Aug. 9, 2002
CHICAGO - The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team will arrive in Portland, Ore., today to begin final preparations for the 2002 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship, taking place in Canada from Aug. 17-Sept. 1, 2002. The U.S. team--which includes Bronco sophomores Jessica Ballweg, Megan Kakadelas and Leslie Osborne--will train for two days at the NIKE World Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., before leaving on Monday for Victoria, B.C., where the U.S. team will be based during the entire first round of the tournament.
The U-19s team will train daily in Victoria before opening World Championship play on Saturday, Aug. 17, against England at 1 p.m. PT in what will be the first match of the tournament. The USA will face Australia in its second opening round game on Monday, Aug. 19 at 7:15 p.m. and finish Group C play on Wednesday, Aug. 21 against Chinese Taipei (a.k.a. Taiwan) at 7:15 p.m. All of the USA's first round matches will be played at the 6,000-seat Centennial Stadium in Victoria, B.C.
The 12-team tournament is divided into three groups of four teams each which will all play round-robin matches within the groups. Canada, Denmark, Nigeria and Japan will play in Group A in Edmonton, Alberta, while Group B, being played in Vancouver, B.C., is the "Group of Death" and features Germany, France, Mexico and Brazil The group winners and second place teams will all advance to the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-place teams based on points, at which time the tournament becomes a knock-out competition.
Fans will be able to follow the tournament by logging onto the special section of ussoccer.com dedicated to the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship, to get game reports, group standings, notes, photos and other features during the tournament. In addition, fans will be able to follow all the game action live on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.
The U.S. team was dealt some bad news last week when midfielder Annie Schefter tore the ACL in her right knee playing in a pickup game in her hometown of Yakima, Wash. Forward Kerri Hanks, a rising high school junior from Allen, Texas, who was on the USA's CONCACAF Qualifying team in Tobago, has replaced Schefter on the roster.
The U.S. team has talented players at every position and will be getting an unprecedented opportunity to compete in a women's youth World Championship, something not afforded to the current generation of star players on the U.S. Women's National Team. In preparation for the World Championship, the U.S. U-19s played 37 official matches over the past two years, including 17 full internationals, and countless other scrimmages. The USA went 15-1-1 in those international matches, outscoring their opponents 93-18. However, the U.S. U-19s have never faced any of their three first round opponents in what promises to be a highly competitive tournament. Due to the extensive preparation schedule, the majority of the U.S. roster has reached double-figures in U-19 caps with captain Lindsay Tarpley having the most at 20. Forward Angie Woznuk has played the least amount of full U-19 internationalswith just two.
The 18-player roster features six players who will be sophomores for their colleges next fall, seven incoming college freshmen, three players who will be high school seniors and two players who will be a high school juniors. The rising college freshmen and sophomores will miss their pre-seasons and then jump right into their collegiate seasons after the World Championship.