VICTORIA, B.C. (Monday, August 19, 2002) - U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team starting midfielder Amy Steadman suffered a torn ACL in her right knee about 15 minutes into the USA's opening match of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship and is out of the tournament. U.S. head coach Tracey Leone has called in Stephanie Ebner, who was one of the three previously named alternates, to replace her on the roster.
Tournament rules state that a player on the official 18-player roster can be replaced after the tournament has started provided the FIFA Sports Medical Committee has verified that the player has sustained a serious injury and can no longer be expected to play. The injury was a harsh blow for Steadman, who made an admirable comeback from an ACL tear on the same knee to make the World Championship roster. Steadman suffered her first ACL tear in October of 2001 and was not quite ready for CONCACAF Qualifying in early May, but proved her fitness to Leone in the next two months and was named to the U.S. roster for the World Championship.
"I've been through this before so I know I can come back strong," said Steadman, who will red-shirt her freshman season at the University of North Carolina this fall. "All I can do now is support the team in whatever ways I can. This team has tons of talent and I know whoever steps in for me will get the job done."
Ebner, a 5-foot-4 defender/midfielder out of Taylorsville, Utah, will leave her pre-season training camp at Arizona State, where she is an incoming freshman, to join the U.S. team in Victoria tonight. Ebner, who has three U-19 caps, will wear number 19. Steadman will remain with the U.S. team for the duration of their stay in Victoria.
"We are experiencing two extremes of emotions," said Leone. "We are heartbroken for Amy and it's a huge loss, but at the same time we are excited to have Stephanie join the team. We've always felt that we had more than 18 players who can contribute and that's why you develop a pool of players over the past two years. It shows a tremendous support for the team that Amy has decided to say with us. I know it will be a big boost for the players."
Steadman's injury marks the second player the U.S. has lost a player from its original 18-player World Championship roster to an ACL injury. Midfielder Annie Schefter tore the ACL in her right knee 10 days before the team came together for this tournament and was replaced by Kerri Hanks.
"You always hate to make a roster because someone gets hurt," said Ebner. "I'm so sad for Amy because she's a great person and player, but I am ready to come in and do whatever Tracey asks me to do to help the team win."