U.S. Soccer

England Takes Down Finland 6-0 to Stay in Running For 2017 Nike Friendlies Tournament Title

LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. (December 11, 2017) – The England Under-20 Women’s National Team scored three times in each half to defeat Finland, 6-0 on the final day of play at the 2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies.

With the win, England (7 points; +7 goal difference) has a chance to win the tournament title if the USA and Brazil draw or if Brazil defeats the USA tournament finale. If the U.S. defeats Brazil, the USA will tie England on points with seven each, but will win the tournament based on goal difference.

England came out on the front foot and scored its first goal in the 18th minute. Niamh Charles had an excellent run down the left side and found Kess Elmore on the right, slipping her a pass through a couple of defenders. Elmore did well to finish from a tough angle to the far post for the first goal of the afternoon.

In the 18th minute, Zoe Cross took a shot that deflected off a Finland defender, causing the ball to bounce out of reach of Finland’s wrong-footed goalkeeper Henriikka Mäkelä.

Rianna Dean scored the next two goals for England, the first in the 38th minute after a slick pass from Charles – her third assist– and again in the 55th with a terrific header following a great cross from Charles. 

England was not done scoring an added two more to its tally as the Young Lionesses pushed to make up the goal difference between themselves and the USA, but they ultimately fell short and will need a Brazil win or tie to win the tournament.

In the 79th, Cross was taken down inside the box by Finland’s Maaria Roth. Georgia Allen stepped up to take the kick and converted for the 5-0 England advantage. Ten minutes later, second-half substitute Ellie Brazil finished from short range for the final 6-0 score line.

England will now await the result of the USA vs. Brazil game set to kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET before the 2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies champion can be crowned.

2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies Standings














































2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies Match Report

Match: Finland U-20 WNT vs. England U-20 WNT
Date: December 11, 2017
Competition: 2017 Women’s Nike International Friendlies
Venue: Premier Sports Complex Stadium; Lakewood Ranch, Fla.
Weather: 64 degrees, sunny
Attendance: 50

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F         
FIN                              0          0          0
ENG                            2          4          6         

ENG – Kess Elmore (Niamh Charles)                        7th minute
ENG – Zoe Cross (Niamh Charles)                           18
ENG -- Rianna Dean (Niamh Charles)                       38
ENG – Rianna Dean (Niamh Charles)                       55
ENG – Georgia Allen (penalty kick)                           79
ENG – Ellie Brazil (Georgia Allen)                              89

FIN: 1-Henriikka Mäkelä; 8-Selina Mustajoki (10-Onna Ketola, 81); 6-Emma Santamäki (capt.), 11-Tiia Savolainen, 3-Katriina Kuoksa, 13-Katrina Kuoksa (4-Alina Schrey, 65), 19-Anni Miettunen (17-Alina Kosunen, 81), 2-Nea Lehtola (5-Roosa Toivanen, 85), 16-Juulia Grönlund, 7-Aada Törrönen (14-Teesa Rinkinen, 46), 15-Emilia Ukkonen (9-Ida Raustola, 65)
Subs Not Used: 12-Sonja Tajatalo, 18-Julie Forss, 20-Aino Kröger
Head Coach: Rosa Lappi-Seppala

ENG: 22-Sian Rogers; 3-Mayumi Pacheco (20-Alicia Johnson 42), 5-Grace Fisk (capt.), 12-Taylor Hinds (19-Charlie Wellings 76), 14-Georgia Allen, 10-Zoe Cross, 16-Rianna Dean (9-Ellie Brazil, 56), 8-Mollie Rouse (4-Chloe Peplow, 56), 11-Niamh Charles, 15-Lucy Parker (2-Anna Patten, 56), 18-Kess Elmore
Subs not used: 6-Lotte Wubben-Moy, 7-Alessia Russo, 17-Rinsola Babajide
Head Coach: Mo Marley

Stats Summary: FIN / ENG             
Shots: 9 / 26
Shots on Goal: 3 / 12
Saves: 6 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 11
Fouls: 12 / 5
Offside: 0 / 3

Misconduct Summary:
FIN – Tiia Savolainen (caution)                      51st minute
ENG – Ellie Brazil (caution)                            83
FIN -- Juulia Grönlund (caution)                     87

Referee: Ceciah Valero (USA)
Assistant Referee: Adrienne McDonald (USA)
Assistant Referee: Rachel Smith (USA)
Fourth Official: Natalie Simon (USA)

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U-20 WNT

Fan Week Kicks Off Today and Runs Through Dec. 15

CHICAGO (Dec. 11, 2017) – This week, U.S. Soccer is proud to celebrate our passionate fans with U.S. Soccer Fan Week. It’s a week dedicated to showcasing and thanking U.S. Soccer fans for their remarkable support.  

On the slate for this year’s Fan Week is a wide-ranging list of giveaways, interaction with National Team players, exclusive content spotlighting some of U.S. Soccer’s biggest fans and a contest to find the Best Fan in the U.S.

Starting today, all U.S. Soccer social media platforms, including the new @ussoccer Federation account, will put fans first for the duration of the week. Each day will highlight a different part of the tremendous U.S. Soccer fan base, including membership, donors and organized supporters.

Every day this week, special giveaways from U.S. Soccer and its partners will be announced on U.S. Soccer social media platforms, in addition to daily offers at the official U.S. Soccer Store. 

One of the week’s highlights is exclusive interaction with U.S. Soccer players as stars from the Men’s and Women’s National Teams will host Facebook Live sessions each day. Fans should also keep an eye on social media for other special messages from some of their favorite National Team players.

National Team players will also vote to determine U.S. Soccer’s Best Fan. Fans are encouraged to submit their nominations throughout the week, share what they love about U.S. Soccer and make their case to be the Best of U.S. Fan 2017; #BestofUS2017. The winner will be announced on Friday and receive a “Golden Ticket” that grants admission to all 2018 U.S. Soccer controlled friendly matches.

To follow all of the Fan Week festivities, be sure to follow the U.S. Soccer Facebook page and @ussoccer on Twitter and Instagram using #FanWeek2017.

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FAN WEEK: How Traveling to Support the MNT Brought Kelly and Dale Together

Throughout U.S. Soccer's Fan Week, we'll bring you feature stories on those that go above and beyond in their support of our teams, players and the federation itself. To kick things off, we caught up with Kelly Johnson and Dale Houdek, who found each other through their shared passion of traveling to support the U.S. Men's National Team. 

If you’ve stood in the American Outlaws section for a U.S. Men’s National Team game the last three years, chances are you’ve run into Dale Houdek and Kelly Johnson. After first being introduced through a friend during a friendly in 2014, the couple has been loud and proud behind the MNT at the vast majority of its games ever since. 

Already a tried-and-true supporter of the MNT, Dale was headed to his third FIFA World Cup that summer with his buddy Ed Smith, who with his wife Kat thought it would be good to introduce him to Kelly at the U.S. friendly against Mexico at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

“The introduction we had was, ‘Hey come to the game, it’ll be a cool event,’ Dale told ussoccer.com.

With 60 caps already under his belt, he was accustomed to the supporter experience of an MNT game. While a sports fan already, Kelly wasn’t quite as well-versed, but the welcoming atmosphere and magnitude of a USA-Mexico clash quickly got her hooked. 

“I was pretty lucky with USA versus Mexico as my first game,” Kelly said. “The atmosphere was amazing, cheering with the American Outlaws and making friends with fans from all over the U.S. I enjoyed it and looked forward to going again.”

Dale Houdek and Kelly Johnson (left) with Ed and Kat Smith in front of the Generali Arena, Prague, Czech Republic on Sept 3, 2014 

Though it was a good first encounter, their professional lives would keep them apart. At the time, Dale worked in human resources for a large financial firm in New York City, while Kelly was stationed in Phoenix working as a flight attendant. They kept up a platonic relationship, staying in contact in the following months and after Dale returned from the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, they both went out on a limb for the beginning of the new cycle when the MNT scheduled a friendly against the Czech Republic in Prague.

“We hadn’t really spent that much time together, but we both decided to just do this road trip,” Dale said as he recalled some of the expected nerves around taking that kind of plunge.

“It was a first date, but it was an international trip. I remember being under some stress because we flew into Germany and I had a rental car and we’re headed to one of the cities. I was trying to read signs in German and was really nervous. It was this nervous energy that you would feel on a first date in your hometown, but it’s amplified because we’re in a foreign country. It was pretty cool.”

Touring parts of Germany on their way to Prague, things went well enough between them. Because of the nature of Dale’s job, he did have to get some work done once they arrived in the Czech capital. So while he was up in the room working, Kelly ran into members of the MNT, including then head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, interacting with the group in the days leading up to the game.

Kelly Johnson meets Nick Rimando and Julian Green at the MNT hotel in Prague on Sept. 2, 2014

“The players took time to say hi and thank us for supporting them all over the world. That really left a great memory about U.S. Soccer and the experience,” Kelly said. “Jurgen asked, ‘You really came all this way for this friendly?’ He couldn’t believe it. I think that experience solidified U.S. Soccer and the energy around it -- you kind of get bitten. It’s addicting.”

Coming away with another positive experience, things became more serious for the couple and Dale was able to move back to his original home of Arizona. Together they’ve attended the vast majority of MNT games (especially those abroad) ever since. Thanks to the fortunate combination of having jobs that give them flexibility with their schedules and the ability to work from anywhere, the pair plans its vacations around U.S. matches, blocking out time based on the FIFA International Match Calendar.

In doing so, they’ve also gained an appreciation of the fact the team’s schedule will take them to places they wouldn’t have otherwise gone.

“We wind up in places that maybe wouldn’t be on our top 10 list of travel destinations,” Dale joked. “We’re huge travel fans. We want to travel the world, and with soccer being such an international game this is a great opportunity. The MNT might be going to countries that are out of the way, or it might be places that we might not have thought of, but we always come away with great experiences.”

Dale and Kelly (pictured left) step off the bus with American Outlaws at Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana Cuba on Oct. 7, 2016

The memories are as vast as the experiences are unique. The couple includes among highlights going down to Havana for the USA’s historic friendly against Cuba in October 2016, and earlier that year witnessing how the majority Catholic nation of Guatemala celebrated Easter.

“The ceremonies and parades they had were amazing,” Dale said. “These are things you don’t get to plan for, but you get to incorporate as part of the adventure of traveling for the team. We’re not always sure where we going to go, but we know we’re going to have great travel destinations and you’re able to build sight-seeing around it. It’s a great way to explore the world, but at the same time you’re there watching the sport you love and cheering for the country you love.”

While they enjoy the travel and supporting the team wherever they play, the relationships they’ve built with other U.S. fans are just as big a part of the experience.

“The camaraderie is huge,” Dale said. “We’ll see some people at games more often than we see friends in our own city. When we’re in Phoenix, we’re working a lot, but we go to games and that’s where we see friends from virtually all over the world. You look forward to seeing them and build relationships with them.’

Dale Houdek earns his "100th cap" during the MNT's friendly vs. New Zealand on Oct. 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

Affectionately known in AO circles as “Kelly and Dale”, along their journey they’ve racked up their own personal milestones. Dale earned his 100th cap during the MNT’s friendly against New Zealand on Oct. 11, 2016, in Washington, D.C. His loyal support was even rewarded that night with a custom jersey by MNT Equipment Manager Jesse Bignami. For her part, Kelly just recently hit 50 caps in October.

And while the commitment of traveling far and wide to support the MNT is done for fun, adventure and experience, part of it is also coping with disappointment, something the couple felt first-hand when they were in attendance for October’s World Cup Qualifying defeat at Trinidad & Tobago.

“Dealing with disappointment is a huge part of being a fan,” Dale said. “We love and support our team win, lose or draw, but there’s all these different emotions you process when you think about missing the World Cup. In the end, I hope we’re in a better place for it and that we look to use these years before Qatar to build, get some youth and establish another competitve team.”

Dale Houdek and Kelly Johnson before the USA-Mexico World Cup Qualifier at Estadio Azteca on June 11, 2017

While watching the U.S. in Russia won’t be part of their plans next year, Kelly and Dale have no hesitation about following the MNT as they begin the work towards Qatar. For them, it starts with the USA's upcoming friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 28 in Carson, Calif. 

“It’s the love of the game, the country and the team,” Dale said. “We’re already looking at January Camp and starting to watch the new faces that come in. That’s part of the journey as well. In St. Vincent, we got to experience Christian Pulisic take over a game and drop in some goals. That’s part of it - that’s what you get to see. You can’t pick games here and there. You will miss out on some of those experiences and opportunities if you do that. We’ll definitely be there in January and we’re looking forward to it.”

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Making the Case: Alex Morgan, 2017 Female Player of the Year

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, U.S. Soccer announced the five nominees for 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year. This year's nominees include midfielders Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan and Samantha Mewis, and forwards Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. Today we continue “Making the Case” for each of the candidates, with WNT forward, Alex Morgan.

Seven goals in seven games is how Alex Morgan closed out 2017 with the U.S. Women’s National Team. After spending the first six months of the year in France playing with Olympique Lyonnais and helping the club achieve a historic treble, winning the League, French Cup and Champions League titles, Morgan returned to the U.S. and began a hot streak for both club and country.

U.S. WNT - Alex Morgan
Morgan takes on four Korea Republic players on Oct. 22, 2017.

In France, Morgan played in 15 matches, seven in the league (five goals), three in the Cup (seven goals) and five in Champions League play. She also started the Champions League Final against rival Paris Saint-Germain but was forced to leave in the 23rd minute when she aggravated a hamstring injury. That injury kept her out of the USA’s June friendlies in Europe, but she returned for the Tournament of Nations in late July.

Her scoring streak began then, against Japan at the Tournament of Nations, and continued through the WNT’s fall friendlies against New Zealand (three goals in two games), Korea Republic (one goal and one assist in two games) and Canada (two goals and one assist in two games). Her seven goals this year were a team-leading mark. At 28-years-old, she now has 80 career goals and sits in sole possession of seventh place on the USA’s all-time goals.

For the Orlando Pride, Morgan also provided a spark that guided the team to its first playoff appearance in franchise history. She ended her season with nine goals in her last 12 games for the Pride and finished tied for fifth in the league in goals. She also had four assists in her 13 regular season games and was named to the NWSL Second XI.

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Making the Case: Jordan Morris, 2017 Male Player of the Year

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, U.S. Soccer announced the five nominees for 2017 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year. This year’s nominees include forwards Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris and midfielders Michael Bradley and Christian Pulisic. Each day, ussoccer.com will make a case for each of the candidates. Today is first-time nominee Jordan Morris’ turn.   After claiming Read more

Five Things About U.S. U-20 WNT vs. Brazil U-20 WNT

The U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team will conclude the 2017 Nike International Friendlies against Brazil on Monday, Dec. 11 (6:30 p.m. ET) at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Here are five things you should know about the USA’s final opponent and final match of the tournament. How Can the USA Win the 2017 Nike Friendlies? With the 10-1 win against Finland on Dec. 9, the USA Read more
U-20 WNT