The eight competing teams are divided into two groups of four, with first-round play consisting of round-robin matches within the group. The group winners will then play for the championship. The two second-place group finishers will play for third place, the third-place finishers for fifth and the last-place finishers will play for seventh. The USA will play in Group A that features Iceland, Denmark and Germany while Group B features host Norway, Sweden, Canada and Finland. All the matches will be contested in and around the city of Gjovik, which is approximately 100 kilometers from Oslo.
"We're very much looking forward to returning to the Nordic Cup and having the opportunity to defend the title," said Smith. "One of our main goals with the U-21 program is to develop players that can step into the full national team environment and the Nordic Cup is one of the rare opportunities for the U-21 players to have that kind of experience."
A physically taxing schedule features four matches in seven days for all eight teams, with the group winners meeting for the championship on July 31 at Gjovik Stadium. Prior to 1997, the USA had won just one Nordic Cup in five attempts. Former coach Lauren Gregg took over the U-21 program in 1997 and won championships that year and in '99, while finishing second in '98. Last year, Jillian Ellis led the USA to a 1-0 victory over host Germany to capture the USA's third Nordic Cup title in the last four years. This will be Smith's first trip to the Nordic Cup.
The USA won the Nordic Cup in 1997 in Denmark, defeating arch-rival Norway in the championship game, 1-0, on sudden death overtime on a goal from Jen Mascaro, now of the San Diego Spirit. The USA fell to Norway in 1998 in Holland, 2-1, with Atlanta Beat star Cindy Parlow tallying for the USA. The USA recaptured the title in 1999 as Lauren Orlandos (El Toro, Calif./Portland) scored in sudden death overtime to defeat Norway. Last year, it was Jena Kluegel (Mahtomedi, Minn./UNC) who scored the winning goal in the victory over Germany.
The USA opens the tournament vs. Iceland on July 25 at Gjovik Stadium (Kickoff 4:30 p.m. Local Time/10:30 a.m. ET). The USA will then play Denmark on July 27 at Raufoss Stadium (7:00 p.m. Local Time/1:00 p.m. ET) and finish first-round play against Germany on July 29 at Dokka Stadium (Kickoff 4:30 p.m. Local Time/10:30 a.m. ET).
Players born after Jan. 1, 1980, are eligible for this year's Nordic Cup team, however, each team is allowed two "overage" spots on its roster for players born after Jan. 1, 1977. Of the 20 players Smith is bringing to Rhode Island, only Kluegel is overage. Eighteen of the 20 players on the training camp roster for Rhode Island are in college as only Jill Oakes (West Hills, Calif./Harvard-Westlake) and Anne Morrell (Plymouth, Mich./Canton HS) are still in high school. The roster represents some of the finest young talent in the United States. Thirteen of the 20 players have earned caps with the full U.S. National Team and 11 of the players represented the USA at the 2001 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Nine of the players were on last year's Nordic Cup championship team.
Three of the players attending the Rhode Island training camp, midfielder Aleisha Cramer (Lakewood, Colo./BYU) and defenders Catherine Reddick (Birmingham, Ala./UNC) and Kluegel, all played for the full U.S. Women's National team against Canada in the two-game Independence Day Series on June 30 and July 1. Reddick played all 90 minutes in both matches in the center of the U.S. defense.
"For our players born in 1980, it may be the last opportunity to participate in the Nordic Cup and I know they want to go out on a winning note," added Smith, who could bring as many as 11 Nordic Cup rookies to the tournament. "For first time players, it's a great opportunity for them to experience a championship of this caliber and we looking forward to see how they respond to that challenge."
|United States Under-21 Women's National Team Roster|
2001 Nordic Cup
July 25-31 - Gjovik, Norway
|No.||Name||Pos.||Ht.||Birthdate||Hometown||School||U-21 Caps||WNT Caps/Goals|
|1||Oleksiuk, Emily||GK||5'10"||12/10/80||Willow Grove, Pa.||Penn Sate||2||2/0|
|2||Kluegel, Jena||D||5'3"||11/02/79||Mahtomedi, Minn.||North Carolina||8||12/0|
|3||Kraus, Anna||D||5'4"||07/29/80||Sunnyvale, Calif.||Santa Clara||10||6/0|
|4||Reddick, Catherine||D||5'7"||02/10/82||Birmingham, Ala.||North Carolina||8||9/1|
|5||Marquand, Ally||D||5'6"||07/01/81||Irvine, Calif.||Stanford||3||4/1|
|6||Zimny, Casey||D||5'6"||01/26/80||Coventry, Conn.||Connecticut||0||0/0|
|7||Wagner, Aly||M||5'5"||08/10/80||San Jose, Calif.||Santa Clara||16||15/5|
|8||Misaki, Erin||M||5'3"||11/23/81||Valencia, Calif.||Portland||2||0/0|
|9||Ramsey, Alyssa||F||5'9"||09/12/82||Charlotte, N.C.||North Carolina||8||8/0|
|10||Schott, Laura||F||5'5"||04/04/81||Wilsonville, Ore.||UC Berkeley||1||5/1|
|11||Oakes, Jill||M||5'6"||07/18/84||West Hills, Calif.||Harvard-Westlake HS||0||0/0|
|12||Welsh, Christie||F||5'10"||08/10/80||Massapequa Park, N.Y.||Penn State||6||19/12|
|13||Hawkins, Devvyn||M||5'8"||11/29/80||Olympia, Wash.||Santa Clara||1||4/0|
|14||Lindsey, Lori||M||5'6"||03/19/80||Indianapolis, Ind.||Virginia||0||0/0|
|15||Borgman, Danielle||D||5'6"||04/25/80||Cincinnati, Ohio||North Carolina||6||2/0|
|16||Barnes, Katie||F||5'6"||08/29/80||Mason, Ohio West||Virginia||2||0/0|
|17||Cramer, Aleisha||M||5'11"||07/29/82||Lakewood, Colo.||Brigham Young||14||15/0|
|18||Solo, Hope||GK||5'9"||07/30/81||Richland, Wash.||Washington||2||7/0|
|20||Morrell, Anne||F||5'4"||09/24/82||Plymouth, Mich.||Canton HS||0||0/0|
|22||Wambach, Abby||F||5'10"||06/02/80||Pittsford, N.Y.||Florida||1||0/0|
|General Manager||Nils Krumins||Chicago, Ill.|
|Head Coach||Jerry Smith||Santa Clara, Calif.|
|Assistant Coach||Sue Patberg||Athens, Ga.|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Eric Yamamoto||Santa Clara, Calif.|
|Doctor||Dr. Sandra Glasson||Virginia Beach, Va.|
|Trainer||Jordan Hamson||Chicago, Ill.|
|Massage Therapist||Nestor Battung||Chicago, Ill.|
|Press Officer||Aaron Heifetz||San Diego, Calif.|