The U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team will kick off the 2017 Nike International Friendlies against England on Thursday, Dec. 7 (6:30 p.m. ET) at Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. Here are five things to know about the USA’s opener against this rising European women’s soccer power at both the senior and youth levels.
We Meet Again
The USA and England have already met twice this year at the U-20 WNT level. The matches took place when the USA traveled across the pond in July for a pair of matches at England’s National Team training center. The trip was a successful one for the U.S. which earned two wins (2-1 and 2-0), with goals from Civana Kuhlmann (2), Ashley Sanchez, and 6-foot-1 midfielder Taylor Kornieck.
Civana Kuhlmann (right) has scored two goals against England's U-20s in 2017.
Nike Friendlies Continues World Cup Qualifying Prep
The U-20 U.S. WNT has used 35 players in nine international matches this year in preparation for World Cup qualifying, taking on Norway, Germany, France, Japan and England while compiling a record of 5-3-1. Sophia Smith of Real Colorado leads the team with six international goals while Stanford freshman Civana Kuhlmann has four and UC Berkeley freshman Abigail Kim has two. Twenty of the 24 players on the roster have U-20 caps, led by Savannah DeMelo, a member of the last U-20 WNT cycle, who has 20 caps. U.S. WNT head coach has used 35 players in U-20 matches this year.
The age cutoff to be eligible for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is players born on or after January 1, 1998. For this roster, Klimkova called up nine players born in 1998, 11 born in 1999 and four born in 2000, making them also age-eligible for the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Sophia Smith leads all U-20 players on this roster with six goals in 2017.
U.S. U-20 WNT Roster – 2017 Nike International Friendlies (Club, Hometown)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Claudia Dickey (Charlotte Soccer Academy; Charlotte, NC), Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.)
DEFENDERS (9): Nicole Albrecht (Minnesota, Cedarburg, Wisc.), Julia Bingham (USC; Ontario, Calif.), Jordan Brewster (Internationals SC; North Canton, Ohio), Sydney Dawson (Internationals SC; North Canton, Ohio), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; San Jose, Calif.), Tara McKeown (USC; Newbury Park, Calif.), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing; Mich.), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (UCLA; Torrance, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Samantha Coffey (Boston College; Sleepy Hollow, NY), Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Taylor Kornieck (Colorado; Henderson, Nev.), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, NC), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.)
FORWARDS (6): Jordan Harr (Texas Tech; Sachse, Texas), Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.), Civana Kuhlmann (Stanford; Littleton. Colo.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara, Scottsdale, Ariz.)
How To Watch
The tournament kicks off on Thursday, Dec. 7 at 3:30 p.m. ET with Brazil taking on Finland, followed by the USA vs. England at 6:30 p.m. ET. Both matches will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, U.S. Soccer’s Facebook Page and U.S. Soccer’s YouTube Page from The Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. with Mike Pepper calling the action.
The matches are not geo-blocked, meaning fans in Brazil, England and Finland, as well as others around the world, can watch the games. Fans can follow all the matches of the U.S. U-20s on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. For full coverage, visit the Women’s Nike International Friendlies tournament page on ussoccer.com.
England Books Ticket to France
England qualified for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup by winning a playoff with Scotland, 2-0, on goals from Zoe Cross and Mollie Rouse. England finished third in Group B at the 2017 UEFA Women's Under-19 Championship behind the Netherlands and France, losing 2-0 to the Dutch and 1-0 to the French, while also beating Italy 2-1.
Scotland finished third in Group A behind Germany and Spain, necessitating the one-game playoff for fourth and final berth from Europe (as France already had an automatic berth as host).
England’s USA Connections
Almost half of England’s roster plays college soccer in the USA. Those players are: G Sandy Maclver (Clemson), D Anna Patten (Florida State, USA), D Grace Fisk (South Carolina, USA), D Lotte Wubben-Moy (North Carolina, USA), D Lucy Parker (LSU, USA), M Mollie Rouse (Louisville, USA), M Zoe Cross (Missouri, USA), M Georgia Allen (Syracuse), F Alessia Russo (North Carolina, USA), and F Kes Elmore (Connecticut).
While the USA has several players coming straight from the NCAA College Cup, so does England in Grace Fisk, a Penn State transfer to South Carolina who played in 20 matches for the Gamecocks this year, scoring three goals with one assist. Fisk shined at center back in her first season in Columbia, winning the 2017 SEC Defensive Player of the Year while helping the Gamecocks set a program single-season record in shutouts (16). She scored the game-winner in Carolina’s 2-0 over No. 16 Florida in the NCAA Quarterfinals, heading home a goal off a corner kick in the 13th minute.
England U-20 WNT Roster – 2017 Nike International Friendlies (Club)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City), 13-Sandy Maclver (Clemson), 22-Sian Rogers (Aston Villa)
DEFENDERS (6): 2-Anna Patten (Florida State, USA), 3-Mayumi Pacheco (Doncaster Rovers Belles), 5-Grace Fisk (South Carolina, USA), 6-Lotte Wubben-Moy (UNC, USA), 12-Taylor Hinds (Arsenal), 15-Lucy Parker (LSU, USA)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 4-Chloe Peplow (Birmingham City), 8-Mollie Rouse (Louisville, USA), 10-Zoe Cross (Missouri, USA), 14-Georgia Allen (Syracuse), 20-Alicia Johnson (Liverpool)
FORWARDS (7): 7-Alessia Russo (North Carolina, USA), 9-Ellie Brazil (Fiorentina, Italy), 11-Niamh Charles (Liverpool Ladies), 18-Kess Elmore (Connecticut), 16-Rianna Dean (Millwall Lionesses), 17-Rinsola Babajide (Watford Ladies), 19-Charlie Wellings (Birmingham City)