CHICAGO (Feb. 9, 2023) – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team will travel to Paris from Feb. 12-21 for training and two games against the France U-23 WNT. The games will take place on Feb. 17 and 20 at Clairefontaine, France’s famed National Training Center located outside of Paris.
Several NWSL clubs agreed to release players for this trip, which comes during the FIFA International window, so the roster will include four recently drafted rookies in forwards Michelle Cooper (#2 overall) and Alexa Spaanstra (#10 overall) of the Kanas City Current, goalkeeper Lauren Kozel (#32 overall) from Portland Thorns FC and forward Alyssa Thompson, the #1 pick in the 2023 NWSL Draft by Angel City FC. Cooper was the 2022 MAC Hermann Trophy winner out of Duke.
Midfielder Brianna Pinto of the North Carolina Courage is the only NWSL player on the roster with league experience as she will be entering her third professional season. Pinto, a veteran of two youth World Cups for the USA, was the 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year.
The roster features three players from clubs outside the USA in forward Mia Fishel who plays in Mexico for Tigres UANL, 6-foot-3 goalkeeper Hensley Hancuff who is with the Brisbane Roar in Australia, and midfielder Korbin Albert, a 2022 MAC Hermann Trophy finalist who recently left Notre Dame to sign with Paris Saint-German in France.
The 18-year-old Thompson is the only player on the roster with training experience and caps (2) with the full U.S. Women’s National Team. She played off the bench against England and Spain during the USA’s European tour last October.
The remainder of the roster is populated by some of the top collegiate players in the country, including defender Lily Reale, who helped lead UCLA to the 2022 NCAA Championship, and WYNT veteran Kate Wiesner from Penn State.
Seven players on the roster played for the USA at the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup: defender Lauren Flynn, Reale, defender Laney Rouse, Albert, forward Trinity Byars, Cooper and Thompson.
Midfielder Lia Godfrey from the University of Virginia is still the youngest player ever to appear for the USA at a FIFA World Cup, playing as a 14-year old at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.
Three players -- Pinto, Spaanstra and Fishel -- were members of the team that won the Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship in early 2020 before the World Cup was cancelled due to the global pandemic. Fishel scored 13 goals over seven games in that tournament.
The U.S. team will be coached by Carrie Kveton, a former assistant coach in the NWSL with the Washington Spirit and OL Reign and current Head of Individual Development for FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark. Her assistant coaches will be Margueritte Aozasa, who led UCLA to the NCAA title last season in her first year at the helm of the Bruins, and Julianne Sitch, who became the first woman to lead a men's soccer team to an NCAA championship when her University of Chicago squad claimed the Division III title last season in her first season at the school. Sam Raper, the goalkeeper coach for the University of Virginia and the USA’s 2022 U-17 Women’s World Cup Team, will handle the goalkeepers.
U.S. Under-23 Women’s Youth National Team Roster by Position (Hometown; Club:)
February Training Camp and Matches; Paris, France
GOALKEEPERS (2): Hensley Hancuff (Brisbane Roar; Edmond, Okla.), Lauren Kozal (Portland Thorns FC; Ada, Mich.)
DEFENDERS (6): Megan Bornkamp (Clemson; Mooresville, N.C.), Lauren Flynn (Florida State; Arlington, Va.), Eva Gaetino (Notre Dame; Dexter, Mich.), Lilly Reale (UCLA; Hingham, Mass.), Laney Rouse (Virginia; Cary, N.C.), Kate Wiesner (Penn State; Monrovia, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain; Grayslake, Ill.), Hannah Bebar (Harvard; Naperville, Ill.), Lia Godfrey (Virginia; Fleming Island, Fla.), Lexi Missimo (Texas; Southlake, Texas), Brianna Pinto (North Carolina Courage; Durham, N.C.), Alexis Theoret (Virginia; Oak Hill, Va.)
FORWARDS (6): Trinity Byars (Texas; Richardson, Texas), Michelle Cooper (Kansas City Current; Clarkston, Mich.), Mia Fishel (Tigres FC; San Diego, Calif.), Taylor Huff (Florida State; Mansfield, Ohio), Alexa Spaanstra (Kansas City Current; Brighton, Mich.), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; Studio City, Calif.)