U.S. Soccer
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Defender Tierna Davidson to Join U-20 WNT Following USA-Denmark Match

CHICAGO (Jan. 19, 2018) – Nineteen-year-old defender Tierna Davidson, who was named to the U.S. roster for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, will stay with the full U.S. Women’s National Team through its match against Denmark on Sunday, Jan. 21 at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego where she could receive her first senior team cap.

Davidson will then travel to join her U-20 teammates in Trinidad & Tobago for the remainder of the World Cup qualifying tournament that begins today as the USA takes on Nicaragua in Couva, Trinidad (5:30 p.m. ET on Univision Deportes Network and the CONCACAF YouTube page).

The 5-foot-10 Davidson, who has six U-20 caps and helped lead Stanford to the 2017 NCAA Championship, has been training with Jill Ellis’ squad during January Camp in Los Angeles. The camp marks her third call-up to the senior side.

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WNT U-20 WNT Jan 19, 2018

U-20 WNT's DeMelo Aims for World Cup Return

When the ball hit the back of the net, a weight came off the shoulders of Savannah DeMelo. The first collegiate goal for the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team midfielder was a long time in the making, one important checkpoint on a long road to recovery.

“It gave me a lot of confidence and set the tone for the rest of the season,” DeMelo said. “The cross was coming in and I was like, ‘You’ve done this a million times, just place it in the corner.’ I remember the ball going into the back of the net. I just hugged my closest teammate, we jumped around in the air and it was an awesome feeling.”

The score secured a 2-0 victory for USC over Missouri in DeMelo’s second game as a Trojan. It sparked a run of four goals in six games. It came perhaps a year after it could have, but that delay took place because of DeMelo’s status as one of the top youth players in the country. She deferred her USC admission in order to play in the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. But after a stellar showing at CONCACAF qualifying for the tournament, a knee injury suffered two months before the World Cup impacted her ability to perform at her highest level.

Without as much playing time in Papua New Guinea, DeMelo focused on positively impacting the team as a great teammate. She made the most of her on-field minutes, but also valued her time on the sideline in support of the squad.

The experience also left her with a desire for more. That first collegiate goal served as a rung on the climb back to U-20 success. After a full season at USC to recapture her swagger, she’s hungrier than ever with a World Cup berth on the line at the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Trinidad.

“After that 2016 World Cup, I lost a lot of confidence,” DeMelo said. “I had had everything planned out. I was so excited to get as much playing time as I did in qualifiers. But I realized my role was going to change once I got to the World Cup. You accept your role and help as much as you can on the team. Now, I’ve brought confidence from college back to here.”

At the 2015 Women’s U-20 CONCACAF Championship in Honduras, DeMelo started all five of the USA’s matches en route to the tournament title and Best XI honors. She catalyzed the red, white and blue’s midfield as they punched their World Cup ticket and she stood primed to be a key midfield contributor in at the World Cup.

Those plans changed two months before the tournament. During a routine workout between National Team camps, DeMelo misstepped on a cut and suffered an untimely knee injury. It didn’t require surgery, but it would severely impact DeMelo’s fitness.

“I was out, two months prior to the World Cup. I knew that I wasn’t going to be in as good of shape as I wanted to be. But I would never change the experience I had in Papua New Guinea,” DeMelo said. “It’s rare that you get to go to a World Cup. I think I grew as a person and as a teammate – by not being the starter, I learned how important it is to be the one who gets everyone going, to be the voice on the bench.”

A tough spell ensued for DeMelo after the World Cup in November. As she worked to fully recover from her injury, she didn’t appear in a National Team camp until the following April, which brought her to the first camp under new U-20 WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova, appointed to the position a few weeks earlier. DeMelo struggled with rust and a new coaching philosophy. Those early difficulties made her 2017 rise all the more impressive.

“Her first camps back were challenging for her, but it’s unbelievable where she is now,” Klimkova said. “She’s back and she’s one of our key players. I’m sure her first goal now is to qualify and her second goal is to be a starter and a leader in the World Cup.”

DeMelo’s first season at USC expedited her growth. Eager to make her mark in Los Angeles, especially after the Trojans took home the NCAA title during her deferred season, DeMelo was dynamic as USC’s #10. Back at full strength, the season served to rekindle her confidence.

“She’s the player that I’ve seen the most growth from, starting in April 2017 when she came back to our camp for the first time, to where she is now in January,” Klimkova said. “That’s a big credit to her college environment. She had an amazing college season and her confidence just went up. Where she is at this point, I’m very pleased. She is really helping this team to succeed.”

While Baylor dealt the Trojans a devastating early exit from the NCAA Tournament – a penalty kick shootout defeat in the second round – their elimination opened another door for DeMelo. Klimkova scheduled a November camp to ramp up preparations for World Cup qualifying. With most U-20 mainstays still active in the collegiate post-season, the group featured many players in their first National Team appearances. An inexperienced roster called for DeMelo to be a leader.

Since that camp, it’s been “all systems go” for the U-20 WNT as they ready for World Cup qualifying. Four players on the roster have previous U-20 qualifying experience while nine others have CONCACAF experience at the U-17 level. DeMelo has risen through the ranks with some of her teammates since the U-15 level. At the culmination of her U-20 National Team career this year, DeMelo will compete alongside the players that she has grown up with.

“This year will be special with all the girls,” DeMelo said. “It’s nice to have each other’s backs. We’ve all seen how far we’ve come and how much we’ve sacrificed. It’s great to all come together as a group and go win something.”

Papua New Guinea provided DeMelo an education in being a great teammate. Now, she couldn’t be more excited to take on another World Cup with some of her best friends. As a more mature player on and off-the-field, DeMelo is flying high on the precipice of qualifying. She’s more driven than ever to make her mark in Trinidad and earn another shot at the World Cup.

“Every choice that I made helped to get me where I am now,” DeMelo said. “Now, I know what to expect going into qualifiers and a World Cup. Especially, mentally, how to focus if you aren’t the star or aren’t playing a lot of minutes. We’ve got to punch a ticket to the World Cup and this team has what it takes.”

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U-20 WNT Jan 18, 2018

2017 U-20 World Cup Vets Rising to MNT Future in 2018 January Camp

For the U.S. Men’s National Team right now, it’s all about the future. There’s no better punctuation of that theme than the composition of the current January Camp roster.

Upon the opening of camp last week, 21 of the 29 invitees were aged 24 and under. Fifteen of are uncapped and 10 have joined the MNT for the first time.

Clearly youth is the movement for the senior side, and the promise in the Youth National Team program is also showing through in this camp as 12 players on the roster have represented the U.S. at a Youth World Cup. Two more players – Russell Canouse and Kelyn Rowe -- were part of qualifying rosters during their respective youth team cycles.

Perhaps most instructive is the fact that four players from the USA roster at 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup are present in Carson, Calif.: Danny Acosta, Tyler Adams, Justen Glad and Brooks Lennon.

U.S. MNT - Adams, Lennon, Glad and Acosta
From left to right: Tyler Adams, Brooks Lennon, Justen Glad and Danny Acosta

Part of the first U.S. team to win the CONCACAF Championship at the U-20 level, they’re the initial crop from a group which ran to the quarterfinals in Korea Republic last summer to cycle into the senior team. Most certainly, they will not be the last. 

“From the beginning, we knew we had a talented group,” Acosta, a dual national with the U.S. and Honduras, told ussoccer.com “We had a team that worked hard for each other, represented our country well and showed that the future is bright for our national team program.”

At age 18, Adams is the youngest of the rising U-20 quartet, but has some seniority in that he already earned his senior team debut in the MNT’s 1-1 draw with Portugal last November. Long involved in the Youth National Team program, the New York Red Bulls utility man recalled an instance during his time with the U-17 MNT in agreeing with Acosta’s assessment.

“When I was in residency, I remember our U-17s scrimmaging the U-20 MNT,” Adams said. “At the time, the U-20 team had Rubio Rubin, Russell Canouse, Marky Delgado, Matt Miazga, Kellyn Acosta. Our U-17 team had myself, Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie. It’s nice to see we were all on the field at the same time and respectively everyone’s doing a good job at their club. Now were coming together making a rise with the National Team. That’s pretty cool as well.”

One of the underlying themes for the youthful MNT players in this camp and moving forward is taking the first steps in getting the senior team back on track towards Qatar in 2022.

“Every time you wear the crest, it’s a responsibility,” Acosta said. “We didn’t make the World Cup. We’re sad about that, we’re disappointed, but it’s a new start for everyone. I feel a responsibility now to help push things forward, and I would say the 28 other guys in this camp feel the same way.”

2018 January Camp Roster Representation at Youth World Cups

Player

Youth World Cups

YWC Qualifying

Danny Acosta

2017 U-20 WC

2017 U-20 CONCACAF

Tyler Adams

2015 U-17 WC
2017 U-20 WC

2015 U-17 CONCACAF

2017 U-20 CONCACAF

Juan Agudelo

2009 U-17 WC

2009 U-17 CONCACAF

Paul Arriola

2011 U-17 WC
2015 U-20 WC

2011 U-17 CONCACAF
2015 U-20 CONCACAF

Russell Canouse

N/A**

2015 U-20 CONCACAF

Cody Cropper

2013 U-20 WC

2011 U-20 CONCACAF
2013 U-20 CONCACAF

Marky Delgado

2015 U-20 WC

N/A

Justen Glad

2017 U-20 WC

2013 U-17 CONCACAF
2017 U-20 CONCACAF

Brooks Lennon

2017 U-20 WC

2017 U-20 CONCACAF

Ike Opara

2009 U-20 WC

N/A

Kelyn Rowe

N/A

2011 U-20 CONCACAF

Rubio Rubin

2015 U-20 WC

2013 U-17 CONCACAF

Zack Steffen

2015 U-20 WC

2015 U-20 CONCACAF

Wil Trapp

2013 U-20 WC

2013 U-20 CONCACAF

** Russell Canouse was named to the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup roster, but had to withdraw due to injury

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MNT U-20 MNT Jan 18, 2018

No. 1 and No. 2: Sullivan and McCaskill Join NWSL

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, a new chapter began in the lives of U.S. WNT midfielder Andi Sullivan and U.S. WNT forward Savannah McCaskill when their names were called at the top of the 2018 NWSL College Draft in Philadelphia. With both players currently participating in the U.S. WNT’s January Camp in California, Sullivan and McCaskill were unable to attend the draft, but watched the l Read more
WNT Jan 18, 2018

The Black & White Collection: 2018 MNT January Camp Edition

A black and white view of the U.S. Men’s National Team’s ongoing January Camp leading up to the Jan. 28 friendly vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Read more
MNT Jan 17, 2018
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