Five Things to Know: U-20 WNT and the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
The U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team will look to win its fourth U-20 Women’s World Cup at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. After a scoreless draw against France to kick off the tournament on Monday, Nov. 14, the U-20s will now face group leader, New Zealand on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 4 a.m. ET and then wrap up group play against Ghana on Monday, Nov. 21 at 1 a.m. ET. Both matches will air live on FS1 and in Spanish on NBC Universo. Fans can also follow all the matches of the U.S. U-20 WNT on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt. For full coverage, visit the FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com.
All matches are also available for live and on-demand streaming via the FOX Sports GO app, the FOX Soccer 2GO app and online at FOXSportsGO.com and on-demand at FOXSoccer2GO.com. Fans can enter a free promo code to watch the games on the FOXSoccer2Go.com registration page. The promo code is “U20WNT” and is valid for entry on foxsoccer2go.com/buy from November 11until December 3 for 14 days of free access to FOX Soccer 2Go without credit card payment required.
Here are five things to know about the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team and the U-20 Women’s World Cup:
U.S. History at the U-20 Women’s World Cup
The USA has competed in all seven previous Women's World Cups held for this age group, winning the inaugural tournament in 2002 in Canada, finishing third in 2004 in Thailand, finishing fourth in 2006 in Russia when it moved to U-20s, winning in 2008 in Chile on the strength of goal scoring from Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux, and finishing fifth in 2010 in Germany. The USA returned to the top of the podium in 2012, winning the tournament in Japan on a goal from Kealia Ohai in the championship game, but lost in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal to North Korea in 2014.
The first two editions of the tournament in 2002 in Canada and in 2004 in Thailand were held as U-19 events. The tournament then moved to U-20 in Russia in 2006. The U-19 tournaments featured 12 teams while the last five have had 16 nations. This year’s teams include: host Papua New Guinea and New Zealand from Oceania; Japan, Korea DPR and Korea Republic from Asia; Ghana and Nigeria from Africa; Germany, Sweden, France and Spain from Europe; the USA, Canada and Mexico from North America; Brazil and Venezuela from South America; and New Zealand from Oceania. The USA, Brazil, Germany and Nigeria are the only teams to have qualified for all the tournaments at this age level held to date.
A U-20s to the WNT ConnectionNine members of the U.S. team that won the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup also won a U-20 Women's World Cup. They are Lori Chalupny, Ashlyn Harris and Heather O'Reilly (2002), Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan and Alyssa Naeher (2008), and Julie Johnston and Morgan Brian (2012). Current U.S. WNT players Samantha Mewis, Kealia Ohai and Crystal Dunn also won a U-20 WWC in 2012. Additionally, U.S. players have won several awards over the years in this tournament. In 2002, Kelly Wilson won the Silver Boot and the Bronze Ball. In 2004, Angie Woznuk won the Silver Ball and Bronze Boot. In 2006, Danesha Adams won the Bronze Ball. In 2008, Sydney Leroux won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot, Alex Morgan won the Silver Ball and Bronze Boot and Alyssa Naeher won the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper. In 2010, Sydney Leroux won the Bronze Boot and Bianca Henninger won the Golden Glove, and in 2012, Julie Johnston won the Bronze Ball. Canada '14 marked the first time a U.S. player did not win a tournament award. The USA also won the Fair Play Award in 2002 and 2008.
U-20 WNT captain, Mallory Pugh
USA U-20 WNT captain Mallory Pugh, in her second U-20 WNT cycle, is the most capped player on the roster with 24 U-20 international matches and the top scorer with 17 goals. Pugh was the youngest player on the 2014 U-20 Women's World Cup Team, where she started all four games when she was 16 years old. She is age-eligible to play in the 2018 tournament as well. Pugh is also the most recent example between the close bond between the U-20s and the senior National Team. She currently has 17 caps and four goals for the full WNT, which includes her goal against Colombia in the 2016 Olympics that made her the youngest American soccer player to score in an Olympic Games.
A Historic Host and Group C
Papua New Guinea is the first Oceanian nation to host a U-20 Women’s World Cup. PNG occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea and its offshore islands in Melanesia, a region of the southwestern Pacific Ocean north of Australia. Its capital, located along its southeastern coast, is Port Moresby, where all the games at the U-20 WWC will take place. The USA was drawn into Group C, alongside France, New Zealand and Ghana and is aiming to advance past the group stage for the eighth consecutive time in its history at this tournament.
The FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup - which is staged every two years - features 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams each. The top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinal stage being held Nov. 24 and 25. The semifinals will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29, and the Final and Third-Place matches are on Saturday, Dec. 3. All the matches will be staged on grass surfaces over the four stadiums, which are all in the capital of Port Moresby. Players eligible for this age group tournament must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.