CHICAGO (Feb. 2, 2007) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team’s head coach Jillian Ellis will bring 30 players to participate in the first training camp of the new cycle, running from Feb. 4-11 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
This will be the first U-20 training camp for Ellis, who previously coached the U.S. Under-21 Women, but also for this group of players, all of whom were born on or after January 1, 1988. The end-goal will be to represent the USA at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup to be held in Chile, with dates and venues to be determined. The USA has gone two straight FIFA youth world championships without a title after winning the inaugural FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in 2002. The U.S. U-19s finished third in Thailand in 2004 and the U.S. U-20s finished fourth last year in Russia.
“We are going to try to evaluate as many players as we can over the next year,” said Ellis. “Some of the more experienced players in this age group are not coming into this first camp, but that will give us the chance to see more players in the pool and that will help us down the line. We have a little less than year before qualifying, but we’re excited to get the process started.”
The U-20s will play their first international matches of this cycle on a trip to Mexico from Feb. 18-23, facing the full Mexican Women’s National Team in two games. The Mexicans are in preparation for huge Women’s World Cup qualifying playoff matches against Japan in March, with the winner of that two-game series earning the last berth to China for the FIFA Women’s World Cup next September.
Several players who may figure prominently in the team’s preparations for CONCACAF qualifying, tentatively to take place in January of 2008, are injured or involved in college exams. While starting to evaluate the pool, Ellis will also use this training camp to pick players for the Mexico trip, but may also name players to that roster who could not attend this camp due to school commitments.
Three players from the U.S. team that played in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship are still age-eligible for the 2008 team in midfielder Tobin Heath and forwards Kelly O’Hara and Casey Nogueira. None of the three will be at this first training camp, but Heath and Nogueira participated in the most recent Women’s National Team training camp and Nogueira got her first cap at the senior level in China on Jan. 26 against England at the Four Nations Tournament.
Numerous players in the training camp have seen significant action with the U.S. Under-16 and/or Under-17 National Teams and several completed fine freshman seasons last fall for their colleges. Colorado striker Nikki Marshal scored 17 goals with three assists for the Buffs. Forward Gina DiMartino of Boston College, sister of Tina DiMartino, a midfielder on the 2006 U.S. team that played in Russia, scored 13 goals with five assists for the Eagles. Kendra Chandhoke scored 10 goals with seven assists for the University of Portland while Katie Schoepfer scored eight goals with five assists for Penn State. Emily Beans scored 13 goals with three assists for Colorado College and six-foot goalkeeper Kristin Arnold had a solid season for Texas A&M, starting 23 games and allowing less than a goal a game while picking up eight shutouts.
Twenty-eight players have been confirmed for the camp with two more to be named before the start of training.
UNITED STATES UNDER-20 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TRAINING CAMP ROSTER
GOALKEEPERS (4): Kristin Arnold (Texas A & M), Wendy Balogun (Bowie, Md.), Chantel Jones (Virginia), Lauren Mann (Harvard);
DEFENDERS (7): Brianna Bak (California), Lydia Cook (UCLA), Kelly Eagan (Villanova), Nicole Ketchum (Texas A&M), Meghan Klingenberg (Gibsonia, Pa.), Julie Lancos (Belford, N.J.), Carly Peetz (Nebraska);
MIDFIELDERS (9): Gina Demaio (Rutgers), Becky Edwards (Florida State), Sinead Farrelly (Havertown, Pa.), Kaley Fountain (Wake Forest), Kelly Henderson (Boston College), Christine Nairn (Bowie, Md.), Kristin Stannard (Stanford), Kylie Wright (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.), Kristy Zurmuhlen (Walpole, N.H.);
FORWARDS (8): Emily Beans (Colorado College), Kendra Chandhoke (Portland), Kiersten Dallstream (Washington State), Gina DiMartino (Boston College), Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas), Nikki Marshall (Colorado), Elli Reed (Park City, Utah), Katie Schoepfer (Penn State).