Under-20 Women’s World Cup: Official Rosters Released, Notes on the USA’s Opponents

On Friday, FIFA released the rosters for all sixteen teams competing in the Under-20 Women’s World Cup. That list is available in PDF format, while individual team rosters can also be viewed on FIFA.com’s micro-site for the tournament.

Only one of the United States’ group opponents, Germany, had already announced their roster in late July (and subsequently made two changes due to injury). With the official release of rosters, the squads for Ghana, whom the USA open against, and China, the USA’s middle group opponent, are now available. The rest of this post is mostly statistical notes about the USA’s and its opponent rosters.

KEY FACTOID: Ghana is the shortest team, at only 159.0 centimeters while the other three teams in Group D, the United States (170.43 cm), Germany (170.33 cm) and China (169.86 cm) are the tallest three teams in the tournament.

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TALLEST AVERAGE TEAM — The USA has the tallest average height of 170.43 centimeters (5 feet, 7.1 inches), which is just a tenth of a centimeter taller than Germany, who are at 170.33 cm, although Germany’s median height is a centimeter higher, 171 cm versus 170 cm for the USA. The USA’s shortest player is right fullback Crystal Dunn, whose official height is 157 cm (5 feet, 1.8 inches), while the tallest is midfielder Samantha Mewis at 180 cm (5 feet, 10.8 inches). China is not that far behind, with the same median height (170 cm) as the USA and an average height less than a centimeter shorter (169.86 cm versus 170.43 cm).

OLDEST TEAM — The United States is the oldest squad, with an average age of 19.81 and a median age of 20.13 years. Thirteen players will have turned 20 by the start of the tournament. The youngest player is defender Stephanie Amack, who was born in December 1994.

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GHANA (FIFA.com roster)

PLENTY OF YOUTH WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE — Eighteen players on the squad have played in at least one prior U-20 or U-17 WWC. From their 2010 U-20 WWC roster, fourteen players were eligible for this year’s tournament, but only eight return, with six of those players being from the team’s starting line-up against the USA: goalkeeper Patricia Mantey, defenders Rosemary Ampem and Janet Egyir, midfielders Deborah Afriyie and Mercy Myles, plus forward Florence Dadson. Another player, Elizabeth Addo, was a first-half substitute for Myles, who was ill. Of those eight players, six are also veterans of 2008 U-17 WWC: all but Egyir and Priscilla Saahene, who did not play in the USA match. One additional player, American-born Candice Osei-Agyemang (now at the University of Arizona) was a member of that 2008 U-17 WWC squad, but missed the 2010 U-20 WWC due to injury. Nine players have been brought up from Ghana’s 2010 U-17 WWC squad, which finished last in their group (FIFA.com), although the team did have a 1:0 upset versus Brazil.

SOME YOUNG PLAYERS — Somewhat oddly, there are five U-17 players (1995 birthday or younger) on the squad, even though Ghana has also qualified for this year’s U-17 WWC in Azerbaijan, including one player, Veronica Appiah, born in 1997, This is odd because since those five players have been named to a U-20 WWC squad, they are ineligible for the U-17 WWC, per section 22.3 of the tournament regulations (PDF, page 27).* Also worth noting is that Ghana has the youngest average squad at 18.56 years, although Switzerland, who did not qualify for the U-17 WWC, also has an average of 18.56 years, but is a fraction older. Concerning median age, Ghana is second, behind Switzerland by a few hundredths, with 18.96 years versus 18.93 years.

*Specifically, the prohibition is against players who have been “selected” for a U-20 WWC squad, regardless of whether they end up playing in any match at a U-20 WWC.

SHORTEST TEAM — Ghana’s squad has the shortest average height, 159.0 centimeters (5 feet, 2.5 inches) and median height 158 cm (5 feet, 2.2 inches). The next shortest squad is Japan, at an average height of 161.33 cm (5 feet, 3.5 inches) and a median height of 161 cm. (5 feet, 3.4 inches). If Ghana’s and the USA’s players were both ordered by height, then every USA player would be taller than their corresponding Ghana player, with 15 USA players being at least 4 inches taller than their opposite. Ghana’s average height of 159 cm is right in line with its country average height for  women (Wikipedia), while the USA’s average height is a whole 7 centimeters above the general population average of 163.2 cm.

For more on Ghana, see this fact file compiled in June.

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CHINA (FIFA.com roster)

ONLY A FEW CHANGES FROM THE SPRING — In April, China brought a squad of 21 players to California where they lost a pair of friendlies to the United States. (U.S. Soccer match reports for the first friendly, a 4:1 USA win, and the second, a 3:0 USA win.) Sixteen of those players are on China’s tournament roster, including nine who started both friendlies. The most glaring omission is the starting goalkeeper from those two friendlies, Yang Yan. The nine starters included China’s backline of Wu/Yu** Haiyan, Lin Yuping, Huang Yini, and Wang YingYing, plus its midfield of Zhang Xin, Song Sicheng, Liu Shanshan, and Wang Shuang, along with forward Yao Shuangyan. Another forward, Li Ying, started the first friendly.

** The U.S. Soccer match reports list a defender by the name of Yu Haiyan, while the official FIFA rosters have a defender named Wu Haiyan. These are presumed to be one-in-the-same.

NO YOUTH WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE ON THIS SQUAD — None of the players have participated in a previous youth WWC. The last FIFA youth tournament that China qualified for was the 2008 U-20 WWC, where they were in the same group as the USA and gave the Americans their only loss in the tournament.

TWO U-17 PLAYERS: The youngest player on China’s roster are midfielders Wang Shuang and Zhao Xindi who were each born in January 1995. Wang started both friendlies against the USA in April. Zhao did not see any minutes in those friendlies. As noted above, Wang and Zhao are now ineligible for the U-17 WWC in Azerbaijan, for which China did qualify.

ONE OF THE TALLEST TEAMS — China’s average height is less than a centimeter shorter than the USA’s at just under 170 centimeters (169.86 cm to be exact; or 5 feet, 6.9 inches) while their median height, 170 cm, is the same as the United States. China is tied for second in terms of median height, with the USA and behind Germany, but has the third-highest average height, behind those same two countries.

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See Also: Write-up on their roster (late July), Germany Fact File (June), and all posts about Germany’s U-20 WNT.

As noted in the fact file, three players have senior international experience: Dzenifer Marozsan (7 caps, 3 goals), Lena Lotzen (3 caps), and Luisa Wensing (2 caps).

YOUTH WORLD CUP EXPERIENCE — Thirteen players have participated in at least one youth WWC. Marozsan is the only one to be play in two prior tournaments, the 2010 U-20 WWC and the 2008 U-17 WWC. Besides Marozsan, three other players were a part of Germany’s 2008 U-17 WWC squad which lost to the USA in the semifinals (FIFA.com): Carolin Simon and Leonie Maier, who along with Marozsan started that semifinal, plus Nicole Rolser who did not play in that match. The remaining nine players participated in the 2010 U-17 WWC, with all but back-up goalkeeper Meike Kämper seeing minutes on-field.

TALLEST SQUAD BY MEDIAN HEIGHT — Germany has the highest median height of 170 centimeters, but is only a tenth of a centimeter shorter than the United States in terms of average height, coming in at 170.33 cm versus 170.43 cm for the USA.

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JAPAN — The hosts have the shortest player, Yu Nakasato, who is only147 cm (four feet, 7.8 inches) tall. They have also brought in one U-17 player, defender Mayo Doko (also romanized “Dokou”), who has a May 1996 birthday and plays for NTV Beleza.

YOUNGEST PLAYERS — Two players were born in 1997, Argentina’s Erika Cabrera, who was born on July 18th (Argentina did not qualify for this year’s U-17 WWC), and Veronica Appiah of Ghana, who was born three weeks earlier on June 28th.

NCAA TEAMS AFFECTED — Fifty-some players at this tournament, mostly on the squads of the USA, Canada, and Mexico, are on the rosters of NCAA Division I teams, For a list by school, see this All White Kit post.

NORTH KOREA — For Korea DPR, all but one of their eleven U-20 players who were on the team’s Olympic roster, are also on this tournament’s squad. The only player from the Olympics who is not on this squad’s roster is defender RO Chol Ok. Additionally, alternate Olympic goalkeeper KIM Chol Ok is also listed on this tournament’s roster.

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