October 13, 2016
MAL PUGH & CO.
U.S. team named for FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
CHICAGO -- Forward Mallory Pugh heads the list of 21 players named by U.S. coach Michelle French for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup, scheduled in Papua New Guinea Nov. 13-Dec. 3.
Pugh who started in the 2014 tournament in Canada as a 16-year-old, has gone on to earn 17 caps and score four goals for the senior team, including a goal against Colombia in the 2016 Olympics, making her the youngest American soccer player to score in an Olympic Games.
Pugh has 23 caps and 17 goals for the U-20s, leading the team in qualifying with seven goals and four assists, and winning the Golden Boot as top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best player.
"I think this team is very dynamic, both on and off the field," Pugh said in a release. "We all have this drive when we wake up in the morning to inspire each other to get better, and that's really special. Off the field, it's one of the most tight-knit and positive teams I've ever been a part of during my career. We have some big challenges ahead in PNG and we're looking forward to them."
Said French: "Throughout this cycle, we have gone through an extensive process evaluating a number of players in various environments. The final World Cup roster is comprised of players that provide great depth and versatility in every position. The way in which players competed to be a part of the roster, their commitment to be a part of this cycle, and their overall dedication to each other, has been tremendous. This group of players is highly motivated, which has proven to be the impetus for their individual and collective development, particularly over the last six months.
"The experience and knowledge this group of players will gain through their participation in the U-20 World Cup is extremely valuable. 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."
Goalkeeper Rose Chandler and defender Kaleigh Riehl were also on the team for 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Chandler and Riehl did not play, but have been key players throughout the cycle, Chandler earning the Golden Glove as the best goalkeeper during the qualifying tournament and Riehl a steady leader of the back line.
Forward Ashley Sanchez scored three goals and captained the USA at the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Jordan. Sanchez also scored three times in the CONCACAF U-20 Qualifying tournament, including the game-winning goal against Canada in the championship.
The midfield is led by Emily Ogle, a sophomore at Penn State. Marley Canales (UCLA) and Kelcie Hedge (Washington) were a part of the last U-17 WNT cycle. Katie Cousins (Tennessee), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC), Courtney Petersen (Virginia) and Parker Roberts (Florida) add depth.
The defensive core includes three players who were a part of the last U-17 cycle: Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame), Ellie Jean (Penn State) and Taylor Otto (UNC). Madeline Elliston (Penn State) and Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame) have youth national team experience. Emily Fox (FC Virginia) adds depth and versatility.
The USA has three quality goalkeepers: Chandler, Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC), and Casey Murphy (Rutgers). Heinsohn, granddaughter of former Boston Celtics star Tommy Heinsohn, and Murphy are 6-foot-1.
The U.S., which defeated Venezuela, 6-2 and 5-1, recently, opens the tournament against France Nov. 14, faces New Zealand Nov. 17 and finishes group play against Ghana Nov. 21. The USA will play its first two games at PNG Football Stadium and its third game at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. All the matches will be broadcast on FOX networks.
U.S. U-20 Women's World Cup Team
• 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.)