CHICAGO (Wednesday, July 9, 2003) -- U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team head coach Chris Petrucelli has named the 18-player squad that will travel to Denmark in mid-July in an attempt to win an unprecedented fifth consecutive Nordic Cup championship. Held in Northern Europe every summer, the Nordic Cup is the top competition in the world for U-21 women and the focus of the USA’s oldest youth national team during its seven-month run-up to the prestigious competition.
The USA was drawn into a tough Group A and will face Denmark, Norway and Iceland in first-round play. Group B features Sweden, Germany, Finland and the full Greek Women’s National Team, who is using the tournament as preparation for the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The top two finishers in each group will cross over to play for the championship, while the two second place finishers will play for third, the third place finishers for 5th and the last place finishers in the groups will vie for 7th place.
The USA opens the tournament against the host nation on Monday, July 21, and then faces Iceland on Wednesday, July 23. The U.S. will finish first-round play against Norway on Friday, July 25. All four placement matches are set for Sunday, July 27. All the USA’s matches will be played at Randers Stadium in Randers, Denmark.
“We feel we are peaking at the right time,” said Petrucelli. “It’s been a thorough process since January putting the team together and we are playing our best soccer right now. I think our back four is extremely strong with Catherine Reddick as the anchor, and we certainly have quality players in every position on the field. The players are very excited to play in a top international tournament.”
The USA has won an amazing five out of the last six Nordic Cups, winning its first in 1997 in Denmark, before falling the next year to Norway in the title game. Since then, the USA has reeled off four straight titles under three different coaches. This will be the first Nordic Cup for Petrucelli, but not for eight members of his squad. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart (Stanford), defenders Cat Reddick (UNC), Nandi Pryce (UCLA), Ally Marquand (Stanford) and Amy LePeilbet (Arizona) State), as well as midfielders Joanna Lohman (Penn State) and Kim Yokers (California), were all a part of the USA’s 2002 Nordic Cup championship team in Finland. Midfielder Lori Chalupny (UNC) was part of the 2001 Nordic Cup championship team in Norway.
Petrucelli selected seven members of Tracey Leone’s 2002 U-19 World Championship Team in Chalupny, goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.), defender Amy Steadman (UNC), midfielder Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara), and forwards Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Lindsay Tarpley (UNC) and Kelly Wilson (Texas). All were starters on that historic team, but Steadman tore her ACL in the first match and has since recovered to make the jump to the U-21 level.
“Any time a U.S. team goes over to Europe, it’s incredibly tough to win there,” said Reddick, who will be playing in her fourth Nordic Cup. “We’ve had great success in this tournament, but it has never been easy. I think we have a very talented group this year and some players who have experience playing in big games, so we are excited to test ourselves against some great countries.”
Wilson and Tarpley formed two thirds of second edition of the “Triple-Edged Sword” that torched the competition in Canada for 16 goals over six matches at the FIFA U-19 World Championship. Wilson won the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the tournament and the Silver Boot as the second best scorer, while Tarpley won the Bronze boot at the third best scorer. The other edge, forward Heather O’Reilly, likely would have been on the Nordic Cup roster, but is recovering from a broken leg suffered while playing with the full WNT against Ireland on June 14.
The 17-year-old Harris, who was 16 when she started for the USA in front of almost 50,000 fans at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium during the USA’s 1-0 victory over Canada for the first-ever world title for youth women, and speedy forward Sheree Gray (Toms River, N.J.) were the only high school players selected to the roster. Gray and Harris are also members of the USA’s current U-19 pool and eligible for the 2004 FIFA U-19 World Championship.
Reddick, Chalupny, Tarpley and Osborne were all called into the full U.S. Women’s National Team in New Orleans, La. this week in preparation for the USA’s match against Brazil on July 13, giving them some excellent pre-Nordic Cup training before departing for Denmark on July 16.
The following is the complete Nordic Cup schedule:
Date Match-up Venue
July 21 Denmark vs. USA Randers Stadium
July 21 Norway vs. Iceland Randers Stadium
July 21 Sweden vs. Greece Ulvehøj Stadium
July 21 Germany vs. Finland Ulvehøj Stadium
Date Match-up Venue
July 23 USA vs. Iceland Randers Stadium
July 23 Norway vs. Denmark Randers Stadium
July 23 Greece vs. Finland Ulvehøj Stadium
July 23 Sweden vs. Germany Ulvehøj Stadium
Date Match-up Venue
July 25 Norway vs. USA Randers Stadium
July 25 Denmark vs. Iceland Randers Stadium
July 25 Germany vs. Greece Ulvehøj Stadium
July 25 Sweden vs. Finland Ulvehøj Stadium
Date Match-up Venue
July 27 Match for 7th and 8th Randers Stadium
July 27 Match for 5th and 6th Randers Stadium
July 27 Match for 3rd and 4th Randers Stadium
July 27 Championship Randers Stadium
UNITED STATES UNDER-21 WOMEN’S NORDIC CUP ROSTER
No. Players Pos. Ht. DOB Hometown College/Club Caps/Goals
1 Harris, Ashlyn G 5-8 10/19/85 Satellite Beach, Fla. Indiatlantic Force 1
2 Yokers, Kim M 5-5 05/24/82 Seattle, Wash. California 5/0
3 Spilger, Natalie D 5-6 05/19/82 El Cajon, Calif. Stanford 3/0
4 Reddick, Cat D 5-8 02/10/82 Birmingham, Ala. North Carolina 16/2
5 Marquand, Ally D 5-6 07/01/81 Irvine, Calif. Stanford 17/0
6 Pryce, Nandi D 5-10 05/30/82 Casselberry, Fla. UCLA 13/2
7 Wilson, Kelly F 5-6 02/11/83 Odessa, Texas Texas 4/0
8 McDonald, Kelly F 5-8 04/13/83 Littleton, Colo. Texas 2/1
9 Tarpley, Lindsay F 5-6 09/22/83 Kalamazoo, Mich. North Carolina 0/0
10 Osborne, Leslie M 5-8 05/27/83 Menominee Falls, Wis. Santa Clara 4/0
11 Steadman, Amy D 5-3 09/08/84 Brevard,N.C. North Carolina 2/0
13 Chalupny, Lori M 5-4 01/29/84 St. Louis, Mo. North Carolina 6/2
14 Gray, Sheree F 5-3 12/12/85 Toms River, N.J. World Class FC 0/0
15 LePeilbet, Amy D 5-5 03/12/82 Reno, Nev. Arizona State 10/0
16 Makoski, Manya F 5-3 04/18/84 Trumbell, Conn. Arizona State 4/1
17 Lohman, Joanna M 5-6 06/26/82 Silver Spring, Md. Penn State 10/1
18 Barnhart, Nicole G 5-9 10/10/81 Gilbertsville, Calif. Stanford 2
19 Huie, Lindsey M 5-5 12/26/83 Laguna Woods, Calif. Portland 4/0
Head Coach: Chris Petrucelli
Assistant Coach: Mark Francis
Goalkeeper Coach: Warren Lipka
Team Coordinator: Amy Schmidt
Trainer: Derrick Brown
Equipment Manager: Scott Meineke