Match Preview: U-17 WNT Faces Paraguay in U-17 WWC Opener in Jordan

The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team kicks off the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Oct. 1 against Paraguay at Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa, Jordan. The match will air live on FOX Soccer Plus starting at 11:55 a.m. ET and fans can also watch on FOX Sports GO app, FOXSportsGo.com and FOXSoccer2GO.com.

The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team kicks off the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Oct. 1 against Paraguay at Prince Mohammed International Stadium in Al Zarqa, Jordan, in what will be one of the final games of the second match day of the tournament. The match will air live on FOX Soccer Plus starting at 11:55 a.m. ET and fans can also watch on FOX Sports GO app, FOXSportsGo.com and FOXSoccer2GO.com.

The U.S. team spent almost a week in Paphos, Cyprus during a highly productive pre-Women’s World Cup training camp before arriving in Jordan on Sept. 25 to make final preparations for the tournament. Fans can also follow all the matches of the U.S. U-17 WNT on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. For full coverage, visit the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com.

U.S. U-17 Women’s World Cup Team Roster by Position - DETAILED                                             
GOALKEEPERS (3): 21-Hillary Beall (So Cal Blues; Laguna Beach, Calif.), 1-Laurel Ivory (West Florida Flames; Surfside Fla.), 12-Meagan McClelland (PDA; Kearny, N.J.)

DEFENDERS (7):
4-Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), 9-Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.), 13-Isabel Rodriguez (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), 5-Karina Rodriguez (So Cal Blues; Torrance, Calif.) 6-Emily Smith (De Anza Force; Los Gatos, Calif.), 15-Kennedy Wesley (So Cal Blues; Rossmoor, Calif.), 11-Kate Wiesner (Slammers FC; Monrovia, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (7):
2-Jordan Canniff (Richmond United; California, Md.), 17-Lia Godfrey (Jacksonville Armada; Fleming Island, Fla.), 18-Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), 8-Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), 7-Alexa Spaanstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.), 20-Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA; Colts Neck, N.J.), 16-Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Penn.)

FORWARDS (4):
14-Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), 19-Adrienne Richardson (Minnesota Thunder Academy; Oakdale, Minn.), 10-Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), 3-Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.). MEET THE TEAM.                     

Storylines:

U-17 WNT vs. Paraguay: The USA and Paraguay have met once before, during group play at the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Hamilton, New Zealand with the USA coming away with a 3-1 win after going a goal down in the 32nd minute. Needing a win to advance, the USA forced Paraguay into an own goal as current Sky Blue FC player Elizabeth Eddy hit a cross that was bundled into the net followed by a game-winner from Vicki DiMartino in the 77th minute. Courtney Verloo added a clinching goal in the 83rd minute. The USA out-shot Paraguay 19-9 in that match.

Paraguay at U-17 WWC: Jordan 2016 will be the third FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup for Paraguay. La Albirroja made their debut in the inaugural tournament in New Zealand 2008 and also qualified for the 2014 tournament in Costa Rica. Paraguay qualified for Jordan 2016 thanks to their third-place finish in the South American Championships in Venezuela. Victorious in their opening three games in Group A against Chile (3-0), Peru (4-1) and Argentina (5-1), the Paraguayans then lost to the hosts (3-1), advancing to the final phase as section runners-up. Following two losses, at the hands of Brazil (1-0) and the hosts once again (6-2), Paraguay took on Colombia for the third and final qualification slot at stake, coming from a goal down to win 2-1. Paraguay was the second-highest scorer in the competition behind Venezuela with 17 goals in all. Paraguay also had the second-most leading scoring in the qualifying tournament in forward Jessica Martinez, whose 10-goal haul included two hat-tricks.

U-17 U.S. WNT in 2016: The U.S. U-17s have compiled a record of 12-0-2 in 2016 as 27 players have taken part in international matches, while 12 players have scored in an international match for the USA this year. Forward Civana Kuhlmann leads the USA in goals this year with 10, while Ashley Sanchez and Frankie Tagliaferri have seven each. Two players on the roster – Kuhlmann and Tagliaferri – are in their second U-17 cycle and were a part of the U.S. team that failed to qualify for this tournament two years ago in Jamaica despite out-scoring the opposition 24-1 in the tournament. The USA fell in penalty kicks to Mexico in the semifinal after drawing 1-1 in regulation during a cycle in which just two CONCACAF teams qualified due to the tournament being held in Costa Rica.

U.S. Roster Breakdown: Lia Godfrey is the youngest player with a November of 2001 birthday while Tagliaferri is the oldest, having been born on Jan. 18, 1999. Fifteen different youth clubs from nine states are represented on the roster with the So Cal Blues out of Southern California having four players on the roster. Real Colorado, the Michigan Hawks and PDA out of New Jersey have two players each. The roster includes eight players from California (six from Southern, two from Northern), three players from Colorado and two each from Michigan, Florida and New Jersey.

Every player on the roster has been capped at least once at the U-17 level, with 16 players having 11 or more caps. Tagliaferri has the most experience with 24 caps, followed by Alexa Spaanstra with 19, Sanchez and Jaelin Howell with 18 each and Brianna Pinto and Kuhlmann with 17 each. Sophia Smith has 16. U-17 WNT head coach B.J. Snow selected two high school freshman (Canniff and Godfrey), two sophomores (Wiesner and Wesley), six juniors (Ivory, Sophie Smith, Girma, Pinto, McClelland and Howell), and 10 seniors (Karina Rodriguez, Emily Smith, Pickett, Sanchez, Isabel Rodriguez, Kuhlmann, Zandi, Richardson, Tagliaferri and Beall).

ON USSOCCER.COM