SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Dec. 4, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National team opened play in the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship with a 2-2 draw against Mexico.
With the draw, the USA sits tied for second in Group B on one point with Mexico. Haiti leads the group with three points after scoring a dramatic 3-2 win against Panama, who will serve as the USA’s next opponent on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET. The USA-Panama match will be broadcast on FOX Soccer Plus and fans can also follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
Captain Mallory Pugh led the way for the U.S., scoring the opening goal of the match and assisting the other USA score to propel the team to an early 2-0 lead.
The U.S. came out on the attack early, consistently stringing passes together and working their way down the field to earn chances and dominating the run of play early on. In the 20th minute, the USA’s efforts earned a penalty kick, which Pugh confidently buried. Two minutes later, Emily Fox also found the net.
Mexico would break back and convert its first goal in the 32nd minute, which began from a free kick. The goal gave Mexico a burst of energy, which carried into a second half that was more evenly contested than the first. In the 66th minute, Mexico again converted an opportunity that started from a set piece as Kiana Palacios finished to level the score.
As the game wound down, the U.S.’s attacking intensity rose and they broke for a number of chances, but on more than one occasion missed potential game-winners by fractions.
Goal Scoring Run Down:
USA – Mallory Pugh, 20th minute: The U.S. broke ahead on the attack and got the ball over to Marley Canales on the left side. Canales made her way into the box and whipped a cross in that was cut out by Mexico’s outside back but hit the arm of her teammate; the referee signaled a handball and the U.S. was set up with a penalty kick. Captain Mallory Pugh stepped up to take it, calmly blasting a powerful shot past the ‘keeper into the upper, left hand corner. USA 1 MEX 0
USA – Emily Fox (Mallory Pugh), 22nd minute: Two minutes after the first score, the U.S. doubled its lead. Ashley Sanchez started it off, jetting down the right side before threading a ball into the center of the box in the area of Mallory Pugh. Pugh made a nifty spinning move and back-heeled the ball to Emily Fox, who hammered in for the U.S. USA 2 MEX 0
MEX – Bianca Solis (Gabriela Alvarez), 32nd minute: Mexico found a way to answer back with a goal of their own in the minutes before the intermission. It started with a free kick played in from the left side that bounced around and ended up at the feet of Bianca Solis inside the box on the right. Solis made a double move, cutting to the outside and then turning back in, leaving her defender behind and freeing herself to bury a shot in the far side netting with her left foot. USA 2 MEX 1
MEX – Kiana Palacios (Monica Flores), 65th minute: Again Mexico found success from a set piece. From the left side, Monica Flores sent a lofted ball towards the box. Palacios rose above the defense and flicked a ball on at goal that just beat Chandler to level the game. USA 2 MEX 2
- U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Dec. 4, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship; Group B
Venue: Olympic Stadium; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 77 degrees; Partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 2 0 2
MEX 1 1 2
USA – Mallory Pugh (penalty kick) 20th minute
USA – Emily Fox (Mallory Pugh) 22
MEX – Blanca Solis (Gabriela Alvarez) 32
MEX – Kiana Palacios (Monica Flores) 65
USA: 1-Rosemary Chandler; 2-Natalie Jacobs, 4-Sabrina Flores, 5-Tierna Davidson, 16-Emily Fox; 3-Mikaela Harvey (9-Jordan Harr, 46), 6-Savannah Demelo, 7-Marley Canales (8-Ella Stevens, 73), 17-Parker Roberts; 10-Mallory Pugh (capt.), 13-Ashley Sanchez (15-Jessica Scarpa, 46)
Subs Not Used: 11-Kelcie Hedge, 12-Kiara Pickett, 14-Taylor Ottos, 18-Brooke Heinsohn, 19-Shannon Horgan, 20-Zoe Redei
Head coach: Michelle French
MEX: 1-Emily Alvarado; 3-Vanessa Flores, 4-Rebeca Bernal, 5-Monica Flores, 6-Liliana Rodriguez, 7-Sonia Vazquez, 8-Gabriela Alvarez (18-Belen Cruz, 73), 9-Kiana Palacios, 11-Maria Sanchez (17-Jacqueline Crowther, 86), 13-Annia Mejia, 19-Blanca Solis
Subs Not Used: 2-Jaqueline Rodriguez, 10-Katty Martines, 12-Esthefanny Barreras, 14-Natalia Villarreal, 15-Evelyn Gonzalez, 16-Eva Gonzalez, 20-Vivian Vega
Head coach: Roberto Medina
Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots: 13 / 7
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 3 / 5
Corner Kicks: 6 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 8
Offside: 1 / 0
USA – Emily Fox (caution) 40th minute
MEX – Liliana Rodriguez (caution) 70
Referee: Marianela Araya (CRC)
Assistant Referee 1: Nelly Alvarado (CRC)
Assistant Referee 2: Stephanie-Dale Yee (JAM)
4th Official: Gillian Martindale (BAR)
Woman of the Match: TBDRead more
In 2014, Mallory Pugh was the youngest player on the U.S. Under-20 Women’s World Cup Team, but still started all four games in Canada before the USA was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Korea DPR. Now, a bit older, more experienced and wiser, Pugh leads the USA into Qualifying for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup as the most experienced player on the roster. ussoccer.com sat down with Pugh in San Pedro Sula, Honduras where the USA is preparing for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship.
ussoccer.com: Now that you’ve arrived in Honduras, what’s the mood of the group and how excited are you all to get this tournament underway?
Mallory Pugh: “I think everyone is just super excited. Only a few people get this opportunity and I think what we need to do is just make the most of it and get the job done, and while we’re doing it just have fun.”
ussoccer.com: You were with the U-20 WNT in the last edition of this tournament as the youngest player; now you’re back with experience and ready for another go. How is your role different this time, and what do you hope to bring to the table?
MP: “I feel like my role is to make sure the team chemistry is on point. Obviously that will translate onto the field and if we’re all comfortable together I think great things can happen through that. I really try to just be positive with everyone. I think it’s really important for everyone to bond. We’ve had a lot of different ages coming through and I think the chemistry of everyone throughout the camps is really important. That’s something I take into my hands. If someone’s not being included in something I try to grab them under my wing and help them. We’re a young team but I think most of us know each other from past camps and even over the past four days all of us have gotten along really well and I just feel like this chemistry is going very well.”
ussoccer.com: What sort of challenges do you expect from the CONCACAF opponents in this tournament?
MP: “I really think that every team in this tournament is going to be a challenge for us and each team has their own style of play. So our biggest thing will be knowing how they play beforehand and knowing wat they’re going to do is really important so we’re prepared for it.”
ussoccer.com: You were a part of the group that came down to Honduras in September. How does that experience help prepare you for this tournament?
MP: “It was a lot of fun. Being in Honduras and in this environment definitely gives us an advantage going into this tournament. We got a chance to get used to the hotel, the Wi-Fi, the food and just get that experience that prepared us for these coming weeks.”
Pugh races down the sideline in the U-20 WNT's group match against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada. The U.S. won the match 1-0.
ussoccer.com: How tight of a group is this team?
MP: “We’re a team that has a lot of fun and that’s one of my favorite things about coming into camp. You get to spend time with people you don’t see every day and we call each other best friends; it’s something that not a lot of people get to do. The laughter and the silliness and everything in between is just great.”
ussoccer.com: You had the opportunity to train with the senior Women’s National Team this year. How was that experience for you?
MP: “I think when I played for the senior team it was just their communication on the field that stood out to me a lot and I think translating that onto this team is a really important thing because it helps me and it helped them and everyone knew what they were doing. It’s just a huge experience.”
ussoccer.com: What is it like to put on the crest and know you’re representing the whole country when you play?
MP: “Putting on the crest is just a huge honor. Not everybody gets to do it. We’ve all worked really hard for this moment. For some of us this is our first main world event, but that just makes it even more inspiring to be in this position. We’re just working really hard and we know that work has been really important leading up to this tournament. Every time you step on the field wearing the crest it’s just such an honor and it really makes you want to give it your all. You’re playing for you country, your family and you’re playing for past players that have been in your position as well as younger players that you hope to inspire.”
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Olympic Stadium; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Dec. 4, 2015
U.S. U-20 WNT OPENS WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team kicks off the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship on Friday, Dec. 4, when it faces Mexico (7:30 p.m. CT on FOX Sports 2) in what will be the team’s first step toward qualification for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in Papua New Guinea. The USA will continue Group B play against Panama on Sunday, Dec. 6 (7:30 p.m. CT on FOX Soccer Plus) and finish the first round against Haiti on Tuesday, Dec. 8 (7:30 p.m. CT on FOX Soccer Plus). All the USA’s group matches will be played at the Olympic Stadium, while knock out round games will be hosted at Francisco Morazan Stadium. Follow the U-20 WNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com and Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
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
WATCH U-20 WNT QUALIFYING ON FOX SOCCER 2GO: While the U.S. matches will be broadcast on the FOX family of networks, all the tournament matches can be watched via live stream through FOX Soccer 2GO on a subscription basis and will also be available on-demand VOD for seven days following the match. Additionally, authenticated subscribers of FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Sports 2 will be able to live stream the broadcast feeds for the matches on FOX Sports Go as part of their cable/satellite subscription. Fans who only have FOX Sports 2 and not FOX Soccer Plus on their cable or satellite systems will only be able to watch the FOX Sports 2 matches online, and vice versa.
FOX will also air Mexico’s two other group matches: 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 air on FOX Sports 2.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, which has been held seven previous times in various incarnations (the first two were held as U-19 tournaments), features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games and the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Group A is comprised of host Honduras, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. Group A kicks off the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 3, as Canada faces T&T and Honduras meets Jamaica.
U-20 HISTORY LESSON: Of the seven tournaments CONCACAF has held for U-19/U-20 women, the USA has won four of them, including the past three. The first tournament back in 2002 did not produce a champion as the two groups in Trinidad & Tobago were played on separate islands (one on Trinidad and one on Tobago) and the group champions advanced to the first FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup without semifinals or a final being played. The USA then won four of the next six tournaments, losing the final in 2004 and 2008 to Canada. The USA has advanced to the final of the past six tournaments, facing Canada four times and Mexico twice, including in 2014 when the USA won 4-0. The USA is 30-2-1 all-time in the tournament, and after racking up some high scores in the early days of this tournament, has scored 227 goals, while allowing 11. In the 2014 qualifying tournament, in which Canada, as host of that year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup did not play, the USA won all five games by shutout, racking up a 29-0 goal margin. The USA has qualified for all seven FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups that have been contested, winning three of them: 2002, 2008 and 2012.
U-20 WNT A SPRINGBOARD TO FULL WNT: Many of the players who have scored for the USA in this tournament have become familiar to WNT fans. Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Megan Rapinoe, Yael Averbuch, Rachel Buehler (now Van Hollebeke), Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Cheney (now Holiday), Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Kristie Mewis, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston and Morgan Brian have scored in this tournament and gone on to earn caps with the full Women’s National Team. Crystal Dunn also represented the USA during two U-20 cycles. Thirteen of the players listed above have played for the USA in a Women’s World Cup at the senior level.
THEY’RE IN: Half of the field for the 16-team 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup is set. Joining host Papua New Guinea will be Japan, Korea Republic and Korea DPR from Asia, European qualifiers France, Germany, Spain and Sweden and Oceania qualifier New Zealand. Along with the three CONCACAF berths, there are still two berths from Africa and two from South America up for grabs. Up to four stadiums in Papua New Guinea may be utilized for the World Cup tournament.
RUN-UP TO HONDURAS: The timing of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship at the end of the college season made the process of the U.S. roster selection a bit more difficult, and thus 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 midfielder Kiara Pickett. Players born on or after January 1, 1996, are eligible for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup. U.S. head coach Michelle French was able to watch 57 players in game action this year and many more during college matches this fall, while having an excellent preparation schedule that saw the team go 10-2-1 overall and 6-1-1 in international matches. The only loss came to youth women’s power Japan while the USA picked up wins against Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and Honduras, as well as victories against Spanish women’s clubs Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano. From the qualifying roster, Marley Canales, Jordan Harr, Mikaela Harvey, Mallory Pugh, Zoe Redei and Ella Stevens have all scored in international matches this year.
U.S. U-20 WNT CONCACAF Qualifying Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), 18-Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.)
DEFENDERS (7): 5-Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park; Calif.), 4-Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), 16-Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), 19-Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), 2-Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza; Calif.), 14-Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), 12-Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), 6-Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), 9-Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), 3-Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), 11-Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), 17-Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kan.), 8-Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)
FORWARDS (4): 10-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 20-Zoe Redei (Eclipse Soccer Club; Highland Park, Ill.), 13-Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), 15-Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.)
U.S. ROSTER NOTES:
- 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, which earned the USA a trip to the last U-20 World Cup in Canada. The USA lost to North Korea in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round of that tournament.
- 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.
- Neither player was a member of the USA’s squad that participated in the 2014 qualifying tournament.
- 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 the only player on the roster whose college team is still in contention in the NCAA Playoffs.
- 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 Mikaela 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 Team 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.
- Five of the players on the roster were born in 1996. Seven were born in 1997, six in 1998 and two in 1999. The players born in 1998 and 1999 are age-eligible for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
- The USA has had the top scorer in this tournament six times. In 2002, it was Kelly Wilson with nine goals. In 2004, Kerri Hanks scored 10 times. In 2008, Kelley O’Hara and Michelle Enyeart shared the tournament lead with six each, and in 2010 Sydney Leroux led the tourney in goal scoring with six. In 2014, McKenzie Meehan shared the Golden Boot with six goals.
- The USA has won 15 consecutive matches in this tournament – all five over the past three tournaments – while scoring 68 goals and allowing three.
USA VS. MEXICO SERIES :
- The USA has played Mexico in six out of the seven CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournaments, including the last six in a row, and played them twice in 2010.
- The USA has won all seven games, with the closest matches coming in 2010 in Guatemala City as the USA won 2-1 in group play and 1-0 in the championship game on a goal from Sydney Leroux, who also scored the winning goal in the first game.
- Three of the meetings have been in the semifinal, two in the championship game and two in group play.
- The USA earned its berths to World Cups against Mexico in semifinal matches in 2004 (6-0), 2006 (3-0) and 2012 (4-0).
- The USA beat Mexico for the regional title in 2010 (1-0) and 2014 (4-0).
- Two of the meetings came in Mexico, during the qualifying tournaments in 2006 and 2008.
- The Tricolor has qualified for six consecutive World Cups at the U-20 age level, but has never won the CONCACAF title.
- In 2014, Mexico opened the competition with four straight wins for the first-ever time, scoring 22 goals and conceding only two over that stretch. Then it met the USA in the final that had also gone a perfect 4-0-0 while scoring 25 goals and allowing none. The Americans struck three times in the last 30 minutes to earn a 4-0 victory and lift the trophy for a record-extending fourth time.
USA VS. PANAMA SERIES:
- The only meeting between the USA and Panama at this tournament came in the third group match in 2012 in Panama City as the USA won 6-0.
- Panama participated in U-20 qualifying in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012, with its best finish (4th) coming in 2012.
- Since host Honduras automatically earned one of Central America’s two spots in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship, Panama did well to secure the other with a first-place finish in regional qualifying, winning three games and tying one.
- The key result proved to be a 2-0 victory over eventual runner-up Costa Rica on August 6, 2015. Karla Riley and Solemar Ortiz netted the goals in a winning effort, effectively eliminating the Ticas.
- Panama’s success in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship has been limited, but it did come in fourth place in 2012. That year, the then 14-year-old Marta Cox scored in a 2-1 triumph against Cuba. She is still with the squad. In qualifying for this year’s competition, Cox struck for two goals, both coming in a 3-0 defeat of Guatemala.
- Panama is 3-9-2 all-time in the tournament with 13 goals scored and 57 against.
USA VS. HAITI SERIES:
- The USA has played Haiti just once in this tournament back in 2002, a 5-0 win in Tobago in which Heather O’Reilly scored twice.
- Haiti’s only other appearance in this tournament was in 2012 and out of six games played, they have won one match, lost four and tied one, while scoring two goals and allowing 25.
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
- Like the USA, Mexico was granted an automatic berth into the final tournament.
- Panama qualified for the tournament by winning the Central Zone qualifying tournament, finishing first over Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Panama tied Nicaragua 0-0 but defeated El Salvador (2-1), Costa Rica (2-0) and Guatemala (3-0). Yassiel Franco scored three goals during the tournament, Emily Cox had two and Solemar Ortiz and Karla Riley had one each.
- Haiti qualified by first winning its final round group in Caribbean Zone qualifying, which it hosted, losing to Puerto Rico by a 3-0 score, but winning the group by defeating Bermuda 8-0 and seeing Bermuda defeat Puerto Rico 1-0. Haiti then defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in the semifinal and Jamaica 2-0 in the championship game. In the final round, Nerilla Mondesir scored four goals, while Sabine Chandler, Kensia Destinvill and Roseline Eloissaint scored two each. Batcheba Louis and Darline Radaaker scored single goals in qualifying.
BY THE NUMBERS:
1 Players still in high school on the USA’s qualifying roster for the last U-20 WWC
5 CONCACAF U-19/U-20 tournaments, out of seven, in which the USA has won all its games
7 U.S. players who stand 5-foot-7 or taller
8 Players from the western region of the U.S. on this year’s qualifying roster
11 Different countries the USA has faced in CONCACAF U-19/U-20 Women’s Qualifying
12 Players still in high school on the USA’s 2015 qualifying roster
15 Consecutive matches that the USA has won in the CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament
15 Games out of 33 in which the USA has scored five or more goals in CONCACAF U-19/U-20 qualifying
30 All-time matches won in the CONCACAF U-19/U-20 championship by the USA
57 Players who played in a game for the U.S. U-20 WNT in 2015
540 Minutes played by Natalie Jacobs this year in international competition, the most on the team
- U-20 WNT Head Coach Michelle French Names Roster for Women’s World Cup Qualifying
- Schedule Set For 2015 CONCACAF Women's Under-20 Championship
- Young U-20 WNT Off to Spain as World Cup Qualifying Prep Continues
- U-20 WNT Takes Young Squad to Honduras for WWC Qualifying Prep
- Ping-Pong de España: U-20 WNT Discovers Table During Training Camp in Spain
- U-20 WNT Train in Spain Ahead of World Cup Qualifying
- Mallory Pugh: A Day in The Show
- Young U-20 WNT Preps for World Cup Qualifying
- Meet U.S. U-20s Savannah DeMelo, Ashley Sanchez and Jordie Harr
- Carli Lloyd Offers Words of Wisdom to U-20 WNT
MICHELLE FRENCH FACT FILE: Michelle French was hired as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team on Feb. 20, 2013. A former U.S. international at the senior and youth levels and a former professional player in the WUSA, French joined U.S. Soccer as the first full-time head coach for the U‑20 age group and coached the team to the championship of the 2014 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship and in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada.
- French, 38, came to U.S. Soccer after having coached at all levels of girls’ youth soccer. She served as a scout for U.S. Club Soccer since 2009, was a coach in the Washington Girls’ Olympic Development Program and served as an assistant coach for various U.S. Youth National Teams at the U-14, U-15, U-17 and U-18 levels since 2005.
- She currently also serves as an assistant coach with the full U.S. Women’s National Team when the schedule allows.
- She also has experience in the college game, serving as an assistant at UCLA in 2002 and as a volunteer assistant at the University of Washington in 2005.
- Before coming to U.S. Soccer, she worked with the Eastside Football Club since 2005, coaching up to three girls’ teams at a time. She also coached FC Portland Academy from 1998-2004.
- In the summer of 2012, she was the head coach of the Seattle Sounders Women in the W-League, a team that included U.S. WNT players Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo.
- As a player, French played for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1997-2001, earning 14 caps with 11 starts. She won a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics. She was also called in to attend a portion of the Residency Training Camp for the 2004 Olympics.
- She was first called into the full National Team for two matches against England on the 1997 Victory Tour presented by Nike, and she earned her first cap against England in her home stadium at the University of Portland on May 11, 1997. She had two assists in her career and played her last game for the USA on July 3, 2001, during a 1-0 win against Canada in Blaine, Minn.
- French was also a member of the Residency Training for the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and is one of the most-capped players in U.S. history at the U-21 level. She played for the USA U-21s from 1994-1999, the latter few as an overage player, and captained the U-21s from 1997-1999.
- She captained the 1997, 1998 and 1999 Nordic Cup teams, helping the U.S. to a championship in 1997 in Denmark, while scoring two goals; to second place in 1998 in Holland; and to another title in 1999 in Iceland. She was a starter on the U-20 team at the Nordic Cup in Sweden in the summer of 1996.
- French started her professional career with the Washington Freedom of the WUSA in 2001, where she was co-captain, and played two years for the San Jose CyberRays.
- She continued her career at the semi-professional level, playing for the Seattle Sounders Women in the W-League in 2004 and from 2006-2009. In 2004, she led the W-League in assists and was named First-Team All-League and First-Team All-Conference in each season she played.
- French was a highly decorated collegiate player at the University of Portland from 1995-1998 where she started every game she played over four seasons. As a senior, she was a First-Team NSCAA All-American, an All-Far West Region selection and a MAC Hermann Award Finalist. She was also All-WCC First-Team and a WWC All-Academic Team selection. She was also the WCC Freshman of the Year in 1995 and a Soccer America All-Freshman Team selection. As a junior, her 14 assists were the second-best season total at the time to Shannon MacMillan.