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U.S. Under-19 WNT Notes - Philips Lighting Invitational

The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team kicks off the first major domestic competition in its short history today, when the young U.S. women take on Holland in the second match of the unique doubleheader at the beautiful U.S. Soccer National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.  The round-robin competition will feature three match days - April 6, 8 and 10 - as the USA squares off against Asia's top two U-19 teams as well as the always competitive Dutch. The U.S. team, under head coach Mark Krikorian, is preparing for the CONCACAF U-19 Women's Qualifying Tournament that will be held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, from May 28-June 6, 2004. The top two finishers at that tournament qualify for the 2nd FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship to be held in Thailand from November 10-27, 2004.

The U.S. squad features four members of the 2002 U-19 World Championship Team that are still age-eligible for the 2004 team in forwards Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas) and Angie Woznuk (University of Portland), defender Rachel Buehler (Stanford University) and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.).  Several other key players are emerging for the USA including a trio of college freshman on the back line.  U-19 co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn was the ACC Freshman of the year, while Jen Buczkowski started 23 of 24 games for Notre Dame and scored four goals with six assists out of the midfield. Stephanie Lopez also proved to be one of the top freshman in the nation, starting all 23 games for Portland.  The USA set a grand attacking tradition at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship, but the 2004 version has some talent on that end of the field as well. In addition to Hanks, who has scored 11 goals in her 21 U-19 internationals, and the wonderfully skillful Woznuk, who has three goals in 14 U-19 caps, speedy forward Sheree Gray (World Class) is emerging as a force. High school senior Megan Rapinoe (Elk Grove United) is the USA's leading scorer in all matches this year and has shown a knack for scoring spectacular goals. In goal, the USA has one of the top young goalkeepers in the world in Ashlyn Harris, the youngest member of the 2002 team who played spectacularly in the Final as a 16-year-old. The high school senior has been capped 24 times at the U-19 level and was recently named the Gatorade National Girl's High School Player of the Year.

Click here for the USA's full tournament roster.

U.S. Soccer will award trophies to the Top Goal Scorer in this tournament, the Best Player and an overall Team Fair Play Award, as well as the trophy to champions based on points. Matches that are tied at the end of regulation will end in draws and if teams are tied on points at the end of the tournament, they will be broken as follows, 1) result of the match between the two tied teams, 2) best goals for, 3) best goal difference. Each team will be allowed five substitutions per match.

All the players in this tournament were born on or after Jan. 1, 1985, the cut off date to compete in the 2004 FIFA U-19 World Championship, the second-ever FIFA sanctioned world championship for youth women.  The first competition, held in 2002, was a rousing success.  The USA won the historic tournament, defeating Canada, 1-0, in the championship match in front of almost 50,000 fans in Edmonton as captain Lindsay Tarpley scored the "golden goal" to stun the home team.  Four players from that world championship team are currently in Residency Camp at the HDC with full U.S. Women's National Team trying to earn a place on the 2004 Olympic Team.  Those players are Tarpley (who has seven goals this year for the full team), and midfielders Leslie Osborne and Lori Chalupny, and forward Heather O'Reilly, who is still age-eligible for the current U-19s.

U.S. forward Angela Woznuk has had a busy few days.  She played several spring matches with her University of Portland college team last weekend in Southern California, flew back to Portland to take a final exam, then flew back to Los Angeles this morning and will be available to play tonight against Holland.

The U.S. U-19s, which most recently defeated two college teams at a training camp in Los Angeles earlier in March, has played two international matches so far this year, losing and tying the full Mexican Women's National Team, who would go on to qualify for the 2004 Olympics, during a tour of Mexico in February of this year.  These are the first international matches