CHICAGO (Monday, July 29, 2002) - U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Leone has named the 18 players who will represent the United States at the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship taking place in Canada from Aug. 17-Sept. 1, 2002.
Leone watched 57 players in game competition over the past two years and has pared that number down to the 18 players who will make history by participating in the first-ever FIFA World Championship for youth women. Leone chose 15 of the 18 players who helped the USA earn a berth in Canada at the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Tobago in early May, adding defenders Keeley Dowling and Amy Steadman, both of whom missed the qualifying tournament with injuries, and forward Angie Wozuk, who made a late run to earn her roster spot.
"It was a very difficult roster to pick as we had more than 18 players who we knew could help us succeed in Canada," said Leone. "We are extremely confident in the players that we selected and very excited to move forward as a team to this goal we've been working towards for two years."
The U.S. Under-19s finished up a two-week training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego, Calif., with wins over Mexico's U-19s on July 24 and 26 by 3-1 and 2-1 scores respectively. In the match on July 26, the U.S. got a goal and an assist from Megan Kakadelas on her 19th birthday and a goal from Kelly Wilson, assisted by team captain Lindsay Tarpley, who will head into the World Championship as the USA's most capped player on the U-19 level with 20 full international matches. Defender Jessica Ballweg has 19 U-19 caps.
The U.S. team will now have a short break before regrouping in Portland, Ore. for training from Aug. 9 to 11 at the Nike World Headquarters before heading up to Victoria, B.C., to begin final preparations for the World Championship. The USA's first match is also the first match of the tournament, taking on England on Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. PT at Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C.
The U.S. team will no doubt be one of the most exciting attacking sides in Canada, bringing a dynamic offense that has produced 70 goals in 12 international matches this year. The USA will be led by the new "Triple-Edged Sword" in Tarpley, Wilson and Heather O'Reilly, a trio of forwards who have combined for 54 goals in their U-19 international careers.
"All the groups are extremely challenging and we know we will be in for three wars in the first round to qualify for the quarterfinals," said Leone. "We are looking forward to that challenge and to the excitement of participating in such an historic event."
The 18-player roster features six players who will be sophomores for their colleges next fall, eight incoming college freshmen, three players who will be high school seniors (defender Rachel Buehler and forwards Angie Woznuk and Heather O'Reilly) and one player who will be a high school junior (goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who is the youngest player on the team and won't turn 17 until October). The rising college freshmen and sophomores will miss their pre-seasons and then jump right into their collegiate seasons after the World Championship.
In preparation for the World Championship, the U.S. U-19s played 37 official matches over the past two years, including 17 full internationals, and countless other scrimmages. The USA went 15-1-1 in those international matches, outscoring their opponents 93-18.
"We can't wait to get to Canada and actually live what we've been talking about for so long," added Leone. "The players are jumping out of their skins to get going and we owe an enormous appreciation to U.S. Soccer for giving us the support and resources to prepare for a World Championship."
U.S. U-19s CHAMPION SKIN CANCER PREVENTION:
The U.S. players value their place in history as the first U.S. youth women's team to participate in a FIFA World Championship, but they are also a group of young women who want to be role models for all the young female players in the USA, many of whom are not much younger than them. To that effect, the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team has formed a unique and unprecedented partnership with The Skin Cancer Foundation with the goal of raising awareness of a disease that affects over one million people a year in the United States. Through appearances and interaction at schools and with the media, the U-19s have made it a team goal to inform the public that almost all skin cancers are preventable and curable when detected and treated early.
U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team Roster
|Ballweg, Jessica||D||5'5"||03/10/83||Metuchen, N.J.||MCorPDA Dynamo / Santa Clara|
|Buehler, Rachel||D||5'4"||08/26/85||Del Mar, Calif.||San Diego Surf / Torrey Pines HS|
|Chalupny, Lori||M||5'2"||01/29/84||Chesterfield, Mo.||JB Marine / Nerinex Hall HS|
|Dowling, Keeley||D||5'8"||02/17/83||Carmel, Ind.||Carmel Cosmos/Tennessee|
|Fletcher, Kendall||D||5'5"||11/06/84||Cary, N.C.||Greensboro Twisters / Apex HS|
|Harris, Ashlyn||GK||5'9"||10/19/85||Satellite Beach, Fla.||Seminole Ice / Satellite HS|
|Huffman, Sarah||M||5'4"||03/05/84||Flower Mound, Texas||D'Feeters / Marcus HS|
|Kakadelas, Megan||F||5'9"||07/26/83||Carlsbad, Calif.||San Diego Surf / Southern Cal.|
|Makoski, Manya||M||5'3"||04/18/84||Trumbull, Conn.||Yankee United / Trumbull HS|
|Oakes, Jill||M||5'4"||07/18/84||West Hills, Calif.||SA Strikers / Harvard-Westlake HS|
|O'Reilly, Heather||F||5'4"||01/02/85||East Brunswick, N.J.||PDA Splash / E. Brunswick HS|
|Osborne, Leslie||D||5'7"||05/27/83||Menomonee Falls, Wis.||Eclipse Select / Santa Clara|
|Rivera, Megan||GK||5'8"||02/07/83||Miami, Fla.||Miami Premier/Auburn|
|Schefter, Annie||M||5'8"||01/10/84||Yakima, Wash.||Strikers / West Valley HS|
|Steadman, Amy||D||5'2"||09/08/84||Brevard, N.C.||Greensboro Twisters/UNC|
|Tarpley, Lindsey||F||5'6"||09/22/83||Kalamazoo, Mich.||Michigan Hawks / Portage Central|
|Wilson, Kelly||F||5'6"||02/19/83||Odessa, Texas||Dallas Sting / Texas|
|Woznuk, Angela||F||5'4"||03/29/85||El Cajon, Calif.||San Diego Surf/University HS|
Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris, Megan Rivera;
Defenders: Jessica Ballweg, Rachel Buehler, Keeley Dowling, Kendall Fletcher, Amy Steadman;
Midfielders: Lori Chalupny, Sarah Huffman, Manya Makoski, Jill Oakes, Leslie Osborne, Annie Schefter;
Forwards: Megan Kakadelas, Heather O'Reilly, Lindsay Tarpley, Kelly Wilson, Angela Woznuk.