While 2015 may be winding down, U.S. world cup veteran Fabian Johnson has been turning it up for club and country. With Champions League, Bundesliga and World Cup qualifying all on his plate the last 30 days, the Brorussia Mönchengladbach midfielder has made a huge impact, scoring five goals spanning four matches that were at times as classy as they were significant.
In the span of seven matches, the 27-year-old netted twice in the Champions League – including against last year’s runner up Juventus – two in one game against Hoffenheim that led to a spot on the Bundesliga Team of the Week, and the game-winning goal against St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the MNT’s 6-1 victory to open 2018 World Cup qualifying.
Johnson’s strike for the USA came from a free kick just outside the 18-yard box and marked his first of the year for the National Team and the second of his international career. He then contributed 90 minutes four days later when the U.S. picked up a point on the road against Trinidad & Tobago on Nov. 17 in Port of Spain.
Johnson made his way back to Germany to continue his stride for ‘Gladbach, netting three times in three days. In the Champions League match against Sevilla, Johnson collected the ball with one touch and fantastically curled the ball between two defenders and the goalkeeper in the 4-3 win.
Johnson proved to be a hero for his club by scoring both the opener and the tying goal on Nov. 28 against his former team, ultimately earning Bundesliga Player of the Week. Setting the match off on the right foot, Johnson cut into the box after losing a defender to receive a well-placed ball that he then slotted past the goalkeeper in the fifth minute. After Johnson’s opener, the game teetered back and forth until the final whistle with Johnson having the final say. In the 87th minute, Johnson ran into the opposition box where he faked out two defenders and drove a strike out of reach of the goalkeeper to equalize the game at 3-3. The draw helped Mönchengladbach climb up one spot in the Bundesliga standings to fourth overall.
Johnson and ‘Gladbach face their stiffest test of the season when they welcome defending champion and league leaders Bayern Munich on Saturday (9:30 a.m. ET – FS1, foxsoccer2go). Here’s hoping Fabian continues to make the holiday season a reason to celebrate…
CHICAGO (Nov. 30, 2015) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team, under head coach B.J. Snow, will hold its final training camp of the year running from Dec. 5-12 in Sunrise, Fla. Snow has called up 24 players for the event which features players from the 1999, 2000 and 2001 birth years.
Thirteen of the players called for the camp were born in 1999, which is the age cut-off year for the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup. Nine players were born in 2000 with two in 2001.
The U.S. U-17s are still more than three months away from the qualifying tournament for the next Women’s World Cup. The 2016 CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship will be held on the Caribbean island of Grenada from March 3-13. The tournament will send three teams to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup to be played in Jordan in September of 2016.
The Under-17 Women's Championship will feature eight teams, three from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), two from the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) and three from North America.
Canada, Mexico and the United States are automatically qualified from North America, Guatemala and Costa Rica qualified from the Central American Zone and Jamaica and Haiti qualified from the Caribbean Zone. As host country, Grenada is automatically qualified as one of the three representatives of CFU.
The eight teams will be drawn into two groups of four teams each and after the group stage, the winner and second-place team from each group will cross-over for the semifinals. The winner of each semifinal match qualifies directly to the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup while the two losing semifinalists will play a third-place match with the winner also advancing to the World Cup.
U.S. U-17 WNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Laurel Ivory (Sunrise; Surfside, Fla.), Katie Meyer (Eagles SC; Newbury Park, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (9): Kerry Abello (Eclipse; Aurora, Ill.), Naomi Girma (Central Valley Crossfire; San Jose, Calif.), Shae Holmes (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Karlie Paschall (Tennessee SC; Brentwood, Tenn.), Isabel Rodriguez (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (So Cal Blues; Torrance, Calif.), Emily Smith (De Anza Force; Los Gatos, Calif.), Kennedy Wesley (So Cal Blues; Rossmoor, Calif.), Sydney Zandi (Penn Fusion; West Chester, Pa.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Jordan Canniff (Richmond United; California, Md.), Coriana Dyke (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Emina Ekic (Javanon; Fairdale, Ky.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Taylor Malham (TSC Hurricanes; Broken Arrow, Okla.), Brianna Pinto (CASL; Durham, N.C.), Taryn Torres (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas)
FORWARDS (6): Rachel Jones (Tophat SC; Lawrenceville, Ga.), Civana Kuhlmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Sophie Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexa Spaanstra (Michigan Hawks; Brighton, Mich.), Francesca Tagliaferri (PDA; Colts Neck, N.J.), Jordan Taylor (Ohio Premier Eagles; Wadsworth, Ohio)
With the 2015 slate now over for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Jurgen Klinsmann sat down with ussoccer.com for a two-part Q&A. In Part One, the MNT boss discusses the team’s accomplishments, player progression and lessons learned in 2015. Part Two of the Q&A in which Klinsmann previews the challenges and excitement of a busy 2016 calendar for the MNT will be available on ussoccer.com in the coming days.
ussoccer.com: Going into Port of Spain, Trinidad to face the Soca Warriors was a tough match. Are you pleased with how the team dealt with the challenges of that game on the road?
Jurgen Klinsmann: “I think with the game in Trinidad & Tobago, we all knew it was going to be a tricky one. It’s a good team that proved that in the Gold Cup. And away from home, there’s a rule: don’t lose. At least get one point and don’t give the home team the three points. I think we achieved that. Did we want to win both games? Yes, it would have been nice to have six points now, but four points is ideal going into the two games now with Guatemala. Winning those two games would mean that we are qualified for the next round, so our big goal for March is going to Guatemala and get three points right away, at home in Columbus, one of our favorite places to go, and then look forward to the next round.”
ussoccer.com: Throughout the first two qualifiers you were able to get a lot of young players opportunities. How valuable was it to get them that experience at this stage?
JK: “For coaches, but also for the fans, one fascinating topic is always, ‘how do young players progress? How do they learn? How fast do they learn? How fast they can make a real improvement on the senior National Team?’ When you talk about young players, we talk about DeAndre Yedlin, we talk about Gyasi Zardes. Both of them had a very busy 2015. Gyasi played 19 games for the MNT, which is pretty amazing, but the most important part there is that everybody can see a learning curve. Everybody can that they are maturing. Everybody can see that they are growing and becoming senior players. This is what this path is about, bringing younger players, give them time and give them moments where they don’t perform or have a bad game and carry them through. Teach them during this path and what they have to improve and hopefully see the benefit later on. At the end of 2015 we saw a lot of good answers from Gyasi Zardes and DeAndre Yedlin and I’m sure we will see even more good stuff in the upcoming year.”
ussoccer.com: Bobby Wood finished with four goals in his last eight games. What changes have you seen in him in the last year?
JK: “With Bobby Wood, we’ve developed a player over some time. Even if he wasn’t a full part of the National Team program yet, we were in touch with him, following his path in Germany in the 2. Bundesliga. We explained to him that it’s not going to all happen in a short period of time. When he came in the first couple of times, he was shy and nervous, which is totally normal for the young players when they join the senior National Team. He had to get a feel for the thin air on the higher level. He tried to learn as quickly as he could. He developed more personality, more confidence. For a striker, confidence is always connected to scoring goals. After the first couple of games came the moment when he came on the field against Holland and in the last minute scored the winning goal for us, which was huge, not because you beat Holland in their own country, but it was huge for him that he started to believe in himself. A couple days later he scores the winning goal against Germany in Germany where he plays, which is another big confidence booster. He’s becoming used to the pressure, the expectations of scoring. The expectations for a forward are to score, not every game, but try to score every second game or at the very least every third game. This is his learning curve now and hopefully he keeps learning, keeps improving, keeps helping us and keep on going through that transition of a World Cup cycle between the two World Cups.”
ussoccer.com: In these last two games you also expanded the team’s options at key positions, including both fullback spots. What type of flexibility does this provide moving forward?
JK: “2015 made it clear that we struggled in a couple of areas. The most difficult area for us is the fullback positions. We moved the center backs to the fullback position. We moved Fabian Johnson from left back to right back, which is the position he played in the World Cup – and was probably one of the best right backs in the World Cup in Brazil last year. But he ended up in his club team in Germany playing left winger. So moving him constantly from left winger to left back or to right back, it doesn’t really help him. And for us, one question remains: how do we fill in those left back and right back positons with a high-quality solution? In the last games, we had Tim Ream helping us out as a left back. He plays center back in Fulham. We had Michael Orozco out as a right back, which he did tremendously well, but he’s playing center back for Tijuana. Hopefully in 2016 it will help us develop younger players in the fullback positions. For us, the next important team to look at is the Olympic team and see what Andi Herzog brings through that team in order to develop a younger player into that full back position for the senior team.”
ussoccer.com: A lot of people had positive things to say about Darlington Nagbe. What did you learn about him from this camp?
JK: “We found a player that is really good handling the ball in both directions. He is responsible defensively, to always go behind the ball and to defend, and help out. When we go forward, he knows when to pass, when to dribble, when to keep things racing forward, and also when to take some risks in a certain moment. He has a change of pace in one-on-one situations when he goes at defensive midfielders. He has the confidence to get past them and to get closer to the box. Darlington is a real nice option now going forward. He had to wait a long time, and we’ve been waiting for him as well, but it’s a great fit and we are glad to have him on board.”
ussoccer.com: You spoke of the importance of having Brad Guzan and Tim Howard on board for the next three years. How did the initial phase of rotation work out?
JK: “Having Tim Howard and Brad Guzan on board is huge. Both are top goalkeepers in the English Premiere League, very experienced and especially they are great teammates. We’ve got to keep them rotating toward Russia 2018. Then we’ve got to make some decisions once games come up, but having both of them gives us a huge boost of confidence and the backline feels real confident having one of them in goal.”
ussoccer.com: The challenge to younger players has been to push the established guys for starting spots. What is the importance of that process and how has it gone within the team?
JK: “When asking the younger players to step up and challenge the experienced ones, you want them to challenge themselves on a higher level, whether it’s going to the highest club level as quickly as you can and become a starter there and make your statement, like DeAndre Yedlin does now at Sunderland. In camp, we want them to fight harder to push established players for the spots, because if you want to steal the spot, you have to do more to try and move him out. This is an interesting process between two World Cups. Taking the example of Jones, he’s not ready to give his spot up. He’s 34 years old, but he’s a rock. He’s in there every time it matters, he stands his man. He makes it clear to the younger players that he’s not giving up his spot. These kind of competitions are real important with the team.”
ussoccer.com: How do you view the midfield partnership between Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones?
JK: “It’s real critical between Bradley and Jones, like all the fans know, they are important to our team. These two always coordinate themselves on the field. They are experienced and know what to do in specific situations. We constantly go over their tactical approach in a game because they can play many different ways. Now you can complement a Jermaine Jones or a Michael Bradley with a more defensive midfielder, like a Kyle Beckerman, or you can complement them with more offensive midfielders, like a Darlington Nagbe or Mix Diskerud. But the heart of this team is always in the center of the park, which is Bradley and Jones.”
ussoccer.com: What did you see from Jozy Altidore throughout 2015?
JK: “2015 for Jozy Altidore has been a transition year, but it has become a year where he has gotten stronger toward the end. He had some injury issues. He had some fitness issues in the beginning of the year. We had the episode in the Gold Cup where he was not in the shape where he needed to be. Toward July, August and September he got more into a flow. He started to score goals for Toronto and he got stronger for the National Team, as well. This is a very positive sign for us to have Altidore playing well. We plan to bring him into a very busy 2016 with the biggest highlight of Copa America next June.”
ussoccer.com: What has been your impression of the MLS playoffs?
JK: “Watching the MLS playoffs has been tremendously exciting. The games in the first round with the penalty shootout, to Portland and Kansas City, to games that were very close, very tight and hard fought. It’s been very exciting. The stadiums are packed, the fans are fully engaged and the teams battle themselves through. Sometimes you have your favorite pick then you realize after a game or two, your favorite is not there anymore and out of the playoffs. It’s at another level this year and I can’t wait to see the MLS Cup final!”
CHICAGO (Nov. 25, 2015) – U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has named the 20-player roster for the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, to be held from Dec. 3-13 in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
The roster is made up of eight collegiate players and 12 high-school aged players who are still playing youth club soccer. The roster ranges over four birth years from 1996-1999 with the youngest player being 16-year-old defender Kiara Pickett. Players born on or after January 1, 1996, are eligible for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup.
"While finalizing the roster for this qualifying competition posed different challenges due to the college season, we are very happy with the players we have named to the roster. We have a great mix of talent, sophistication, and athleticism at every position,” said U.S. head coach Michelle French. “The group is comprised of players with experience in CONCACAF competitions, as well as quite a few who will be playing matches of this magnitude for the first time. As a result, we are looking forward to watching the team grow during the tournament.”
Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.)
DEFENDERS (7): Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park; Calif.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza; Calif.), Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kan.), Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)
FORWARDS (4): Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Zoe Redei (Eclipse Soccer Club; Highland Park, Ill.), Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.)
The 2015 CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the tournament semifinals, with the winners of those games along with the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea.
The competition will be played at Francisco Morazan Stadium and Olympic Stadium. The USA will play all its Group B games at Olympic Stadium and opens the tournament on Friday, Dec. 4, against Mexico (7:30 local/8:30 ET on FOX Sports 2), faces Panama on Sunday, Dec. 6 (7:30 local/8:30 ET on FOX Soccer Plus) and finishes group play against Haiti on Tuesday, Dec. 8 (7:30 local/8:30 ET on FOX Soccer Plus).
"We had the opportunity to see a number of players over the past few months, and those players certainly did a fantastic job of making the final roster decisions difficult, which is what we want to see,” said French, who saw 57 players in game action this year with the U-20s and many more during college matches this fall. “Our goal was to find the right mix of players available for selection that complemented each other on and off the field. I’m confident we have done that.”
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship Group B Schedule - USA
Date Match Kickoff (CT) Venue TV
Dec. 4 USA vs. Mexico 7:30 p.m. Olympic Stadium FOX Sports 2
Dec. 6 USA vs. Panama 7:30 p.m. Olympic Stadium FOX Soccer Plus
Dec. 8 USA vs. Haiti 7:30 p.m. Olympic Stadium FOX Soccer Plus
- French, a member of the USA’s silver medal winning team at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, became head coach of this age group in February of 2013 and coached the USA to the championship of the last CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament in the Cayman Islands that earned the USA a trip to the last U-20 World Cup in Canada.
- Goalkeeper Rose Chandler and forward Mallory Pugh are the only two players on the roster who were on the U.S. team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
- Pugh was a starter in all four games the USA played in Canada in 2014 and is the only player on the roster with World Cup experience.
- Six-foot-one goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn is the granddaughter of Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn.
- Chandler, who is currently the back-up ‘keeper at Penn State, where she has played in five matches off the bench this year, is one of two players on the roster whose college team is still in contention in the NCAA Playoffs.
- The other is Texas A&M forward Michaela Harvey, who will join the U.S. team in Honduras upon completion of her college season.
- Of the eight college players on the roster, four are freshmen (Chandler is a red-shirt freshman) and four have played two years of college soccer in Harvey, Clemson sophomore defender Shannon Horgan, Notre Dame sophomore defender Sabrina Flores and UNC sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa.
- The freshmen are: Chandler, Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame), Parker Roberts (Kansas) and Kelcie Hedge (Washington).
- Six players on the roster were a part of the U.S. U-17 WNT that failed to qualify for the 2014 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup after falling to Mexico in penalty kicks during the semifinal at the qualifying tournament in Jamaica despite dominating the match. Those players are midfielder Marley Canales (San Diego Surf), Hedge, Jacobs, defender Taylor Otto (CASL), Pugh (Real Colorado) and forward Zoe Redei (Eclipse).
- Two players -- Chandler and Horgan -- have yet to earn a cap at the U-20 level.
- Pugh is the leading U-20 cap-winner and scorer on the roster with 14 and six respectively. Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC) and Canales have seven U-20 caps each.
- Two players are age-eligible for the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Tea in defender Kiara Pickett (5 caps for the U-17s this year) and forward Ashley Sanchez (six caps and 11 goals for the U-17s this year).
- The 20 players on the roster come from 20 different youth clubs in 13 different states. There are five players from Southern California on the roster and one from Northern California, two from Georgia and two from Texas.
- In addition to the three U.S. group matches, the FOX family of networks will air Mexico vs. Haiti on Dec. 6 (6 p.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus) and Mexico vs. Panama on Dec. 8 (6 p.m. ET on FOX Soccer Plus).
- Both semifinals (Dec. 11 at 6 and 9 p.m. ET), the third-place match (Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. ET) and the championship match (Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET) will also air on FOX Sports 2.
- Host Honduras, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica are in Group A.