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U-20 and U-21 Women Train in Carson for Mega-Camp

CHICAGO (May 18, 2005) – In a unique women’s soccer event, the U.S. Women’s National Team Program will hold its largest-ever training camp from May 22-28 as the U.S. U-20 and U-21 women’s teams will hold concurrent events, each bringing 32-player rosters to the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.

This will mark the first training camp for the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team since the move from U-19s after FIFA shifted the age group of its only youth world championship for women up a year. It will also give new U.S. U-20 head coach Tim Schulz a first look at his pool as he begins to form the team that will attempt to qualify for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship to be held in Russia. Several of the players in camp with the U-21s are also age-eligible for the U-20s (which feature players born on or after Jan. 1, 1986).

The U-20s and U-21s will be split into two teams per age group with the squads playing a mini-tournament of 90-minute matches on May 24, 26 and 27. Jillian Ellis, who coached the U.S. U-21s to the Nordic Cup title in 2000, will take the reins of the USA’s oldest youth team from Greg Ryan, who moves aside to focus on the full Women’s National Team. Ellis will coach the team in this camp, in another event in June and then at the Nordic Cup being held in mid-July in Sweden.

“This camp will be a fantastic experience for both our U-21s in preparing for the Nordic Cup, and for our U-20s to help Tim Schulz evaluate a large number of talented players,” said Ryan, the USA’s head coach and technical director. “It will give both coaches the opportunity to evaluate players in competitive game environments and situations, which is the main goal of the camp, but we are also going to see if we can identify players to add to the Women’s National Team pool from which we will select rosters for the next year.”

The camp is chock full of veterans from the USA’s 2002 and 2004 teams that participated in the FIFA U-19 World Championships. Ten players who were on the USA’s 2004 U-19 team in Thailand are eligible for the next U-20 World Championship. Nine of them are coming in with the U-20s to this camp – goalkeeper Kelsey Davis, defenders Meagan Holmes, Stephanie Logterman and Nikki Krzysik, midfielders Yael Averbuch, Alexa Orand and Jen Redmond and forwards Amy Rodriguez and Jessica Rostedt  -- while defender Stephanie Lopez, who recently earned her first cap with the full Women’s National Team, will come in with the U-21s.

“I am very excited to bring the best young players in the country together in one location,” said Schulz. “Because we are in such an early part of the process and there are so many new faces involved, my first priority at this camp is purely the identification of players. The best way to serve that objective is to put them in a game environment so their best qualities come to light. Looking over the roster, this truly is a very talented group of players. I think that I am more excited than they are.”

Eight veterans of the 2002 U.S. U-19 squad that won the world title are coming in with the U-21s, along with two other 2004 U-19s in forward Megan Rapinoe and defender Becky Sauerbrunn. Twelve members of last year’s Nordic Cup championship team will also be in camp, along with 2004 Olympians Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly. Players born on or after January 1, 1984, are age-eligible for this year’s Nordic Cup, but Ellis is allowed four “overage” slots on her roster for players born on or after January 1, 1981. In addition to Tarpley and O’Reilly, five other players in camp with the U-21s have caps with the full Women’s National Team in goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, defenders Lindsey Huie and Lopez, midfielders Lori Chalupny, Joanna Lohman and Jill Oakes, and forward Kelly Schmedes (who was Kelly Wilson before her April marriage). Following are the rosters for both camps:

U-20 WNT Roster 

 U-21 WNT Roster