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U.S. U-20 WNT To Kick Off CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship Against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, June 18


U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team
CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying
Puebla, Mexico
June 18-28, 2008


BIENVENIDOS A PUEBLA: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team arrived in Puebla, Mexico, on June 13, and have had four days of training in preparation for their opening match of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, June 18, at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET). The U.S., drawn into Group A of the tournament, will face Cuba on June 20 at 1 p.m. CT before taking on the hosts, Mexico, on June 22 at 2:30 p.m. CT. The top two teams from each group will play in the semifinals, and the top three teams in the tournament will advance to the 2008 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile. Fans can follow Wednesday afternoon’s game live on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.

U.S. U-20 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship Schedule
Date Opponent Kickoff (CT) Venue; City
June 18 Trinidad & Tobago 1 p.m. Estadio Cuauhtemoc; Puebla, Mexico
June 20 Cuba 1 p.m. Estadio Cuauhtemoc; Puebla, Mexico
June 22 Mexico 2:30 p.m. Estadio Cuauhtemoc; Puebla, Mexico
June 25 Semifinals 1 p.m. / 3:30 p.m. Estadio Cuauhtemoc; Puebla, Mexico
June 28 Final / Third Place 2:30 p.m. / 12 p.m. Estadio Cuauhtemoc; Puebla, Mexico


ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: Before arriving in Puebla on Friday evening, the U.S. spent a week training in the high altitude of Park City, Utah, to adjust to the climate of the host city, which sits 7,136 feet above sea level. The domestic camp included 24 players, 20 of whom were selected for the qualifying roster. The squad wrapped up with a 4-0 win in a friendly against the WPSL’s Utah Spiders, with the U.S. goals scored by Alex Morgan, Gina DiMartino, Kelley O’Hara and Jessica McDonald.

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Kristin Arnold (Texas A&M), Alyssa Naeher (Penn State)
DEFENDERS (4): Kaley Fountain (Wake Forest), Lauren Fowlkes (Notre Dame), Nikki Marshall (Colorado), Elli Reed (Portland)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Becky Edwards (Florida State), Meghan Klingenberg (North Carolina), Christine Nairn (Bowie, Md.), Ingrid Wells (Georgetown), Keelin Winters (Portland)
FORWARDS (9): Kiersten Dallstream (Washington State), Gina DiMartino (Boston College), Michelle Enyeart (Portland), Sydney Leroux (Phoenix, Ariz.), Jessica McDonald (Glendale, Ariz.), Alex Morgan (California), Casey Nogueira (North Carolina), Kelley O’Hara (Stanford), Nikki Washington (North Carolina)

GROUP B KICKS OFF: The tournament officially kicks off Tuesday afternoon, with Canada taking on Nicaragua at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET) from Estadio Cuauhtémoc. At 3:30 p.m. CT, Costa Rica and Jamaica begin their campaigns. The U.S. coaches will be on hand scouting both matches in preparation for a potential semifinal clash with one of the four teams from Group B.

Group B Schedule
June 17
Canada vs. Nicaragua       1 p.m. CT
Costa Rica vs. Jamaica     3:30 p.m. CT

June 19
Canada vs. Jamaica           1 p.m. CT
Costa Rica vs. Nicaragua   3:30 p.m. CT

June 21
Jamaica vs. Nicaragua       12 p.m. CT
Canada vs. Costa Rica       2:30 p.m. CT

Quick Hits:

  • The U.S. has played Trinidad & Tobago once before in this tournament, taking an 11–1 victory in the group stages in 2004.
  • Kelley O’Hara and Casey Nogueira are the only two players on the roster with FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup experience, as both were a part of the U.S. team that took fourth place in Russia in 2006.
  • Of the 20 players called in by DiCicco, O’Hara leads the squad with 13 Under-20 caps and eight career goals.
  • O’Hara is also tied with fellow forward Michelle Enyeart with four goals scored in 2008.
  • Three players on the roster are uncapped at the U-20 level – Kierstan Dallstream, Sydney Leroux and Alex Morgan.
  • Alyssa Naeher comes into the tournament as the USA’s first-choice goalkeeper, going 5–1–0 in her six appearances so far this year. She has nine caps at the U-20 level and a 7–2 career record with a 0.44 goals-against average.
  • Fourteen different colleges are represented on the roster, led by three players each from the University of Portland and the University of North Carolina.
  • There are two high school players on the roster – Christine Nairn from Bowie, Md., and forward Sydney Leroux from Phoenix, Ariz.
  • This will be the fourth time the U.S. has participated in qualifying for a FIFA U-19 or U-20 World Cup. In 2002, the U.S. team traveled to Trinidad & Tobago where it won the qualifying tournament in resounding fashion, outscoring its opposition by a margin of 34–1
  • In 2004, the USA fell to Canada in overtime in the title game by a 2–1 score. The U.S. had advanced to the final by outscoring its opposition 25–1 in group play and then defeated Mexico 6–0 in the semifinal to earns its berth to Thailand.
  • Eleven nations have already qualified for the U-20 World Cup: host Chile; Japan, China and North Korea from Asia; France, Germany, Norway and England from Europe; New Zealand from Oceania; and Brazil and Argentina from South America.

A GLIMPSE AT TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Trinidad & Tobago qualified for the Final Round of the qualifying tournament by outscoring their opponents, Grenada and the U.S. Virgin Islands, by a 15–0 margin. Behind two goals from Kenya Cordner, T&T opened its Caribbean qualifying campaign with a 4–0 victory against Grenada. Three more goals from Cordner and a hat trick from teammate Mariah Shade led the team to an 11–0 victory over the U.S. Virgin Islands to secure the top place in Group A and a spot in the CONCACAF Final Round qualifying. Trinidad & Tobago hosted the final stage of the regional tournament in 2002 but has never qualified for a FIFA World Cup in this age group.

EXPERIENCING PUEBLA: Puebla, located about 65 miles southeast of Mexico City, is one of the biggest cities in North America, with a population close to 1.5 million people. It is nestled in the shadows of two active volcanoes, Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl, which can be seen from the U.S. hotel and the top of Estadio Cuauhtémoc. Legend states that the two volcanoes are the silhouettes of an Aztec princess (Iztaccíhuatl) and her true love Popoca (Popocatéptl), who was a poor warrior. Iztaccíhuatl is said to have died of sadness upon hearing false news of her lover’s death, just as Popoca was returning victorious from battle. Popoca took her body to the mountains and kept vigil over her. Over time, according to legend, their silhouettes were replaced by the majestic mountains.

ESTADIO CUAUHTÉMOC: The U.S. has been preparing for Wednesday’s game at the training facility of Puebla F.C. in the shadows of Estadio Cuauhtémoc, where all of the tournament matches will be played. The U.S. had the chance to take a tour of the 42,000-seat stadium and locker rooms on Monday afternoon but won’t have the opportunity to train on the game field before their opening match.

WATCH THE QUALIFYING MATCHES ONLINE: Fans can watch the 2008 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship matches online at concacaf.com, beginning with the first match between Canada and Nicaragua on Tuesday. The matches, split into two segments—one for each half and possibly a third segment for overtime and penalties—will be available at concacaf.com approximately two hours after the start of each game.

CATCHING UP WITH KEELIN: Keelin Winters was a bit under the radar when she began her freshman year at Portland, but she appeared in 21 games in 2007 and has become a mainstay with the U-20 Women’s National Team. Coming from a big family, with two sisters and three brothers, Keelin explains how soccer has helped her stand out from the crowd, and how Prison Break and Michael Jackson have helped her through her soccer career.

NIKKI’S TRANSITION: Nikki Marshall, despite not starting soccer until age 11, is a highly-decorated forward for Colorado University and the holder of at least 17 school scoring records, but when she’s with the U-20s, Marshall turns into a fierce central defender. The Colorado native sat down with ussoccer.com to talk about her transition and her growing role with the team.

BACK TO THE BLOG: The U.S. YNT Blog is back in action! For exclusive interviews, photos and behind-the scenes happenings of the Under-20 WNT during their quest to qualify for Chile 2008, check out http://ynt-ussoccer.blogspot.com/

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