California January Camp: Est. 2009
The U.S. Women’s National Team has been holding programming in January for many years (including quite a few trips to China to compete in the Four Nations tournament), but has consistently held an extended training camp in California in January since 2009. The first training camp of the year has gathered a group of around 24-30 players that often trains two times per day for at least two weeks, and sometimes more.
It’s also a camp that provides the coaching staff the opportunity to bring in new talent, gauge the team’s fitness levels, and take the time to focus on details as well as work at a high level of intensity throughout the camp.
Despite the camp being long, grueling and important, it is also one of the best environments of the year, and one of the team’s favorite events. The players are excited to get together again during the “winter” in Southern California and are energized to kick off a new calendar year full of promise and possibility.
Why It’s Important
Because of the aforementioned time to train and a highly competitive environment in which coaches can evaluate players, January Camp has proven to be the place and time for a player can make her mark. In 2016, the prime example was Mallory Pugh. In her first camp with the senior team, Pugh competed and trained in January to earn herself some playing time in the USA’s opening match of the year against Ireland.
As a second half sub, Pugh not only earned her first cap, but also added her first international goal. From then on, she was a fixture on the senior roster, even making the Olympic squad and becoming the youngest American player to score at an Olympic Games.
Other examples of players getting an opportunity to show what they’re made of in January Camp have been Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn and Julie Johnston.
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 30 players to the first training camp roster of 2017. Twenty-two of the 30 players earned a cap for the USA in 2016, but Ellis also named seven uncapped players. Forward Amy Rodriguez, a member of the 2015 Women’s World Cup championship team, makes her return to a roster for the first time since giving birth to her second child on July 1, 2016.
Newly minted 2016 FIFA Best Women’s Player and U.S. co-captain Carli Lloyd is the most capped player on the roster with 232 games played and is four goals away from becoming the sixth player in U.S. history to score 100 international goals.
Tobin Heath, the 2016 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, comes into the camp with 128 caps and 18 goals.