CHICAGO (July 3, 2007) -- U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team head coach Bill Irwin has named 18 players to the roster that will travel to Vassa, Finland, on July 12 for the 2007 Nordic Cup tournament, being held from July 18-24. The U.S. roster features numerous players with extensive youth National Team experience as more than half the team has represented the United States in a FIFA youth world championship.
Held in Northern Europe every summer, the USA has competed in the Nordic Cup for more than a decade, during which time it has become the focus of the USA’s oldest youth national team during its six-month run-up to the prestigious competition. In response to FIFA moving its oldest FIFA youth world championship for women from Under-19 to Under-20, this year the Nordic Cup moves from an Under-21 competition to an Under-23 tournament (it was staged as a U-20 event from 1990-1997).
The USA has won eight Nordic Cup titles, including seven in a row before falling last year in the championship game to Germany. The USA won the last Nordic Cup contested in Finland in 2002, defeating Germany, 3-1 in the final.
While the Nordic Cup has long featured eight teams and three group games followed by a placement match, this year’s format, featuring just six nations, calls for two group games and then a placement match, giving the USA little room for error in the first round to earn a berth to the title game, which will pit the winners of Group A, featuring England, Finland and Germany, and Group B, which will feature Norway, Sweden and the USA.
The American women open play against Norway on July 18 in Närpiö, followed by the match against Sweden on July 22 in Vaasa. The placement matches are on July 24. All the matches are in and around Vassa on the west coast of Finland right on the Gulf of Bothnia.
“We have a good core of players with experience at the youth National Team levels,” said Irwin, who will lead the team in his first Nordic Cup tournament as head coach. “That will be valuable as with just two group matches, you don’t have time to ease into the tournament. These players have been there before and know what it takes to beat European teams on European soil.”
Irwin’s roster features 11 players who have competed for the USA in FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Championships, including defenders Kendall Fletcher (14 U-21 caps), Manya Makoski (19 U-21 caps) and Rachel Buehler (14 U-21 caps), as well as midfielders Angie Woznuk (7 U-21 caps) and Sarah Huffman (22 U-21 caps). All five of those players were members of the U.S. team that won the first FIFA Under-19 Women’s World Championship in Canada in 2002. Four players -- forward Danesha Adams, goalkeeper Kelsey Davis, midfielder Tina DiMartino and defender Stephanie Logterman -- played for the USA at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia.
Woznuk was one of the stars of the U.S. team that finished third in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand. She won the Silver Ball as the second most outstanding player and the Bronze Boot as the third leading scorer in the tournament. Adams won the Bronze Ball as the third most outstanding player in Russia. Both have one cap for the full Women’s National Team.
The 2007 tournament will be the third Nordic Cup for both Buehler and Fletcher. Makoski, a Nordic Cup veteran who will be playing in her fourth tournament, first played in the Nordic Cup in 2003. Huffman, who will also be playing in her fourth consecutive Nordic Cup, will be looking to regain the title, after playing for the USA’s second-place team last year. In addition to Huffman, returning players from the 2006 Nordic Cup runner-up squad include Adams, Woznuk, Buehler, Fletcher, forward Amanda Cinalli and goalkeeper Cori Alexander.
Several players on Irwin’s roster made a big splash on the college game early in their careers. Notre Dame forward Michele Weissenhofer had an outstanding freshman season, scoring 18 goals with 17 assists in 2006. As a sophomore in 2005 at UCLA, Adams led the Pac-10 in scoring with 21 goals and four assists and set a school record with nine game-winning goals. She also tallied 12 goals and had four assists during her junior season. Fellow Bruins teammate Tina DiMartino had an excellent sophomore season in 2006, leading the midfield with five goals and seven assists.
Both goalkeepers on the roster are Portland Pilots. Alexander completed her stint with UP after helping lead her team to 17 wins in 24 games in 2006. Davis will most likely fill that starting spot with Portland in 2007 after having red-shirted her sophomore season.
“This tournament is another chance for these players to show that they can make the jump to the full National team,” said Irwin. “Several of them have had a bit of experience at the senior level, but it’s tournaments like these which help prepare players for that next level.”
After winning its first Nordic Cup in 1997 (over Norway in Denmark), the USA then won an amazing eight out of the last 10 Nordic Cups and seven in a row from 1999-2005. Age eligible players for the 2007 Nordic Cup are those born on or after January 1, 1984.
2007 Nordic Cup Schedule - Finland
July 18-24, 2007
Group A: Finland, England and Germany
Group B: USA, Norway and Sweden
Wednesday, July 18
Group A: Finland vs. England at Hietalahti Stadium, Vaasa
Group B: USA vs. Norway at Närpiö
Friday, July 20
Group A: England vs. Germany at Seinäjoki
Group B: Norway vs. Sweden at Vöyri
Sunday, July 22
Group A: Germany vs. Finland at Lapua
Group B: Sweden vs. USA at Kaarle Stadium, Vaasa
Tuesday, July 24
Fifth Place Match at Sepänkylä
Third Place Match at Kaarle Stadium, Vaasa
Championship Match at Hietalahti Stadium, Vaasa
2007 U. S. UNDER-21 WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM NORDIC CUP ROSTER
Players Pos. Ht. DOB Hometown School U-21 Caps/Goals
Adams, Danesha F 5-6 06/06/86 Shaker Heights, Ohio UCLA 8/6
Alexander, Cori GK 5-10 05/06/85 Martinez, Calif. Portland 0/0
Bosio, Kiki M 5-7 11/03/87 Mission Viejo, Calif. Santa Clara 3/0
Buehler, Rachel D 5-5 08/26/85 Del Mar, Calif. Stanford 14/0
Carpenter, Kelsey F 5-6 04/13/86 Allen, Texas Texas 3/2
Cinalli, Amanda F 5-9 05/10/86 Maple Heights, Ohio Norte Dame 4/0
Davis, Kelsey GK 5-10 05/14/87 Thousand Oaks, Calif. Portland 1
DiMartino, Tina M 5-11 11/06/86 Massapequa Park, N.Y. UCLA 0/0
Fletcher, Kendall D 5-6 11/11/84 Cary, N.C. UNC 14/0
Huffman, Sarah M 5-3 03/05/84 Flower Mound, Texas Virginia 22/2
Krieger, Ali M 5-6 07/28/84 Fort Meyers, Fla. Penn State 0/0
Krzysik, Nikki D 5-7 05/23/87 Clifton, N.J. Virginia 0/0
Logterman, Stephanie D 5-6 02/25/86 Austin, Texas Texas 3/0
Makoski, Manya D 5-3 04/18/84 Trumbull, Conn. Arizona State 19/1
Masar, Ella F 5-5 04/03/86 Champagne, Ill. Illinois 0/0
Sauerbrunn, Becky D 5-7 06/06/85 St. Louis, Mo. Virginia 0/0
Weissenhofer, Michele F 5-5 08/18/87 Naperville, Ill. Norte Dame 0/0
Woznuk, Angie M 5-6 03/29/85 El Cajon, Calif. Portland 7/1
U-21 WNT Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Cori Alexander (Portland), Kelsey Davis (Portland);
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Kendall Fletcher (UNC), Nikki Krzysik (Virginia), Stephanie Logterman (Texas), Manya Makoski (Arizona State), Becky Sauerbrunn (Virginia);
MIDFIELDERS (5): Kiki Bosio (Santa Clara), Tina DiMartino (UCLA), Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Ali Krieger (Penn State), Angie Woznuk (Portland);
FORWARDS (5): Danesha Adams (UCLA), Kelsey Carpenter (Texas), Amanda Cinalli (Norte Dame), Ella Masar (Illinois), Michele Weissenhofer (Norte Dame).
Head Coach: Bill Irwin Portland, Oregon
Asst. Coach: Everton Edwards Miami, Florida
Asst. Coach: Dean Duerst Middleton, Wisc.
Athletic Trainers: Debbie Prouse Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Team Coordinator: Mindy Hammond Columbus, Ohio
Team Doctor: Dr. Brad Moser Minneapolis, Minn.
Massage Therapist: Jarrod Fritz Charleston, S.C.