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U.S. U-19 Women's Squad Readies For 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship

Krikorian Assembles Team in Bradenton, Fla. for Camp from Sept. 16-29; USA Opens World Championship Play on Nov. 11 against South Korea

CHICAGO (Sept. 15, 2004) – With a little less than two months until the U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team opens play at the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship, head coach Mark Krikorian will bring 24 players to a two-week training camp in Bradenton, Fla., as the squad that will compete for the second youth world title for women begins to take shape. The tournament is just one of three FIFA-sanctioned world championship tournaments for women after the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics and the only FIFA-sanctioned world championship for youth women.

This fall 15 players have either withdrawn from their college term and are red-shirting this season or have delayed enrollment as freshman in order to train in a modified residency program that has the team training for two-week blocks before departing for Thailand in early November.  The 2nd FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship will be held November 10-27, 2004, and features players born on or after January 1, 1985.  The USA will play its first match on the second day of the competition, taking on South Korea on Thursday, Nov. 11.  The USA continues Group C play against Russia on Sunday, November 14, and finishes first-round play against European champion Spain on Thursday, Nov. 18.  All three first-round games will be played in Phuket, Thailand, on the western coast in the southern peninsula of the country.

The 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship will feature three groups of four teams each with the top two finishers in each group advancing to the knockout quarterfinals.  Group A, which will be played in the capital of Bangkok, features host Thailand, Germany, Australia and Canada.  Group B (which will be played in Chiang Mai), features the winner of the Nigeria-South Africa two-leg playoff, China, Italy and Brazil.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. team is led by the college-aged players, including four members of the 2002 team that won the FIFA U-19 World Championship in Canada.  Goalkeeper and team captain Ashlyn Harris, the USA's all-time caps leader at the U-19 level with 33 games played, continues to be the first-choice 'keeper and was the youngest player on the 2002 world champions.  Defender Rachel Buehler, who has recovered from ACL tears in both knees, the first of which occurred just minutes into the 2002 world championship final, has become a mainstay in the center of the defense with Becky Sauerbrunn, who leads the USA in matches played in 2004, having appeared in 19 of the 20 matches so far.  Sauerbrunn was a First-Team All-American as a freshman in 2003 for the University of Virginia and the ACC Freshman of the Year.

Krikorian also has the benefit of experience from midfielder Angie Woznuk and forward Kerri Hanks, both of whom were reserves on the 2002 team.  Hanks, who has struggled to return from a knee injury suffered in June, nevertheless leads the USA in scoring in 2004 with 12 goals, with Woznuk in second with eight goals.

"I'm really pleased with the progress the team is making," said Krikorian.  "The chemistry is very good and the team is coming together. We continue to be very impressive in our defending and we are improving in becoming more creative in our attack. During this next camp, we are going to spend a lot of time in real-game situations, being up a goal or down a goal, and trying players in different positions where they might be needed.  Our last camp was about simulating our world championship game schedule and rest schedule and this camp will be about a full blown preparation for a variety of situations that we could face."

Two outside backs named Stephanie have been making the most impact of all the flank defenders in Stephanie Lopez on the left and Stephanie Logertman on the right.  Both have proven tough to get behind as well as players who can get into the attack and serve dangerous crosses from the wings.

Krikorian has the option of fielding two 6-foot midfielders in Stacy Lindstrom and Yael Averbuch, both of whom are excellent with the ball for players of their size as well as practically unbeatable in the air.  Lindstrom can also play in the center defense while Averbuch, one of four players from New Jersey in the core group, has prospered at the defensive midfield slot.  Two other New Jersey players have added bite to the team in midfielder Jen Redmond, one of the hardest tacklers on the team and feisty central defender Nikki Krzysik, who gives the U.S. depth on the back line.

The other New Jersey product, midfielder Sheree Gray, leads a slew of attacking players with speed and one-on-one dribbling ability who will be counted on to find the net in Thailand, chief among them are 16-year-old Alexa Orand, Stephanie Kron and Megan Rapinoe, who has also prospered at flank midfield.

"We have a lot of different types of players that compliment each other well," said Krikorian.  "We have a very strong bench and depending upon our opponents, our health and the card situation during the tournament, that we can go 21-deep into our bench and that’s a positive for our team."

Krikorian has seen several talented players emerge recently who could contribute in Thailand, including speedy outside back Megan Holmes, 5-foot-9 slashing forward Jessica Rostedt, UConn striker forward Meghan Schnur, bulldozing striker Amy Rodriguez and slippery lefty flank midfielder Courtney Lewis. The latter two are half of a four-player contingent from Southern California club Laguna Hills Eclipse.

Following the training camp in Florida, the U.S. U-19s will hold one more two-week session in Carson, Calif., at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in mid-October.  The team will then hold a brief three-day camp at the end of October before leaving for Thailand in early November.

Krikorian will finalize the 21-player roster in mid-October, a squad that will likely feature three goalkeepers as Virginia-bound Laura Comeau and UCLA-bound Kelsey Davis have consistently joined Harris on the training camp rosters.  The roster for the Bradenton camp features four high school juniors, five high school seniors, eight would-be college freshman, six would-be college sophomores and one junior in Lindstrom, who was born in 1985, but started college a year early.

Name        Pos. Ht. Birthdate Hometown Youth Club/College Caps/Goals
Averbuch, Yael M 6-0 11/03/86 Upper Montclair, N.J. World Class 13/2
Bosio, Kiara M 5-7 11/03/87 Mission Viejo, Calif. Laguna Hills Eclipse 0/0
Buehler, Rachel D 5-5 08/26/85 Del Mar, Calif. Stanford  24/3
Comeau, Laura G 5-7 12/13/85 Lee, N.H. Virginia 6
Davis, Kelsey G 5-11 05/14/87 Thousands Oaks, Calif. SoCal United 4
Gray, Sheree F 5-3 12/12/85 Toms River, N.J. Penn State 12/1
Hanks, Kerri F 5-7 09/02/85 Allen, Texas Notre Dame 27/21
Harris, Ashlyn G 5-8 10/19/85 Satellite Beach, Fla. UNC  33 
Holmes, Meagan D 5-6 02/21/87 Timinium, Md. Bethesda Excel 2/0
Kron, Stephanie M 5-3 08/20/85 Paradise Valley, Ariz. UCLA  11/2
Krzysik, Nikki D 5-7 05/23/87 Clifton, N.J. World Class  9/0
Lindstrom, StacyM 6-0 02/23/85 Laguna Niguel, Calif. UCLA  14/1
Lewis, Courtney M 5-6 07/21/87 Mission Viejo, Calif. Laguna Hills Eclipse 0/0 
Logterman, Stephanie D 5-6 02/25/86 Austin, Texas Texas  15/0
Lopez, StephanieD 5-6 04/03/86 Elk Grove, Calif. Portland 18/0
Moore, Kasey D 5-7 08/03/87 Mission Viejo, Calif. Laguna Hills Eclipse 0/0
Orand, Alexa M 5-6 10/10/87 Orange, Calif. Slammers 15/4
Rapinoe, Megan F 5-7 07/05/85 Redding, Calif. Portland 16/6
Redmond, Jennifer M 5-6 04/19/86 Morristown, N.J. Virginia 6/1
Rodriguez, Amy F 5-3 02/17/87 Lake Forest, Calif. Laguna Hills Eclipse 0/0
Rostedt, Jessica F 5-9 03/03/86 Kent, Ohio Virginia 2/0
Sauerbrunn, Becky D 5-7 06/06/85 Olivette, Mo. Virginia 19/0 
Schnur, Meghan F 5-5 04/16/85 Butler, Pa. UConn  2/1 
Woznuk, Angie F 5-5 03/29/85 El Cajon, Calif. Portland 21/9

Team Staff:
Head Coach: Mark Krikorian Philadelphia, Pa.
Assistant Coach: Erica Walsh  Philadelphia, Pa.
Goalkeeper Coach: Melissa Moore San Diego, Calif.
Athletic Trainer: Tracey Ohrman Westbury, N.Y.  
Equipment Manager: Amanda Trokey St. Louis, Mo.
Team Coordinator: Aubrey Brandt Hermosa Beach, Calif.