To replace Hamm, U.S. Head Coach Tony DiCicco has called in 17-year-old Aleisha Cramer from Green Mountain High School (Lakewood, Colo.) and the Colorado Rush Under-18 club. The 5-foot-10 midfielder is widely regarded as one of the most talented young players in the nation and is perhaps the top high school recruit in the country, drawing comparisons in playing style with the legendary Michelle Akers. Cramer is undecided about her college for next fall.
Cramer is no stranger to the U.S. Women's National Team programs. She has represented the USA on the Under-16 and Under-18 levels and played for the Under-21s this summer in Iceland, helping the team win the Nordic Cup championship, the top competition in the world for youth women's national teams.
She is also the third youngest female ever to play for the full national team, debuting at 16 years 141 days, younger than any player in history other than Hamm (15 years, 140 days) and Kristine Lilly (16 years, 12 days). Cramer's lone cap came at the end of 1998 when she played the first 72 minutes against Ukraine in Los Angeles.
"I'm very excited to get the chance to train again with the national team," said Cramer, who helped lead Green Mountain High School to back-to-back state titles in her sophomore and junior seasons. "Just the chance to play with these players is a tremendous opportunity. I watched all of the Women's World Cup games on TV and I was as big a fan as anyone else, so getting to play along side them is really a dream come true. Every time I get to play with these players I learn a lot."
Cramer, who helped lead the Rush to the U-17 National Championship this past summer, may do double-duty next Sunday, as she will play in the preliminary match to the USA-Brazil clash when her Rush team plays for the U-18 club state title at Mile High. She will then change from her Rush jersey to the red, white and blue of the USA and be available for duty against Brazil.