Author Topic: USA's China countdown  (Read 1201 times)

Offline David

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USA's China countdown
« on: January 11, 2007, 12:51:11 PM »
The USA Women’s National Team Head Coach Greg Ryan has selected 28 players for a training camp in Carson, California before selecting his final squad of twenty for the 2007 Four Nations Tournament in China.

This will be the sixth time the USA has traveled to China in January for the Four Nations Tournament. The USA participated in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 winning every tournament bar the one in 2002.

The USA will open the tournament on 26 January in a mouth-watering clash aaginst the only side ranked above them in the world; Germany before playing England on 28 January and China on 30 January.

With several USA stalwarts not participating in the January training camp or the Four Nations Tournament - including the USA’s top two scorers from 2006 in Abby Wambach and Kristine Lilly - the trip to China will be an excellent opportunity for several young forwards to show their talents.

Ryan will bring eight forwards to the training camp, the two most experienced being 2004 Olympians Heather O’Reilly (22 years old) and Lindsay Tarpley (23). Also called-up were Natasha Kai (23), who burst onto the international scene last year to score six goals in her first 17 matches, and 19-year-old Lauren Cheney, a member of the US team that played in the 2006 FIFA U20 Women’s World Championship in Russia.

Cheney, who has yet to earn a cap on the senior level, scored 21 goals in all matches for the US U20s in 2006 and followed that up with a spectacular year at UCLA, where she scored 19 goals.

Also earning call-ups are Kerri Hanks of Notre Dame, a member of both US teams that played in the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U19 Women’s World Championship, and 17 year old Casey Nogueira, a reserve on the 2006 U20 World Championship. Megan Kakadelas, a member of the USA’s 2002 U19 World Championship winners and Tiffany Weimer make up the octet.

With veteran Aly Wagner not at this camp, young players will also have a chance to shine in midfield. Angela Hucles, Joanna Lohman, Marci Miller, Carli Lloyd and Leslie Osborne are joined by a trio of young midfielders who distinguished themselves at U20 and college levels in 2006. Leading the way are Brittany Bock and Tobin Heath, both of whom started for the U20s in Russia, as well as Yael Averbuch who scored 16 goals for her college last season. Heath, a midfielder most of her youth career, has also played at the back for the U20s.

Shannon Boxx, who has started 58 games for the USA over the past four years, will join the training camp as a non-rostered player, but only for light and non-contact work as she continues to rehabilitate a torn ACL suffered last July.

At the back, Christie Rampone will not be in camp, but the USA still has a slew of experienced defenders in Kate Markgraf, Cat Whitehill, Heather Mitts and Lori Chalupny.

Young defenders Tina Frimpong, Stephanie Lopez (who captained the USA in Russia) and India Trotter all got excellent experience during 2006. Rachel Buehler, a starter for the USA in both the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U19 Women’s World Championships, gets her second call-up, while Sheree Gray, a wide midfielder in 2004 for the U19s earns her first senior call-up.

Whitehill is sitting on 99 caps and, should she make the final 20 for China, could make her 100th international appearance against Germany aged just 24 years, 350 days. She would become the fifth youngest player ever to earn a 100th cap for the USA. Only Cindy Parlow, Mia Hamm, Lorrie Fair and Kristine Lilly (in that order) would have been younger.

In goal, US veterans Hope Solo and Briana Scurry lead the way, while UCLA junior Val Henderson, who earned a spot on the FIFA All-Star Team last summer in Russia, will see action in her first-ever senior training camp.

The U.S. training camp is filled with youth (it averages just 23 years of age) and features just seven players who were members of the USA’s 2004 Olympic gold medal-winning team. Eleven of the players have yet to earn a cap for the USA, and Trotter has just one.

Fifteen of the 28 players have played in a FIFA youth world championship for the USA, a major indication of the U19 and U20 programme’s impact on the senior team.