So, the Under-17 United States Women’s National Team roster for the team’s final tune-up camp prior to the CONCACAF Championship came out last week. As I was typing up the write-up, I noticed that some of the players had been listed under different field areas, than prior rosters. And, with everything else going on in soccer (e.g., U-20 CONCACAF Championship, Algarve Cup), I had not had time to thoroughly dig into the U-17 WNT roster.
This post is both a review of the past line-ups, as well as an exploration of the actual national team field positions for various players.
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Note: Reading US Soccer match reports
Most current US Soccer match reports list the USA players by lines: goalkeeper, defenders, midfielders, and forwards. Each line of players is separated by a semi-colon. For example, the U-17 USWNT’s line-up from their first match in La Manga, versus France:
1-Jane Campbell; 2-Brittany Basinger, 3-Maddie Bauer, 4-Mandy Freeman, 16-Gabbi Miranda (14-Lauren Kaskie, 82); 9-Morgan Stanton, 10-Morgan Andrews, 13-Sarah Robinson (20-Toni Payne, 72); 11-Summer Green, 6-Andi Sullivan (12-Amber Munerlyn, 72), 15-Emily Bruder (17-Maggie Purce, 68)
Subs Not Used: 7-Lizzy Raben, 18-Cassie Miller, 19-Morgan Reid
Breaking that line-up down based on the semi-colons, and removing the substitution information we get:
2-Brittany Basinger, 3-Maddie Bauer, 4-Mandy Freeman, 16-Gabbi Miranda; 9-Morgan Stanton, 10-Morgan Andrews, 13-Sarah Robinson;
11-Summer Green, 6-Andi Sullivan, 15-Emily Bruder
From top to bottom each line represents the goalkeeper (Campbell), the defenders (Basinger, Bauer, Freeman, Miranda), the midfielders, (Stanton, Andrews, Robinson), and the forwards (Green, Sullivan, Bruder). Based on the number of players per line, we can deduce that some variant of a 4-3-3 formation was used.
However, deducing specific player positions is a bit trickier, as the order of players tends to be more inconsistent. For example, compare the rosters for the U-20 USWNT at the 2012 CONCACAF Championship. The starting holding-mid player (Samantha Mewis or Sarah Killion) is listed as the first midfielder for all the matches, except the final, versus Canada. In that match, Mewis is listed as the last midfielder.
For the most part, specific player positions (right/left fullback, centerback, wing forward, etc.) are only mentioned when another source is available to corroborate that information.
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The following tables list the line-ups for all matches that are available this cycle, which started in February 2011. Players are listed in the order of the roster. In other words, no attempt has been made to classify players more specifically than as a goalkeeper, defender, midfielder, or forward.
For each match, the starting line-up and the final line-up are listed. In the final line-up for each match, players substituted into that match are italicized. Subbed-in players have been placed in the same box as the player they replaced. Asterisks (*) next to players names denote my uncertainty on whether the player actually played their listed position.
The tables have been converted to images (PNG files) due to WordPress formatting issues. An Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file with the tables as readable text can be downloaded, here.
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February 2011 Camp
This is the first official camp of the 2011-2012 Under-17 cycle. In latter half of the 2010, many of these players participated in U-15 camps. During this camp, which was helmed by Jill Ellis, the team played two test matches versus Germany’s U-17 WNT. The U-17 USWNT won the first match 3:1, while the second match was a 2:2 draw.
Of the 24 players who saw minutes in those matches, only 8 would make the 18-player La Manga roster, a year later (March 2012).
Notables: Morgan Andrews at centerback; Maddie Bauer appears to be listed as a right fullback; Andi Sullivan is listed as a midfielder; Jane Campbell starting in goal for both matches.
Other Notes: Micaela Powers (Beavercreek, Ohio; Wisconsin, verbal 2013) is a forward for her club team. Zoey Goralski (Napersville, Illinois; UCLA, verbal 2013) is listed as a right fullback for the U-17 WNT, per her club team’s website. Sometime between this camp and December 2011, forward Jenny Chiu (El Paso, Texas; UNC, verbal 2013) switched allegiances and joined the Mexican U-17 WNT.
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August 2011 Camp
This would be the fifth camp of 2011 for the U-17 USWNT. Between February and August, they met in March, April, and June. During those camps, the team scrimmaged against local club teams and colleges. Detailed match reports are not available for any of those matches. (An unofficial write-up for a match against Loyola Marymount is available, but it does not provide a box score.)
This is the first camp for newly installed head coach Albertin Montoya, who was announced as the team’s coach on August 8th. During the match, the team played Japan’s U-17 WNT twice. The first match was a 2:2 draw, with the USWNT coming back from 2:0 down, while the second match was a 2:1 loss.
Notables: Morgan Andrews is still at centerback; Maddie Bauer is still at right fullback; left-footed Gabbi Miranda started the first match at left fullback; Toni Payne started both matches in the midfield; Morgan Stearns gets international playing time in goal. (Also, four Morgan’s on the field at the same time.)
Other Notes: In both matches, Mandy Freeman, who, at the time, was officially listed as a midfielder, was substituted for forward/midfielder Andi Sullivan.
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February 2012 Camp
Between August 2011 and February 2012, the U-17 USWNT convened for two camps, in October and December. Also, goalkeeper Jane Campbell and midfielder/centerback Morgan Andrews were the only two U-17 players invited to a special U-23 camp in September, which also had a handful of U-20 players in attendance.
Notables: For the first time this cycle, we see Morgan Andrews in the midfield; Maddie Bauer now seems to be the anchoring centerback; Brittany Bassinger, whose first U-17 camp was in December, starts both matches at right fullback; Summer Green is listed as being in the midfield for the second match. Zoey Goralski, a regular for all camps in 2011, including three camps under Montoya, is not at this camp (and has not been called up since.)
Other Notes: Sarah Robinson (Los Altos, California; Stanford, verbal 2014) and Gabrielle Matulich (Los Gatos, California; uncommitted, 2014) are the only ’96 birthdays in the current U-17 player pool.
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March 2012: La Manga U-19 Tournament
Following the February 2012 camp, Montoya selected 18 players for this tournament. The U-17 USWNT played The U-19 WNTs of France, England, and the Netherlands. The U-17 USWNT had 2:0 victories against both France and the Netherlands, while tying England 1:1.
Except for the right fullback position (Brittany Basinger, Morgan Reid), the starting line-ups for the first two matches (France, England) are the same. Also, a preferred starting back four seems to have emerged: Brittany Bassinger (RB), Maddie Bauer (CB), Mandy Freeman (CB), and Gabbi Miranda (LB).
However, I think the second centerback position is a slight toss-up between 5’5″ Freeman and 5’9″ Lizzy Raben who started both matches against Japan and the third La Manga match, versus the Netherlands. But, at this time, I would give the edge to Freeman.
The midfield, as well, seems to have been solidified, with Morgan Stanton, Morgan Andrews, and Sarah Robinson being the preferred starters.
Up top, Andi Sullivan apparently seems to be the preferred center forward, as she has started all five matches so far this year and is listed as the second forward. The other forward spots seem less certain, but Summer Green is the next likely front-runner for a starting spot.
Other Notes (Catch-All):
Lauren Kaskie is listed as a left fullback and center midfielder for the U-17 WNT on her website. Like Gabbi Miranda, Kaskie is also a leftie.
I want to say that Morgan Andrews is now playing as the holding-mid, based on the following: (1) her experience in central defense as a center-back; (2) Toni Payne is a forward for her club team; and (3) Andrews’ height (5’9″) compared to the other midfielders (Morgan Stanton, 5’2″; Sarah Robinson, 5’2″; Toni Payne, 5’3″). But, defensive-oriented midfielders do not have to be tall. For example, U-20 Canadian WNT’er Danica Wu (Ohio State) is a feisty 5’2″. On the other hand, the midfield may be playing as a a flexible triangle, with no rigid positions.
Maddie Bauer is described as a centerback in a recent TopDrawerSoccer.com article on the La Manga trip. For her high school team, she is listed as a midfielder/defender.
Brittany Basinger is described as a right (full)back on her soccer youth association’s website, in a recent item about her time with the U-17s at La Manga. The description for the France own goal seems to corroborate her right fullback position:
After a tight and scoreless first half, the USA got on the board three minutes after the break, but it came via an own goal. Defender Brittany Basinger received the ball near the right sideline about 30 yards from the net and beat the outside back on the dribble. She took the ball inside the penalty area to the end line and crossed on the ground toward the top of the six-yard box, where a French defender inadvertently knocked it past her own goalkeeper.
(Emphasis added in the above quote and subsequent quotes.)
Mandy Freeman does seem to be playing as a centerback, based on the description for the USA’s goal in the England match:
The Americans equalized just before halftime when Mandy Freeman played a ball out of the back to Gabby Miranda, who was on the left flank near midfield. Miranda played a pass down the left sideline to Summer Green, who ran onto the ball and crossed on the ground into the center of the penalty area. Morgan Andrews was making a dynamic run up the middle and finished from 10 yards out.
Andi Sullivan is listed as a midfielder on the pool roster, but described as a forward in the match report for the game against France:
The ball dropped to forward Andi Sullivan’s feet…
Sullivan played in the midfield for the first two matches this cycle (against Germany, February 2011), but has been listed among the forwards for all subsequent matches.