as adept at winning a tackle as she is at springing her fellow midfielders and forwards into the attack with pinpoint passes. Her lone international goal came in 2011 against the Germany U-18s in a 2-2 draw. She is the first player from Nevada to represent the USA in a Women’s World Cup.
Toni Payne (Birmingham, Ala.)
Quick with the ball and fast on the sprint, Payne has shown herself to be a scoring threat from midfield, having found the net six times in international games so far this year. She scored twice at CONCACAF qualifying and had three goals in the two most recent friendly matches against the China U-17s.
Morgan Stanton (Lakewood, Colo.)
The skillful Stanton is a bundle of energy in the midfield, and although she is the shortest player on the roster at 5-foot-2, she wins her share of tackles in the middle of the field. She can beat players on the dribble and is an excellent linking player to keep the USA’s attacking rhythm moving.
Andi Sullivan (Lorton, Va.)
Tall with long strides, Sullivan has scored five times at the U-17 level while playing a combination of forward and midfield. She scored two goals at CONCACAF qualifying and also has scored against the Germany U-17s and the France U-19s this year.
Emily Bruder (Sandy, Utah)
A thundering forward with tremendous strength, Bruder likes to mix it up in the penalty area. She hits a heavy shot, and two of her three international goals in 2012 came during CONCACAF qualifying. She is able to play in the center of the park or on the wings and is a handful for any defender whether playing with her back to goal or running at the net.
Summer Green (Milford, Mich.)
The USA’s leading scorer set a record during CONCACAF qualifying by scoring 12 goals in five games, the most ever for a U.S. player during a World Cup qualifying tournament. The USA’s most experienced player with 21 caps at the U-17 level along with her 17 career scores, she has a nose for the goal and excellent dribbling skills at high speed.
Darian Jenkins (Riverton, Utah)
Tall at 5-foot-9, she is also one of the USA’s fastest players and likes to run hard at the goal. She’s strong on the ball and possesses a powerful shot that has earned her three goals in just seven U-17 caps. She scored once at qualifying and notched two more against the China U-17s in a recent friendly match.
Amber Munerlyn (Corona, Calif.)
One of the USA’s fastest players with the ball at her feet, she is skilled at working herself free to shoot in tight spaces inside the penalty area. She scored the USA’s lone goal in the championship game of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, running onto a pass from Summer Green to slot home the winning score. Munerlyn is one of the most experienced players on the roster with 17 U-17 caps and six career international goals.
Margaret “Midge” Purce (Olney, Md.)
A slick and elusive dribbler, Purce is capable of beating defenders with speed or moves. One of the younger players on the squad, she scored a hat trick against the Bahamas in the opening game of CONCACAF qualifying.