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STANFORD — Junior Catarina Macario scored twice in the first half hour as the overall top-seeded Stanford women advanced to their third consecutive College Cup with a resounding 5-1 home victory Friday over previously unbeaten Brigham Young in the quarterfinals of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament.

Macario, the reigning college player of the year, scored off two assists from forward Madison Haley and another from freshman forward Sophia Smith. Kiki Pickett and Sam Tran also scored before halftime as the Cardinal (22-1-0) won its 17th consecutive game in front of 2,041 fans at Cagan Stadium.

Stanford, which reached its ninth College Cup in 12 years, will play Pac-12 rival UCLA on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at San Jose’s Avaya Stadium in the national semifinals.

“It took us a few minutes to settle in today, but I was thrilled with the result and am excited for this chance to play for a championship so close to home,” Stanford coach Paul Radcliffe said.

Chloe Castaneda and Mia Fishel each had two goals as second-seeded UCLA (18-4-1) upset defending national champion Florida State 4-0 to advance. A third Pac-12 team, Washington State, also reached the College Cup by stunning second-seeded South Carolina on the road when Mykiaa Minniss scored a golden goal 10 minutes into the first overtime.

The Cougars (16-6-1), who also knocked off top-seeded Virginia, reached their first College Cup in school history. They will face top-seed North Carolina (23-1-1) at 4 p.m. Friday. The national championship match is Sunday at Avaya Stadium at 5:30 p.m.

Maycee Bell scored on a header in the 69th minute as the Tar Heels held off No. 2 USC 3-2 to stop an all-West Coast Final Four. North Carolina reached the College Cup for the third time in four years. It has won an NCAA record 21 titles and is appearing in its record 29th College Cup.

Stanford will appear in its 10th College Cup after a year with one of the country’s most potent offenses.

BYU started fast against the Cardinal, which has outscored tournament opponents 26-1 in four games. The Cougars (21-1-1) almost scored in the second minute but Cardinal defenders blocked a strong shot. BYU kept pressing until Stanford began to hold the ball and mount attacks.

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“We knew we needed to settle it down,” defender Sam Hiatt said. “Everyone started to take an extra touch and maybe put a little extra focus to keep possession.”
The Cardinal broke through in the 17th minute when Haley played a ball to Macario in the penalty area. The midfielder scored easily with a shot into the top corner. About 13 minutes later, she scored her 32nd goal of the season — her ninth of the tournament.

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The 23 players who will represent the U.S. women’s national team at the 2019 World Cup were announced on Thursday, with the usual names like Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe on the squad. As it goes with every squad selection, there are some perceived snubs who maybe should have made the team over others.

Two of the biggest surprises on the team are midfielder Morgan Brian who has suffered through injuries and defender Ali Krieger, who is 34 years old. As a result, the general consensus of the two players who maybe deserved to be ahead of them are defender Casey Short and midfielder McCall Zerboni. Here’s what to know:

The case for Short
The U.S. needs some depth at left back, and the 28-year-old is a more than viable option. She’s been in great form with the Chicago Red Stars and showed that form at the SheBelieves Cup and the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. She has pace, she hustles, and she’s someone who will do the dirty work for her team. She’s also proven she can help in attack with four goals in 47 games for her club.

She’s been consistent with the U.S. over the last few years and there isn’t really any depth behind Crystal Dunn on the left flank. Certainly, her absence is the most questionable decision.

The case for Zerboni
At 32, she’s a late bloomer but somebody who has really impressed. She was called up for the first time in 2017, two months shy of her 31st birthday, making her the oldest player to earn a first cap for the USWNT. McCall is a high-quality midfielder who is calm on the ball, doesn’t make a lot of mistakes and has a ton of experience. The one downside was a broken elbow against Chile in September which saw her miss the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Had she been able to continue to impress there on a more difficult stage than friendlies, who knows what would have happen.

With coach Jill Ellis, it certainly makes sense to trust her after the last World Cup. But if Brian doesn’t bring enough to this team in the middle, if there is an obvious hole behind Dunn, and if the U.S. doesn’t win, hard questions will be asked.

You can watch the 2019 World Cup on fuboTV (Try for free).

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The cheeky fire-starters at Eight by Eight magazine knew exactly what they were doing when they waited six whole months until the business end of the Women’s World Cup to publish the interview with Megan Rapinoe they had recorded in January. At least as much as the impish American midfielder knew what she was provoking when asked whether the US women’s national soccer team she captains intended to visit Donald Trump if they managed the exceedingly rare feat of repeating as world champions.

“I’m not going to the fucking White House,” Rapinoe flatly stated. “No fucking way will we be invited to the White House.”

Megan Rapinoe calls for more investment in US women’s game

The release of the Rapinoe interview during the last week of June was a journalistic depth charge timed for maximum impact. The USA women, who had only just outrun an early-tournament controversy where they had become perhaps the first team in World Cup history to come under criticism for scoring too many goals (yes, really), were one day removed from seeing off Spain to set up a blockbuster quarter-final with the hosts, France, when the teaser clip dropped and went viral.

Trump, an instinctive counter-puncher who never met a spotlight he didn’t try to hijack, fired back the next day with a warning to Rapinoe to not “disrespect” her country: “Women’s soccer player, @meganrapino, just stated that she is ‘not going to the F … ing White House if we win’. Other than the NBA … teams love coming to the White House. I am a big fan of the American Team, and Women’s Soccer, but Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!”

Nothing about the presidential riposte came as a surprise, least of all the lie that he likes soccer or that he initially addressed it to the wrong Megan Rapinoe. Ever since he seized on Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police violence as a wellspring of easy political points, Trump has regularly co-opted sport as not merely a proxy battle in the culture wars but a primary theatre. Suddenly Rapinoe and co were no longer solely up against the growing cluster of European powers that have closed the competitive gap over the past decade, but what seemed like the entire American right.

She has compelled the country to engage in conversations once considered forbidden in the public square
Rapinoe was openly backed by her teammates as the back-and-forth with Trump came to overshadow the team’s looming showdown with a hotly tipped France side eager to knock the Americans off their perch. Alex Morgan also made it known she wouldn’t go to the White House, while Ali Krieger threw her support behind Rapinoe, saying Trump was angered by women he “cannot control or grope” and decrying what she described as the administration’s “fight against LGBTQ+ citizens, immigrants & our most vulnerable”.

But Rapinoe, a lesbian with a taste for the fight whose unapologetic political views have made her a lightning rod for conservatives, was always the primary target, with more skin in the game than anyone else. Not that she would have it any other way.

The rest is history. The purple-haired talisman, who turned 34 during the tournament, bounced back from a somewhat ponderous showing in group play to score pivotal goals in three of her side’s final four matches, earning the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer and the Golden Ball as the best overall player, while helping the US become the third country to defend successfully a World Cup, men’s or women’s, since the second world war.

Even after the USA returned home after defeating the Netherlands for their record fourth world title, Rapinoe’s right-wing critics redoubled in volume and numbers – no doubt irked by the pictures beamed around the globe of fronting a ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan with the World Cup trophy in one hand and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame in the other.

Megan Rapinoe
FacebookTwitterPinterest Drinking it in: Megan Rapinoe downs champagne on the USA’s victory parade in New York.

The Fox News anchor Howard Kurtz accused Rapinoe of using her platform “to mar or spoil or tar what could have been this great unifying victory”, while the conservative pundit Ben Shapiro said the midfielder was getting lucrative contracts only because she’s an “outspoken lesbian” who just happens to be good at soccer.

Piers Morgan, who had previously hit out at Rapinoe’s statuesque pose after the second of her two goals to beat France, called her unbearable, while the Fox News host Jesse Watters decried her “unpatriotic” behaviour, saying it undermined the team’s campaign for equal pay. Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide, invoked Rapinoe (“this woman who dyes her hair, who thinks she’s a big warrior”) to allege the US team were out “to destroy everything that is wholesome in our country and in our Judeo-Christian civilisation”.

Everything about Rapinoe – the flamboyant hairstyle, the victory pose that launched a thousand memes, the unrepentant egotism – makes them angry. She was the first white athlete to take a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner in solidarity with Kaepernick and the Black Lives Matter movement in 2016, and drew criticism for standing with her hands at her sides during the World Cup while representing the US on a global stage. She has consistently spoken up for LGBT rights and has also been one of the faces of a gender-discrimination complaint filed by a group of US women’s players alleging they are paid less than their male counterparts. Not since Kaepernick has a single athlete made them so uncomfortable.

But not unlike the exiled former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, she has compelled the country to engage in conversations once considered forbidden in public square – turning the afterglow of her team’s championship on vital matters of LGBTQ rights as well as racial and gender equality.

And no, she never made it to the White House.

“I don’t think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we’ve worked so hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life,” she told CNN’s Anderson Cooper during the team’s extended victory lap. “I don’t think that we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration.”

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When asked whether she had a message for Trump, she took a breath, broke the fourth wall and spoke: “Your message is excluding people. You’re excluding me, you’re excluding people that look like me, you’re excluding people of colour, you’re excluding Americans that maybe support you.”

She went on: “I think that we need to have a reckoning with the message that you have and what you’re saying about ‘Make America great again’. I think that you’re harking back to an era that was not great for everyone. It might have been great for a few people. Maybe America is great for a few people right now. But it’s not great for enough Americans.”

Win before you talk? No problem. And by taking the fight to enemies foreign and domestic, our purple-haired champion and voice of the disenfranchised ensured the Summer of Rapinoe will be long remembered.

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CHICAGO (Nov. 27, 2019) – U.S. Soccer has announced the nominees for the 2019 Young Male, Young Female and Player of the Year with a Disability awards. Voting for the candidates begins Nov. 27 and closes on Dec. 6 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The winner will be announced during the second week of December.

The Young Male Player of the Year field showcases a number of rising stars who have played for the U.S. Men’s National Team and the Youth National Teams this year. Defender Sergiño Dest shined for the USA at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland and parlayed a sterling early season with Ajax into repeated senior MNT call-ups that will continue to come after he became cap-tied to the U.S. in November’s Concacaf Champions League match vs. Canada. Midfielder Paxton Pomykal saw his star rise as he helped lead the charge for the U.S. in Poland and turned consistent MLS performances into his first senior Men’s National Team appearance. Center back Chris Richards made a big move to Bayern Munich and showcased why Germany’s biggest club signed him as he earned a spot on the U-20 World Cup’s 10 players to watch list. Gianluca Busio had a breakout year for club and country as the most experienced professional player to ever suit up for a U-17 USMNT that qualified for a record 17th U-17 World Cup, while teammate Gio Reyna was the U-17s’ top scorer and secured a move to German powerhouse club Borussia Dortmund. Ricardo Pepi also contributed to the U-17 USMNT’s success while making his mark in the pro ranks with USL League One outfit North Texas SC, as his goals helped fire the side to the league title game.

The Young Female Player of the Year nominees represent a group of talented players who have all seen time with U.S. Youth Women’s National Teams this year. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy returned from beginning her pro career in Europe to mind the nets for Reign FC, helping the side to a fourth-place NWSL finish and semifinal playoff appearance – a body of work that earned her a call-up to the WNT’s December ID camp. U-17 WNT forward Trinity Byars ran rampant through the U.S. Soccer Development Academy, scoring 31 goals in 18 games to help Solar Soccer Club win the U-16/17 National Championship while also shining at the international level. Defender Naomi Girma entered her second cycle with the U-20 WNT and led Stanford as a sophomore captain, while U-20 teammate Brianna Pinto has helped UNC to a 22-1-1 record; both have earned a call-up to the WNT’s December Identification camp. Rounding out the field is forward Allyson Sentnor. The Massachusetts native was recently named Sports Illustrated Kids SportsKid of the Year and is the U-17 WNT’s leading scorer this year, despite playing up an age group.

This year’s Player of the Year with a Disability field features Steve Everett, a player, coach and organizer for Power Soccer, who is working hard to expand access and investment in the sport. Holly Hunter of the U.S. Deaf Women’s National Team is a strong defender for U.S. Soccer Development Academy club Legends FC who has been called into a pair of U.S. Youth National Team camps, while U.S. Para 7-a-Side striker Nick Mayhugh is on the ballot again for his second straight year of superlative play for the USPNT, which achieved two historic tournament finishes this year thanks to Mayhugh’s goals and leadership. Michael Schmid completes the list of nominees after a superb year for the U.S. Deaf Men’s National Team, winning the Golden Boot while helping the USA win a gold medal at the 2019 Pan-American Games in Chile.

Young Female, Male & Player with a Disability Bios

Past Player of the Year Award Winners

Votes for U.S. Soccer Player of the Year awards are collected from National Team coaches, senior National Team players who have earned a cap in 2019, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, the U.S. Soccer Athletes’ Council, select media members as well as former players and administrators. Nominees were selected by coaches of the respective National Teams.

Players cannot win the Young Male or Young Female Player of the Year award more than once.

The award for Young Player of the Year was first presented in 1998 with Josh Wolff and Cindy Parlow winning for the Young Male and Young Female category, respectively. The Player of the Year with a Disability award was first given in 2012 with Felicia Schroeder earning the honor.

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NASHVILLE — Saturday was lining up to be a near-perfect day for Adrianna Franch.

Her fiancé was in town to watch her play with the United States women’s national team in the SheBelieves Cup in Nashville. And Franch would get to wear the last name of her childhood idol, Briana Scurry, on the back of her kit because of a promotion the team was doing. Each player wore the name of a woman that inspired them.

“I watched the ’99 World Cup. I was 9,” Franch said. “I thought about this hard and who I looked up to as a kid, and it was her. That’s who I wanted to be.”

While Franch knew her fiancé would be in the stands and that she’d get to wear that special jersey, she didn’t know – until just a few days before – she’d also get her first national team cap in the Music City.

She became just the eighth goalkeeper to start for the team since 2001, joining an elite group that includes Scurry.

“It’s a beautiful experience to get the first cap and represent her name,” Franch said.

Unfortunately, Saturday in Nashville didn’t have a perfect ending. Like Andre 3000 once said, “You can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather.”

The U.S. drew 2-2 with England, and after the match, the attitude among U.S. players marching through the tunnel at Nissan Stadium seemed like a sour one. It was a draw that felt much more like a loss.

“It’s not the result that we wanted, but we’ll learn from it and move forward,” Franch said.

Still, the day was an important step for Franch. Aside from a costly mistake that resulted in a goal, she played well and kept a talented England team at bay for most of the day. As the 2019 World Cup in France looms, Franch showed that she can be relied on.

U.S. head coach Jill Ellis was committed to giving Alyssa Naeher the start in goal in all three SheBelieves Cup games, but the 30-year-old from Penn State suffered a shoulder injury during a draw against Japan in the tournament opener in Chester, Pa., Feb. 27.

Suddenly, Ellis had a choice to make. In Nashville, she could either go with veteran Ashlyn Harris, a proven commodity who was a backup to Hope Solo on the 2015 World Cup team, or Franch, who had never been capped.

It was time. Ellis wanted to see what she had in the 28-year-old Franch.

“It’s getting an opportunity, whether your hand is forced or not, but it’s an answer that we wanted and needed. And we wanted (Franch) to have a cap,” Ellis said. “I thought AD had been really good in training. And I’ve seen Ashlyn, so it was giving AD an opportunity.”

On short notice, Franch impressed. The 5-foot-9 Kansas native mostly played well and looked comfortable, but made an error in the 36th minute. Mallory Pugh played a pass backward to the defense, but a pair of U.S. defenders let the ball roll to Franch and she picked it up. A referee whistled and awarded England with an indirect free kick.

“I was on the sideline and I was watching it, so I feel like maybe that could’ve gone either way,” U.S. defender Becky Sauerbrunn said. “You could say that it wasn’t a direct backpass to the goalkeeper. It was kind of an in-betweener. It’s unfortunate.”

England’s captain, Steph Houghton, curved the ball through a crack in the defense and into the net. Franch stretched out for an admirable attempt at a save, but it was a shot that few goalkeepers on the planet could’ve halted.

After the match, Franch acknowledged her blunder, but wanted to move on quickly. She said she didn’t call off the two defenders who let the ball roll through, but she wasn’t about to use that as an excuse, either.

“It was just a little mishap and we’ll learn from it,” Franch said. “We keep learning from our mistakes and strengths.”

The second ball Franch allowed in the net came in the 52nd minute. After the U.S. was dispossessed in its own half, a few one-touch passes threw the Stars and Stripes’ defense into a frenzy and Nikita Parris slipped through unmarked on the right side. She sliced a ball by Franch, beating her with a low shot to the far post.

“We did a lot of good things out there, but it’s not good enough,” Franch said. “It’s not the result we wanted.”

Franch tallied two saves on the day and the U.S. equalized. Despite her error, Ellis and Franch’s teammates were impressed, especially considering the circumstances.

“Other than the one error of picking up the ball — which again, is a valuable freaking lesson — I thought she had good presence in there and in the kicking game,” Ellis said. “For her first game, I thought she was solid.”

Added Tierna Davidson: “I think she played really well. She was really calm with her feet, very composed under the pressure the forwards were giving her, and that’s a lot that we ask of our keepers, to be able to possess off the back. That’s very important for us.”

Sauerbrunn chimed in too, saying, “For her first cap, this is a tough game to come into and I thought she handled it really well. (Picking up the back pass is) something you’re going to learn from and probably never do again.”

It’s been a long journey for Franch to get her first cap with the U.S. national team. She started getting invited to U.S. camps at the U-20 level in 2010 when she was playing college ball at Oklahoma State, where she was twice a semifinalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, twice an All-American and a four-time All-Big 12 selection.

Franch became the first goalkeeper taken in the National Women’s Soccer League draft when the Western New York Flash selected her with the sixth overall pick in 2013. Franch tallied six saves in her debut and was seen as a rising star in the sport, but a knee injury forced her to miss the 2014 season. After a year off, and then a season where she played for a club in Norway, Franch returned to the NWSL with the Portland Thorns in 2016. Since then, she’s helped the Thorns win the NWSL Shield in 2016, the championship in 2017 and she’s twice been named the league’s Goalkeeper of the Year.

2019 could be a big year for Franch’s soccer career. She has her first national team cap and soon, she’ll report to camp with the Thorns to try and help them reach the NWSL final again, which they lost last year to the North Carolina Courage.

And she has a real shot in making Ellis’ roster for the World Cup. Three goalkeepers will go and Franch is slotted in third place on the depth chart.

Should something like Naeher’s shoulder injury occur in France, Ellis now knows she can rely on Franch to be ready to play at a high level with little notice.

“The goalkeeper position is hard. At the end of the day, all three of us . . . That’s what we work for every day,” Franch said. “You try to have the same preparation because, I mean, a goalkeeper can get injured in a warmup or anything like that. You have to be prepared.”

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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Each year the Chicago Red Stars return to the NWSL playoffs, the questions about winning in the playoffs and getting past the semifinal barrier became more prominent.

Each year, the players and coach Rory Dames would be asked about how they could reach the final. After four straight defeats, they had to face the reality that until they won a semifinal, the questions would remain.

The Red Stars were finally able to answer those questions in a definitive way Sunday with a 1-0 win against the Portland Thorns. The memories of four straight semifinal losses may still linger for some, but now it’s about the next step.

“It’s nice to be able to finally get there,” Dames said. “We’ve been close, but I’d be lying if I said that we’ve accomplished all that we want to do this year.”

Dames has been the coach all five years, but most of the roster has turned over. Only four active Red Stars were on the first playoff team in 2015: Vanessa DiBernardo, Danielle Colaprico, Julie Ertz and Arin Wright. Wright was unavailable due to illness, while the other three started Sunday.

For DiBernardo, the win was more about excitement than relief. She noted how things were different late in the season. The Red Stars entered the playoffs on a five-match winning streak.

“We’ve finished out this season on a high and I think in the past it’s always kind of not been like that so this year’s a little bit different,” DiBernardo said. “We just tell ourselves that every year is different. It’s a different team. It’s a different year. The playoffs in the past are so different. It’s exciting to just get over the hump.”

So what was different about this team that allowed them to get over that hump?

“I don’t think there’s anything specific,” DiBernardo said. “We’ve had this core group for so long and we’ve been able to grow together and play well together. Being able to keep that chemistry is huge. We’ve had four other semifinals so we’re used to the pressure, we know what to expect and I think that’s big.”

Sam Kerr, the lone goal scorer Sunday, is in her second year with the Red Stars. For her, the sting of a playoff defeat is concentrated on last year. Kerr recalled last year’s 2-0 loss to the North Carolina Courage.

The Red Stars will face the Courage again, but this time it will be in the final.

“I think honestly last year, the loss in the semifinal, we feel like we kind of let ourselves down,” Kerr said. “We had worked so hard. Everyone just came back with a different mentality that this is going to be our year. We’ve stuck together. People have come in and out all year. It’s just been about the team. We’ve got a lot of big personalities in our team, but no big egos. I think that’s really unique in this team and, like I said, we totally deserved to be there and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”

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CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2019) – Florida State midfielder and U.S. Youth National Teams veteran Jaelin Howell has replaced University of North Carolina defender Emily Fox on the U.S. Women’s National Team Identification Camp roster. The 24-player training camp will take place from Dec. 9-14 in Bradenton, Florida.

Fox, who has three USWNT caps, suffered a knee injury in UNC’s NCAA quarterfinal playoff victory against USC on Nov. 29.

Howell has trained with the USWNT once previously, back in 2017 when she was 17. She played for the USA at both the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan and the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.

She started all 23 games she played for the Seminoles this season and scored five goals with four assists from her defensive midfield position, helping FSU into the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals. During the 2018 season, she played in 26 matches as a freshman with 24 starts in helping the Seminoles win the NCAA Championship.

U.S. WNT ROSTER – DECEMBER TRAINING CAMP (CLUB/SCHOOL; WNT CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 3/0), Casey Murphy (Reign FC; 0/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Maycee Bell (UNC; 0/0), Malia Berkely (Florida State; 0/0), Imani Dorsey (Sky Blue FC; 0/0), Naomi Girma (Stanford; 0/0), Sarah Gorden (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0), Hailie Mace (Rosengård FC, SWE; 3/0), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; 0/0), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0), Vanessa DiBernardo (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0), Jordan DiBiasi (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 0/0); Sarah Killion (Sky Blue FC; 0/0), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 15/1), Brianna Pinto (UNC; 0/0), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; 0/0)

FORWARDS (6): Bethany Balcer (Reign FC; 0/0), Madison Haley (Stanford; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Paige Monaghan (Sky Blue FC; 0;0), Sophia Smith (Stanford; 0/0), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; 0/0)

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CHICAGO (Dec. 4, 2019)—The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will take on Brazil and France at the 2019 Nike International Friendlies. U.S. head coach Mark Carr has called in 34 players for the tournament who will be split into two squads for games at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch, Fla. All five tournament games will be streamed live on ussoccer.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The tournament will be held in conjunction with the Allstate U.S. Soccer Development Academy Winter Cup, running from Dec. 8-14 at the Premier Sports Campus.

2019 NIKE INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES SCHEDULE

Monday, Dec. 9

Brazil vs. France, 6:30 p.m. ET

Wednesday, Dec. 11

France vs. USA-Red, 3:30 p.m. ET

Brazil vs. USA-Blue, 6:30 p.m. ET

Friday, Dec. 13

USA-Red vs. Brazil, 3:30 p.m. ET

USA-Blue vs. France, 6:30 p.m. ET

The matches are serving as preparation for February’s Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship to be held in the Dominican Republic. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2000 are age-eligible for that tournament which will send three countries to the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. Carr, who will coach all four games for the two U.S. squads, has called in 15 players born in 2000, eight born in 2001 and eight born in 2002.

Four players eligible for the U-20 WNT — defenders Maycee Bell and Naomi Girma, midfielder Brianna Pinto and forward Sophia Smith — have been called to the senior WNT’s December Identification Camp, to be held in nearby Sarasota and will not participate in the Nike Friendlies.

“Getting games in a tournament against Brazil and France is a great way to end the year and continue to prepare for World Cup qualifying,” Carr said. “With the college season over for all but four schools, we will see the return of a lot our college-aged players from our U-20 pool. It will be a good opportunity to see and evaluate their growth over the last couple of months alongside our younger players with high potential. At the same time, it was great to see four of our U-20 players get invited the U.S. Women’s National Team ID camp with Vlatko and his staff and I know that experience will benefit them tremendously as well.”

U.S. U-20 WNT ROSTER BY POSITION – 2020 NIKE INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLIES
GOALKEEPERS (3): Angelina Anderson (California; Danville, Calif.), Julia Dohle (Penn State; Scarsdale, N.Y.), Meagan McClelland (Rutgers; Kearny, N.J.)

DEFENDERS (11): Julia Dorsey (UNC; Baltimore, Md.), Cassandra Hiatt (Texas Tech; Parker, Colo.), Shae Holmes (Washington; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Smith Hunter (Reign Academy; Seattle, Wash.), Samantha Kroeger (World Class FC; West Milford, N.J.), Emily Mason (PDA; Flemington, N.J.), Quincy McMahon (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Sally Menti (Crossfire Premier; Seattle, Wash.), Bria Schrotenboer (Michigan State; Holland, Mich.), Ella Shamburger (Vanderbilt; Atlanta, Ga.), Natalia Staude (Virginia; Atlanta, Ga.)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Talia DellaPeruta (Köln/GER; Cumming, Ga.), Katelyn Duong (Minnesota; Portland, Ore.), Zoe Hasenauer (Oregon; Simi Valley, Calif.), Avery Lockwood (Indiana; Grand Rapids, Mich.), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.), Astrid Wheeler (Concorde Fire; Atlanta, Ga.), Summer Yates (Washington; Pasco, Wash.), Sakura Yoshida (Oregon; Seattle, Wash.)

FORWARDS (9): Isabel Cox (UNC; Greensboro, N.C.), Lia Godfrey (United Soccer Alliance; Fleming Island, Fla.), Dilary Heredia Beltran (Sporting Blue Valley; Overland Park, Kan.), Rebecca Jarrett (Virginia; Clifton, N.J.), Sydny Nasello (South Florida; Land O’ Lakes, Fla.), Jenna Nighswonger (Florida State; Huntington Beach, Calif.), Diana Ordonez (Virginia; Prosper, Texas), Anna Podojil (Arkansas; Cincinnati, Ohio), Trinity Rodman (So Cal Blues SC; Laguna Niguel)

Two players on the roster return from the USA’s 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup team in midfielder Alexa Spaanstra and goalkeeper Angelina Anderson, who served as the team’s third ‘keeper in France. Seven players represented the U.S. at the 2018 FIFA U-17 WWC in Uruguay: Anderson, goalkeeper Julia Dohle, defenders Smith Hunter and Natalia Stadue, midfielder Astrid Wheeler and forwards Talia DellaPeruta and Trinity Rodman. Spaanstara, as well as forward Lia Godfrey, were a part of the U.S. squad at the 2016 FIFA U-17 WWC in Jordan.

Twenty-one players just wrapped up their NCAA campaigns, with 13 players finishing their freshman years and eight completing their sophomore seasons. Fourteen play for youth clubs across the U.S., while one player, DellaPeruta, is currently based at Germany’s FC Köln.

“I’ve enjoyed watching the growth the players with their youth clubs and in the college game,” said Carr. “Working with all of the coaches has been productive and we all have the players’ best interests at heart. It’s been a real pleasure to work alongside the college coaches and listen to their thoughts on the development of their players. For me, the monitoring process has been seamless and we have all worked together very well. With two camps left before qualifying, it’s our job now to select the best roster to help us get to the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.”

Twenty-three players have spent at least one season in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy. Godfrey was named East Conference Player of the Year last season, while defender Bria Schrotenboer won the Golden Ball as the postseason’s best player while leading Midwest United FC to the U-18/19 National Championship alongside midfielder Avery Lockwood.

This year marks the third annual Nike International Friendlies for the U-20 WNT. The tournament was launched in 2001 for the Under-17 Men’s National Team before a women’s competition was added in 2017. It will be the second appearance at the tournament for both Brazil (2017) and France (2018). England took home the inaugural tournament title, while France topped the table last year. No champion will be crowned at this year’s tournament.

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The 2019 World Cup in France has been a showcase for the continued growth of women’s soccer. The host nation has produced a team with the talent to win it all. Other nations, like Italy and Spain, have seen their women’s teams begin to approach the immense potential of their soccer cultures.

And, of course, the United States is once again a central presence. For years, the American women have been a fixture at the World Cup. The U.S. won the first women’s edition of the tournament in 1991, and are the most recent winners in 2015.

Yet it’s the 1999 World Cup that, in many ways, will always define the United States women’s national team. Played at home in front of packed crowds at NFL stadiums, it showed the potential of women’s sports to draw thousands of fans. The U.S. triumph on penalty kicks against China in the final was watched by a sellout crowd of 90,185 at the Rose Bowl, a record attendance for a women’s sporting event. It was also watched by millions on television.

Its legacy endures two decades afterward, both in the U.S. and abroad. Yet as fans of the ’99 team remember, it came perilously close to having its picture-perfect American ending spoiled. Battling China in extra time of the final with score tied 0-0, the U.S. team came within a famous forehead of conceding what could’ve been the losing goal.

Except in that moment, New England native Kristine Lilly was waiting to intercept it.

“I played in 354 games, and I think I saved a ball off the line maybe twice,” Lilly recalled in a recent interview with Boston.com. “It happened so fast. I remember it was so hot, and getting water beforehand and then seeing the ball come in, I pinched in to make the goal a little bit smaller and then happened to head it. The funny part is the weakest part of my game was heading. That’s why I was on that post. And that whole week leading up, I couldn’t head the ball at all.”

Lilly joked that her ’99 teammates “kiss my forehead a lot,” but in reality admitted there were very good reasons for why she was ready to make her timely save.

“We would go over and over it repeatedly in practice,” Lilly explained. “It’s not just something random that I was on that goal post.”

It cut to the core of the team’s mentality: endlessly competitive and disciplined through intense practice and coaching.

“It was for-real every single game, and every practice, same thing,” said fellow ’99 teammate Michelle Akers, who spoke with Boston.com at a recent watch party for the U.S. in the 2019 World Cup. “That’s the mentality I love, and we even called it ‘USA mentality.’”

“The basis of that national team I think from the very beginning was a great foundation set back then,” Lilly said. “The culture was continued through the years. I think what we all realized when you play for the U.S. team is that when you step into that environment, it’s competitive. It’s not like you come into it and you’re just there. You have to earn it. You have to work at it. And when you realize what it takes, then it becomes bigger than yourself. That’s powerful.”

For Akers, who in 2000 was named co-FIFA Women’s Player of the Century with China’s Sun Wen, the mentality went beyond that. It extended to whoever the U.S. was playing.

“You want them to not look forward to playing you,” Akers said. “You want it to be so hard that they don’t want to play the U.S.”

When Akers looks at the 2019 American team, she sees a continuation of what her generation started.

“They’re intense right off the bat, just ramming the ball right down the opponent’s throat and into the goal,” she noted. “I love that.”

Of course, the U.S. team has never been able to simply focus on the game on the field. As female professional athletes, they’ve always had to fight for equal treatment in a sport and a culture that hasn’t wanted to give it to it them. In this, Akers and Lilly again see similarities between the current team and their own time.

“We went on strike before the [1996] Olympics for equal pay,” Akers remembered. “Of course we didn’t get it, but we just needed more to be able to compete, which we got. So we’ve gone through this. We negotiated contracts, we talked about it, we worked with Billie Jean King and all these amazing women who have paved the way. We did our part, and now it’s exciting to see this team is still pushing.”

The U.S. team launched a lawsuit in March against its own federation over gender discrimination. Recently, the two sides reportedly reached a tentative agreement to mediate the suit, though it remains unresolved through the current tournament.

Yet, as Lilly sees it, the fight is bigger than just how much the players get paid.

“Of course a lot of it’s not about pay but how they invest in the women’s game compared to the men’s game,” she explained. “We want that to be equal. It has to do with what they’re doing to improve the game and not just how they’re compensating the players.”

Lilly runs youth soccer camps with other former players like Mia Hamm and Tisha Venturini.

“I think for me that really is powerful because when we were young, there wasn’t a female coach standing before us,” Lilly said. “So these girls get to see that we played at the highest level, and now we’re teaching. So they see they have options. If they’re not going to play, maybe they can teach the game and they can do what they want to do. I think that’s a strong statement to make to them.”

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Hope Solo is going to be a mom!

The soccer star, 38, announced the happy news while co-hosting the beIN SPORTS Weekend Winners show, revealing that she and her husband former NFL player Jerramy Stevens are expecting a boy and a girl.

“Yes, my husband and I get to practice equality from the very beginning with one boy and one girl,” Solo said in a video of the segment, which was shared on Twitter by the show on Monday.

“Miniature soccer team on the way,” Solo said proudly while sweetly rubbing her growing belly.

Solo retweeted the clip, simply adding a boy and girl baby emoji.

The joyful announcement comes just a few months after Solo revealed she had previously suffered a devastating miscarriage with twins.

Hope Solo and Jerramy Stevens KEVIN MAZUR/WIREIMAGE
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In a wide-ranging interview for the July issue of Elle, the former U.S Women’s National Soccer Team goalkeeper revealed that she had suffered the loss back in February 2018, while running for president of the United States Soccer Federation (USFF).

RELATED: Hope Solo Reveals She Suffered a Devastating Miscarriage with Twins: ‘I Was Hours From Dying’

At the time, Solo and Stevens had been trying for a while to get pregnant. A week after miscarrying, Solo — still in a lot of pain — went to the doctor where she learned that she’d actually been pregnant with twins. (One of the eggs was considered an ectopic pregnancy, she explained.)

‼️ https://t.co/qdGG7yaOss

— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) December 17, 2019

“The doctor said I was hours from dying,” she told Elle. “They ended up having to remove my fallopian tube.”

After the loss, Solo explained to Elle that she had begun the process of in vitro fertilization and throughout it all she remained strong.

RELATED: Hope Solo on the Moment She Is Suspended for Olympics Outburst: ‘Seventeen F—— Years and It’s Over’

“We see life and death very often,” Solo said, as she describes having to put animals down on her Greensboro, North Carolina, home when they get hurt, or her past experience of dealing with wildfires and coyotes. “So much of what we do can be catastrophic if we make mistakes. It’s not for the faint of heart.”