Tournament Preview: U-17 WYNT Ready For Takeoff At 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World CupFIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup; Bhubaneswar, Goa and Navi Mumbai, India; Oct. 11-30
U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team
FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup
Bhubaneswar, Goa and Navi Mumbai, India
USA KICKS OFF HISTORIC U-17 WWC VS. HOST INDIA:
The U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team will kick off the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, Oct. 11 against host India in front of an expected sellout crowd at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar (10:30 a.m. ET; FS2, Universo).
The U-17 WYNT returns to the World Cup for the first time since 2018 after the 2020 tournament was canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic and enters India as champion of Concacaf following a dominant run through World Cup qualifying. After opening the tournament vs. India, the U.S. faces South American champion Brazil on Friday, Oct. 14 (7 a.m.; FS2, Universo) and closes the group stage vs. first-time participant Morocco on Monday, Oct. 17 (10:30 a.m. ET; FS2, Telemundo Deportes App, Website and Streaming).
2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
USA Schedule - Group A
USA vs. India
Kalinga Stadium; Bhubaneswar
USA vs. Brazil
Kalinga Stadium; Bhubaneswar
USA vs. Morocco
Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa
FS2, Telemundo Deportes App, Website and Streaming
WATCH FIFA U-17 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ON FOX & UNIVERSO:
All three of the USA’s group stage matches will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2. All of the tournament’s 32 matches will be carried on FS2 or Fox Soccer Plus and will be available online at FoxSports.com and the Fox Sports App with corresponding authentication.
In addition, the USA’s group stage matches will be broadcast in Spanish on the Universo family of platforms. The first two games will be aired on Universo, while the third will be carried on the Telemundo Deportes App, website and streaming platforms.
REVVING UP FOR INDIA:
The USA faced elite competition in its final training camp before gathering for the World Cup, taking on reigning World Cup champion Spain (twice) and current European champion Germany in Madrid. Two second-half goals, one from midfielder Lauren Martinho and one via own goal that was forced after a header from defender Ella Emri boosted the U.S. to a 2-0 victory vs. Spain in the first match. In their second showdown, the nations played to a 1-1 draw. Forward Emeri Adames scored midway through the first half, but Spain equalized with a 90th minute penalty kick. Against Germany, Martinho teed up Emeri Adames for another goal as the Texan netted the lone tally in a 1-0 victory. Following the August trip to Spain, the U-17 WYNT spent about two weeks training in Dubai before traveling to Bhubaneswar for its final tournament preparations.
REPPIN’ THE RED, WHITE & BLUE:
U-17 WYNT head coach Natalia Astrain has assembled a talented, versatile 21-player roster for the World Cup in India. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2005, are age-eligible for this World Cup. The USA roster includes players born across two different birth years with 16 born in 2005 and five born in 2006. Eleven players will be 17 years old at the start of the World Cup and 10 will be 16.
2022 U.S. UNDER-17 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; HOMETOWN; CAPS/GOALS):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Abigail Gundry (NC Courage; Wake Forest, N.C.; 5), Victoria Safradin (Internationals SC; Eastlake, Ohio; 7), Valentina Amaral (Florida Kraze Crush; Oviedo, Fla.; 2)
DEFENDERS (6): Ella Emri (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.; 3/0), Nicola Fraser (Real Colorado National; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 8/1), Jorydn Bugg (San Diego Surf; El Cajon, Calif.; 0/0), Savannah King (Slammers FC HB Koge; West Hills, Calif.; 9/0), Cameron Roller (Solar SC; Sherman, Texas; 8/1), Gisele Thompson (Total Futbol Academy; Studio City, Calif.; 9/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Mia Bhuta (Internationals SC; Pittsburgh, Pa.; 10/2), Riley Jackson (Concorde Fire; Roswell, Ga.; 8/2), Charlotte Kohler (MVLA; Woodside, Calif.; 8/6), Lauren Martinho (NC Courage; Cary, N.C.; 10/5), Ella Sanchez (Racing Louisville; Louisville, Ky.; 3/0)
FORWARDS (7): Emeri Adames (Solar SC; Red Oak, Texas; 3/2), Onyeka Gamero (Beach FC; Cerritos, Calif.; 9/5), Nicollette Kiorpes (NEFC; Worcester, Mass.; 8/5), Melina Rebimbas (PDA; Warren, N.J.; 10/8), Samantha Smith (Boise Thorns FC; Boise, Idaho; 10/3), Taylor Suarez (Charlotte SA; Charlotte, N.C.; 9/2), Amalia Villarreal (Michigan Jaguars FC; Lansing, Mich.; 10/8)
- After the 2020 FIFA U-17 WWC was canceled due to COVID-19, this will be the first World Cup for all players on the roster.
- Fifteen of the 21 helped the USA win the Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship this spring.
- The six players on the World Cup roster who were not a part of the U.S. team at World Cup qualifying are goalkeeper Valentina Amaral, defenders Ella Emri and Jordyn Bugg, midfielder Ella Sanchez and forwards Emeri Adames and Samantha Smith.
- Nineteen of the 21 players on the roster have been capped at the U-17 level, led by midfielder Mia Bhuta, Melina Rebimbas and midfielder Lauren Martinho, who all have 10 caps. Bugg and Smith are uncapped.
- The roster is made up of players from 17 different youth clubs and 13 different states. Defender Giselle Thompson plays in MLS Next for the U-17 boys’ team at Total Futbol Academy in Los Angeles.
- Six players hail from California, four come from North Carolina and two are from Texas. Players also come from Colorado, Idaho, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
- The youth clubs who played multiple players on the roster are the NC Courage (3), San Diego Surf (2), Solar FC (2), and Internationals SC (2).
- Of the 21 players on the roster, eight are currently high school seniors, 10 are in their junior year and two are sophomores. Bhuta has graduated from high school and will enroll early at Stanford University in January.
Tuesday’s game will be a special occasion for the U-17 WYNT as it faces tournament host India in the ceremonial opening match. A capacity crowd of 12,000 is expected at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar to see India’s first-ever match in a FIFA Women’s World Cup competition. The U-17 MYNT opened the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup against India before 46,000 fans in New Dehli and a similarly raucous atmosphere should be on hand Tuesday for the U-17 WWC grand opening.
GOALS ON GOALS ON GOALS:
The U-17 WYNT scored in bunches during its World Cup qualifying tournament this spring in the Dominican Republic and 13 of 18 field players have international goals to their names. With eight career goals each at this level, forwards Melina Rebimbas and Amalia Villareal enter this World Cup as the USA’s leading scorers.
LEADING THE CHARGE:
One of three players will like wear the captain’s armband in the USA games: as midfielders Mia Bhuta and Riley Jackson as well as goalkeeper Victoria Safradin. The captaincy holds special weight for Bhuta, whose father was born in Gujarat, India. He emigrated to the USA at the age of 16, the same age as Mia will be in this World Cup as she co-captains the team. Safradin and Jackson took home the Golden Glove and the Golden Ball as the best goalkeeper and best overall player, respectively, at the Concacaf U-17 Championship.
With the goal to use the World Cup platform to inspire girls in India to dream big and work hard to achieve those dreams, Bhuta organized her teammates to collect gear to donate to local Indian female soccer players. Bhuta and her co-captains presented the gear -- cleats, t-shirts and more -- to a group of young Indian players on Monday following the USA’s Official Pre-Match Press Conference.
SIXTEEN TEAMS, ONE CHAMPION:
Contested every two years, the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup determines a champion for women’s soccer at the Under-17 level. The 2022 competition is the first tournament since 2018 after the 2020 U-17 WWC was canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Sixteen teams from around the globe have qualified through regional competition to earn their spots in India. The USA won the 2022 Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship in emphatic fashion, while Canada and Mexico also qualified from North America. Host India, as well as China PR and Japan, will represent Asia, Morocco, Nigeria and Tanzania come from Africa, while France, Germany and Spain earned their berths through Europe. New Zealand punched its ticket from Oceania, while Brazil, Chile and Colombia clinched World Cup spots from South America. The 16 nations were drawn into four groups of four teams. This year’s tournament marks the debut for India as well as Morocco and Tanzania, and is the first appearance for all three nations’ in a FIFA WWC at any level.
“KICK OFF THE DREAM” IN INDIA:
This year marks a historic event for women’s soccer as India hosts its first-ever FIFA women’s tournament. First staged in 2008 in New Zealand, this year marks the seventh FIFA WWC at this age level. It’s the second time that the tournament has been hosted in Asia, following the ground-breaking 2016 competition in Jordan, the first FIFA WWC held in the Middle East.
“Kick Off the Dream” is the tournament’s official slogan, encapsulating the aspirational and empowering message of the tournament as FIFA aims to grow women’s soccer around the globe and use the tournament to inspire girls of all ages in India and worldwide. Ibha, an anthropomorphic Asiatic lioness, is the official tournament mascot. Her name loosely translates to “good vision and a feeling of love.”
HOW WE GOT HERE: CONCACAF QUALIFYING IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC:
After a long delay of Youth National Team programming due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, this U-17 Women’s Youth National Team played its first-ever international matches at the Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship this spring. The USA ran roughshod through the tournament, rattling off seven straight victories and outscoring its opponents 58-1.
The USA’s opening 20-0 victory against Grenada marked the most goals scored and biggest margin of victory ever for a U.S. team at a U-17 or U-20 Youth World Cup qualifying tournament, while forward Amalia Villareal’s five goals vs. Puerto Rico in the second game tied a record for most goals in a game by any U.S. player in Concacaf qualifying.
In the semifinals, two goals from forward Melina Rebimbas and one from forward Onyeka Gamero clinched a 3-0 win against Canada and secured the USA’s World Cup ticket. Facing Mexico in the final, midfielder Lauren Martinho opened the scoring before Mexico equalized, setting the stage for a dramatic game-winner from Rebimbas in the 77th.
U-17 WWC HISTORY:
Led by future senior USWNT stars Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn, Kristie Mewis and Samantha Mewis, the USA finished runner-up at the inaugural 2008 tournament, its best-ever finish. The U.S. was just 14 minutes away from winning the World Cup 1-0 before Korea DPR equalized to send things to overtime and then score a 113th-minute game-winner to take home the first U-17 WWC title. Remarkably, the USA hasn’t made it out of the group stage since 2008. In 2012, despite drawing eventual finalists France and Korea DPR in the group stage, the USA became the first team to finish with five points in pool play and not advance to the knockout round of a FIFA WWC.
FROM THE U-17S TO THE SENIOR TEAM:
In addition to the quartet from 2008, several current full USWNT pool players have participated in this tournament. Midge Purce and Andi Sullivan represented the U.S. at Azerbaijan 2012, Naomi Girma, Jaelin Howell, Ashley Sanchez and Sophia Smith participated in Jordan 2016 and Trinity Rodman took the field at Uruguay 2018.
HEAD COACH NATALIA ASTRAIN:
This will be the first World Cup as U.S. head coach for Natalia Astrain, who took over the program in November of 2021. Astrain joined U.S. Soccer after spending the 2021 National Women’s Soccer League season with the Kansas City Current and brings a wealth of coaching experience in both the professional and youth ranks. In her native Spain, she served as head coach for FC Barcelona, Club Damm, Club Levante Las Planas and as an assistant with Atletico Madrid and the Spain Women’s National Team. She also spent time as technical director of Barcelona’s women’s academy.
U-17 WYNT VS. INDIA
- This marks the first-ever match between the U-17 WYNT and India and the first meeting in a Women’s World Cup between the countries, but it will be the second match between the USA and India in women’s soccer. The first came this year, on June 25 in Helsingborg, Sweden, at the Women’s U-23 Three-Nations Tournament, a 4-1 victory for the U.S., but only after India scored first.
- The USA and India also contested the opening match of the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, the first FIFA tournament held in the country.
- This year marks India’s first participation in the U-17 WWC and first appearance in a WWC at any level.
- India played a slate of three final preparation matches in Spain before traveling to Bhubaneswar to kick off the tournament, facing Sweden, Andorra and the Women’s Soccer School Barcelona.
- Swedish head coach Thomas Dennerby has led the Indian U-17 squad since 2019. He also serves as head coach for India’s U-20 and senior Women’s National Teams and previously led African women’s soccer power Nigeria as well as his native Sweden’s WNT.
2022 INDIA FIFA U-17 WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB)
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Monalisha Moirangthem (Kryhpsa FC), 13-Melody Keisham (Young Welfare Club), 21-Anjali Munda (Jharkhand State Team)
DEFENDERS (6): 4-Shiky Hemam (Young Welfare Club), 20-Kajal (HOPS FC), 2-Pumima Kumari (Jharkhand State Team), 3-Naketa (ARA FC), 5-Astam Oraon (Jharkhand State Team), 19-Varshika (HOPS FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 8-Kajol Dsouza (Parikrma FC), 17-Nitu Linda (Jharkhand State Team), 6-Babina Lisham (Companeroes SC), 12-Shelia Loktongbam (ICSA Irengbam), 15-Shailja (Hindustan FC), 16-Shubhangi Singh (Bhuj Kutch FC),
FORWARDS (6): 11-Anita Kumari (Jharkhand State Team), 18-Rejiya Laishram (Young Welfare Club), 7-Neha (HOPS FC), 9-Lynda Serto (Young Welfare Club), 14-Sudha Tirkey (Jharkhand State Team), 10-Lavanya Upadhyay (Signature FC)
- Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2005, are age-eligible for the 2022 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.
- This will be the first U-17 WWC to feature the Video Assistant Referee, which was first used at a FIFA women’s event for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France and then again at the 2020 Olympics women’s soccer tournament in Japan.
- Two cautions received during two different matches will result in suspension for the following match.
- If a player is sent off as a result of a direct or indirect red card, she will be suspended for the following match.
- Single yellow cards will be wiped clean after the quarterfinal round.
- Should teams be tied on points at the end of the group stage, the tiebreakers are as follows:
A. Goal difference in all matches
B. Greatest number of goals scored
C. If two or more teams are still tied on the basis of the first three criteria, the ranking will be determined as follows:
D. Greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned
E. Goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned
F. Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned
G. FIFA Fair Play points
H. Drawing of lots
- At the end of the tournament, FIFA will present several awards. The Golden, Silver and Bronze Boot will be awarded to the three players with the highest numbers of goals scored, with number of assists serving as a tiebreaker.
- The Golden, Silver and Bronze Ball will be awarded to the best players of the tournament. The FIFA Technical Study Group will select a short list after the semifinals.
- The Golden Glove will be awarded to the top goalkeeper in the tournament, as selected by the FIFA Technical Study Group.
- In the knockout rounds, if matches are tied at the end of regulation, 30 minutes of overtime will be played followed by penalty kicks if the match is still tied.
- Kalinga Stadium, the venue for the USA’s opening match, has previously hosted a number of high profile field hockey competitions, including the 2018 Men’s FIH Hockey World Cup.