U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has named a roster of 21 players who will represent the U.S. at the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea from November 13 to December 3. Included in the roster are four California natives, the most from any individual state.
The four California players who will be traveling to the South Pacific country include defender Natalie Jacobs (Slammers FC; Coto de Caza), midfielders Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego) and Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower), and forward Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues; Monrovia), who scored three goals and captained the U.S. squad at the U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan just last month.
The U.S. has been drawn into Group C with France, Ghana, and New Zealand. The U.S. will open up against France on November 14. Then they’ll face New Zealand on November 17 before closing out group play against Ghana on November 21.
FIFA launched the tournament in 2002 and the U.S. along with Germany have dominated the tournament winning three times each. The U.S. in 2002, 2008, and 2012, while Germany in 2004, 2010, and most recently in 2014. Both countries will be keeping a close eye on each other as Germany was drawn into Group D. Both Group C and Group D will face each other in the quarterfinals with the winner facing the runner-up of the opposite group.
“The experience and knowledge this group of players will gain through their participation in the U-20 World Cup is extremely valuable,” French said. “Players have two opportunities at the youth level to try to qualify and compete in a World Cup, so being a part of this roster is massive. The more exposure our Youth National Team players can get to major world events, the heightened physical and emotional demands, and top international competition, the more the players will be prepared moving forward in their respective National Team careers.”
Sanchez and Canales have scored four international goals each, while Jacobs has part of the U-17 WNT cycle.
Good luck to our California natives!
U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.), Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7): Madeline Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Ellie Jean (Penn State; Coventry, Conn.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Taylor Otto (North Carolina; Apex, N.C.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Cousins (Tennessee; Forest, Va.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio), Courtney Petersen (Virginia; Canton, Mich.), Parker Roberts (Florida; Leawood, Kansas)
FORWARDS (4): Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues: Monrovia, Calif.), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Jessie Scarpa (North Carolina; Lakeland, Fla.), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; Colorado Springs, Colo.)