CHICAGO — U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team head coach Laura Harvey has a 20-player roster to represent the USA at the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, to be held Feb. 22-March 8 in the Dominican Republic.
Two more signed National Letters of Intent last fall to become Tar Heels and will enroll at UNC in August: Talia DellaPeruta and Samantha Meza.
The USA will open the tournament on Friday, Feb. 22 against Cuba, continue Group C play on Sunday, Feb. 24 vs. host Dominican Republic and wrap up the opening stage on Tuesday, Feb. 26 vs. Honduras.
“I am excited to get our World Cup qualifying campaign started,” Harvey said. “With the new Concacaf format, the schedule is extremely demanding, and we are going to need to plan well to make sure we utilize all of our players throughout the tournament. I’m looking forward to seeing what level we can put out on the field and I’m hoping that throughout the campaign we can show growth as a collective team and see some individuals shine.”
The roster consists of 16 collegiate players and three youth club players. Forward Sophia Smith is the only professional on the roster. She was the top pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft by the Portland Thorns, becoming the first teenager to be taken #1. Midfielder Talia DellaPeruta is currently playing as an amateur in Germany with Frauen-Bundesliga club FC Koln.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2000 are age-eligible for the 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship. Harvey named 12 players born in 2000, five born in 2001 and three born in 2002.
Four players will attempt to qualify for their second U-20 World Cup in Smith, defender Naomi Girma, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Alexa Spaanstra. In total, 10 players have represented the USA at a youth World Cup, while nine have participated in a youth World Cup qualifying tournament.
2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship Roster by Position (College or Club; Hometown; U-20 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Claudia Dickey (UNC; Charlotte, N.C.; 0/0), Julia Dohle (Penn State; Scarsdale, N.Y.; 6/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Maycee Bell (UNC; Wichita, Kan.; 4/1), Sierra Enge (Stanford; Cardiff, Calif.; 0/0), Naomi Girma (Stanford; San Jose, Calif.; 25/0), Shae Holmes (Washington; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 2/0), Brianna Martinez (Notre Dame; Albuquerque, N.M.; 4/0), Emily Mason (PDA; Flemington, N.J.; 2/0), Kennedy Wesley (Stanford; Rossmoor, Calif.; 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Talia DellaPeruta (Köln/GER; Cumming, Ga.; 4/0), Katelyn Duong (Minnesota; Portland, Ore.; 3/0), Jenna Nighswonger (Florida State; Huntington Beach, Calif.; 4/1), Brianna Pinto (North Carolina; Durham, N.C.; 32/4), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.; 13/2), Summer Yates (Washington; Pasco, Wash.; 4/2)
FORWARDS (5): Mia Fishel (UCLA; San Diego, Calif.; 0/0), Rebecca Jarrett (Virginia; Clifton, N.J.; 5/0), Samantha Meza (Solar Soccer Club; Dallas, Texas; 7/1), Trinity Rodman (SoCal Blues SC; Newport Beach, Calif.; 2/1), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; 27/23)
Smith was recently called up to the senior Women’s National Team for the squad’s annual January camp, while Pinto was named 2019 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year in December. Smith was voted the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. Bell, Girma, Pinto and Smith were all called to the full WNT’s December Identification Camp, though Bell and Girma had to withdraw from the event due injuries.
The 2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship introduces a new qualifying format that will feature 20 teams — 16 divided into four groups of four, and four who have already advanced to the Round of 16 via pre-tournament qualifying.
The top three finishers in the four groups will advance to the Round of 16 and join the four teams already qualified for the knockout round. From there, the teams will play a single-elimination tournament with the top two finishers qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
In years prior, the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship has qualified three teams to the U-20 Women’s World Cup, but Concacaf countries Costa Rica and Panama have both been granted automatic bids to the tournament as co-hosts, reducing the number of berths for the Confederation.
All 39 matches of the tournament will take place in two venues in the Dominican Republic — Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez in Santo Domingo and Estadio Panamericano in San Cristobal.
2020 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship
USA — Group C Schedule
Date Match Kickoff (ET) Venue
Feb. 22 USA vs. Cuba 4:00 p.m. Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez;
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Feb. 24 USA vs. Dom. Republic 4:00 p.m. Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez;
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Feb. 26 USA vs. Honduras 7:00 p.m. Estadio Olimpico Felix Sanchez;
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|Group C||Group D||Group E||Group F|
|Honduras||Guyana*||Jamaica||Trinidad and Tobago|
|Dominican Republic||Nicaragua||Guatemala||Saint Kitts and Nevis**|
|Cuba||Puerto Rico||El Salvador||Cayman Islands|
*Won Qualifying Group A **Won Qualifying Group B
|Advanced to Round of 16 via Pre-Qualifying|
|Saint Lucia||Second in qualifying Group A|
|Bermuda||Third in qualifying Group A|
|Grenada||Second in qualifying Group B|
|Barbados||Third in qualifying Group B|
- Defender Sierra Enge makes her first U-20 WNT camp appearance of the 2019-20 cycle. Enge is one of three players on the roster who helped Stanford win the 2019 NCAA Championship at last December’s College Cup in San Jose, Calif.
- Goalkeeper Julia Dohle and forward Alexa Spaanstra have appeared in the most U-20 WNT camps this cycle at six each.
- Of the 16 collegiate players on the roster, seven recently completed their sophomore seasons and nine recently wrapped up their freshmen campaigns. Enge and defender Shae Holmes played their first seasons of collegiate soccer after redshirting for the 2018 season.
- The USA has won a record five Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championships. In the Dominican Republic, the U-20 USWNT will look to add its sixth overall and fifth in six tries after falling to Mexico in penalty kicks during the 2018 tournament final.
- Defender Naomi Girma, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Sophia Smith helped the U.S. qualify for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and reach that final in Trinidad and Tobago.
- Goalkeeper Julia Dohle, defender Kennedy Wesley, midfielder Talia DellaPeruta and forwards Mia Fishel and Trinity Rodman helped the U-17 USWNT clinch its second-straight Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship in 2018 in Nicaragua.
- This will be the first Concacaf World Cup qualifying tournament for head coach Laura Harvey, who was hired to lead the team in January. Harvey brings a wealth of experience from NWSL, where she won the NWSL Shield with Seattle Reign FC in 2014 and 2015.
- Harvey is no stranger to youth international tournaments. As an assistant, she helped the England U-17 WNT reach the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and helped guide the England U-19 WNT to a runner-up finish at the 2010 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship.
- Sixteen players have been capped at the U-20 level, led by 32 U-20 appearances for Pinto and 27 for Smith. The four players without U-20 appearances are Enge, goalkeeper Claudia Dickey, defender Kennedy Wesley and forward Mia Fishel.
- Smith is one of the U-20 WNT’s most-prolific scorers ever, netting 23 goals during the 2017-18 cycle. She will aim to add to her total at World Cup qualifying, her first U-20 appearance of the 2019-20 cycle.
- Sydney Leroux is currently the all-time leading scorer for the USA at the U-20 level with 29 goals in 34 U-20 caps. Current U.S. WNT midfielder Lindsey Horan had 24 U-20 goals in 26 caps and current U.S. WNT forward Mallory Pugh had 19.
- Kelly Wilson had 31 goals and Lindsay Tarpley had 24 goals at the U-19 level during their 2001-2002 cycle. The World Cup tournament was played as a U-19 event in its first two iterations, in 2002 and 2004. Kerri Hanks finished the 2003-2004 cycle with 22 career U-19 goals.
- The three players born in 2002 — defender Emily Mason, midfielder Talia DellaPeruta and forward Trinity Rodman — are age-eligible for the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
- Before heading to the Dominican Republic, the team will train in Miami, Fla. from Feb. 13-18. Harvey will bring three alternates to the pre-camp for training purposes, but the trio will depart before the tournament, barring any injuries. The alternates are goalkeeper Meagan McClelland (Rutgers), defender Natalia Staude (Virginia) and midfielder Astrid Wheeler (Concorde Fire).
- Twelve states are represented on the roster, with the most players (6) coming from California. Two players each also come from Colorado, New Jersey and North Carolina.
- Players from nine different colleges are on the qualifying roster, with the most coming from NCAA finalists North Carolina (three) and Stanford (three). Two players each also come from Virginia and Washington.