The USA won last year's tournament, held in Iceland, on a golden goal from defender Lauren Orlandos six minutes into sudden death overtime. The 2-1 victory over Norway completed an impressive "treble" for the U.S. women's national team programs, which also took gold with the Under-18 National Team at the Pan American Games and in the 1999 Women's World Cup.
Held annually in Northern Europe, the Nordic Cup brings together the world's best Under-21 Women's National Teams for the most important women's youth tournament for this age group. 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 U.S. will open the tournament and Group B play on July 28 against Switzerland in Nürnberg (7 p.m. local/1 p.m. ET), face Sweden on July 30 in Hof (3 p.m. ET/9 a.m. ET) and then finish group play against Finland in Bamberg on Aug. 1. Group A features Norway, Denmark, Germany and Iceland. The tournament features a grueling schedule of four matches in seven days with the championship game being held on Aug. 3 in Weisman.
Ellis has chosen just one overage player for the tournament (two are allowed) as defender Michelle French (Kent, Wash./Portland) will captain the team. Of the remaining 17 players, 12 are college stars with five entering the collegiate ranks this fall, as the players will have a short break before jumping into their college training camps following the Nordic Cup. Sixteen of the players were on the roster that defeated the full Italian National Team, 4-1, in Central Islip, N.Y. on July 7 as Aly Wagner (San Jose, Ca./Santa Clara), Susan Bush (Houston, Tex./North Carolina) and Caroline Putz (Bountiful, Utah/Washington) scored goals. Seventeen of the 18 players have earned caps with the full U.S. National Team. Bush and Christie Welsh (Massapequa, N.Y./Penn State) are currently with the full Women's National Team in Germany and will join the U-21s for the Nordic Cup.
"I know all the players are extremely excited to be going back to the Nordic Cup," said French, a four-year captain of the youth national team. "We feel prepared and determined to defend our title against the other youth national teams. "Many players have gained valuable experience in games against full national teams and we all cherish the opportunity to represent our country while continuing the strong tradition of success for the U.S. women."
The U.S. will feature a talented central midfield with Wagner and Aleisha Cramer (Lakewood, Colo./Brigham Young) while speedsters Jena Kluegel (Mahtomedi, Minn./North Carolina) and Danielle Borgman (Cincinatti, Ohio) should add spark on the flanks. The USA brings a strike force of dangerous forwards, including Bush and Welsh, who have combined for 15 goals at the full national team level. Kim Patrick (Pleasanton, Ca./North Carolina) was the top scorer for the Heels last season, while Marcia Wallis (Los Gatos, Ca./Stanford) and Putz, two stars of the Pac-10 Conference, can also be counted on to create chances.
The USA won the Nordic Cup in 1997 in Denmark, defeating Norway in the championship game, 1-0, in sudden death overtime on a goal from Jen Streiffer. The USA fell to Norway, 2-1, in Holland in 1998 with Women's World Cup star Cindy Parlow tallying for the USA, and then regained the title last year.
|2000 U.S. Under-21 Nordic Cup Roster - Germany|
|Borgman, Danielle||D||5-5||4/25/80||Cincinnati, Ohio||North Carolina|
|Branam, Jenni||GK||5-8||10/8/80||Placentia, Calif.||North Carolina|
|Bush, Susan||F||5-4||11/10/80||Houston, Texas||North Carolina|
|Cramer, Aleisha||M||5-11||7/29/82||Lakewood, Colo.||Brigham Young|
|French, Michelle||D||5-4||1/27/77||Kent, Wa.||Portland|
|Kluegel, Jena||M||5-3||11/11/79||Mahtomedi, Minn.||North Carolina|
|Kraus, Anna||D||5-4||7/29/80||Mountain View, Calif.||Santa Clara|
|Monroe, Mary-Frances||M||5-1||2/7/80||East Northport, N.Y.||Connecticut|
|Patrick, Kim||F||5-5||3/17/81||Pleasanton, Calif.||North Carolina|
|Pryce, Nandi||D||5-10||5/30/82||Casselberry, Fla.||UCLA|
|Putz, Caroline||F||5-7||7/12/80||Bountiful, Utah||Washington|
|Ramsey, Alyssa||F||5-9||9/21/82||Charlotte, N.C.||North Carolina|
|Reddick, Catherine||D||5-5||2/10/82||Birmingham, Ala.||North Carolina|
|Solo, Hope||GK||5-8||7/30/81||Richland, Wa.||Washington|
|Wagner, Aly||M||5-5||8/20/80||San Jose, Calif.||Santa Clara|
|Wallis, Marcia||F||5-6||3/31/81||Los Gatos, Calif.||Stanford|
|Welsh, Christie||F||5-10||2/27/81||Massapequa, N.Y.||Penn State|
|Zepeda, Veronica||M||5-2||6/11/82||Riverside, Calif.||Santa Clara|
|Head Coach||Jillian Ellis|
|Assistant Coach||Sue Montagne-Patberg|
|Goalkeeper Coach||Eric Yamamoto|
|Team Adminstirator||Brooke Wielde|
|Press Officer||Aaron Heifetz|
|Date||Match||Time (local)||Time (ET)||Venue|
|July 28||Norway vs. Denmark||4:45 p.m.||10:45 a.m.||Stegaurach|
|Germany vs. Iceland||7:00 p.m.||1:00 p.m.||Stegaurach|
|Finland vs. Sweden||4:45 p.m.||10:45 a.m.||Nurnberg|
|USA vs. Switzerland||7:00 p.m.||1:00 p.m.||Nurnberg|
|July 30||Iceland vs. Norway||12:45 p.m.||6:45 a.m.||Bayreuth|
|Denmark vs. Germany||3:00 p.m.||9:00 a.m.||Bayreuth|
|Switzerland vs. Finland||12:45 p.m.||6:45 a.m.||Hof|
|USA vs. Sweden||3:00 p.m.||9:00 a.m.||Hof|
|August 1||Iceland vs. Denmark||4:45 p.m.||10:45 a.m.||Frohnlach|
|Germany vs. Norway||7:00 p.m.||1:00 p.m.||Frohnlach|
|Switzerland vs. Sweden||4:45 p.m.||10:45 a.m.||Bamberg|
|USA vs. Finland||7:00 p.m.||1:00 p.m.||Bamberg|
|August 3||7th-8th Place||Noon||6:00 a.m.||Coburg|
|5th-6th Place||2:00 p.m.||8:00 a.m.||Coburg|
|3rd-4th Place||3:15 p.m.||9:15 a.m.||Weisman|
|1st-2nd Place||5:30 p.m.||11:30 a.m.||Weisman|