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U.S. WNT and U-20 WNT Training Camps Underway for January Tournaments

U.S. WOMEN HIT FIELD FOR PRE-CHINA CAMP: The 28 players in U.S. Women’s National Team camp have jumped feet first into preparation for the Four Nations Tournament in China as the team returns to training for the first time since late October. The USA will not ease into is 2006 schedule, as the world’s second ranked team faces three of the world’s top nations right off the bat, playing third-ranked Norway on Jan. 18, fifth-ranked France on Jan. 20 and host China, ranked ninth, on Jan. 22. The U.S. team had a light “shake the legs loose after a travel day” training on Tuesday afternoon before going twice on Wednesday, with the evening session featuring an intense and high-paced 11 v. 11 intra-squad scrimmage with end-to-end action for all 80 minutes. No goals where scored, but the game featured quality chances by both teams and forward Megan Rapinoe, in her first camp with the full national team, pounded a shot off the underside of the crossbar from close range near the end. The U.S. team will scrimmage again this afternoon, and also on Saturday, Jan. 7, when a split-squad will face a split-squad from the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team in two matches at 1 and 3 p.m. at the Home Depot Center. U.S. head coach Greg Ryan will chose a 20-player roster to travel to China for the Four Nations Tournament. The USA will leave on Tuesday for Guangzhou, city of the USA’s historic first FIFA Women’s World Cup triumph in 1991. U.S. captain Kristine Lilly, who will be going for her historic and mind-boggling 300th cap in China, is the only player remaining from that original World Cup-winning team.

BEEP, BEEP: The USA’s morning session on Wednesday featured the infamous and much dreaded “beep test,” an endurance test that challenges the mind, the lungs and the legs. The test, which features back and forth jog/sprints that force the players to touch a line with their foot before the tape “beeps” (at increasingly short intervals) was divided into two “heats.”  Players born in 1981 and before went first while the young guns born in 1982 and after, went second. Defender Heather Mitts won the first heat as she was the last woman running/standing, while forward Heather O’Reilly, midfielder Lindsay Tarpley and midfielder Leslie Osborne, three members of the USA’s 2002 U-19 World Championship winning team, gutted it out as the last three in the second heat. O’Reilly and Osborne finished tied for first.

ALL FOUR NATIONS MATCHES ON TV, IN CHINA: You will be able to watch all of the USA’s matches at the Four Nations Tournament, if you live in China. The Chinese Soccer Federation has announced that all six matches of the 2005 Four Nations Tournament will be broadcast across China on CCTV Channel 5. With all the games live, several tweaks to the schedule were made. The order of games on the first two match days was flip-flopped to have China playing second. The times of the matches remain the same.

Four Nations Tournament - Guangzhou Olympic Stadium, Guangzhou, China
Jan. 18  USA vs. Norway      1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET
              China vs. France        4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET 

Jan. 20  USA vs. France       1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET
               China vs. Norway      4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET 

Jan. 22  France vs. Norway    1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET
               USA vs. China         4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET 

U.S. U-20 WNT FOCUSED ON CONCACAF QUALIFYING: With the U.S. Women’s National Team preparing for the Four Nations Tournament at The Home Depot Center, the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team looks toward the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament being held in Mexico from Jan. 18-27, 2006. This training camp, which runs until Jan. 9, is for all intents and purposes the first camp with this group of players as head coach Tim Schulz looks to pare a 29-player camp down to 20 who will attempt to qualify the USA for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship to be held from Aug. 16-Sept. 2 in Russia. This will be the first year that FIFA’s youth world championship for women will be staged as an Under-20 event having been held as Under-19 events in 2002 and 2004. Like the senior team, the U-20s have been training hard and playing a lot. The U.S. U-20s split into two squads last Tuesday for two matches, downing a team of local junior college players, 9-0, before tying a team of local Division I players, 3-3. Against the JC squad, eight different players scored as the U.S. got two goals from Kasey Moore and one each from Courtney Hooker, Amy Rodriguez, Allie Long, Stacey Strong, Jessica Rostedt, Jordan Angeli and Tina DiMartino (on a PK). In the second match, thundering forward Lauren Cheney scored all three goals. The USA had a comfortable 3-1 lead heading into the 64th minute before the college all-stars scored twice in three minutes to tie the match.

U.S. U-20S TO FACE JAMAICA, SURINAM AND EL SALVADOR IN GROUP B PLAY AT CONCACAF QUALIFYING: The USA will face Jamaica (Jan. 19), Surinam (Jan. 21) and El Salvador (Jan. 23) in the Group B play at the CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Final Round Qualifying Tournament. Of those three teams, the USA has met just Surinam in qualifying play before. That came in 2002 CONCACAF qualifying on the island of Tobago, a 15-0 U.S. win. That match saw seven goals from players currently in camp with the U.S. Women’s national Team, four from Lindsay Tarpley and one each from Jill Oakes, Heather O’Reilly and Leslie Osborne. The USA has played Jamaica once before at the U-19 level, an exhibition in April of 2002, a 12-0 win. That game saw two goals from O’Reilly, three from Tarpley and one from Oakes. The USA has never played El Salvador, a country not known for its women’s soccer prowess, at the U-19 or full national team level. El Salvador qualified for the final tournament by drawing Guatemala 0-0 and then coming up with a huge 1-0 upset of Costa Rica on a goal from Pamela Rodriguez (no relation to the USA’s Amy Rodriguez) to win the Central American pre-qualifying group in Cinderella-like fashion.

2006 CONCACAF WOMEN’S UNDER-20 FINAL ROUND QUALIFYING SCHEDULE: The Group A matches, featuring Canada, T & T, Mexico and Panama, will be played in Veracruz at Luis Pirata Fuentes Stadium and the Group B matches in Cordoba at Rafael Murillo Vidal Stadium. The top three finishers in the tournament will advance to the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship. The first and second place finishers in the groups after first-round play will “cross-over” and meet in the semifinals in Veracruz. The championship game and consolation match, which carries tremendous importance as the final spot in Russia will be at stake, will also take place in Veracruz.

January 18, 2006 – Goup A
Canada vs. Trinidad & Tobago (1 pm ET)      Veracruz
Mexico vs. Panama (4 p.m. ET)                       Veracruz

January 19, 2006 – Group B
El Salvador vs. Surinam (1 p.m. ET)               Córdoba
USA vs. Jamaica (3:30 p.m. ET)                   Córdoba

January 20, 2006 – Group A
Panama vs. Canada (1 pm ET)                      Veracruz
Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago (4 p.m. ET)    Veracruz

January 21, 2006 – Group B
Jamaica vs. El Salvador (1 p.m. ET)             Córdoba
Surinam vs. USA (3:30 p.m. ET)                 Córdoba

January 22, 2006 – Group A
Trinidad & Tobago vs. Panama (1 pm ET)  Veracruz
Mexico vs. Canada (4 p.m. ET)                     Veracruz

January 23, 2006 – Group B
Jamaica vs. Surinam (1 p.m. ET)                Córdoba
USA vs. El Salvador (3:30 p.m. ET)         Córdoba

January 25, 2006 – Semifinals
1st in A vs. 2nd in B (1 p.m. ET)                  Veracruz
1st in B vs. 2nd in A (4 p.m. ET)                  Veracruz

January 27, 2006 
Third-Place Match (1 p.m. ET)                    Veracruz
Championship Final (4 p.m. ET)                Veracruz

FIVE IN, 11 SPOTS TO GO FOR FIFA U-20 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIUP IN RUSSIA: A total of 16 teams will compete for the first U-20 world title, made up of four from Europe, three each from CONCACAF and Asia, two from both Africa and South America, one from Oceania and host Russia. The European entrants have already been determined with Germany, France and surprise qualifiers Finland and Switzerland earning berths at the most recent UEFA U-19 Women’s Championships held last August in Hungary. The South American qualification tournament is taking place right now in Chile, with most of the countries battling to see who will join perennial power Brazil in Russia.

2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship Berths
Confederation  Teams
Asia                    3
Africa                  2
South America  2
Oceania             1
Europe               Germany, France, Finland and Switzerland
Host                    Russia

A-ROD GIVES PROPS TO VINCE, LOGS GRACIOUS IN VICTORY…KIND OF: With three players in U.S. U-20 camp from USC (Amy Rodriguez, Meagan Holmes and Stacey Strong) and two players from Texas (Kasey Moore and Stephanie Logterman), the BCS Championship game on Wednesday night at the Rose Bowl between the Trojans and the Longhorns was destined to stir up some friendly rivalry. In the end, both sides agreed it was just a great game to watch. “I love Matt Leinart, but I have to admit Vince Young was amazing,” said Rodriguez. “It was intense and fun to watch. Logs did come into my room screaming once, but otherwise the Texas girls weren’t too bad.” Logterman, who was born in Austin, Texas, admits she was perhaps a bit too loud at the team hotel, but was obviously excited about the historic victory. So much so, she almost fainted.  “It was an amazing night,” said Logterman. “I almost had a heart attack, though, in the second half when USC started doing really well. But Vince came through, so all is good. I am not sure it was ever in doubt, he’s a big game guy and the Rose Bowl is his house.”

YOUNG AND TALENTED: With the U.S. U-20s in camp alongside the full national team, the importance in the development of young players getting an opportunity to play on the world’s stage in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship cannot be understated. Nine of the 28 players in training camp (that’s 32%) with the Women’s National Team this week in Carson, Calif., played in either the 2002 or 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship. Angie Woznuk played in both. In fact, she won the Silver Ball as the second Most Outstanding Player and the Bronze Boot as the third leading scorer in 2004 in Thailand. The youth world championship veterans currently in camp are:

2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship (Canada) – USA Finish: 1st
Lori Chalupny, Defender
Kendall Fletcher, Defender
Jill Oakes, Defender
Heather O’Reilly, Forward
Leslie Osborne, Midfielder
Lindsay Tarpley, Midfielder
Angie Woznuk, Midfielder

2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship (Thailand) – USA Finish: 3rd
Stephanie Lopez, Defender
Megan Rapinoe, Forward
Angie Woznuk, Midfielder

STAT(S) OF NOTE: The U.S. U-20 women will be going for their first true regional title in Mexico. In 2002, the USA won its group to earn a berth to Canada, but the two groups did not cross over to play a CONCACAF title game. In 2004, the USA won its semifinal 6-0 over Mexico to earn a berth to Thailand, but lost to Canada, 2-1, in the CONCACAF qualifying championship game played in Canada. The USA outscored its opponents 66-4 in U-19 CONCACAF qualifying for the 2002 and 2004 world championships.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: With all the new faces in Women’s National Team training camp, prior to the first training of the week, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan asked each player to tell the group which name they liked to be called on the field. Midfielder Leslie Osborne, who is often called “Ozzy,” responded that she much preferred “Leslie,” which led to a nod of approval later that afternoon by midfielder Angie “Wozzy” Woznuk.

“That’s good because it got really confusing when we played in the center midfield together.” is the official site of U.S. Soccer, the governing body of soccer in the United States