Aug. 26, 2003
CHICAGO - Four former Santa Clara University standouts will represent the United States at next month's FIFA Women's World Cup 2003, as U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs named Kylie Bivens, Brandi Chastain, Danielle Slaton and Aly Wagner as four of the 20 players who will represent the United States in their home country on women's soccer's grandest stage.
"Having coached all four players, I know how hard they worked prior to attending Santa Clara University, while they were at Santa Clara, and since they've left the University," Bronco head coach Jerry Smith said. "There's no doubt that all four deserve to be on the World Cup roster and I couldn't be any more proud or happier for them. All the credit is to them for their dedication to the game. I'm also very honored that the Santa Clara women's soccer program could play a role in the development of the players they've become."
The roster is a product of more than two and a half years of player evaluation by Heinrichs and her staff that included 42 international matches, countless youth national team practices and games, and almost 260 WUSA contests. In the last three years, Heinrichs has looked at 56 players in full international matches.
"The roster is a reflection of the veteran leadership, and heading into this World Cup, we will need the veterans to provide leadership and the foundation for our consistent performances," Heinrichs said. "I also think this roster reflects an injection of youthful energy and enthusiasm, as it includes a large contingent of young WUSA professionals. These players have proven themselves on the highly competitive battlegrounds of the WUSA."
Overall, Heinrichs selected 12 players who were on the USA's historic 1999 Women's World Cup Team and 13 that were on the USA's 2000 Olympic Team.
"We all know that there are advantages and disadvantages to naming a team too early or too late, but I felt that after watching the players play this week in San Diego, that the timing was perfect to do it now," said Heinrichs, who trained the team for four days at the U.S. Olympic Training Center - Chula Vista and then attended the Founders Cup WUSA Championship game last Sunday.
Of the 20-player roster, four are set to play in their third Women's World Cup tournament-including Chastain-while the other three Santa Clara players will be among eight Women's World Cup debutantes (Shannon Boxx, Bivens, Angela Hucles, Siri Mullinix, Cat Reddick, Slaton, Wagner and Abby Wambach).
The youngest player and only non-professional selected to the roster is 21-year-old defender Reddick, who is a senior at the University of North Carolina. On the 1999 Women's World Cup roster, Lorrie Fair, then a rising senior at UNC, was the only college player selected. In 1999, the tournament was in the summer and Fair did not miss any college games. Reddick will miss about a month and a half of her college season while representing the USA.
Wagner, the second youngest player on the team and the top pick in the 2003 WUSA Draft by the Spirit, was one of the last players released from both the 1999 Women's World Cup Team and the 2000 Olympic Team, but has now realized her dream of making a U.S. squad for a world championship. Slaton and Mullinix, both members of the USA's 2000 Olympic team, make their first Women's World Cup Team.
Four players were bolstered by strong WUSA seasons, including Bivens of the Atlanta Beat and All-WUSA First Team midfielder Boxx of the New York Power, who becomes the first-ever uncapped player named to a U.S. Women's World Cup Team.
"This is the best roster a U.S. Women's National Team has ever fielded in a world event," Heinrichs continued. "We have experience, composure, athleticism, versatility and depth in every position."
Santa Clara will be the second most represented university on the roster with four former players. North Carolina leads with six representatives, while Notre Dame and Portland have two each.
The 2003 U.S. Women's World Cup Team is currently on a break and will re-group in Los Angeles for training at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center from Aug. 29 - Sept. 3. The team will then travel to San Jose, where the U.S. will be based from Sept. 4-7. That schedule includes two matches, the first against Costa Rica on Sept. 1 at The Home Depot Center (8 p.m. PT on ESPN2) and the second on Sept. 7 against Mexico at Spartan Stadium (10 a.m. PT on ESPN).
The complete release can be found on www.ussoccer.com.