UNDER-23 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM
Head Coach: Randy Waldrum
Major Competition: none
Eligibility: Players born on or after January 1, 1989
Stepping Stone to the Full Team
The USA’s oldest women’s youth national team moved to Under-23 in 2008. The change was in response to FIFA moving its oldest youth world championship for women from Under-19s to Under-20s, as well as a change in the Nordic Cup – long the main event for this age group – which became a U-23 event. The Nordic Cup took a hiatus in 2009 after being staged for the 19 years and will once again not be staged in 2012. The competition, which has been organized annually by one of the Nordic countries, will hopefully return in the future.
The U.S. team has been active at this age group since 1989 (in its previous incarnation it was run as a U-20 program until 1998 and then morphed into a U-21 program until 2007) and has been consistently effective in helping prepare players for the step up to the Women’s National Team. The vast majority of current Women’s National Team pool players have competed for the U-21s or U-23s. The U-21s used to feature “overage” players in training camps and for the Nordic Cup tournament, but now all players who are age-eligible for the U-23s in 2012 must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1989. This team serves a valuable role in helping bridge the large gap between college soccer and the national team.