U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team vs. Panama
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Escuela Internacional Sampedra; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Dec. 7, 2015
U.S. U-20 WNT CONTINUES WORLD CUP QUALIFYING RUN: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team continues play in the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship today, when it faces Panama (2 p.m. CT on FOX Soccer Plus). The team opened with a 2-2 draw against Mexico on Friday and will look to add three points against Panama. The group concludes group play against Haiti on Tuesday, Dec. 8 (2 p.m. CT); the broadcast of this match on FOX Soccer Plus will be delayed until 9:30 p.m. ET. Follow the U-20 WNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com and Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Group B Schedule - USA
Date Match Kickoff (CT) Venue / TV
Dec. 4 USA vs. Mexico 2-2, T
Dec. 7 USA vs. Panama 2 p.m. Escuela Internacional Sampedra FOX Soccer Plus
Dec. 9 USA vs. Haiti 2 p.m. Escuela Internacional Sampedra FOX Soccer Plus
WATCH U-20 WNT QUALIFYING ON FOX SOCCER 2GO: While the U.S. matches will be broadcast on the FOX family of networks, all the tournament matches can be watched via live stream through FOX Soccer 2GO on a subscription basis and will also be available on-demand VOD for seven days following the match. Additionally, authenticated subscribers of FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Sports 2 will be able to live stream the broadcast feeds for the matches on FOX Sports Go as part of their cable/satellite subscription. Fans who only have FOX Sports 2 and not FOX Soccer Plus on their cable or satellite systems will only be able to watch the FOX Sports 2 matches online, and vice versa.
Both semifinals (Dec. 11 at 6 and 9 p.m. ET), the third-place match (Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. ET) and the championship match (Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET) will air on FOX Sports 2.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, which has been held seven previous times in various incarnations (the first two were held as U-19 tournaments), features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games and the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Group A is comprised of host Honduras, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. Group A kicks off the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 3, as Canada faces T&T and Honduras meets Jamaica.
U-20 HISTORY LESSON: Of the seven tournaments CONCACAF has held for U-19/U-20 women, the USA has won four of them, including the past three. The first tournament back in 2002 did not produce a champion as the two groups in Trinidad & Tobago were played on separate islands (one on Trinidad and one on Tobago) and the group champions advanced to the first FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup without semifinals or a final being played. The USA then won four of the next six tournaments, losing the final in 2004 and 2008 to Canada. The USA has advanced to the final of the past six tournaments, facing Canada four times and Mexico twice, including in 2014 when the USA won 4-0. The USA is 30-2-1 all-time in the tournament, and after racking up some high scores in the early days of this tournament, has scored 227 goals, while allowing 11. In the 2014 qualifying tournament, in which Canada, as host of that year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup did not play, the USA won all five games by shutout, racking up a 29-0 goal margin. The USA has qualified for all seven FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups that have been contested, winning three of them: 2002, 2008 and 2012.
U-20 WNT A SPRINGBOARD TO FULL WNT: Many of the players who have scored for the USA in this tournament have become familiar to WNT fans. Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Megan Rapinoe, Yael Averbuch, Rachel Buehler (now Van Hollebeke), Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Cheney (now Holiday), Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Kristie Mewis, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston and Morgan Brian have scored in this tournament and gone on to earn caps with the full Women’s National Team. Crystal Dunn also represented the USA during two U-20 cycles. Thirteen of the players listed above have played for the USA in a Women’s World Cup at the senior level.
THEY’RE IN: Half of the field for the 16-team 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup is set. Joining host Papua New Guinea will be Japan, Korea Republic and Korea DPR from Asia, European qualifiers France, Germany, Spain and Sweden and Oceania qualifier New Zealand. Along with the three CONCACAF berths, there are still two berths from Africa and two from South America up for grabs. Up to four stadiums in Papua New Guinea may be utilized for the World Cup tournament.
RUN-UP TO HONDURAS: The timing of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship at the end of the college season made the process of the U.S. roster selection a bit more difficult, and thus the roster is made up of eight collegiate players and 12 high-school aged players who are still playing youth club soccer. The roster ranges over four birth years from 1996-1999 with the youngest player being 16-year-old midfielder Kiara Pickett. Players born on or after January 1, 1996, are eligible for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup. U.S. head coach Michelle French was able to watch 57 players in game action this year and many more during college matches this fall, while having an excellent preparation schedule that saw the team go 10-2-1 overall and 6-1-1 in international matches. The only loss came to youth women’s power Japan while the USA picked up wins against Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and Honduras, as well as victories against Spanish women’s clubs Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano. From the qualifying roster, Marley Canales, Jordan Harr, Mikaela Harvey, Mallory Pugh, Zoe Redei and Ella Stevens have all scored in international matches this year.
CAPTAIN IN FORM: Team captain Mallory Pugh got off to a great start in the team’s opening match against Mexico, scoring the opening goal of the tournament and assisting on the USA’s other score. This is the second go-around in this tournament for the 17-year-old, who was the youngest player on the U-20s when the team won the tournament in 2013.
U.S. U-20 WNT CONCACAF Qualifying Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), 18-Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.)
DEFENDERS (7): 5-Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park; Calif.), 4-Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), 16-Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), 19-Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), 2-Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza; Calif.), 14-Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), 12-Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), 6-Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), 9-Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), 3-Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), 11-Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), 17-Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kan.), 8-Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)
FORWARDS (4): 10-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 20-Zoe Redei (Eclipse Soccer Club; Highland Park, Ill.), 13-Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), 15-Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.)
U.S. ROSTER NOTES:
- French, a member of the USA’s silver medal winning team at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, became head coach of this age group in February of 2013 and coached the USA to the championship of the last CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament in the Cayman Islands, which earned the USA a trip to the last U-20 World Cup in Canada. The USA lost to North Korea in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round of that tournament.
- Goalkeeper Rose Chandler and forward Mallory Pugh are the only two players on the roster who were on the U.S. team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
- Neither player was a member of the USA’s squad that participated in the 2014 qualifying tournament.
- Pugh was a starter in all four games the USA played in Canada in 2014 and is the only player on the roster with World Cup experience.
- Six-foot-one goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn is the granddaughter of Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn.
- Chandler, who is currently the back-up ‘keeper at Penn State, where she has played in five matches off the bench this year, is the only player on the roster whose college team is still in contention in the NCAA Playoffs.
- Chandler made the start at goalkeeper against Mexico to earn her first cap at the U-20 leve.
- Of the eight college players on the roster, four are freshmen (Chandler is a red-shirt freshman) and four have played two years of college soccer in Mikaela Harvey, Clemson sophomore defender Shannon Horgan, Notre Dame sophomore defender Sabrina Flores and UNC sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa.
- The freshmen are: Chandler, Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame), Parker Roberts (Kansas) and Kelcie Hedge (Washington).
- Pugh is the leading U-20 cap-winner and scorer on the roster with 14 and six respectively. Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC) and Canales have seven U-20 caps each.
- Two players are age-eligible for the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in defender Kiara Pickett (5 caps for the U-17s this year) and forward Ashley Sanchez (six caps and 11 goals for the U-17s this year).
- The 20 players on the roster come from 20 different youth clubs in 13 different states. There are five players from Southern California on the roster and one from Northern California, two from Georgia and two from Texas.
- Five of the players on the roster were born in 1996. Seven were born in 1997, six in 1998 and two in 1999. The players born in 1998 and 1999 are age-eligible for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
- The USA has had the top scorer in this tournament six times. In 2002, it was Kelly Wilson with nine goals. In 2004, Kerri Hanks scored 10 times. In 2008, Kelley O’Hara and Michelle Enyeart shared the tournament lead with six each, and in 2010 Sydney Leroux led the tourney in goal scoring with six. In 2014, McKenzie Meehan shared the Golden Boot with six goals.
- The USA has won 15 consecutive matches in this tournament – all five over the past three tournaments – while scoring 68 goals and allowing three.
USA VS. PANAMA SERIES:
- Panama fell to Haiti in its opening match 3-2.
- The only meeting between the USA and Panama at this tournament came in the third group match in 2012 in Panama City as the USA won 6-0.
- Panama participated in U-20 qualifying in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012, with its best finish (4th) coming in 2012.
- Since host Honduras automatically earned one of Central America’s two spots in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship, Panama did well to secure the other with a first-place finish in regional qualifying, winning three games and tying one.
- The key result proved to be a 2-0 victory over eventual runner-up Costa Rica on August 6, 2015. Karla Riley and Solemar Ortiz netted the goals in a winning effort, effectively eliminating the Ticas.
- Panama’s success in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship has been limited, but it did come in fourth place in 2012. That year, the then 14-year-old Marta Cox scored in a 2-1 triumph against Cuba. She is still with the squad. In qualifying for this year’s competition, Cox struck for two goals, both coming in a 3-0 defeat of Guatemala.
- Panama is 3-10-2 all-time in the tournament with 13 goals scored and 57 against.
HOW THEY GOT HERE:
- Like the USA, Mexico was granted an automatic berth into the final tournament.
- Panama qualified for the tournament by winning the Central Zone qualifying tournament, finishing first over Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Panama tied Nicaragua 0-0 but defeated El Salvador (2-1), Costa Rica (2-0) and Guatemala (3-0). Yassiel Franco scored three goals during the tournament, Emily Cox had two and Solemar Ortiz and Karla Riley had one each.
- Haiti qualified by first winning its final round group in Caribbean Zone qualifying, which it hosted, losing to Puerto Rico by a 3-0 score, but winning the group by defeating Bermuda 8-0 and seeing Bermuda defeat Puerto Rico 1-0. Haiti then defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in the semifinal and Jamaica 2-0 in the championship game. In the final round, Nerilla Mondesir scored four goals, while Sabine Chandler, Kensia Destinvill and Roseline Eloissaint scored two each. Batcheba Louis and Darline Radaaker scored single goals in qualifying.
BY THE NUMBERS:
1 Players still in high school on the USA’s qualifying roster for the last U-20 WWC
5 CONCACAF U-19/U-20 tournaments, out of seven, in which the USA has won all its games
7 U.S. players who stand 5-foot-7 or taller
8 Players from the western region of the U.S. on this year’s qualifying roster
11 Different countries the USA has faced in CONCACAF U-19/U-20 Women’s Qualifying
12 Players still in high school on the USA’s 2015 qualifying roster
15 Consecutive matches that the USA has won in the CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament
15 Games out of 33 in which the USA has scored five or more goals in CONCACAF U-19/U-20 qualifying
30 All-time matches won in the CONCACAF U-19/U-20 championship by the USA
57 Players who played in a game for the U.S. U-20 WNT in 2015
630 Minutes played by Natalie Jacobs this year in international competition, the most on the team