WOMEN’S WORLD CUP YEAR KICKS OFF: The U.S. Women’s National Team opened training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., on the evening Jan. 11, kicking off the road to China and the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will be staged from Sept. 10-30 in five Chinese cities. The U.S. team, which qualified for its fifth Women’s World Cup through the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup last November, will now have eight months and about 15 full international matches before trying to win the USA’s third Women’s World Cup trophy. This training camp will serve as preparations for the Four Nations Tournament in Guangzhou, China, giving the young U.S. team invaluable experience in the country that will host the Women’s World Cup against three teams that will also be participating in the tournament. The USA will travel next Tuesday to Guangzhou, China, to kick off the year’s activity, but will also play in the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal in March, and then come home to begin a four-month Residency Training Camp at The Home Depot Center in early April, while playing a slew of domestic matches across the country during the summer and early fall.
RYAN WILL NAME 20 PLAYERS FOR CHINA TRIP: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan put 28 players through a light training session on Jan. 11, lasting just under an hour, as the team broke a sweat on a chilly night. The U.S. team will start more intense training today with a “double-day” featuring some fitness testing in the morning and small-sided games in the afternoon. Ryan will have just five days to pick 20 players to represent the USA at the 2007 Four Nations Tournament. On Jan 16, the USA departs for Guangzhou, site of the historic U.S. victory in the 1991 Women’s World Cup Final, a 2-1 win over Norway. The U.S. team will scrimmage the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team in a pair of matches on Jan. 15 prior to its departure for the Far East.
Roster by Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Val Henderson (Orinda, Calif.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (9): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Tina Frimpong (Vancouver, Wash.), Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (8): Yael Averbuch (Upper Montclair, N.J.), Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Joanna Lohman (Silver Spring, Md.), Marci Miller (St. Charles, Ill.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.) ;
FORWARDS (8): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Megan Kakadelas (Carlsbad, Calif.), Casey Nogueira (Cedarburg, Wis.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Tiffany Weimer (North Haven, Conn.)
GERMANY, ENGLAND AND CHINA AWAIT: The USA will not ease into its 2007 schedule as the world’s second ranked team faces three of the world’s top women’s soccer playing nations right off the bat, facing Germany (No. 1 in the last FIFA rankings) on Jan. 26, England (12th) on Jan. 28 and China (9th) on Jan. 30. The U.S. team won the Four Nations last year with a 3-1 win over Norway, a 0-0 tie with France and a 2-0 win over China.
STEPPING UP: With four of the USA’s veterans not traveling to China, including 2006 leading scorers Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach, the Four Nations Tournament will present a unique opportunity for the USA’s young attacking players. Twenty-three year old Lindsay Tarpley is the senior member of the contingent of forwards on the training camp roster with 58 caps and 13 goals. She is joined by 22-year-old Heather O’Reilly (51/8) and 23-year-old Natasha Kai (17/6). Every other forward in camp is uncapped (there are 11 total uncapped players in camp), meaning that several young players will likely debut for the USA in some of the most difficult matches of the year. In any event, numerous young forwards and midfielders will get the chance to show Greg Ryan that they can be difference-makers against top teams in major tournament competition as the Women’s World Cup preparations kick into high gear.
OVER THE BEEP: The USA’s morning training session on Friday, Jan. 11, featured the infamous, much-chronicled and oft-dreaded “beep test,” an endurance test that challenges the mind, the lungs and the legs. The test, which features back and forth jog/sprints that force the players to touch a line with their foot before the tape “beeps” (at increasingly short intervals). Contrary to pre-test conjecture, everyone survived the test, and after shaking out their legs to get them less wobbly, the team then played several 5v5 games on big goals. The afternoon training will feature an 11v11 full field scrimmage.
ALL FOUR NATIONS MATCHES ON TV, IN CHINA: For the second straight year, all of the Four Nations matches will be broadcast to a massive audience all across China on CCTV Channel 5, giving soccer fans in China a preview of the upcoming Women’s World Cup tournament. The U.S. team will participate in the night-cap in all three doubleheaders.
2007 Four Nations Tournament - Guangdong Olympic Stadium, Guangzhou, China
China vs. England 1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET
USA vs. Germany 4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET
China vs. Germany 1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET
USA vs. England 4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET
Germany vs. England 1:30 p.m. local / 12:30 a.m. ET
USA vs. China 4 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET
YOUTH PROGRAMS REAPING BENEFITS: The U.S. Women’s National Team training camp roster is filled with youth (it averages just 23 years of age) and features just seven players who were members of the USA’s 2004 Olympic gold medal-winning team. Eleven of the players, or 40 percent of the roster, have yet to earn a cap for the USA, and defender India Trotter has just one (earned at last year’s Four Nations Tournament). Of the 28 players in camp, 15 have played for the USA at a FIFA youth world championship, either at the U-19 FIFA Women’s World Championship in Canada in 2002 or Thailand in 2004, or at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia in 2006. The U.S. team has had disappointing finishes in the last two youth tournaments, finishing third in Thailand and fourth in Russia. Still, the experience garnered by the young players in those tournaments has certainly given them an excellent base to try to earn a roster spot on with the senior team.
FIFA Youth World Championship Veterans in U.S. WNT Training Camp
2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship (Canada) – USA Finish: 1st
Rachel Buehler, Defender
Lori Chalupny, Defender
Kerri Hanks, Forward
Megan Kakadelas, Forward
Heather O’Reilly, Forward
Leslie Osborne, Midfielder
Lindsay Tarpley, Midfielder
2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship (Thailand) – USA Finish: 3rd
Yael Averbuch, Midfielder
Rachel Buehler, Defender
Sheree Gray, Midfielder
Kerri Hanks, Forward
Stephanie Lopez, Defender
2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship (Russia) – USA Finish: 4th
Brittany Bock, Midfielder
Lauren Cheney, Forward
Tobin Heath, Midfielder
Val Henderson, Goalkeeper
Stephanie Lopez, Defender
Casey Nogueira, Midfielder
STAT OF NOTE
The U.S. WNT scored 57 goals in 2006. Of those goal, Kristine Lilly and Abby Wambach combined for 30 of them, more than 50 percent of the U.S. team’s total. Of the 57 goals, 46 came from forwards, six from midfielders (one for Shannon Boxx, one for Carli Llloyd, two for Leslie Osborne, two for Aly Wagner) and five from defenders (all Cat Whitehill).
Quote of the Week:
U.S. captain Kate Markgraf, a veteran on the team at 30 years old with 153 caps, on all the youthful faces in training camp.
"Have these girls even taken their SATs?”