Tuesday, May 1, 2012
U.S. U17s prepare for World Cup qualifying
By US Soccer
The U.S. Under-17 Women's National Team kicks off the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship on Thursday, May 3, when it faces the Bahamas (4 p.m. ET) in what will be the first-ever match for a U.S. WNT against the island nation. The USA will continue Group B play against Trinidad & Tobago on Saturday, May 5 (4 p.m. ET) and finish the first round against Mexico on Monday, May 7 (6:30 p.m. ET). All the matches will be played on an artificial surface at the Estadio Cementos Progreso, home to popular Guatemala professional side C.S.D. Comunicaciones.
CONCACAF TV PROVIDING LIVE, FREE STREAM OF U-17 MATCHES: All the matches of the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championships can be watched live on CONCACAF.com. Fans need to visit CONCACAF and follow the instructions to register for free. Fans can also follow the action on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker. For a full tournament schedule and results, visit the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship tournament page on ussoccer.com.
TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship -- the third one to be contested -- features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals with the winners of those games earning berths to the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan. The winner of the third-place game will claim CONCACAF's third and final berth at the WWC. Group A is comprised of host Guatemala, Canada, Panama and Jamaica. Group A kicks off the tournament on Wednesday, May 2, as Canada faces Panama and Guatemala meets Jamaica.
LESSONS LEARNED: The USA's 2010 U-17 team was the first U.S. Women's National Team that did not qualify for a Women's World Cup when it fell in penalty kicks to Canada in the semifinal match. Amazingly, the U.S. team failed to qualify despite outscoring its opponents 38-0 during the tournament and lost its World Cup dreams based on one missed penalty kick. This group of U-17s is well aware of the drama of two years ago and will be working hard not to repeat it. In fact, the U-17s will be looking to emulate the success of the 2008 U-17s, which won the CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament, advanced to the first-ever FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup Final in New Zealand and then came within minutes of winning the title before falling in overtime to Korea DPR. The 2012 U.S. U-17s have had an excellent run up to the tournament, compiling a 7-0-2 record (4-0-2 in international matches) while playing mostly against older competition. The U.S. team has allowed just one goal so far this year, which came in a 1-1 draw with the England U-19 Women's National Team in March.
MONTOYA - MEMORIES OF 1991: Albertin Montoya, who became head coach of this age group in August of 2011, will be coaching in his first qualifying tournament. As a youth player, Montoya was a member of the U.S. U-17 Men's National Team and played in the first-ever FIFA U-17 World Cup in Italy in 1991 (previously it was a U-16 tournament) under head coach Roy Rees. Montoya went on to represent the USA at various age group levels and spent some time training with what would be the 1996 Olympic Team.
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire South; Kennesaw, Ga.), 18-Cassie Miller (Sereno FC; Cave Creek, Ariz.)
DEFENDERS (7): 3-Brittany Basinger (FC Virginia; Purcellville, Va.), 5-Maddie Bauer (Slammers FC; Newport Beach, Calif.), 16-Mandy Freeman (Lady Renegades SC; Royal Palm Beach, Fla.), 14-Lauren Kaskie (Heat FC; Las Vegas, Nev.), 6-Gabbi Miranda (Colorado Rush; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 2-Lizzy Raben (Colorado Rush; Greenwood, Colo.), 20-Morgan Reid (Chelsea Ladies; Cary, N.C.)
This is the first major international tournament for this group of U-17 players.
Nineteen of the 20 players were born in 1995 with midfielder Sarah Robinson as the lone 1996. Players eligible for the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup are those born on or after Jan. 1, 1995.
The U.S. roster is made up of 12 players who are 17 years old, seven players who are 16 and one 15-year-old in Robinson, who is a sophomore at Gunn High School in San Jose, Calif., where she is also a track and cross-country standout.
Fifteen of the 20 players on the roster came through the U.S. Under-14 Identification Camp and Developmental Program.
The U.S. U-17 Women have played nine total matches so far this year, compiling a 7-0-2 record while allowing just one goal. More impressively, the U-17s have played four international matches this year against countries featuring players one and two years older than the U.S. team and have a 2-0-2 record in those games.
The roster is relatively experienced at the international level for this age group as all 20 players have played a handful of U-17 international matches, with four players - midfielder Morgan Andrews, defender Mandy Freeman, forward/midfielder Summer Green and forward Amber Munerlyn - having been capped at this level 10 or more times.
Munerlyn is the USA's leading scorer at the U-17 level with five goals in her 13 caps. Green has three goals in her 14 caps while Andi Sullivan has scored three goals in nine caps. Seven players on the roster have scored in a U-17 international.
Every player on the roster has played in at least two full U-17 international matches with the experience ranging from two caps for forward Darian Jenkins to 14 caps for Green.
Team captain Andrews and goalkeeper Jane Campbell participated in the U.S. Under-23 Women's National Team training camp in October of 2011.
The USA's pair of goalkeepers are both tall and talented, with the 6-foot Cassie Miller joining the 5-foot-9 Campbell. Montoya chose a roster with seven defenders, six midfielders and five forwards.
The players on the roster hail from 13 states, with California and Colorado featuring three players each. Virginia, North Carolina and Utah have two players each.
Andrews is an all-state placekicker and the only girl on her high school football team.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 Goal allowed by the U.S. U-17 WNT in nine matches this year
1 Game in which the USA has been shut out this year (0-0 draw with China U-20 WNT)
1.41 Goals per game by the U.S. U-17 WNT this year
2 Goals by Emily Bruder, Midge Purce and Andi Sullivan this year, to tie for the team lead
7 Number of teams, out of nine, that the U.S. U-17 WNT has played this year that were made up of players in an older age group; the USA is 5-0-2 in those games
15 Goals scored by the U.S. U-17 WNT this year
25 Number of U.S. U-17 players to see action in a game this year
510 Minutes played by Maddie Bauer this year in international competition, the most on the team