Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 14, U.S. Soccer will host the U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The four-team tournament includes: Brazil, England, Korea Republic, and the hosts, the United States. The tournament will consist of three days of competition with two games on each day. With the 2016 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup just a few months away, the event will feature top-notch talent and will serve as preparation for several teams ahead of the World Cup. Here are five things to know about the tournament:
Some of Best Teenagers In The World at U.S. Soccer’s NTC Invitational
Fans can see some of the best teenage players in the world during the NTC Invitational, on all four teams, perhaps including some players who may one day feature for the U.S. Women’s National Team. The U-20 Women’s World Cup has long been a proving ground for future U.S. WNT players. Of the 18 players and four alternates on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team, 16 played in a FIFA U-19 or U-20 Women’s World Cup, with nine winning one: Heather O’Reilly and Ashlyn Harris in 2002, Alex Morgan, Megan Klingenberg and Alyssa Naeher in 2008 and Morgan Brian, Julie Johnston, Samantha Mewis and Crystal Dunn in 2012.
The USA is Prepping for the 2016 FIFA U-20 WWC (So are Korea and Brazil)
The USA, Brazil and the Korea Republic are using this tournament to prepare for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which will be held in the unique locale of Papua New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3. England did not qualify for the World Cup. The USA and Brazil have participated in all seven of the FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups that have been contested thus far. Korea Republic will be playing in their fourth consecutive FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016. In PNG, Brazil is in Group A with host Papua New Guinea, Sweden and Korea DPR. The USA is in Group C with France, Ghana and New Zealand. The Korea Republic is in Group D with Germany, Mexico and Venezuela.
Free Parking, Free Admission, Free Stream
Parking and admission are free to all three double-headers of the 2016 NTC Invitational. Fans are encouraged to park in Lot 10, but then must walk to the main entrance to the Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field, which is adjacent to Gate A (Southwest Gate) of StubHub Center and allows easy access to the seating area. In addition, all six matches of the tournament will be streamed live on ussoccer.com as Marc Serber and Jen Karson will call the action. Each of the match days – Sept. 14, 16 and 18 – will feature a doubleheader with the USA playing the second game of the day. The winner of the competition will be based on total points with the first tiebreakers being overall goal difference and then total goals scored.
USA U-20 Women’s World Cup Roster to be Named Soon
U.S. head coach Michelle French has yet to officially name the 21-player roster for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, but the players in this tournament, many of whom have chosen to red-shirt this college season, will likely make up the roster once it is finalized. The USA’s roster for this tournament includes some of the top college-age players in the country, including four players from the 2015 NCAA Champion Penn State. The USA has two 6-foot-1 goalkeepers in Brooke Heinsohn and Casey Murphy. Players eligible for the 2016 U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1996, which is the age cut-off for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Midfield/forward Ashley Sanchez, who helped the USA qualify for the Women’s World Cup by scoring three goals with five assists at the qualifying tournament in Honduras, is not with the U-20s for this event as she is with the U.S. U-17 WNT preparing for the upcoming U-17 Womens World Cup in Jordan. She will be available for selection for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team.
Mallory Pugh in Action
2016 Olympian Mallory Pugh has been training with the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team during their camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, which started on Sept. 1. Pugh, who was a starter at age 16 for the USA in the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, captained the USA to its 2016 World Cup berth during the CONCACAF qualifying event at the end of last year in Honduras (Pugh is also age-eligible for the 2018 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup). Pugh, who is still working to make a complete recovery from an ankle injury suffered in the last game of the Olympics, may be available to play in the USA’s first match of the tournament against the Korea Republic on Sept. 14.