Jan. 12, 2006
CHICAGO, Ill. - Current Santa Clara women's soccer standouts Jordan Angeli and Amanda Poach were among the 20 players that U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team head coach Tim Schulz named to the U-20 squad that will attempt to qualify the USA for the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Championship via the CONCACAF Women's U-20 Final Qualifying Tournament, being held in Mexico from Jan. 18-27, 2006. The top three finishers in the tournament will advance to the world championship being held in Russia from Aug. 16-Sept. 2, 2006.
Both Angeli and Poach are listed as midfielders on the official roster, as Angeli will move to the middle from the forward position she stars at for the Broncos. Her versatility on both sides of the ball gives her the ability to handle the middle, as she began her SCU career as a defender before head coach Jerry Smith moved her to forward before the 2005 season.
Angeli responded with a breakout offensive year in 2005, leading the Broncos with 12 goals and 29 points and being named to the WCC's second team. Of her many fine moments this past season, one that stands out in particular and put her on the national radar was a two-goal performance against then-No. 1 Notre Dame at Buck Shaw Stadium on Sept. 9, which carried the Broncos to a 2-1 victory over the defending national champions. Following her performance that weekend, in which she was named MVP of the Santa Clara adidas Classic, Angeli earned Soccer America's National Player of the Week honor in addition to spots on the National Teams of the Week for that same publication and Soccer Buzz, WCC Player of the Week, and a spot in Sports Illustrated's "Faces in the Crowd" (9/26).
Poach is coming off of a rookie campaign in which she started 23 of 24 games at midfielder for the Broncos. She assisted on a pair of goals in 2005 while providing deft ball-handling and defensive effort in the middle, helping shut down opposing attacks and also maintaining possession and helping SCU control the tempo of the match.
"It was a very difficult process," said Schulz of picking the 20 players for qualifying at the end of an eight-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. "The coaching staff deliberated every night and we went back and forth on lots of players. I know there is going to be some exciting internal competition for starting spots and that's a good thing. I also think we have a lot of depth, so we can go to our bench during the tournament and have fresh bodies when we need them."
Schulz' squad will enter the qualifying tournament with some experience on its side as seven of the 20 players were members of the U.S. team that finished third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand. The roster features five players who are sophomores in college, 13 who are in their freshman years and two high school seniors in forwards Lauren Cheney and Kelley O'Hara, the youngest player on the squad at 17.
The USA was drawn into Group B at CONCACAF Qualifying and will open the tournament on January 19 against Jamaica. The young Americans will face Surinam on January 21 and finish Group B play on January 23 against El Salvador. All the U.S. first round matches are being held in Cordoba at Rafael Murillo Vidal Stadium and will kick off at 2:30 p.m. local time/3:30 p.m. ET.
To no one's surprise, several major college soccer powers are represented on the U.S. roster with UCLA having four players, plus Cheney who has committed to the Bruins for next fall. Santa Clara, Notre Dame, Texas and Virginia have two players apiece.