Preview: U.S. U-17 WYNT Kicks Off World Cup Qualifying in Mexico

U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team; 2024 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship; Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación, A.C.; Toluca, Mexico; Feb. 1-11, 2024

U-17 WYNT KICKS OFF CONCACAF WOMEN’S U-17 CHAMPIONSHIP: The U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team will kick off its World Cup qualifying campaign at the 2024 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship on Friday, Feb. 2 vs. Panama. The USA will then take on Puerto Rico on Sunday, Feb. 4 and wraps up the group stage vs. Canada on Tuesday, Feb. 6.

All the USA’s matches will kick-off at 1 p.m. ET (Noon local time) and will be broadcast in English on FS2 and on the FOX Sports app with corresponding authentication.

Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2007, are age-eligible for the 2024 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship. U.S. U-17 WYNT head coach Katie Schoepfer selected 20 players born in 2007 and one born in 2008, soon-to-be-16-year-old Kimmi Ascanio from Florida United. She is the youngest player on the qualifying squad.

Follow the U-17 WYNT throughout the tournament on as well as U.S. Soccer Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2024 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship Roster by Position (Club; Hometown)

Goalkeepers (3): 12-Franky Dunlap (NC Courage Academy; Raleigh, N.C.), 1-Molly Vapensky (Chicago FC United; Evanston, Ill.), 21-Kennedy Zorn (SC del Sol; Peoria, Ariz.)

Defenders (7): 4-Trinity Armstrong (FC Dallas; Frisco, Texas), 3-Lexi Coughlin (Legends FC; Corona, Calif.), 5-Kiara Gilmore (FC Dallas; Allen, Texas), 2-Jordyn Hardeman (Solar SC; Midlothian, Texas), 15-Daya King (Legends FC; Moreno Valley, Calif.), 13-Katie Scott (Internationals SC; Fairview, Penn.), 16-Jocelyn Travers (FC Bay Area Surf; Santa Cruz, Calif.)

Midfielders (6): 7-Kimmi Ascanio (Florida United SC; Doral, Fla.), 11-Melanie Barcenas (San Diego Wave FC; San Diego, Calif.), 8-Riley Cross (PDA; Chatham, N.J.), 10-Kennedy Fuller (Solar SC; Southlake, Texas), 7-Ainsley McCammon (Solar SC; Bedford, Texas), 19-Y-Lan Nguyen (Virginia Development Academy; Fairfax, Va.)

Forwards (5): 9-Carrie Helfrich (Virginia Union FC; McLean, Va.), 18-Rylee McLanahan (FC Dallas; Edmond, Okla.), 17-Alex Pfeiffer (Kansas City Current; St. Louis, Mo.), 14-Leena Powell (Tudela FC; Culver City, Calif.), 20-Mya Townes (TSJ FC Virginia; Aldie, Va.)


Date Match-up Kickoff (ET) / TV Venue
Friday, Feb. 2 USA vs. Panama 1 p.m. / FS2 Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación, A.C.
Sunday, Feb. 4 USA vs. Puerto Rico 1 p.m. / FS2 Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación, A.C.
Tuesday, Feb. 6 USA vs. Canada 1 p.m. / FS2 Federación Mexicana de Fútbol Asociación, A.C.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: This year marks the eighth edition of the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship. The tournament began in 2008, the first year that FIFA staged a Women’s World Cup for U-17 women. 

The biennial Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship usually qualifies three teams to the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. This year, because the Dominican Republic, a fellow Concacaf participant, is the World Cup host, only two berths are for the taking this tournament, so the two teams that win the semifinals will qualify for the 2024 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. There will be no second chances usually afforded by the third-place match.

The 2022 competition was the first Concacaf U-17 tournament to introduce a new 20-team tournament format, but after some lopsided scores, including 20-0 and 13-0 wins for the USA, the competition has now reverted to its original eight-team format with the eight countries spilt into two groups of four.

The top two finishers in each group will cross-over for the semifinals with the two winners of the semifinal matches qualifying for the 2024 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup.

CONCACAF U-17 HISTORY: The U.S. will be playing to win its sixth Concacaf U-17 Women’s Championship – and fourth in a row -- after winning this tournament in 2008, 2012, 2016, 2018 and 2022. The two Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championships at which the USA finished third – 2010 and 2014, with the USA falling in penalty kicks in the semifinal both times – were both years in which the World Cup was held in Concacaf countries and thus only two berths from the region were up for grabs.

WOMEN’S GAME COINTUES TO EVOLVE: This is the first-ever U.S. Under-17 Women’s World Cup qualifying roster to include professional players: San Diego native Melanie Barcenas from San Diego Wave FC and 16-year-old forward Alex Pfeiffer, who hails from St. Louis, from the Kansas City Current. Barcenas is entering her second year as a pro – she logged 116 minutes for the Wave in 2023, spanning seven matches – while Pfeiffer will enter her rookie year this upcoming season after KC announced her contract in November as the fourth-youngest player to sign in the NWSL. Barcenas became the youngest player in league history when she signed with San Diego in March of 2023. Pfeiffer, who arrived in camp a few days late after attending her first preseason training camp with the KC Current, joined the U.S. team in Guatemala on Jan. 25. Barcenas was initially named to the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship roster as a fourteen-year-old but was ruled out of the competition due to an ankle injury. Two years later, the young pro gets her first chance to play in a Concacaf tournament.

THE CONSISTENT FOUR: Only four different teams have qualified out of Concacaf for the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup: The USA (five times), Mexico (six times), Canada (seven times) and Costa Rica (one time). Trinidad & Tobago hosted in 2010 and Costa Rica hosted in 2014, thus earning automatic berths to those World Cups.

EL TRI PLAYS HOST: Mexico is the ninth country to host the tournament after Trinidad & Tobago (2008), Costa Rica (2010), Guatemala (2012), Jamaica (2013), Grenada (2016), Nicaragua and the USA (2018) and the Dominican Republic (2022). Mexico was scheduled to host in 2020, before the tournament was cancelled.

HISTORY OF SUCCESS: The USA has compiled a 35W-0L-2D all-time record at this tournament and has outscored its opponents 217-10, but despite the big goal difference, the young Americans have had plenty of close matches, including one-goal wins over Mexico and Canada, a draw with Mexico, and 3-2 wins over Haiti and Mexico in 2018. In 2022, the USA defeated Mexico, 2-1, in the championship game on goals from Lauren Martinho and Melina Rebimbas. Five of the 10 goals the USA has allowed in this tournament all-time have been to Mexico.

CLIMBING THE LADDER: The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team had been a launching pad for numerous players who have moved up through the National Team programs to eventually represent the senior USWNT. From 2008-2018, an average of almost three players per U.S. U-17 qualifying squad have gone on to represent the full USWNT.

In fact, a total of 19 players who have played for the USA in the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship have gone on to earn caps at the senior level, including six who won World Cups in either 2015 or 2019. Morgan Brian, Samantha Mewis, Crystal Dunn and Kristie Mewis played for the team that advanced to the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Final in New Zealand.

TWO QUALIFIED TO THE DR SO FAR: Of the 16 countries that will participate in the 2024 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, just two have qualified so far, that being host Dominican Republic and Oceania U-16 champions New Zealand. Two more countries will come from Concacaf, with three from Asia, three from South America, three from Europe and three from Africa.

JUST GETTING STARTED: This group of U.S. U-17s comes into World Cup qualifying having had two training camps together – one in September in Carson, Calif, where they beat Japan 2-0 and tied 3-3, and one in early January in San Diego. Forward Alex Pfeiffer scored all three goals in that second match vs. Japan. There are four players on this roster (Y-Lan Nguyan, Rylee McLanahan, Trinity Armstrong and Franky Dunlap) that didn’t attend that camp in Los Angeles, and one that did (Ainsley McCammon) but didn’t play in the matches due to injury, and thus, this tournament will mark the first international games for those five players at the U-17 level.

U-16S IN FRANCE: Sixteen of the 20 players on this roster did gain some valuable international experience in April of 2023 with the U.S. U-16 WYNT on a trip to Mortagne-sur-Sèvre, France, where the USA won the Mondial Montaigu Tournament by beating Portugal, 4-1, France, 3-0, Norway, 4-0, and France, 1-0. From this U-17 roster, Kennedy Fuller (2), Mya Townes (2), Armstrong, Pfeiffer and Katie Scott all scored goals. Pfeiffer scored the game-winner in the tournament clincher vs. France.                                                                                         

U-15 CONCACAF CHAMPS: Eleven of the players on the roster played for U.S. U-17 WYNT head coach Schoepfer on the team that won the 2022 Concacaf U-15 Girls’ Championship that was played in Tampa, Fla. Those players are goalkeepers Molly Vapensky and Kennedy Zorn, defenders Lexi Coughlin, Jordyn Hardeman, Daya King and Katie Scott, midfielders Ascanio, Fuller and McCammon and forwards Carrie Helfrich and Pfeiffer. At that tournament during group play, the USA played two nations it will be facing in group play in Mexico. The USA downed Puerto Rico, 12-0, as Fuller scored four times and Ascanio and Pfeiffer each had three goals, and Canada, 1-0, as Fuller scored the game-winner. The USA also defeated Canada, 4-1, in the championship game. Fuller won the Golden Ball as Tournament’s Best Player after scoring nine goals.

U-17 WYNT Roster Notes:

  • Two pro clubs and fourteen different youth clubs from 11 different states are represented on the roster, with Texas clubs FC Dallas and Solar FC each having three players on the roster. Legends FC out of Southern California has two players. Almost half the roster hails from Texas and California with five players each from those states.
  • Before heading to Mexico, the U-17s trained in Guatemala for eight days.
  • The USA has five players 5-foot-9 or taller in goalkeepers Molly Vapensky (5-10) and Franky Dunlap (5-10) and central defenders Jordyn Hardeman (5-9), Kiara Gilmore (5-10) and midfielder Ainsley McCammon (5-9).
  • The U.S. roster consists of three goalkeepers, seven defenders, six midfielders and five forwards, but multiple players can play different positions.
  • Only forward Alex Pfieffer has thus far scored a goal in a U-17 international match.
  • Aside from the two professionals (who are both doing online high school, Melanie Barcenas is technically a junior and Alex Pfieffer is technically a sophomore), the breakdown for high school academic class is as follows: There are 14 players who are juniors while Leena Powell, Franky Dunlap, Rylee McLanahan and Kimmi Ascanio are all sophomores. Midfielder Kennedy Fuller graduated early and has completed high school. Defender Katie Scott will graduate a year early and play her freshman season at Penn State next fall.
  • This is just the second-ever National Team event for McLanahan, who attended her first in January in San Diego, from which this roster for World Cup qualifying was selected.

USA U-17s vs. PANAMA:

  • The USA and Panama have met just once at the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship, that taking place in 2012 in Guatemala. The USA won 7-0 as future UNC Tar Heel and future professional player (in the NWSL and Europe) Summer Green scored three goals.
  • Panama qualified for this tournament by winning Group E in the qualifying stage. As it turned out, Group E ended up with just two teams so Panama and Jamaica played a two-game series on Aug. 26 and 27, 2023, in Kingston, Jamaica, with Panama winning 2-1 on aggregate. The teams tied 1-1 in the first leg as Alison Onodera scored for Panama and then Panama won 1-0 in the second leg on a goal from Analia Arosemena.


  • Each team will be allowed to make a maximum of five substitutions over three opportunities, not counting halftime.
  • Beyond the five normal subs, each team will have the option to make two concussion substitutions if so needed.
  • If one team uses a concussion sub, the opposing team is granted an additional sub as well.
  • If a match in the knockout stage goes to overtime, each team will get an additional substitution during that time.
  • If teams are tied on points at the conclusion of the group stage, the following tiebreakers will be used:
    • Goal difference in all group matches
    • Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches
  • If teams are still tied, the following tiebreakers will be used:
    • Greater number of points in matches between the tied teams (head-to-head)
    • Greater goal difference in matches between the tied teams (if more than two teams finish equal on points)
    • Greater number of goals scored in matches among the tied teams (if more than two teams finish equal on points)
    • Lower number of points based on yellow and red cards in all group matches (First yellow = 1 point, second yellow/indirect red = 3 points, direct red = 4 points, yellow and direct red = 5 points)
    • Drawing of lots
  • Two yellows received in different games during the competition will result in automatic suspension for the next game. Single yellow cards will be eliminated at the end of the group stage.
  • In the knockout stage, if teams are tied at the end of regulation, 30 minutes of extra time will be played, and if still tied, matches will go to penalty kicks.
  • At the conclusion of the tournament, the following awards will be given out: Fair Play Award, Top Scorer (Golden Boot), Best Player (Golden Ball) and Best Goalkeeper (Golden Glove).

HEAD COACH KATIE SCHOEPFER: U.S. U-17 WYNT head coach Katie Schoepfer is the first-ever U.S. head coach for this age group to have played in a women’s professional league in the United States. In fact, she played in two. Schoepfer started her career in WPS (Women’s Professional Soccer), the USA’s second pro league that ran from 2009-2011, where she played for Sky Blue FC and the Boston Breakers. The powerful target forward also played at the start of the National Women’s Soccer League, playing 82 matches for the Boston Breakers from 2013-2016. Schoepfer was a two-time All-American at Penn State where she helped lead the Nittany Lions to four straight Big 10 titles. Schoepfer played for the USA at the U-23 and U-17 levels. Prior to taking over the help of the U-17s, she coached the U.S. U-15s, leading them to title at the 2022 Concacaf Girls’ U-15 Championship.

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