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US Soccer

U-17 WNT Wins World Cup Qualifying Group in Grenada with 2-0 Victory Against Costa Rica

ST. GEORGES, Grenada (March 8, 2016) – The U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team won its group at the 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship with a 2-0 victory against Costa Rica thanks to first half goals from Alexa Spaanstra and Ashley Sanchez. The U.S. will face Canada in the tournament semifinals on Friday for a place at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.

The USA controlled large stretches of the game through smart possession and constant pressure on Costa Rica when the Ticas managed to get hold of the ball. It didn’t take the young Americans long to find the net as Sophia Smith found Spaanstra for the opening goal in the sixth minute. A half hour later, U.S. forward Frankie Tagliaferri drew a penalty kick that Sanchez converted with aplomb.

The second half saw U.S. head coach B.J. Snow use all three subs, getting players experience and saving some legs in the intense humidity in advance of Friday’s all important semifinal.

The USA advances as the Group B winner, while Costa Rica, Mexico or Jamaica could qualify for the semifinals depending on the outcome of the Mexico-Jamaica match which kicks off later in the day. Haiti won Group A after defeating Canada (the Group A runner-up) 2-1 in the teams’ final group stage match on Monday and will face the second place team from Group B in the semifinals. The order of the semifinal match-ups will be determined following the completion of the second Group B match featuring Mexico and Jamaica.

The semifinal against Canada will take place on March 11 with a berth to the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup on the line. The match will be broadcast on FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Sports Go.

Goal Scoring Rundown: 

USA – Alex Spaanstra (Sophia Smith), sixth minute: The game-winning goal was created off a brilliant dribbling run from Sophia Smith, who left several defenders in her wake as she drove into the right side of the penalty area, got to the end line, drew the ‘keeper to the near post and cut a pass back to Spaanstra in the seam for her to tap home from close range. USA 1, CRC 0 (SEE GOAL)

USA – Ashley Sanchez (Penalty Kick), 38th minute: The ball was crossed in for Frankie Tagliaferri who was in on goal before being chopped down by a Costa Rica defender. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and the U.S. captain Ashley Sanchez stepped up to send a right-footed shot well out of reach of the ‘keeper into the left side netting. USA 2, CRC 0 (SEE GOAL) FINAL

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
USA – Brianna Pinto, 36th minute: Costa Rica carved out its best chance of the game on a crafty set piece that got Fabiola Lobo free in the U.S. penalty box. She sent a cross to the back right post where a scramble eventually saw the ball deflect back to the left side of goal and fall to Maria Salas, who got a header on target that was volleyed clear by Pinto.

CRC – María Fernanda Sanabria, 28th minute: Ashley Sanchez put on a show, dancing past multiple defenders along the Costa Rica end line before getting off a close range shot that was saved by goalkeeper Akira Rubi. The rebound fell to U.S. midfielder Brianna Pinto just outside the six-yard box, but her one-time, goal-bound shot was cleared off the goal line by María Fernanda Sanabria to keep the U.S. from running up the score early.

Next on the Schedule: The U.S. will attempt to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup against Canada on March 11 (FOX Soccer Plus) at Grenada National Stadium in St. Georges, Grenada. Click here for the full tournament schedule.

Social: Facebook; Twitter ( @ussoccer_ynt )

Additional Notes:

  • The USA has now won its World Cup Qualifying group for the fifth consecutive time and remains perfect in the qualifying group stage with a 15-0-0 all-time record since the beginning of the competition in 2008.
  • Ashley Sanchez is one of only two players in this year’s tournament to score in all three group stage matches. Haiti’s Mikerline Saint Felix is the other.
  • With four goals in the group stage, Sanchez is one score behind the leader in the tournament Golden Boot race.
  • Alex Spaanstra’s opening goal made her the USA’s fourth different goal scorer in the tournament.
  • U.S. goalkeeper Laurel Ivory collected her second clean sheet of the competition, becoming the only ‘keeper with two so far in the tournament.
  • The USA held Costa Rica to just one shot and none on goal.
  • The USA finished group play scoring 11 goals and allowing just one.

- U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team Match Report - 

Match: U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica U-17 Women’s National Team
Date: March 8, 2016
Competition: 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship – Group B
Venue: Grenada National Stadium; St. George’s, Grenada
Weather: 84 degrees; hot and sunny

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                                         2          0          2        
CRC                                         0          0          0

USA – Alexa Spaanstra (Sophia Smith)                     6th minute
USA – Ashley Sanchez (penalty kick)                          38

Lineups:
USA: 1-Laurel Ivory; 15-Kennedy Wesley, 4-Naomi Girma, 6-Emily Smith, 19-Kate Wiesner; 2-Taryn Torres, 8-Brianna Pinto, 3-Sophia Smith (17-Jordan Canniff, 46), 20-Frankie Tagliaferri (13-Rachel Jones, 83), 7-Alexa Spaanstra; 10-Ashley Sanchez (capt.) (11-Izzy Rodriguez, 69)
Subs Not Used: 9-Kiara Pickett, 12-Hillary Beall, 14-Civana Kuhlmann, 16-Karina Rodriguez, 18-Jaelin Howell
Not available: 5-Sydney Zandi
Head Coach: B.J. Snow

CRC: 1-Akira Rubi; 6-Fabiola Lobo, 2-Valeria Del Campo, 15-Stephannie Blanco, 4-Yedry Salas; 8-María Fernanda Sanabria, 5-Sabrina Vásquez, 20-Emma Víquez (16-Carmen Marín, 67), 12-Maria Salas (19-Ziuliani Rodríguez, 85); 10-Gloriana Villalobos (capt.) (11-Priscilla Chinchilla, 79), 9-Mereilyn Alvarado
Subs Not Used: 3-Viviana Villalobos, 13-Yendry Rojas, 18-Valeria Román, 7-Pamela Mora, 14-Irela Rodríguez, 17-Hilary Corrales
Head Coach: Amelia Valverde

Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 16 / 1
Shots on Goal: 6 / 0
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 9 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 8
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (caution)              37th minute
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (caution)              82
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (ejection)             82
USA – Briana Pinto (caution)                              87

Officials:
Referee: Tatiana Montes (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Suzanne Morisset (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Wesline Louis (HAI)
4th Official: Marie-Soieil Beaudoin (CAN)

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U-17 WNT Mar 8, 2016

- U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team Match Report - 

Match: U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team vs. Costa Rica U-17 Women’s National Team
Date: March 8, 2016
Competition: 2016 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship – Group B
Venue: Grenada National Stadium; St. George’s, Grenada
Weather: 84 degrees; hot and sunny

Scoring Summary:    1          2          F
USA                                         2          0          2         
CRC                                         0          0          0

USA – Alexa Spaanstra (Sophia Smith)                     6th minute
USA – Ashley Sanchez (penalty kick)                          38

Lineups:
USA: 1-Laurel Ivory; 15-Kennedy Wesley, 4-Naomi Girma, 6-Emily Smith, 19-Kate Wiesner; 2-Taryn Torres, 8-Brianna Pinto, 3-Sophia Smith (17-Jordan Canniff, 46), 20-Frankie Tagliaferri (13-Rachel Jones, 83), 7-Alexa Spaanstra; 10-Ashley Sanchez (capt.) (11-Izzy Rodriguez, 69)
Subs Not Used: 9-Kiara Pickett, 12-Hillary Beall, 14-Civana Kuhlmann, 16-Karina Rodriguez, 18-Jaelin Howell
Not available: 5-Sydney Zandi
Head Coach: B.J. Snow

CRC: 1-Akira Rubi; 6-Fabiola Lobo, 2-Valeria Del Campo, 15-Stephannie Blanco, 4-Yedry Salas; 8-María Fernanda Sanabria, 5-Sabrina Vásquez, 20-Emma Víquez (16-Carmen Marín, 67), 12-Maria Salas (19-Ziuliani Rodríguez, 85); 10-Gloriana Villalobos (capt.) (11-Priscilla Chinchilla, 79), 9-Mereilyn Alvarado
Subs Not Used: 3-Viviana Villalobos, 13-Yendry Rojas, 18-Valeria Román, 7-Pamela Mora, 14-Irela Rodríguez, 17-Hilary Corrales
Head Coach: Amelia Valverde

Stats Summary: USA / CRC
Shots: 16 / 1
Shots on Goal: 6 / 0
Saves: 0 / 3
Corner Kicks: 9 / 0
Fouls: 14 / 8
Offside: 3 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (caution)              37th minute
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (caution)              82
CRC – Stephannie Blanco (ejection)             82
USA – Briana Pinto (caution)                              87

Officials:
Referee: Tatiana Montes (PAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Suzanne Morisset (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Wesline Louis (HAI)
4th Official: Marie-Soieil Beaudoin (CAN)


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US Soccer

2018 U.S. Soccer Young Male, Young Female and Player of the Year with a Disability Award Nominees Announced

CHICAGO (Nov. 28, 2018) – U.S. Soccer has announced the nominees for the 2018 Young Male, Young Female and Player of the Year with a Disability awards. Voting for the candidates begins Nov. 28 and closes on Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The winner will be announced during the first week of December.

The Young Male Player of the Year field showcases a number of rising stars who have played for the U.S. Men’s Youth National Teams this year. Midfielder Alex Mendez took home the Golden Ball at the 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship as the tournament’s best player at just 18-years-old, helping the USA take home its second-straight confederation title. Forward Ulysses Llanez was one of the U-20 MNT’s most-dynamic attacking players at the regional championship, scoring seven goals in six games, while defender Mark McKenzie locked down the back line as the U-20s’ minutes leader in 2018 in addition to a breakout professional campaign with the Philadelphia Union. Midfielder Giovanni Reyna stands as a key figure for the U-17 MNT as it prepares for the 2018 Nike International Friendlies and he spent this summer leading New York City FC U-18/19 to its first U.S. Soccer Development Academy Championship in its first season fielding a team at the age group. Forward Tyler Freeman helped guide the U-16 Boys’ National Team to success at the Torneo delle Nazioni in Gradisca, Italy while also signing one of the youngest Homegrown contracts in MLS history with Sporting KC.

The Young Female Player of the Year field features a group of talented players who have all seen time with U.S. Youth Women’s National Teams this year. Defender Tierna Davidson played with the U.S. U-20 WNT early in 2018 before transitioning to the senior National Team and earned her first 12 caps. U.S. U-17 WNT forward Sunshine Fontes set the U-17 all-time career goal-scoring record this year, while U.S. U-17 WNT midfielder Maya Doms scored the game-winning goal in the title game of the Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship, and U.S. U-17 WNT midfielder Sophia Jones was the team’s field general at defensive midfield. Rounding out the nominees is forward Allyson Sentnor, who despite being age eligible for the U.S. U-14 Girls’ National Team this year, played up for the USA’s U-15 and U-16 GNTs and U-17 WNT.

This year’s Player of the Year with a Disability field features Braden Anderson, an up-and-coming midfielder for the Deaf Men’s National Team; Nico Calabria, a forward and goal-scoring captain for the Amputee National Team; Gracie Fitzgerald, a scoring defender for the Deaf Women’s National Team; and Nick Mayhugh, an all-around midfielder for the Para 7-a-side National Team.

Votes for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year awards are collected from respective National Team coaches, National Team players who have earned a cap in 2018, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, select media members and former players and administrators.

Players cannot win the Young Male or Young Female award more than once.

The award for Young Player of the Year was first awarded in 1998 with Josh Wolff and Cindy Parlow (a 2018 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee), winning for Young Male and Young Female, respectively. The Player of the Year with a Disability award was first given in 2012 with Felicia Schroeder earning the honor.

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YNT PNT U-20 MNT U-20 WNT U-17 MNT U-17 WNT Nov 28, 2018
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From Hawaii, Sunshine Fontes Has Traveled Many Miles, But She's Just Getting Started

Almost every trip that Sunshine Fontes takes as a part of the U-17 Women’s National Team involves a bit of extra effort. She hails from Wahiawa, Hawaii on the island of Oahu, and nearly every camp, domestic or international, requires additional travel to account for the extra five-hour flight from her hometown just to make it to mainland on the West Coast.

As with many previous camps, her trip to South America for the 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup took a full additional travel day. Fontes’ extra effort is evident in her flight itineraries, but the work she puts in once she steps off the plane back in Hawaii has made her an integral part of this U-17 WNT cycle.  She entered the World Cup as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 22 goals, and added two more in the USA’s opener against Cameroon.

“Sunshine has grown into a strong, incredible, assertive young woman who has started to take ownership of her development,” said U-17 WNT head coach Mark Carr. “Sometimes, it can be a challenge for a player in Hawaii to face top competition from across the country. What I’ve seen from Sunshine in the last two years is a player who has taken it upon herself to control her development and create her environment when she’s away from camp.”

While the level of women’s soccer in Hawaii has continued to improve, only a few players from the Islands have made it to the U.S. Women’s National Teams, most notably Natasha Kai from Kahuku, who helped the senior WNT to the 2008 Olympic gold medal in Beijing while scoring the winning goal in overtime in the 2-1 quarterfinal victory against Canada. Since then, more youth players from Hawaii have begun to earn call-ups. While players stateside have chances to play in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and other elite youth leagues week-in and week-out, those high-level opportunities come far less often in Hawaii.

Fontes first put herself on U.S. Soccer’s radar almost 5,000 miles from Wahiawa, in Boca Raton, Fla. at an Olympic Development Inter-Regional tournament. A few months later, she was called to join the U-15 Girls’ National Team for its first camp of 2016 in the second year of the team’s cycle. She’s earned call-ups to every camp since.

“I try to push myself at home, no matter how much time there is between camps,” Fontes said. “They tell me what to work on when I go home, and they’ve seen that it’s paying off so they’ve just kept bringing me back.”

Fontes has continued to find ways to reach higher levels in her game while back in Hawaii. She used to train with older players, but when those teammates graduated, she began training with boys to help work on her pace and physicality. She also takes advantage of her club environment with the Hawaii Rush.

Fontes exemplifies what Carr calls “player-driven” development. Throughout the cycle, he is in frequent contact with the players to monitor their progress and saw them in camp nearly monthly, but to really progress, Carr emphasizes that players have to take control of their own development. He’s seen Fontes evolve from a player once too shy to look him in the eye to an ever-inquisitive student of the game.

“Now, she wants to have conversations about her growth,” Carr said. “She says ’This is something that I want, what’s the next best development environment for me? What’s the next level that’s going to help me stay in this system?’ For any young player that shows that ownership of their development, that’s gold for me. She’s driving her development process. Ultimately, that’s going to decide where she ends up.”

That work, both at home in the 50th state and across the Pacific in U.S. training camps, has helped Fontes become the U-17s’ most lethal goal scorer. Her 22 goals in 2018 are the second-most for a youth WNT player all-time and she’s put together six multiple-goal games this year. She became the first U.S. female player to score four goals in two international games in the same year when she tallied quadruples against Venezuela and Argentina in early 2018. Her 24 career U-17 goals stand as the most on the team by a wide margin, and her 30 career U-17 caps also lead the USA. Carr says the prolific goal scoring efforts come from remarkable creativity.

“She sees things that not all of us see,” Carr said. “What she sees on the field and the creativity that she displays, some of that stuff you can’t teach. She’s a unique talent. She’s definitely got lots of things to improve upon, but her style and skillset is awesome for what our program looks for and she continues to grow.”

Fontes’ first Concacaf tournament experience came just a few months after her National Team camp debut, at the Concacaf Girls’ U-15 Championship in August 2016. She scored five goals and notched four assists in seven games during that competition, but Carr told her that she didn’t come into that camp in good enough shape. She hasn’t let it happen again. Her work with the USA and in Wahiawa has positioned her to make an impact in Uruguay.

“I know what I want to do in the future,” Fontes said. “I know that you can never stand still and always have to work on improving. Mark told me my goal scoring has put me in the good place, and I came in more fit to each camp, and I think that’s kept me on the team. I’m just excited to be here and try to help our team in the World Cup.”

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