Dec. 19, 2003
CHICAGO - UCLA freshman forward Bristyn Davis has been invited into camp with the Under-19 U.S. National Team in preparation for the 2004 FIFA Under-19 World Championships to be held in Thailand from November 10-27 of next year.
U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team head coach Tracey Leone will kick off what promises to be an exciting 2004 with a training camp from Dec. 27 through Jan. 2 at U.S. Soccer's National Training Center at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Leone will bring in a roster of 26, which includes college players, as the team begins to focus on the CONCACAF U-19 Women's Qualifying Tournament that will be held in Ottawa and Montreal, Canada, from May 28-June 6, 2004. The top two finishers at that tournament qualify for the World Championships.
"We look at the process as two-fold, one is the evaluation of players and the selection of rosters, which eventually will lead us to select our 18 players for qualifying, and the other half is developing the team," said Leone. "Without the college players during the fall, we could evaluate, but it was harder to mold the team. Having those players will raise the standard, which is already very good, and will allow us to really identify the core of our team as we keep evaluating all the players for roster spots."
Of the 26 players, 12 are college freshman that recently completed their rookie seasons, 11 are high school seniors, two are high school juniors and one is a high school sophomore in forward Alexa Orand (Orange, Calif.).
Leone has called in four of the five veterans from the 2002 U-19 World Championship Team that are still age-eligible for the 2004 squad in forwards Kerri Hanks (Allen, Texas) and Angela Woznuk (University of Portland), defender Rachel Buehler (Stanford University) and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (Satellite Beach, Fla.). Forward Heather O'Reilly (UNC), who played so well in leading the Tar Heels to the NCAA Championship, and was named Offensive MVP of the 2003 College Cup, is also age-eligible and will likely see some time with the U-19s in 2004. Players born after January 1, 1985, are age-eligible for the 2004 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship.
O'Reilly has scored 18 goals in as many U-19 internationals and has three goals for the senior national team. Buehler, who tore her ACL early in the world championship game against Canada on Sept. 1, 2002, and then tore the ACL in her other knee after coming back from the initial injury, is fully recovered and played in 15 matches for the Cardinal this past season.. Harris, the youngest member of the 2002 team who played spectacularly in the Final as a 16-year-old and has been capped 23 times at the U-19 level, leads a group of four talented goalkeepers that also includes Santa Clara freshman Julie Ryder, the First-Team All-West Coast Conference goalkeeper. Woznuk, who started 17 matches for the Pilots this year, came off the bench in the world championship game and has 12 U-19 caps and three goals. Hanks led the U-19s in scoring in 2003 with eight total goals.
"It's a huge bonus to have the veteran players from the previous U-19 team," said Leone. "They've been through the grueling schedule, the travel, the big crowds and the sacrifices. The other players have great respect for them because of what they've accomplished."
The U-19s will have a highly active 2004, which includes a training camp in January, an international trip in February, another training camp in March and perhaps a domestic international tournament at the end of April.
The back line for the U-19s is taking shape with a trio of freshman who all saw considerable minutes for their college teams this fall. U-19 co-captain Becky Sauerbrunn started all 21 games for Virginia, Jen Buczkowski started 23 of 24 games for Notre Dame and scored four goals with six assists out of the midfield, while Stephanie Lopez started all 23 games for Portland.
On the attacking end, the USA has some talented goal scorers in speedy forward Cheree Gray (World Class), a member of the USA's 2003 U-21 Nordic Cup champions, slick forward Megan Rapinoe (Elk Grove United), a high school senior with a nose for the goal and Davis, also a member of the USA's 2003 U-21 Nordic Cup champs who had a solid freshman year with nine goals and three assists in helping UCLA to the NCAA Final Four.
"I think the team is coming together exceptionally well," added Leone. "In comparing it to the last cycle, in some respects we are ahead of schedule regarding fitness as we have been able to institute fitness guidelines much earlier after learning from the last group. We have more of our players in college, so they have been able to benefit from a college season and that will help us as we spring board into the winter and spring."
U-19 ROSTER BY POSITION:
Goalkeepers (4): Ashlyn Harris, Val Henderson, Ashley Phillips, Julie Ryder; Defenders (9): Rachel Buehler, Jen Buczkowski, Shannon Foley, Nicole Krzysik, Stephanie Logterman, Stephanie Lopez, Jessica Maxwell, Becky Sauerbrunn, India Trotter; Midfielders (4): Elyse Nikonchuck, Ashlee Pistorius, Lorraine Quinn, Jennifer Redmond; Forwards (9): Cydne Currie, Bristyn Davis, Sheree Gray, Kerri Hanks, Kia McNeil, Alexa Orand, Megan Rapinoe, Julia Schnugg, Angie Woznuk.
Release courtesy of U.S. Soccer