SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Dec. 9, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team downed Haiti 6-0 in the last match of group play at the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship to claim top spot in Group B.
The U.S. (2-0-1, 7 pts) moves on to the tournament semifinals where it will play Honduras (1-1-1, 4 pts) on Friday, Dec. 11 (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 2). Mexico, also with a 2-0-1 record and seven points after group play, finished second to the U.S. in Group B based on an inferior goal difference and will face Canada (3-0-0, 9 pts), which finished atop Group A, in Friday’s first semifinal (6 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 2).
The semifinal winners will earn automatic berths to the 2016 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as will the winner of the tournament’s third place match on Dec. 13 (6 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 2). The 2015 CONCACAF Women’s Championship final is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 2. Fans can continue following the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
The game opened on even footing as both teams tried to claim the early advantage, but it was the USA that grabbed the first goal. In the 16th minute, defender Tierna Davidson sent a high volley up the field, setting up a race between Savannah DeMelo and Haiti goalkeeper, Joni Gabriel. DeMelo was able to tap the ball forward, out of reach of a diving Gabriel, to send the ball into the back of the net.
The U.S. doubled its lead in the 35th minute when forward Jessie Scarpa received the ball midfield and sent a great through ball toward a sprinting Mallory Pugh. Once again, Gabriel stepped off her line to try to receive the ball first, but was unable to beat Pugh’s speed. Pugh controlled the ball, dribbling around Gabriel for an easy touch into goal.
Pugh struck again in the 44th minute. Ashley Sanchez chipped the ball over two defenders and in front of Pugh, who sent a one-timer into the net for her second goal of the match.
Three minutes into the second half, Sanchez sent the ball toward Scarpa, who was just outside the 18-yard box. After taking a touch to control, Scarpa turned with the ball to see Gabriel off her line and drilled a shot into the left hand upper 90.
In the 50th minute, Scarpa collected the ball and dribbled toward the Haiti endline on the left side where she sent the ball across the face of goal to Davidson on the back post, and the defensive sub easily tapped the ball home from one yard out.
The USA closed the scoring four minutes later. Ella Stevens made a run past the central defenders just as DeMelo crossed a bouncing ball from the right channel to the back post. Stevens deftly caught the ball on the bounce to send a one-touch chip just over Gabriel into the goal. From there, the U.S. closed out the game by absorbing pressure and stringing together long spells of possession.
- The USA improves to 2-0-0 against Haiti all time in tournament play.
- With her two goals, Mallory Pugh now leads the tournament Golden Boot race with five goals. Teammate Jessie Scarpa is just behind her with four.
- The U.S. is tied with Canada for most goalscorers in the competition as each nation boasts seven players with a goal.
- U.S. goalkeeper Rose Chandler needed to make only one save to earn her first clean sheet of the competition.
- In the eighth minute of the match, defender Sabrina Flores took a hit to the knee in a battle for the ball and had to leave the match. Tierna Davidson subbed in for Flores in the 14th minute.
- U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs Haiti
Date: Dec.9, 2015
Competition: 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship – Group B
Venue: Escuela Internacional Sampedran; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Weather: 84 degrees; partly cloudy
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 3 6
HAI 0 0 0
USA – Savannah DeMelo (Tierna Davidson) 16th minute
USA – Mallory Pugh (Jessie Scarpa) 35
USA – Mallory Pugh (Ashley Sanchez) 44
USA – Jessie Scarpa (Ashley Sanchez) 49
USA – Tierna Davidson (Jessie Scarpa) 50
USA – Ella Stevens (Savannah DeMelo) 54
USA: 1-Rose Chandler; 2-Natalie Jacobs, 4-Sabrina Flores (5-Tierna Davidson, 14), 14-Taylor Otto, 16-Emily Fox; 3-Mikaela Harvey, 6-Savannah DeMelo, 17-Parker Roberts (9-Jordan Harr, 65), 13-Ashley Sanchez; 10-Mallory Pugh (8-Ella Stevens, 46), 15-Jessie Scarpa
Subs not used: 7-Marley Canales, 11-Kelcie Hedge, 12-Kiara Pickett, 18-Brooke Heinsohn, 19-Shannon Horgan, 20-Zoe Redei
Head coach: Michelle French
HAI: 1-Joni Gabriel; 2-Soveline Beaubrun, 3-Jennyfer Limage, 4-Verlene Estime, 7-Catrina Lamour; 17-Magdala Macean, 18-Kensia Destinvil (11-Melissa Dacius, 32), 5-Sabine Chandler (6-Mikerline Saint Felix, 69), 9-Nerilia Mondesir; 15-Isnada Lebrun, 8-Nelourde Nicolas (14-Emeline Charles, 71)
Subs not used: 10-Batcheba Louid, 12-Kerly Theus, 13-Zila Lafleur, 16-Lovelie Pierre, 19-Johane Laforte, 20-Phiseline Michel
Head coach: Leszek Borkowski
Stats Summary: USA / HAI
Shots: 25 / 2
Shots on Goal: 12 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 4 / 0
Fouls: 16 / 19
Offside: 3 / 0
HAI - Nelourde Nicolas (caution) 60th minute
USA - Jordan Harr (caution) 72
Referee: Cecile Hinds (TRI)
Asst. Referee 1: Nereida Diaz Martinez (CUB)
Asst. Referee 2: Stephanie Yee Sing (JAM)
4th Official: Tatiana Guzman (NCA)
ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: TBA
U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team vs. Panama
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Escuela Internacional Sampedra; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Dec. 9, 2015
U.S. U-20 WNT SET FOR FINAL GROUP MATCH AGAINST HAITI: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team concludes group play in the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship on Wednesday, Dec. 9, when it faces Haiti (2 p.m. CT on FOX Soccer Plus). The team opened with a 2-2 draw against Mexico on Friday and added three points with a win against Panama on Monday. Mexico and the U.S. going into the last day are tied in total points and goal differential, but the USA is in control of the total goals scored tiebreaker leading Mexico 8-7 in goals scored. The U-20s will look for a win and goals in the final group match against Haiti. Play in Group A concluded on Tuesday night, with Canada and Honduras advancing through as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively. If the U.S. tops the group it will meet Honduras in the semifinals and a second place finish would put the team up against Canada. 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 2-2, T
Dec. 7 USA vs. Panama 6-1, W
Dec. 9 USA vs. Haiti 2 p.m. Escuela Internacional Sampedra 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.
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.
CAPTAIN IN FORM: Team captain Mallory Pugh is off to a great start in the tournament. The forward scored the U.S.’s first goal of the tournament and assisted on the second score against Mexico, before adding a pair of goals and two more assists against Panama. This is the second go-around in this tournament for the 17-year-old, who was the youngest player on the U-20s when the team won the tournament in 2013.
SCARPA ON POINT: In her first-ever CONCACAF tournament, Scarpa made the start up top against Panama and netted a hat trick.
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:
- In two games Captain Mallory Pugh has recorded three goals and three assists.
- 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.
- Chandler made the start at goalkeeper against Mexico to earn her first cap at the U-20 leve.
- 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).
- 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. 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
12 Players still in high school on the USA’s 2015 qualifying roster
16 Games out of 35 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
- 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.
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.”