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U.S. U-17 WNT vs. Korea DPR Post-Match Quote Sheet

U.S. Head Coach Kazbek Tambi
On the match:
“It was a great match. I’m really, really proud of my team for getting to the final and coming so close to winning a world championship. At the same time, I think North Korea played a tremendous game and I want to congratulate them. It was a great match and a great story for women’s soccer.”

On if North Korea controlled the match in the second half and overtime:
“At times yes, and at times we still created some good chances. Soccer is a strange game, even at moments when you are getting outplayed you can score a goal that can kind of deflate the other team. Again, I give North Korea a lot of credit for coming out in the second half and pushing and pushing and getting their goal. If we had gotten a second goal, maybe that would have ended the day, but I thought it was a great match and both teams put it all out there and they got one extra goal. That was the bottom line.”

On the end of the match and overtime:
“We absolutely were trying to win the game. If it had gone to penalties, we would have been ready for that…but at the same time our hope was to get a goal and we were pushing forward to try to get the winner.”

On the match:
“We’re trying to keep the ball, but at the same time North Korea was a very intense crew and I thought they did a good job of closing us down and keeping the ball in their end. So rather than taking away from us, I’d rather give them credit for a great job in the second half to pull back like we came back against Germany…At this level of the tournament, I think every game is going to have ebbs and flows and all credit to the North Koreans for coming back at us and getting their equalizer.”

On the level of play overall in the tournament:
“I think it was an awesome tournament. I had no idea coming here what it would look like in terms of the level and standard, but having experienced it myself, we’ve seen some fantastic soccer and it’s a great statement for the current state of women’s soccer. Basically, to me it means that for the next group of players going through the ranks and getting to the full team, the level is going to be much better over the next five or six years. We’ve seen some tremendous players and teams that we dealt with or on TV and it has been a pleasant surprise in terms of the level and how excellent it’s been across the board. We had a tough time just getting through the group because even group play was excellent competition.”

On the organization of the first FIFA U-17 WWC:
“FIFA was so organized and the local committee form New Zealand who were part of this thing did an incredible job….I can’t imagine anything could have been made better than it was here. Every little aspect of our stay was perfect, dealing with hotels, transportation, food, logistics. I don’t think there is anything I could pinpoint to say that it should have been different or better.”

On his team:
“It’s hard when you come so close winning a world championship, and your only 10 minutes away, to see it slip away, but I can be nothing but proud of what our kids did in this tournament. We started out by losing and were on the brink of being out, but pulled ourselves through and played better with every game. Then going into the finals of a World Cup and coming so close, there is nothing but great things I can say. It’s been an awesome experience for all my players and for myself as a coach. We’ve gone from misery to ecstasy and back again all in the course of a couple of weeks and only the World Cup can produce that range of emotions, so it’s been awesome.”

On if North Korea winning two youth world titles in a row signals a new women’s soccer power:
“Absolutely, they are a fantastic team. Their recent record speaks for itself. The fact that they won a world championship at the U-20s and now U-17s speaks volumes about how great their youth programs are. The question is how it will translate to the senior team down the road, but if they keep this standard over the going for the next several years I can only presume that their senior teams will become great also.”

On the state of the women’s game in the USA:
“The media is quick to jump on the moment. You lose a big one and they are ready to tell you that you are on the way down. When you win a couple and they are ready to tell you that you are (the best in the world). I think the reality (for the USA) is somewhere in between. We are a very, very competitive soccer nation. We are producing a lot of excellent players, but the same thing can be said for a host of other countries. That’s the great thing about the world game on the women’s side, there are new countries coming into the mix with a high standard. You saw it here with the likes of Japan, which was a revelation, and other teams that are really improving, so it’s a great statement for women’s soccer.”

On the soccer future of his players:
“They’ve accomplished a lot here. They will be way ahead of the game because of the fact that they experienced a World Cup at the age of 16 and 17. That can only help them down the road. My presumption is because of these kind of experiences our full team will become even stronger over the next couple of years.”

On what the experience has done for his players:
“These are just experiences that there is no way to learn but to be there and be part of a World Cup. For their age, I think it’s incredible the level of maturity, professionalism and the fact they were able to improve with each game to the point to where they got to world championship game and came so close.”

U.S. Defender and Team Captain Amber Brooks
On the loss:
“It’s very disappointing, but at the same time there are millions of little girls that have dreamed of getting here as we did. I think with this loss, if any of us ever get to another World Cup Final, we’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again. It will make us stronger players and stronger people. We’ll deal with it. It hurts, but we’ll be alright.”

On the match:
“Both teams came out really strong. I thought it was a very competitive game. I know our team left everything out there and today it just wasn’t good enough. But it was a great experience and we’re happy to have made it here. The mental and emotion aspect of this tournament was amazing. Just being under pressure and having to leave everything out there every game was an amazing learning experience for all of us.”

On the experience of playing in a World Cup:
“By far, this is probably the greatest experience for any of us. Not just competition-wise, but the locals were so friendly. We had a great crowd out there today. We all love the country, the training sites were awesome and the stadiums were great. It was definitely a really amazing experience for all of us.”

On what was learned at the U-17 World Cup:
“Coming in here for the first U-17 Women’s World Cup, none of us had really played at this level. I think we got to see what the other countries are up to and what we need to work on to maintain this level. Personally, I saw that I’m not the greatest player in the world and there are still things that I can work on and if I’m going to reach a higher level I’m going to have to do that.”