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Preview: U-20 WNT Continues World Cup Qualifying Quest Against Jamaica

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team vs. Jamaica
2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship – Group B
Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad & Tobago
6:30 p.m. ET (CONCACAF YouTube Channel)
Jan. 21, 2018 

U-20 WNT TAKES ON REGGAE GIRLZ IN WCQ: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will continue the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship on Sunday, Jan. 21 against Jamaica (6:30 p.m. ET). The USA opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over Nicaragua on Friday, as Taryn Torres and Civana Kuhlmann scored. Jamaica endured a rough start to the tournament, dropping its first match 4-0 to Mexico in Friday’s first Group B game.

Sunday’s match will be broadcast live on CONCACAF’s YouTube channel. Follow the U-20 WNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com, Twitter (@ussoccer_ynt) and Instagram (@ussoccer_ynt).

2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Group B Schedule - USA
Date                Match                         Kickoff (ET)/Result     Broadcast        Venue
Jan. 19             USA vs. Nicaragua      W 2-0                          UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 21             USA vs. Jamaica         6:30 p.m.                     CONCACAF YouTube Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 23             USA vs. Mexico           3:00 p.m.                       UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad 

WATCH U-20 WNT QUALIFYING ON UDN: The USA’s third group match will be broadcast live on Univision Deportes Network. In addition, one semifinal match and the tournament final will be carried on the network. All other matches will be streamed on CONCACAF’s YouTube channel.

UDN Broadcast Schedule
Date                Match                          Kickoff (ET)     Broadcast        Venue
Jan. 20           Haiti vs. Costa Rica     5:30 p.m.         UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 21           Nicaragua vs. Mexico 4:00 p.m.         UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 22           T&T vs. Costa Rica      5:30 p.m.         UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 23         USA vs. Mexico          3:00 p.m.         UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 26             Semifinal 1 (B1 vs. 2A) 3:00 p.m.         UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 28             Final                            5:30 p.m.         UDN                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad

USA VS. JAMAICA SERIES:

  • The USA has played Jamaica three times in the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, all in group play.
  • The USA has won all three games by a 13-1 margin.
  • In both 2006 (4-1 as Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Cheney had goals) and 2010 (6-0 as Christine Nairn and Sydney Leroux scored twice each), the USA opened the tournament against Jamaica.
  • Their most recent meeting came at the 2014 tournament, as the teams squared off in the second group match. The USA’s goals came from current NWSL players Savannah Jordan (Houston Dash) and McKenzie Meehan (Sky Blue FC), and current U.S. WNT midfielder Andi Sullivan.
  • Jamaica’s head coach is Lorne Donaldson, the club coach for U.S. players Sophia Smith and Jaelin Howell at Real Colorado. (LINK)

GROUP B STANDINGS AND RESULTS:

Team

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Pts.

Mexico

1

1

0

0

4

0

4

3

United States

1

1

0

0

2

0

2

3

Nicaragua

1

0

1

0

0

-2

0

0

Jamaica

1

0

1

0

0

-4

0

0

Date                Match                                   Result           Venue
Jan. 19             Mexico vs. Jamaica     4-0                Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 19            USA vs. Nicaragua      W 2-0           Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad

KICKING OFF WITH A WIN: The USA dominated possession against Nicaragua, controlling the ball for more than 70 percent of the match and outshooting La Azul y Blanco 19-3. While Nicaragua had the first promising scoring opportunity, the relentless American attack broke through in the 17th minute. Savannah DeMelo connected with Taryn Torres on a cross in front of the net and Torres hammered it home for the game’s opening score.

Kuhlmann’s goal came just after halftime, when Jaelin Howell forced a turnover and slid the ball to the forward on a run towards the net. Kuhlmann slotted it into the corner for her ninth goal in 13 U-20 caps. The victory marked head coach Jitka Klimkova’s first in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying and extended the USA’s undefeated streak in the tournament to 21.

ROCKY START FOR REGGAE GIRLZ: Jamaica will look to bounce back in its match against the red, white and blue after a tough 4-0 loss to Mexico. El Tri barraged the Jamaican defense with 32 shots, compared to just four from the Caribbean squad. 

2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship Roster (College or Club; Hometown; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (2): Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.; 6/0), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.; 2/0) 
DEFENDERS (7): Tierna Davidson (Stanford; Menlo Park, Calif.; 6/0), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; 6/0; San Jose, Calif.), Tara McKeown (USC; Mission Viejo, Calif.; 11/0), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing, Mich.; 10/0), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; Santa Barbara, Calif.; 3/0), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.; 9/0), Karina Rodriguez (UCLA; Torrance, Calif.; 4/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Samantha Coffey (Boston College; Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.; 8/1), Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.; 24/4), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.; 13/0), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, N.C.; 9/0), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.; 11/1)
FORWARDS (6): Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.; 12/3), Civana Kuhlmann (Stanford; Littleton, Colo.; 13/9), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; Monrovia, Calif.; 21/6), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.; 11/8), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas; 4/2), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara; Nashville, Tenn.; 9/2)

JAMAICA ROSTER (CLUB)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Yazmeen Jamieson (Ontario University/CAN); Sydney Schneider (Match Fit Academy/USA)
DEFENDERS (7): Nevillegail Able (Waterhouse FC/JAM); Emily Caza (Seton Hall University/USA); Chyanne Dennis (University of South Florida/USA); Madiya Harriot (Vanderbilt University/USA); Jadyn Matthews (Orlando City Soccer Club/USA); Erin Mikalsen (East Carolina University/USA); Jayda Pelaia-Hylton (East Carolina University/USA)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Ebony Clarke (Richmond Girls Soccer/CAN); Gabrielle Gayle (Unattached); Alyssa Julien (Eastern Kentucky University/USA); Giselle Washington (Concorde Fire/USA)
FORWARDS (7): Olufolasade Adamolekun (United Soccer Alliance/USA); Jody Brown (St. Ann Women's FC/JAM); Marlee Fray (Sunrise Soccer Club/USA); Jazmin Grant (University of Houston/USA); Mireya Grey (University of Washington/USA); Kevena Reid (GC Foster College/JAM); Shayla Smart (Montverde Academy/USA) 

RUN-UP TO T&T: The timing of the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship at the start of the year after the college season made the player selection process less difficult. Sixteen of the 20 players on the roster are currently in college. The four outliers – defender Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC), midfielder Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), midfielder Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat) and forward Sophia Smith (Real Colorado) – are all high school seniors who are among the most experienced players on the roster. Howell, Pinto and Smith all saw training time with the senior WNT in 2017, but none earned a cap. All four youth club players are currently competing in the inaugural season of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy.

Players born on or after January 1, 1998 are eligible for the 2018 U-20 Women’s World Cup, and head coach Jitka Klimkova named players from three birth years: six born in 1998, 11 born in 1999 and three born in 2000. The 17-year-old Smith, recently named 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, is the youngest player on the squad. Klimkova was able to evaluate 40 players in international game action last year, and evaluate many more during college matches last fall. The U-20s have gone through an excellent preparation schedule that saw the team go 6-4-2 in international matches. The losses came to youth women’s powers Japan, Germany and Brazil, while the USA also defeated similarly strong squads from England, Germany, Norway and France.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: This year marks the ninth edition of the CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship. The tournament began in 1999 as the CONCACAF Women’s U-19 Championship. The field features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals. The winners of those games, as well as the winner of the third-place match, will earn berths to the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in France. 

GROUP A STANDINGS AND RESULTS:

Team

GP

W

L

T

GF

GA

GD

Pts.

Canada

1

1

0

0

3

1

0

3

Haiti

1

1

0

0

3

2

0

3

T & T

1

0

1

0

2

3

0

0

Costa Rica

1

0

1

0

1

3

0

0

Date                Match                                     Result             Venue
Jan. 18         Costa Rica vs. Canada             1-3                   Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad
Jan. 18         T&T vs. Haiti                          2-3                   Ato Boldon Stadium; Couva, Trinidad 

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Arriola, Morris Stepping into Leadership Roles During January Camp

Four months ago, Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris were two of the least experienced players earning consistent call-ups in the U.S. Men’s National Team player pool. Flash forward to the MNT’s ongoing January Camp and the two have the third and fourth most caps on the 29-player roster.

The shift in experience during the MNT’s annual January Camp came as a result of the team narrowly missing out on qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, something both players who made steady contributions during the campaign, admit they had to bounce back from.

"It’s something I never would have imagined," said Arriola, the only player on the January roster to appear in the 2-1 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago last October.

Morris most assuredly would have been there if not for a hamstring injury he sustained just days after providing a crucial, late assist in the MNT’s 1-1 draw at Honduras on Sept. 5. Instead, the forward watched on helplessly from Seattle as the MNT missed out on qualification for Russia by a goal.  

“I felt for the guys,” he said. “It was tough for everyone, tough for the country and I think until we qualify for the next World Cup, you’re going to have that pain.”

“it’s tough to know how close we were to being in a World Cup,” Arriola added. “That was hard, but the future for me is bright I hope and for the rest of my teammates as well. The best way to move forward is always remember it and use it as motivation and looking towards the future.”

Now Leaders

While some U.S. players may have played their last international game that night in Couva, Arriola (22) and Morris (23) recognize they should have plenty of years ahead with the MNT.

Both have experienced the rigors of World Cup Qualifying and tasted success last summer as the MNT, aided by Morris’ 88th minute game-winner against Jamaica, lifted the CONCACAF Gold Cup for the sixth time.

And while their combined 39 caps would currently rank them 68th on the MNT’s all-time appearance list, they headline the 29-player roster gathered in Carson, Calif., this month recognizing a need to show leadership in a group that has 15 players yet untested on the senior international level.

For Morris, it’s a new challenge.

“I’m not necessarily a vocal guy, but I’m trying to work on that more in this camp,” he said. “I know how beneficial that was for me coming into my first camp and having guys to talk to and bounced things off of. Hopefully I can try to be that for some of these younger guys here.”

A player that has prided himself on dedication to detail the last few years, Arriola looks at his call to leadership as setting the right tone for everyone around him.

“It’s the little things like remembering to stay as crisp and as sharp as possible. In the end, it can make the difference in going to the World Cup and not going to the World Cup. I think in that case it’s extremely important for me to be a strong leader – to help my teammates and always encourage them, but at the same time it’s a very serious time for us. It’s not too much fun or coming out here and enjoying the beautiful weather of California, it’s that we’re here to work and make sure what happened to us in October never happens again.”

Friends Rising Together

Having come into the MNT as the youngsters during the last cycle, both players say they have become much better friends during the past 18 months. With that time, the admiration for each other’s games – though different – as well as their personalities has grown as well.

Arriola spoke highly of the character Morris showed in scoring the game-winner in last summer’s 2-1 victory against Jamaica.

“I don’t think I would have wanted anyone else to score the game-winner in the Gold Cup Final. He had lost his mark on the goal for Jamaica and being so young, for him to turn around right away and score the game-winner was great to see. He’s a great player, great person, awesome on and off the field. I’m extremely pleased for him and I know he’ll continue in the direction that he’s going.”

Meanwhile Morris underlined the respect he has for Arriola’s attention to detail.

“He’s such a dynamic player on the field, able to take guys on and run and put in some really good crosses. He’s very technically gifted and you watch him in finishing drills and he’s very good around the box, putting the ball away as well as being a provider. You’ve seen him grown on the international level in the last year and I think the move to D.C. has been great. I’m excited to see what the future holds for Paul.”

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