June 9, 2006
Story courtesy of U.S. Soccer
CHICAGO - U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team head coach Tim Schulz has named the 21-player roster for the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship being held Aug. 17 - Sept. 3 in Russia.
Schulz's team has played about 50 matches since January as he whittled his team down to 21 players who will participate in the 3rd FIFA world championship for youth women. Schulz evaluated 47 players in game action with the U-20s over the course of this year before finalizing the roster.
The tournament in Russia marks the first time the competition will be played as an Under-20 event. The USA won the first-ever FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in 2002 in Canada and finished third at the 2004 U-19 tournament in Thailand. For the 2006 tournament, the USA was drawn into Group D and will face first-time World Championship participant DR Congo, as well as Argentina and France in first round play. Players must be born on or after January 1, 1986, to be eligible for this year's U-20 World Championship.
"(Choosing the team) was an extremely difficult process because our country is very large and it is producing wonderful players," said Schulz. "Each player (named to the roster) has shown high levels of the unique qualities needed for their positions, and that is one of the main reasons they were selected, but it was also important to have diversity in our talent and I think we accomplished that with the goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards."
Leading the way for the USA are six veterans of the Thailand team, including forwards Amy Rodriguez and Jessica Rostedt, both of whom scored three times at the world championship in 2004. Defenders Stephanie Lopez and Stephanie Logterman, both of whom played every minute of all six matches in Thailand, were also named. Lopez, who has five caps with the full Women's National Team, will captain the USA in Russia.
The other two veterans of the previous world championship are goalkeeper Kelsey Davis, who did not play in Thailand but who is competing for the starting job during this cycle, and defender Nikki Krzysik, who played in two matches in 2004, including all 90 minutes in the third-place match victory over Brazil.
All of the USA's midfielders will be playing in their first world championship and Schulz has some dynamic talents at his disposal. Flank midfielders Danesha Adams, Christina DiMartino, 18-year-old Tobin Heath and 17-year-old Casey Nogueira are unique one-on-one players while Brittany Bock, Amanda Poach and Allie Long all possess skills and ball-winning abilities in the central midfield. Nogueira, who was born in 1989, was the youngest player selected.
Schulz also named Jordan Angeli, who is the team's most versatile player. She has seen time on all three lines with the USA this year -- at outside back, flank midfield and forward - and has seven goals for the U-20s in 2006.
With Logterman, who played in the midfield in Thailand, Krzysik and Lopez, the back line has a bit more international experience as the two "Stephanies" have 30 and 25 caps respectively at the U-19/U-20 levels. Those three players will be looked to for leadership in a defense that also features the rugged Carrie Dew, the feisty Sarah Wagenfuhr and the speedy Erin Hardy, one of two uncapped field players named to the roster (along with Nogueira).
At striker, Schulz has perhaps four of the most talented players in the world in this age group. Rodriguez has five caps with the full Women's National Team while Rostedt possesses speed and dribbling ability rarely seen in the women's game. Rostedt leads the USA in scoring this year with 20 goals in all matches. Lauren Cheney, who is equally talented with her back to goal as she is running at the net, was the NSCAA and Gatorade Girl's High School Player of the Year and has been in several training camps with the Women's National Team. Schulz also selected 17-year-old Kelley O'Hara, a slashing dribbling who was the top scorer for the U.S. U-17s in 2005. She is also extremely effective at flank midfield.
Schulz made final decisions on three goalkeepers, choosing the 5-foot-11 Davis, who backed up Ashlyn Harris in 2004, 5-foot-7 Valerie Henderson, and 5-foot-10 Joanna Haig.
Seventeen of the 21 players named to the roster will be entering their sophomores or junior year of college eligibility in the fall, with the exceptions of Cheney, O'Hara, Heath and Nogueira, all of whom will be entering college as freshmen next fall. Schulz named eleven players born 1986, seven born in 1987, two in 1988, in O'Hara and Heath, and one in 1989 in Nogueira. The USA will likely be one of the younger teams in Russia.
The roster features six players from California, two from Colorado, two from Ohio, two from New York, two from New Jersey, and one each from Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, Maryland and Wisconsin.
Schulz named the roster two months before the tournament to give the team time to gel. So far in 2006, the U.S. team has had nine events and will have four more camps/events before the World Championship, with a training camp at the Home Depot Center up next from June 11-18.
"Continuity is very important in picking a team," said Schulz. "Look at what Greece did in the 2004 European Championships with a united team that worked so well together. Talent is vitally important, but passion and team chemistry are equally as important, if not more so. We wanted to pick the roster early so we could start working with the group of players that will be at the world championship and spend the most amount of time possible molding them into a team."
The 2006 FIFA World Championship will be contested with 16 teams: host Russia, Australia, China and North Korea from Asia, Nigeria and DR Congo from Africa, the USA, Mexico and Canada from CONCACAF, Brazil and Argentina from South America, France, Switzerland, Germany and Finland from Europe and New Zealand from Oceania.
The 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship will take place at four stadiums in Moscow (Dynamo, Lokomotiv, Shchelkovo and Torpedo) and at one in St. Petersburg (Petrovsky).
DEFENDERS (6): Carrie Dew (Encinitas, Calif.), Erin Hardy (Costa Mesa, Calif.), Nikki Kryzsik (Clifton, N.J.), Stephanie Logterman (Austin, Texas), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Sara Wagenfuhr (Colorado Springs, Colo.);
MIDFIELDERS (8): Jordan Angeli (Lakewood, Colo.), Danesha Adams (Shaker Heights, Ohio), Brittany Bock (Naperville, Ill.), Christina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Allie Long (East Northport, N.Y.), Casey Nogueira (Cedarburg, Wis.), Amanda Poach (Bowie, Md.);
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Kelley O'Hara (Fayetteville, Ga.), Jessica Rostedt (Kent, Ohio).