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U.S. U-17 WNT Set to Kick Off FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Against Japan

United States U-17 Women’s National Team
Notes from Hamilton, New Zealand 
Oct. 29, 2008

U.S. U-17 WOMEN SET TO FACE JAPAN TO OPEN HISTORIC FIFA U-17 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP: The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team will play its historic, first-ever match at a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup when it takes on Japan on Oct. 30 at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton, New Zealand. The game kicks off at 12 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET on Oct. 29) and can be followed live on’s MatchTracker. The USA’s match will be the first in Group C and will be followed by France-Paraguay at 3 p.m. local. The U.S. team has been in New Zealand since Oct. 25 and has trained every day leading up to the match, including a 45-minute session in drizzling rain at Waikato Stadium on the morning of Oct. 29. The weather has been cool and rainy for the entire stay thus far in New Zealand and morning showers are expected on game day, but the weather could clear by kickoff. The field at Waikato Stadium, which seats just over 20,000 fans, is in excellent shape and a bit of rain should not impact the match too much, although the drizzle did make the playing surface quite slick for the U.S. practice.

U-17 HIGHLIGHTS ON FIFA.COM: For the first time at a FIFA women’s youth event, will offer free video highlights to fans and media around the world. Shortly after the final whistle for all 52 matches of the U-17 Women’s World Cup, a high resolution two-minute video with all the goals and exciting plays will be available on the individual match detail page at

GROUP C COMMENCES: Although the first two matches in Groups A and B are already in the books, Group C and D will get their first round action started on Oct. 30. The first four matches produced some spectacular action, some great goals and impressive commitment from all the teams, things that are likely to be replicated as eight more countries get their first kicks in 2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup play on Thursday.

2008 U-17 Women’s World Cup
Group C Schedule

Date No. Match Venue; City Time / ET (day before)
Oct. 30 5 Japan vs. USA Waikato Stadium; Hamilton 12 p.m. / 7 p.m.
  6 France vs. Paraguay Waikato Stadium; Hamilton 3 p.m. / 10 p.m.
Nov. 2 13 Paraguay vs. USA Waikato Stadium; Hamilton 1 p.m. / 8 p.m.
  14 Japan vs. France Waikato Stadium; Hamilton 4 p.m. / 11p.m.
Nov. 5 21 Paraguay vs. Japan QEII Park; Christchurch 4 p.m. / 10 p.m.
  22 USA vs. France North Harbour Stadium; Auckland 4 p.m. / 10 p.m.

How They Got Here: Finished second in the AFC U-16 Women’s Championships in Malaysia in 2007
Last Meeting: Have never met at the U-17 level
Head Coach: Hiroshi Yoshida

Key Players: G Saki Nakamura, D Nagisa Okuda, D Minori Chiba, M Natsumi Kameoka, M Natsuki Kishikawa, F Mana Iwabuchi, F Chinatsu Kira, F Akane Saito.

USA vs. Japan Fast Facts: While the senior teams met twice at the recent 2008 Olympic Games, the players from the two countries have never met during this U-17 cycle … Japan qualified for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with a solid performance at the 2007 Asian U-16 Women’s Championships, falling to North Korea in group play, and again in the championship game (0-1 and 0-3 respectively), but beat China in the semifinal by a 3-1 score to earn its berth to New Zealand … Japan, whose style of quick possession play certainly mimics its senior team, features several talented attacking players including crafty forward Akane Saito … Mana Iwabuchi, Chinatsu Kira and Yuiko Inoue scored Japan’s goals in the all-important semifinal victory over China at qualifying … In the 1980s, Japan’s head coach Hiroshi Yoshida was one of his country’s top strikers, leading the Japan Soccer League – the precursor to the J-League – in scoring ... Japan qualified for just one of the three previous FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups, that coming in 2002 in Canada. The USA did not play them at that tournament … At the senior level, the USA faced Japan in the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cups, once at the 2000 Olympics and then twice at the 2008 Olympics, winning all five games.

U.S. Under-17 Women’s World Cup Team Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alexa Gaul (Naperville, Ill.), Jennifer Pettigrew (Kearny, N.J.), Taylor Vancil (South Elgin, Ill.)
DEFENDERS (6): Amber Brooks (New Hope, Pa.), Cloee Colohan (West Point, Utah), Crystal Dunn (Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Alexis Harris (Plano, Texas), Rachel Quon (Lake Forrest, Ill.), Julia Roberts (Frederick, Md.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kate Bennett (Clyde Hill, Wash.), Morgan Brian (St. Simons Island, Ga.), Elizabeth Eddy (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Olivia Klei (Pleasanton, Calif.), Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Kristie Mewis (Hanson, Mass.), Samantha Mewis (Hanson, Mass.), Erika Tymrak (Bradenton, Fla.)
FORWARDS (4): Hayley Brock (Acton, Mass.), Vicki DiMartino (Massapequa, N.Y.), Samantha Johnson (Palmdale, Calif.), Courtney Verloo (Tualatin, Ore.)

Japan Under-17 Women’s World Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Saki Nakamura, 16-Sakiko Ikeda, 21-Ayaka Saitoh
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Kozue Chiba, 3-Minori Chiba, 4-Nagisa Okuda, 5-Natsuki Kishikawa, 17-Minami Ishida, 18-Marika Ohshima
MIDFIELDERS (8): 6-Natsumi Kameoka, 7-Chiaki Shimada, 8-Yuko Takeyama, 12-Yuiko Inoue, 13-Takako Sugiyama, 15-Saori Takahashi, 19-Haruka Hamada, 20-Yoko Tanaka
FORWARDS (4): 9-Chinatsu Kira, 10-Mana Iwabuchi, 11-Akana Saito, 14-Kei Yoshioka

SIXTEEN FOR ONE: The sixteen teams of the 2008 FIFA Women’s World Cup are divided into four groups of four teams each. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinals. For complete standings and results, please go to the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup competitions page on

GROUP A UPDATE: To open the tournament on Oct. 28, the host Kiwis lost a gut-wrenching 1-0 decision to Canada in a match that could have gone either way. Canada surely had the better of the first half, but New Zealand rallied after the break and was unfortunate not to at least tie the game in stoppage time. Canada’s Rachel Lamarre scored the historic first-ever goal in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup with her game-winner in the 53rd minute. On Oct. 29, Denmark and Colombia played what is likely the match of the tournament’s thus far, a crackling end-to-end affair that ended in a 1-1 draw. Both teams showed commitment worthy of a FIFA Women’s World Cup, with multiple chances manufactured in both penalty areas and both countries had numerous opportunities to get a game-winner in the second half.

GROUP B UPDATE: All four teams were in action on Oct. 29 as Germany predictably had little trouble with Costa Rica, scoring several spectacular goals in the 5-0 victory. Germany scored three times in the first half and two more inside of the first 21 minutes of the second half. Forward Dzsenifer Marozsan scored twice for the Germans just nine minutes apart in the first half. Ghana showed extremely well in its opener against the favored North Koreans, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Ghana played some of the better soccer over the 90 minutes, but North Korea did have the better of the chances, putting nine of its 14 shots on goal. Ghanaian goalkeeper Patricia Mantey had an excellent game aside from letting the lone goal fly over her head on a free kick from Ho Un Byol in the 69th minute. Ghana’s Florence Dadson tied the match four minutes later and like the Colombia-Denmark game, both teams created flurries in the penalty area that could have easily led to a match-winner.

Quick Hits

  • As usual at FIFA events, awards for the top three players and top three scorers will be given out at the end of the tournament in addition to the FIFA Fair Play Award.
  • The USA has a 16-1-1 record so far in 2008 and has scored 69 goals while allowing 10. The U.S. is 8-0-0 in international matches having scored 43 goals and allowed four.
  • Kristie Mewis leads the USA in scoring this year with 11 total goals, including seven in international matches. Her sister Samantha has eight and six, respectively. Forward Courtney Verloo has 10 and eight.
  • Olivia Klei leads the team in assists with eight, including seven in international matches.
  • Cloee Colohan is the most-capped player on the roster with 11 U-17 appearances to her credit.
  • Japan has a bit younger team than the USA with 12 players born in 1991, five players born in 1992 and four players born in 1993. The USA has 16 players born in 1991, four born in 1992 and one born in 1993 (Morgan Brian).
  • The youngest player in the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup is Ghana’s Ellen Coleman, who is 12 years and 11 months old.
  • There is some early parity going on at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Through the first four games of the tournament, three have been tight affairs, featuring two 1-1 draws and a 1-0 victory.

GOAL No. 1: There is an impressive list of players who have scored the USA’s first goals in inaugural FIFA competitions. To take a trip in the time machine, click on this short feature on's Center Circle and find out who might be the first U.S. player to score in a FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: U.S. Under-17 midfielder Kate Bennett is what we call a socially-conscious 16-year-old. Find out why in this special feature on's Center Circle.

Q&A WITH CLOEE: She comes from Utah, but is quickly making New Zealand her home … at least for a few weeks. Find out some of Cloee Colohan’s other thoughts as she answers 11 Questions for Center Circle.

U.S. U-17 WNT Quote Sheet

U.S. head coach Kazbek Tambi
On the team’s mindset heading into the first match of the 2008 FIFA U-17 WWC:
“I think everyone is really optimistic. They’ve really bonded together here during this week. They are really pumped up and eager to go. The vibes are very, very positive. I think they will step out and try to play their game and hopefully that will translate into some great soccer and a very successful first game.”

U.S. forward Courtney Verloo
On the team’s mood the night before the match:
“I think everyone seems pretty relaxed. We are hanging out, making t-shirts and staying off our feet. I’m excited but I’m not overly nervous. I think the magnitude of the game will hit us a bit more when we get on the field for warm-ups, but there really is more excitement for the first match than anything. We really want to play well to get the tournament started on a high note.”

U.S. goalkeeper Taylor Vancil
On the match:
“I think we are all really excited. We can’t wait for the game to start. So many girls dream of being able to put on the U.S. jersey at a World Cup and to be able to do it at this young age is really an honor for all of us.”

U.S. midfielder Olivia Klei
On the match vs. Japan:
“We just want to get our first game going. I think it will relieve a lot butterflies and get the tournament rolling for us. Playing in front of a lot of fans in a big stadium is new to some of us, but it’s an exciting experience and one that we will want to embrace.”

U.S. defender Cloee Colohan
On what the U.S. team has to do to find success against Japan:
“First of all, we need to play our game. We want to possess the ball and bust our chops to get to the goal. We also want to stay organized, keep the Japanese in front of us and most of all, have fun and soak in the atmosphere of a World Cup game.”

GOLDEN START: The U.S. team will wear gold tops, navy shorts and navy socks for its first FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup match. Japan will wear blue jerseys, white shorts and blue socks.

IN THE MIDDLE: It will be an all European crew for the USA-Japan game as Thalia Mitsi of Greece will run the middle. The assistant referees are Romina Santuari of Italy and the Secim Demirel of Turkey. Romanian Cristina Dorcioman will be the fourth official.

Stat of Note
The 2008 U.S. Under-17 Women’s World Cup Team roster has an average height of 5 feet 6 and one half inches. The 2008 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team had an average height of 5 feet 6 and one half inches.