The 2020 U-17 USWNT Cycle: A First In-Depth Look (September 2019)

After another disappointing FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup performance in 2018, which saw the United States fail to make the knock-out stage (again), while fellow CONCACAF rivals Mexico and Canada both made the semifinals, the quest to claim the only FIFA women’s trophy not yet won by the USA was renewed this spring.

For this cycle, Tracey Kevins takes over the U-17 United States Women’s National Team head coaching reigns from fellow England-native Mark Carr, who is now the head coach for the U-20 USWNT.  Previously, Kevins was the head coach for the U-15 Girls’ National Team last cycle (2017-18), so she is already very familiar with the 2003 birth year pool.

Read on for details about the players called in so far, friendly matches played so far, and what lays ahead for the U-17 USWNT.


Winning this age group’s intercontinental youth tournament is the ultimate objective for the U-17 USWNT.  However, the primary purposes of the U-17s and the other youth teams are player selection and support/development for those athletes with the potential to one day play for the full United States Women’s National Team.

These aims are sometimes in conflict with each other, as a win-first mentality might mean selecting big and fast players while neglecting players with more long-term upside, such as those who are bright and technical, but behind the curve in physical development.  Although, as the youth system now has a full complement of annual age group teams, from the U-15 level to the U-20 level, players with potential, but who are tournament ready can be transferred to the secondary age group teams (U-16, U-18, and U-19)  for support and development.

The United States has never won the U-17 WWC, with their best finish coming in the first edition of that tournament, in 2008, when the USA lost 1:2 to Korea DPR in the final after extra time (FIFA).

For the USA, a consistent theme of all past U-17 WWCs is being significantly out-played by teams with more soccer I.Q. and technical ability.  The following excerpts are from a May 2009 New York Times “Goals” blog post, titled U.S. Women’s Coach Pleads for Better Players:

[A]ccording to the coach of the United States’ under-17 women’s team, Kazbek Tambi, there is little blocking Japan’s ascension to the top echelon in the world. Tambi calls them the Brazilians of the Far East.

“They’ve made a concerted effort to bring loads of Brazilian players and coaches and have followed the Brazilian philosophy, which is about having great technical skills and playing a beautiful game,” Tambi said during a recent interview at his home in Paramus, N.J. “We don’t have the Brazilians coming here. Instead we’ve had 30 years of English influence.”

“And we coaches have to stress the importance of focusing on great technique at younger ages, that this will allow us to create more appealing teams. The answer really lies not so much with the national team program, but at the youth club level in the teenage years when players are developing, or failing to develop.”

“In New Zealand, we didn’t have a player with the whole package, they each brought something,” he said. “The Japanese — they just amazed me with their skill, taking 30-yard balls down easily. For my next group I’m going to be placing greater emphasis on technical proficiency.”

Tambi did craft a more technical team for the 2010 cycle, which featured current USWNT players Lindsey Horan and Morgan Brian.  Scoring-wise, the USA were the best team in the tournament, but due to the slot allocation and a semifinal penalty shoot-out loss to Canada, the USA were locked out of that year’s 2010 U-17 WWC, which was held in Trinidad and Tobago.

The next time, In 2012, the USA did easily qualify for the U-17 WWC in Azerbaijan, but did not make it out of the group stage, as they finish third in a three-way tie of five points, with eventual winner France, and runner-up Korea DPR.

2014 was a disappointing repeat of 2010, with Mexico knocking out the USA in the semifinals of CONCACAF qualifying, as Costa Rica was hosting the U-17 WWC that year.

The USA made it back to the U-17 WWC in 2016, but failed to get out of the group, again. A loss to Ghana, followed by a loss to then-reigning U-17 WWC champion Japan, left the USA in third place.

In 2018, the USA repeated as U-17 CONCACAF champions, but once again, failed to make it out of the group stage at the U-17 WWC, due to an 0:3 loss against reigning U-17 WWC champion Korea DPR and an 0:4 loss to Germany.

So, in summary, out of the six U-17 WWCs held so far, the USA has only qualified for four of them, while only making the knock-out stage once, in 2008.  Meanwhile, the tournament has been dominated by  the top Asian teams, Korea DPR, Japan, and Korea Republic, who have claimed six out of the twelve finalist spots so far.  And, new European heavyweights France and Spain have each won one edition of the U-17 WWC.

(For more details on the USA’s U-17 cycles, see the latest USWNT media guide.)


For the 2020 U-17 and U-20 cycles, the CONCACAF Women’s Championships will now consist of twenty teams during the final stages, up from eight, as had been standard in past cycles.  This new twenty-team format has already been used by CONCACAF, beginning last year for the men’s youth tournaments (for example, the 2019 U-17 Championship).

What the new format means for the United States is that it will still have a four-team round-robin group stage to play, but instead of going straight into a semifinal knock-out round, the knock-out stage will now also have a round of sixteen and a quarterfinal round, for a total of up to seven matches, instead of five.  And, instead of the tournament lasting about eleven days, the duration will now be stretched to sixteen days.

Also, instead of a final group stage of two groups with four teams, there will now be four groups of four, consisting of the top sixteen teams in CONCACAF, based on historical performance for each association’s team at this age level.  Additionally, the top three teams all qualify for the knock-out stage, instead of just the top two.

The teams not in the top sixteen have a separate qualifying route, with a preliminary qualification tournament to determine the “last four” teams, which for this cycle, has already been held.  Those four teams will sit out the final knock-out stage and enter the group stage, with each facing a group winner.

For this cycle, the final group stage and knock-out stage are scheduled for March 21 to April 5, 2020, with the host nation to be determined (CONCACAF).  The USA already know their group opponents:  Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Nicarauga (CONCACAF).

The top three teams (semifinal winners plus the third-place winner) will each qualify  for the  2020 FIFA U-17 WWC, which will be hosted by India and will take place from November 2 to 21, 2020 (FIFA).


For the 2018 FIFA U-17 WWC, a lower age floor of fifteen (by the end of the calendar year) for players was introduced. That meant only players born in the years 2001 to 2003 were eligible (2018 U-17 WWC regulations – PDF).  The regulations for the upcoming U-17 WWC are not yet available, so FIFA may decide to change or remove the age floor, but for this review, I will only focus on players born in the years 2003 to 2005.

With that said, going back to the 2016 U-14 cycle, over 170 age-eligible players have been brought into various youth teams camps.  By my count, there have been 92 born in 2003,  66 from the 2004 birth year, and 15 born in 2005, including the quasi-professional Olivia Moultrie (

Over twenty-five of the 2003’ers have attended at least five youth camps, while fifteen have been attendees for at least ten youth team camps.  Only one 2004’er has been in more ten youth team camps.  (Much more on her later.)  And, for the 2005 birth year, just four players have attended more than two youth team camps.


Although the cycle is still early, with just four camps, a core group of over a dozen players is already identifiable.  This consistency goes back to the past U-15 cycle, which was also coached by Tracey Kevins: Of the four 2019 U-17 camps and five 2018 U-15 camps helmed by Kevins, in six of those eight camps, at least thirteen of the current twenty first-choice players have attended one of those camps together.  The two exceptions are (1) due to the back-to-back UEFA U-16 developmental tournaments in May 2019, when the USA sent a mostly “B”-roster to the second tournament, and (2) a July 2018 domestic camp that had several new players called in for the first time.  For six of those players, that has been there only USA youth camp so far,

Given Kevins’ familiarity with the players and the lack of any player turnover due to a coaching change, this should not be that much of a surprise.

However, what is surprising is the dearth of non-2003’ers that have been invited to U-17 camps so far this cycle.  Just two players born in 2004 have been in any U-17 camps this year, and one of those (Elise Evans) was a last minute injury replacement.  The 2018 cycle had at least four players who were born in 2001 make the CONCACAF qualifying and/or FIFA U-17 WWC rosters, while the 2016 cycle had at least five 2000-born players in each official tournament roster, plus a few 2001’ers.

(As the website is significantly screwed up, I will not be directly linking to the camps rosters or specifically listing all the relevant youths camps at this time.  I do plan on adding a bibliography-style post for future reference at some point. Also, it is entirely possible that my counts may have missed a camp, due to U.S. Soccer either never publishing a public roster or the roster article no longer being available on U.S. Soccer’s website.)


This unofficial “Shortlist” consists of all players who have attended at least two camps so far in the current U-17 cycle, which started in May 2019, plus a few other notable players.

Four camps have been held so far: Two trips to Europe in May 2019 for UEFA U-16 developmental friendly tournaments, one in Portugal and one in the Czech Republic, a June 2019 domestic training camp in Chula Vista, California, and a September 2019 trip to Sweden for a friendly tournament.

In part because the UEFA developmental tournaments were essentially back-to-back, the USA sent a 20-player “A”-team roster to the Portugal tournament, which featured CONCACAF rival Mexico plus Russia and host Portugal. For the second UEFA tournament, the USA sent a completely different roster of twenty players for matches against the Czech Republic, the Republic of Ireland, and Belgium.

Here are the final rosters for those two European camps.  First the Portugal tournament, which featured eighteen 2003-born players and two 2004’ers:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Nadia Cooper (Shattuck – St. Mary’s; Katy, Texas), Neeku Purcell (Reign Academy; Seattle, Wash.)

DEFENDERS (6): Courtney Boone (Legends FC; West Covina, Calif.), Baleigh Bruster (Tophat; Smyrna, Ga.), Andrea Kitahata (San Jose Earthquakes; Hillsborough, Calif.), Ayooluwapo Oke (Tophat; Lawrenceville, Ga.), Shea O’Malley (NC Courage; Cary, N.C.), Lilly Reale (South Shore Select; Hingham, Mass.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Emma Egizii (Beach FC; Downey, Calif.), Tatiana Fung (Legends FC; Fullerton, Calif.), Annie Karich (So Cal Blues SC; Surfside, Calif.), Devin Lynch (Sockers FC; Naperville, Ill.), Alexis Missimo (Solar SC; Southlake, Texas), Jillian Shimkin (FC Fury NY; Rockville Centre, N.Y.)

FORWARDS (6): Trinity Byars (Solar SC; Richardson, Texas), Amelia Horton (Sporting Blue Valley; Olathe, Kansas), Simone Jackson (LAFC Slammers; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Arianna Manrique (Tophat; Buford, Ga.), Allyson Sentnor (South Shore Select; Hanson, Mass.), Amelia White (Fort Wayne United; Fort Wayne, Ind.)

2003-born defender Lilly Reale was on the Portugal roster, but was replaced by Elise Evans, a 2004’er, due to a minor injury.

And, the Czech Republic tournament.  All of these players were born in 2003:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Haley Craig (Michigan Hawks; Dexter, Mich.), Jordyn Gunnarson (FC Dallas; McKinney, Texas)

DEFENDERS (6): Macy Blackburn (Solar SC; Keller, Texas), Carolyn Calzada (Tophat; Buford, Ga.), Aidan McConnell (Michigan Hawks; Dexter, Mich.), Phoenix Miranda (Leahi SC; Aiea, Hawaii), Madeline Mooney (Reign Academy; Seattle, Wash.), Layne St. George (Reign Academy; Seattle, Wash.)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Korbin Albert (Eclipse Select SC; Grayslake, Ill.), Emily Colton (LA Galaxy San Diego; Carlsbad, Calif.), Summer Denigan (Cincinnati Development Academy; Union, Ky.), Sophia Fisher (SC Del Sol; Scottsdale, Ariz.), Riley Gleason (So Cal Blues SC; Mission Viejo, Calif.), Carina Lageyre (Weston FC; Cooper City, Fla.), Bella Sember (New York City FC; Centerport, N.Y.)

FORWARDS (5): Simisola Awujo (Tophat; Atlanta, Ga.), Giovana Costa (Madrid CFF; Weston, Fla.), Karlie Lema (MVLA; Morgan Hill, Calif.), Josephine Master (So Cal Blues SC; Newport Beach, Calif.), Makhiya McDonald (Solar SC; Lancaster, Texas)

All of the first-choice players from the Portugal trip, plus four players from the Czech Republic trip were invited to the only domestic camp held so far this year, which was in Chula Vista, California.  Those four players were midfielder Emily Colton, defender Aidan McConnell, forward Karlie Lema, who scored five goals over three matches, and the Brazilian-born Giovana Queiroz Costa, who may no longer be in the U-17 pool for the USA.*

*See her section in The 2020 U-17 USWNT Cycle: Notes On Individual Players for more details on her situation.

Most recently, twenty players were called back for the Sweden trip in September 2019, which featured eighteen players from the original Portugal roster, plus defender Aidan McConnell.  One more player from the Portugal roster, Andrea Kitahata, apparently did not travel to Sweden and was replaced by defender Macy Blackburn, who was on the Czech Republic trip roster and had only been invited to one previous camp, a U-15 camp held in Norco, California, back in March 2018. (This change was not announced by U.S. Soccer, but was apparent based on match reports.)

The only player from the Portugal trip who has not been in a second camp so far in 2019 is Elise Evans, the late replacement for defender Lilly Reale.

The shortlist also includes goalkeeper Haley Craig, who played for the U-17s this year during the Czech Republic trip, but has not featured in any other U-17 camps this year.  Craig was a regular of the 2018 U-15 cycle, attendind eight of nine camps (all but the Weifang tournament). At the moment, Craig appears to be the most likely third-choice goalkeeper, which means that she has a good shot of making the U-17 WWC roster, which requires three goalkeepers, while CONCACAF qualifying requires just two.  The only other U-17 goalkeeper called up in 2019, Jordyn Gunnarson, had never attended a youth camp before the Czech Republic tournament.

Two additional 2003-born players, Kayla Colbert and Kellie Pagador, are also included in this shortlist, even though they have yet to feature in a camp of the current U-17 WNT cycle. Pagador was a regular camp attendee in the previous U-15 cycle, attending eight out of nine camps, missing only the first camp of that cycle.

Kayla Colbert is a more interesting case, as she mostly attended U-16 camps during the past U-15 cycle, attending five U-16 camps and just two U-15 camps.  Additionally, Colbert was the youngest player and only 2003-born player to attend the special goalkeeper and attackers camp held in December 2016 at the National Training Center in Carson, California. The other 29 players at that camp were born in the years 2000 to 2002.

The following table lists each “Shortlist” player’s date of birth, height (in inches), general playing position, their expected high school graduation year, and their verbal commit for NCAA soccer, if available.

Table 1:  2020 U-17 USWNT Player Pool “Shortlist” – Summary

PLAYER              D.O.B.       Ht.  Pos.  HS YEAR   COLLEGE COMMIT
Boone, Courtney     04/04/2003   67   DF    2021      California
Blackburn, Macy     08/07/2003   67   DF    2021      Texas Tech
Bruster, Baleigh    01/04/2003   68   DF    2021      Duke
Byars, Trinity      01/29/2003   65   FW    2021      Texas
Colton, Emily       06/23/2003   63   MF    2021      North Carolina
Cooper, Nadia       01/19/2003   67   GK    2021      Washington State
Costa, Giovana      06/21/2003   n/a  FW     n/a      n/a
Egizii, Emma        03/06/2003   61   MF    2021      UCLA
Fung, Tatiana       02/10/2003   63   MF    2021      Texas
Horton, Amelia      07/08/2003   63   FW    2021      Florida State
Jackson, Simone     01/28/2003   65   FW    2021      USC
Karich, Annie       10/26/2003   68   MF    2022      Santa Clara
Kitahata, Andrea    01/01/2003   66   DF    2021      Stanford
Lema, Karlie        06/29/2003   69   FW    2021      California
Lynch, Devin        12/04/2003   68   MF    2022      Duke
Manrique, Arianna   01/21/2003   66   FW    2021      California
McConnell, Aidan    02/01/2003   67   DF    2021      Wisconsin
Missimo, Alexis     01/30/2003   66   MF    2021      Texas
Oke, Ayooluwapo     04/05/2003   63   DF    2021      California
O'Malley, Shea      07/23/2003   66   DF    2021      Ole Miss
Purcell, Neeku      10/07/2003   69   GK    2022      n/a
Reale, Lilly        08/12/2003   67   DF    2021      Boston College
Sentnor, Allyson    02/18/2004   61   FW    2022      North Carolina
Shimkin, Jillian    02/21/2003   62   MF    2021      Penn State
White, Amelia       06/17/2003   64   FW    2022      Penn State
*Craig, Haley       02/07/2003   69   GK    2021      Stanford
*Colbert, Kayla     01/11/2003   62   DF    2021      USC
*Pagador, Kellie    04/09/2003   67   DF    2021      Stanford

Position is from the last camp roster the player attended.
Heights are pulled from the 2019 USWNT Media Guide or
Expected year of high school graduation (“HS Year”) are mostly pulled from player profiles. Other sources, such as may have been used for ECNL and other non-DA players.

The table also includes two notable non-U-17 camps.  Most recently, the February 2019 U-18 WNT camp that was held in England, which was attended by forwards Trinity Byars. Alexis Missimo, and Allyson Sentnor, plus defenders Ayo Oke and Baleigh Bruster, and goalkeeper Neeku Purcell.  Additionally,  the May 2018 U-16 trip to Portugal, which was another UEFA U-16 developmental tournament, and was attended by ten of the current U-17 players.

Two weeks earlier, four other current U-17 players, most notably Trinity Byars and Alexis Missimo, were part of the U-16 squad that won the 2018 U-17 Women’s Torneo Delle Nazioni, which was hosted jointly by Italy and Slovenia.  (That camp is included in Table 3.)

How to read the table: If a player attended the camp, their position (from the roster press release) is listed. Otherwise that column is left blank, except for special cases such as when a player is replaced at the last minute or attends a concurrent camp.

Table 2:  2020 U-17 USWNT Player Pool “Shortlist” – Camp Attendance For Current U-17 Cycle and Previous U-15 Cycle

    Year:  '19 '19 '19 '19 '19 | '18 '18 '18 '18 '18 '18 '17 '17 '17 '17 '17 
    Team:  u17 u17 u17 u17 u18 | u15 u15 u15 u16 u15 u15 u15 u15 u15 u15 u15
Boone       DF  DF      DF     |          DF
Blackburn   +       DF         |                  DF
Bruster     DF  DF      DF  DF |  DF                  **  DF  DF  DF  DF  DF
Byars       FW  FW      FW  FW |      ^^          FW  FW          FW  FW  FW
Colton          MF  MF         |                  MF  MF
Cooper      GK  GK      GK     |  GK      GK      GK                      GK
Costa           FW  FW         |
Egizii      MF  MF      MF     |  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF
Fung        MF  MF      MF     |  MF      MF  MF  MF  MF  MF      MF      FW
Horton          FW      FW     |      FW  FW      FW  FW              FW  FW
Jackson     FW  FW      FW     |  FW      FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW
Karich      MF  MF      MF     |  MF  MF
Kitahata    #   DF      DF     |  DF      DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  FW  FW  FW
Lema            FW  FW         |  FW  FW
Lynch       MF  MF      MF     |  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF  MF              FW
Manrique    FW  FW      FW     |  FW      FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW
McConnell   DF  DF  DF         |  DF      DF  DF  DF  DF
Missimo     MF  MF      MF  MF |      ^^              **  FW  FW  FW      MF
Oke         DF  DF      DF  DF |  DF      DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  FW  FW
O'Malley    DF  DF      DF     |      DF
Purcell     GK  GK      GK  GK |  GK  GK      GK  GK  GK  GK  GK  GK
Reale       DF  DF      #      |  DF  DF  DF      DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  DF
Sentnor     FW  FW      FW  FW |  FW  FW  FW          **  MF      FW      MF
Shimkin     MF  MF      MF     |  MF  MF  MF      MF  FW  FW  FW  FW      FW
White       FW  FW      FW     |  FW      FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW  FW
*Craig              GK         |          GK      GK  GK  GK  GK  GK  GK  GK  
*Colbert                       |                      **          DF      FW
*Pagador                       |  DF  ^^  DF      DF  DF  DF  DF  DF  DF

# The player was on the original roster for this camp, but could not attend for some reason.
+ The player was a late addition/replacement.
^^Byars, Missimo, and Pagador were chose to attend an overlapping U-17 USWNT camp instead of this U-15 GNT camp.
** Bruster, Missimo, and Sentnor were chosen to attend the concurrent U-16 GNT camp instead of this U-15 GNT camp.

Several players were selected to attend camps with older age group teams, most notably the scoring duo of Trinity Byars and Alexis Missimo, who each attended at least three U-17 WNT camps in the late run-up to the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup.  As noted above, Trinity Byars was the only 2003’er to make that tournament roster.

Allyson Sentnor also attended one U-17 camp in 2018, a preparatory invitational tournament in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, right before the U-17 WWC even though she was ineligible for that  U-17 WWC, due to a new age floor introduced by FIFA (2018 U-17 WWC regulations – PDF). Sentnor also attended six U-16 camps during 2017 and 2018, including a 2017 trip to Germany to where she had a brace and a hat trick against the hosts.

The below table includes those U-17 and U-16 camps from the previous cycle, as well as the U-14 GNT camps in 2016.

Table 3:  U-17 USWNT Player Pool “Shortlist” – Camp Attendance – Notables

    Year:  '18 '18 '18 '18 '18 '18 '18 '18 '17 '17 '17 | '16 '16 '16 '16
    Team:  u17 u17 u16 u17 u17 u16 u16 u16 u16 u16 u16 | u14 u14 u14 u14
Location:  Fla Chu Chu KOR Kan ITA NTC IMG GER Chu BEL | Sun NTC Col NTC
Boone               DF                                 |
Bruster                         DF  DF  DF             |  DF  DF  DF  DF
Byars       FW  FW      FW  FW  FW                     |  FW          FW
Egizii                                                 |  MF  MF  MF  MF
Fung                                        MF  MF  MF |              FW
Horton                                                 |          FW  FW
Jackson                                                |              FW
Missimo         MF      MF  MF  MF  FW  FW          MF |  MF  MF  MF  MF
Oke                 DF                                 |
Purcell             GK                                 |
Reale                           DF                     |
Sentnor     FW      FW              MF  MF  MF  MF  FW |  MF      MF
Shimkin                                             FW |  FW      FW  FW
*Colbert            FW                  DF  DF  DF  DF |  DF  DF  DF  DF
*Pagador            DF      DF  DF                     |

“Shortlist” players who did not attend any of the camps in this table were omitted.


Of the current twenty first-choice players, seventeen have been on the original rosters of three U-17 rosters this year, plus have been regular attendees of the U-15 GNT 2018 cycle (either throughout the cycle or more recently).  The seventeen, in alphabetical order, by position:

Goalkeepers: Nadia Cooper, Neeku Purcell
Defenders: Baleigh Bruster, Andrea Kitahata,  Aidan McConnell, Ayo Oke, and Lilly Reale.
Midfielders: Emma Egizii, Tatiana Fung, Devin Lynch, Alexis Missimo, and Jillian Shimkin
Forwards: Trinity Byars, Simone Jackson, Ariana Manrique,  Allyson Sentnor, and Amelia White

Aidan McConnell is the only player of this core group who was on the Czech Republic roster.  Her and goalkeeper Nadia Cooper are the only core players who have not yet attended any extra youth camps outside the 2018 U-15 and 2020 U-17 cycles.

For more discussion on these core players and other players in the mix, please see the next U-17 USWNT post, which includes video highlights for some players.


Beyond the core seventeen listed above, a few other players have been consistent call-ups for the U-17s in 2019:  Defenders Courtney Boone and Shea O’Malley, plus midfielder Annie Karich.  Each of these players have been on at least three of the four U-17 rosters in 2019.

Courtney Boone was only called into one 2018 U-15 camp, the Netherlands trip, but has since attended one U-16 camp in 2018, plus all three “A”-team U-17 camps in 2019.

Midfielder Annie Karich and defender Shea O’Malley are the next newest players to this age group.  Both were first called in for a domestic camp in July 2018 at the National Training Center in Carson, California, which featured a number of first-timers.  Karich made the following month’s Weifang tournament roster and has been on all three “A”-team rosters in 2019 so far.

O’Malley was not part of the Weifang tournament, but, like Karich, has been a mainstay in 2019, attending all three “A”-team camps this year.  And, during the camp in Sweden, O’Malley started all three matches, playing against Sweden, Spain, and Germany.


As noted above, the only 2004-born player to get regular call-ups with the U-17s so far this cycle is the superlative Allyson Sentnor.  Only one other 2004’er, defender Elise Evans has been in a U-17 camp, and that was as a late replacement for the first UEFA development tournament in Portugal.

For the 2004’ers, their current youth team are the U-16s, who have had only one camp so far this year, in part because their target FIFA tournament, the U-20 WWC, is five years away, in 2024.  Eleven of the twenty players who attended this year’s first U-16 camp were regular attendees of last cycle’s U-14 GNT, which won the CONCACAF Girls’ U-15 Championship last August.  Three of those eleven players are 2005’ers:  Olivia Moultrie, Maggie Taitano, and Gisele Thompson.  The remaining eight players, all born in 2004, are goalkeepers Nona Reason and Teagan Wy, plus field players Elise Evans, Juliauna Hayward, Katherine Rader, Jaedyn Shaw, Evelyn Shores, and Alyssa Thompson (the older sister of Gisele).

Table 6: Notable U-16 USGNT Players – 2016 Cycle – Summary

PLAYER              D.O.B.       Ht.   Pos.   HS YEAR   COLLEGE COMMIT
Evans, Elise        12/16/2004   67    DF     2022      Stanford
Hayward, Juliauna   04/29/2004   62    MF     2022      Duke
Rader, Katherine    06/30/2004   65    FW     2022      Duke
Reason, Nona        07/01/2004   69    GK     2022      North Carolina
Shaw, Jaedyn        11/20/2004   65    FW     2023      North Carolina
Shores, Evelyn      12/29/2004   66    DF     2023      North Carolina
Thompson, Alyssa    11/07/2004   62    FW     2022      n/a
Wy, Teagan          07/30/2004   69    GK     2022      California
Moultrie, Olivia    09/17/2005   63    MF     2024      (pro contract)
Taitano, Maggie     03/04/2005   63    DF     2023      n/a
Thompson, Gisele    12/02/2005   59    DF     2024      n/a

One of the 2004-born goalkeepers has a fair chance of making the 2020 U-17 WWC roster, should the USA qualify, as the third goalkeeper. Most likely Teagan Wy, who seems to be the first-choice 2004-born ‘keeper.  Wy started both friendly matches against the Netherlands in this year’s U-16 camp (KNVB match reports: June 14, June 16), and was the ‘keeper in both knock-out matches of the 2018 CONCACAF Girls’ U-15 Championship, as well as the group match against Portugal.  Both Teagan Wy and Nona Reason are sufficiently tall for top-flight goalkeeping, as each has a listed height of 5’9″.

Of the forwards, Jaedyn Shaw stands out for her goalscoring prowess as well as her confidence:  At the CONCACAF tournament, she converted two penalty kicks, including an insurance goal against Mexico in the final.

Midfielder Juliauna Hayward is notable as the only 2018 U-14 player on the 2018 CONCACAF U-15 roster who was in a U-15 camp during the 2018 cycle (the April 2017 camp in College Station, Texas).

Five-foot-seven centerback Elise Evans, who was called into one U-17 camp this year and played the full 80 minutes in both U-16 matches against the Netherlands this year is another likely candidate. Evans scored a goal in the first Netherlands match as well as one during the CONCACAF tournament.

(For reference, summary details about the USA’s performance for the 2018 CONCACAF Girls’ U-15 Championship, including minutes played and a table of goals scorers and assists are included at the end of this post.)


So far in 2019, the U-17s have played eight friendly matches using an “A”-Team roster against seven different opponents:  Mexico, Russia, and Portugal at the first May 2019 UEFA developmental tournament; China PR, twice, during the June 2019 camp, and finally, Sweden, Spain, and Germany during the recent trip to Sweden.

Official U.S. Soccer match reports have only been released for two of those matches, the win against Mexico, and the win against Sweden.  This is not suprising, as publishing match reports for USWNT youth friendlies has never been a priority for U.S. Soccer.  However, the opposing team’s association usually publishes at least a brief write-up with line-ups and other details.

Sufficient reports have been found for the Russia, Portugal, Spain, and Germany matches, but unfortunately, no match reports are available for the two matches against China, either from the Chinese Football Association or third-party sources. (U.S. Soccer did tweet out the results of those matches, both victories for the USA, and the USA’s goalscorers.)

The UEFA developmental tournaments, which consist of three 80-minute matches, have special rules and guidance about playing time for individual players, most notably that no player should play more than 120 minutes over two consecutive matches.

The following table includes the six available “A”-team matches, plus the 2018 Weifang Tournament matches, which was contested by the 2018 cycle U-15 GNT.  Trinity Byars and Alexis Missimo were notable absences from that roster, most likely because of their U-17 call-ups during the final stretch of preparations for the 2018 U-17 WWC.

In the table, players are sorted by position, then by overall minutes played.  Byars and Missimo were moved to the top of the forwards and midfielders sections, respectively, as their numbers are not directly comparable to those first-choice players who were involved in all three tournaments.

Table 4: Minutes Played in Recent U-17 and U-15 Friendlies

                2018 WEIFANG   |  2019 PORTUGAL  |   2019 SWEDEN   |
Cooper     GK       90  90 180 |  40  --  80 120 |  90  --  --  90 |   390
Purcell    GK   90  --  --  90 |  40  80  -- 120 |  --  90  90 180 |   390
Oke        DF   90  34  90 214 |  65  19  80 164 |  62  90  65 217 |   595
Bruster    DF   74  73  90 237 |  80  40  80 200 |  90  --  --  90 |   527
Reale      DF   90  90  45 225 |                 |  --  90  90 180 |   405
Kitahata   DF   29  90  45 164 |  61  40  80 181 |                 |   345
Boone      DF                  |  40  80  40 160 |  28  90  25 143 |   303
O'Malley   DF                  |  19  80  --  99 |  45  55  90 190 |   289
McConnell  DF   16  17  45  78 |                 |  90  --  90 180 |   258
Pagador    DF   61  56  45 162 |                 |                 |   162
Evans      DF                  |  40  61  40 141 |                 |   141
Blackburn  DF                  |                 |  45  35  --  80 |    80
Missimo*   MF    (U-17 Camp)   |  40  61  40 141 |  62  90  38 190 |   331
Shimkin    MF   45  90     135 |  80  40  40 160 |  45  65  52 162 |   457
Karich     MF   90  45  26 161 |  40  40  40 120 |  --  55  65 120 |   401
Lynch      MF   45  45  36 126 |  40  40  40 120 |  90  35  25 150 |   396
Fung       MF   45  45  54 144 |  15  40  40  95 |  45  25  38 108 |   347
Egizii     MF   45  --  90 135 |  40  19  40  99 |  28  --  52  80 |   314
Gleason    MF   --  45  64 109 |                 |                 |   109
Byars*     FW    (U-17 Camp)   |  40  55  29 124 |  90  90  56 236 |   360
Sentnor    FW   90  45  90 225 |  61  40  40 141 |  45  90  45 180 |   546
Jackson    FW       45  45  90 |  40  55  29 124 |  45  65  90 200 |   414
White      FW   66  73  26 165 |  40  25  40 105 |  45  25  45 115 |   385
Manrique   FW   66  90     156 |  40  25  51 116 |  45  --  34  79 |   351
Horton     FW                  |  19  40  51 110 |                 |   110
Walters    FW   24  --  64  88 |                 |                 |    88
Lema       FW   24  17  45  86 |                 |                 |    86

Blank entries means that the player was not on the roster for that camp.
Dashes (“- -“) mean that the player was an unused substitute for that match.

One curiosity for the most recent matches in Sweden is that centerback Baleigh Bruster only played the first match against the hosts.  Given her importance to the defense, one has to wonder if she picked up an injury, either during the Sweden match or during practice.


So far this cycle, the USA has mostly played against signficantly inferior opponents, and the early results have reflected that.  In the first five “A”-team matches, the USA has scored an average of four goals per match, while conceding just two goals in total.

Goal production does not seem to be a significant issue, as the USA has a number of genuine goalscoring threats, most notably Allyson Sentnor (6 goals), Trinity Byars (3), and Alexis Missimo (3).  Amelia White (5) and Simone Jackson (4) get less attention, but among the first-choice players, they currently have the second- and third-highest goal tallies this calendar year.  Midfielder Jillian Shimkin also has two goals.

May 2019 – UEFA Developmental Tournament (Portugal)
USA 4, Mexico 0 – Goals by Sentnor, Shimkin, Byars, White (USSF)
USA 5, Russia 0 – Goals by White, Missimo, Jackson, Horton, Sentnor (RFS)
USA 6, Portugal 1 – Goals by Manrique, Sentnor, Horton, Missimo, White, Jackson (FPF)

A strong result against continental foe, Mexico, is a good sign, although, of course, it is very early in the cycle.  The starting Mexico goalkeeper, Azul Alvarez is a Texas-based player who attended three U-15 camps during the last cycle under Tracey Kevins.  In the 2015 CONCACAF Girls’ Under-15 Championship, Alvarez was the starting goalkeeper in the final against the USA, who used a U-14 team for that tournament.  The USA won that match 3:0 (USSF).

Highlights are available for the Russia match (follow the “RFS” link, which leads to a match report in English, then click on the “Video” tab).  The Russians were no challenge for the USA and the score could have easily been 7:0 or 8:0 in the USA’s favor.

May 2019 – UEFA Developmental Tournament (Czech Republic)
USA 3, Czech Republic 0 – Goals by Mahikya McDonald (2), Lema (USSF)
USA 4, Ireland 0 – Goals by Sember, Lema, Fisher, Denigan (PK) (USSF)
USA 3, Belgium 1 – Goals by Lema (3) (USSF)

Karlie Lema’s standout performance in this tournament, capped off with a hat trick against Belgium earned her a call back into the June 2019 domestic camp.

June 2019 Camp – Chula Vista
USA 3, China PR 1 – Goals by White and Byars, plus an own goal
USA 3, China PR 0 – Goals by Sentnor (2), Shimkin

As mentioned earlier, reports for these two matches are not readily available.

September 2019 – Sweden Preparatory Tournament
USA 2, Sweden 1 – Goals by White, Byars (USSF, SvFF)
USA 3, Spain 4 – Goals by Missimo, Jackson, Sentnor (SvFF, USSF)
USA 1, Germany 1* – Goal by Jackson (SvFF, DFB, USSF)
*USA won the ‘practice’ penalty shoot-out vs Germany, 4:3.

These three matches were somehat disappointing, but also the most enlightening, as Spain and Germany are two of the strongest opponents that the USA will face over this cycle.

The Sweden victory was underwhelming, as the hosts played with ten players for over eighty minutes due to a red card on the goalkeeper for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO) before the ten minute mark.  Although, conditions were less than ideal, as the weather was  rainy and windy.

In the second match, three of Spain’s goal came by way of Madrid-based Giovana Queiroz Costa, who was born in Brazil, but spent several years in Florida.  As noted above, Costa was called into two USA U-17 camps this year, and it is unclear what her current status with U.S. Soccer is.

Spain is now consistently developing strong youth teams, especially at the U-17 level, where they have made four of the last five semifinals at the U-17 WWC, including in 2018, where they won the tournament for the first time.  So, a close loss to them is not a bad sign this early in the cycle.  Likewise, a low-scoring friendly draw at the youth level to Germany is not in itself a bad sign at this stage.

And, as noted earlier, in the last two matches, the USA were playing without their centerback anchor, Baleigh Bruster, for an unknown reason. Given the competition, one would expect her to feature in at least one of the matches, if not both.


All available “A”-team matches for the current U-17 cycle* are included below, as well as the previous U-15 cycle’s matches at the Weifang tournament (August 2018) plus a pair of matches against the Netherlands (June 2018).

*As noted earlier, reports for the two matches in June 2019 against China are not available. 

Substitutions are indicated by slashes (“/”), thus “Pagador/Kitahata” should be interpreted as Pagador starting the match and being subbed out for Kitahata.

For some of these matches (Russia, Spain), the only available match reports only show the times when players were subbed in or out, and not who specifically replaced whom.  For times when multiple players were replaced, their substituted-in replacement are best educated guesses.

Alexis Missimo was absent from the first five matches listed, while Trinity Byars also missed the Weifang tournament, as both players were in the mix for the 2018 U-17 WWC.  So those line-ups are especially probabative for whom Tracey Kevins prefers when her top-choice attacking midfielder or top-choice central forward are not available.

June 2018 – Netherlands Camp

2018 U-15 vs. Netherlands #1
GK: Craig
OB: Oke, Pagador/Kitahata
CB: Reale/Boone, McConnell
MF: Lynch/Gleason, Lageyre/Egizii, Sentnor/Shimkin
FW: Horton/Manrique, Jackson/McDonald, Byars/White

2018 U-15 vs. Netherlands #2
GK: Cooper
OB: Oke, Kitahata
CB: Reale/McConnell, Boone
MF: Gleason/Lynch, Lageyre/Sentnor, Egizii/Horton
FW: Manrique/McDonald, Jackson/Byars, White/Shimkin

August 2018 – Weifang Tournament

2018 U-15 vs. Japan
GK: Purcell
OB: Oke, Pagador/Kitahata
CB: Bruster/McConnell, Reale
MF: Karich, Lynch/Shimkin, Egizii/Fung
FW: Manrique/Lema, Sentonr, White/Walters

2018 U-15 vs. China
GK: Purcell
OB: Kitahata, Pagador/Oke
CB: Bruster/McConnell, Reale
MF: Karich/Lynch, Fung/Gleason, Shimkin
FW: Jackson/Sentnor, White/Lema, Manrique

2018 U-15 vs. Czech Republic
GK: Cooper
OB: Oke, Kitahata/Pagador
CB: Bruster, McConnell/Reale
MF: Fung/Lynch, Gleason/Karich, Egizii
FW: Lema/Jackson, Sentnor, Walters/White

May 2019 – UEFA U-16 Developmental Tournament in Portugal

2019 U-17 vs. Mexico
GK: Purcell/Cooper
OB: Oke/Fung, Kitahata/O’Malley
CB: Bruster, Boone/Evans
MF: Karich/Lynch, Shimkin, Egizii/Missimo
FW: Jackson/White, Sentnor/Horton, Manrique/Byars
(the Fung for Oke substitution is an odd outlier)

2019 U-17 vs. Russia (POR)
GK: Purcell
OB: O’Malley, Kitahata/Bruster
CB: Boone, Evans/Oke
MF: Lynch/Karich, Fung/Shimkin, Missimo/Egizii
FW: Jackson/Manrique, Horton/Sentnor, Byars/White

2019 U-17 vs. Portugal (POR)
GK: Cooper
OB: Oke, Kitahata
CB: Bruster, Evans/Boone
MF: Shimkin/Fung, Karich/Lynch, Egizii/Missimo
FW: Sentnor/White, Manrique/Byars, Horton/Jackson

September 2019 – Preparatory Tournament in Sweden

2019 U-17 vs. Sweden (SWE)
GK: Cooper
OB: Oke/Boone, O’Malley/Blackburn
CB: Bruster, McConnell
MF: Lynch, Fung/Shimkin, Missimo/Egizii
FW: Jackson/Manrique, White/Sentnor, Byars

2019 U-17 vs. Spain (SWE)
GK: Purcell
OB: Oke, O’Malley/Blackburn
CB: Reale, Boone
MF: Karich/Lynch, Shimkin/Fung, Missimo
FW: Jackson/White, Sentnor, Byars
(it’s possible Oke and Boone could be reversed)

2019 U-17 vs. Germany (SWE)
GK: Purcell
OB: Oke/Boone, O’Malley
CB: Reale, McConnell
MF: Karich/Lynch, Shimkin/Fung, Egizii/Missimo
FW: Jackson, White/Sentnor, Byars/Manrique

As mentioned in the previous section, Bruster only played in the first match of the Sweden preparatory tournament.


Based on the above starting line-ups and substitution patterns, as well as camp call-ups, and other factors, one can get a good idea of which players Tracey Kevins for which positions.  However, it is still early in the cycle, so the overall roster and specific field positions are far from locked down.

The following depth chart, or perhaps more correctly identified as a “depth list,” is not exhaustive of the positions where certain players could be used.  For example, in the midfield, the players listed under the “8” role could easily step into attacking roles, if required.  Likewise, the top choices for center forward should also be viewed as the top choices for wingers.

Depth Chart:

Goalkeeper: Neeku Purcell, Nadia Cooper, Haley Craig, Jordyn Gunnarson
Centerbacks: Baleigh Bruster, Lilly Reale, Aidan McConnell, Courtney Boone, Elise Evans
Outside Backs: Ayo Oke, Andrea Kitahata, Shea O’Malley, Macy Blackburn
Defensive Midfielder (“6”): Annie Karich, Devin Lynch
Second Midfielder (“8”): Tatiana Fung, Jillian Shimkin (too close to call)
Attacking Midfielder (“10”): Alexis Missimo, Emma Egizii (may be an “8”)
Center Forward: Trinity Byars, Amelia White, Allyson Sentnor
Other Forwards: Simone Jackson, Ariana Manrique, Karlie Lema, Amelia Horton

The top three choices for center backs, Bruster, Reale, and McConnell, have all been consistent starters in recent matches.  Boone has also seen consistent minutes in defense, but whether she is preferred in central defense or on the outside has yet to be settled.  And, at this time, the 2004-born Evans is most likely an alternate in case of an injury to one of the more-preferred players.

For outside backs, Courtney Boone may be another option, as in the two most recent matches (Spain and Germany), she was subbed in for Ayo Oke, who has more-or-less locked down a starting outside back position.  Kellie Pagador could be another option, though she has yet to be called up during this current U-17 cycle.

In the midfield, Alexis Missimo is the only clear starter, being the top choice for the attacking midfielder role by a country mile.  Emma Egizii is regularly subbed in for Missimo, which most likely either means that she is another attacking midfielder option, or possibly an option for the “8” role, with another midfielder moving up into that role.  As for the “8” role, that seems to be a toss-up between Tatiana Fung and Jillian Shimkin, who both have excellent technical abilities.

Meanwhile, the defensive midfielder position appears to be a choice between Annie Karich and Devin Lynch, though based on the most recent matches in Sweden, Karich seems to have a slight edge for the “6” role.

Up top, Trinity Byars is a near-lock for the starting center forward position.  Amelia White appears to be second choice for the central position, while the first choice for a winger position. The other winger spot would either go to Allyson Sentnor or Simone Jackson.  Although Sentnor is a special talent, her small size and lack of all-out speed could make her less useful on the flanks.

On the other hand, Sentnor may be more likely to start if used centrally, perhaps as something resembling a false nine, or if used in a flexible line-up, say with Byars and White, where they could switch positions with each other.

Beyond those four, Arianna Manrique appears to be the fifth-choice,  After her are Karlie Lema and Amelia Horton, who are currently outside the top tier of forwards.

Not included in the list of forwards is Madrid-based Giovana Queiroz Costa, who may or may not be eligible to play in official matches for the United States. For Spain, against Sweden, she played as a center forward, which also appears to be her primary position for Madrid CFF B.  (Costa wears #9 for her club team, as well as for Spain, and wore the #9 shirt for the USA during the UEFA developmental tournament in the Czech Republic.)

Current Likely First-Choice Starting Line-Up

The following is based on a standard American 4-3-3 formation, with one primarily defensive midfielder.

GK: Purcell
OB: Oke, Kitahata|O’Malley
CB: Bruster, Reale
MF: Karich (6), Fung|Shimkin (8), Missimo (10)
FW: Byars, Sentnor, White

Two spots are toss-ups:  The “8”-role midfielder, between Fung or Shimkin, which is discussed above, and the second outside back position.  For that spot, assuming that Kitahata is healthy, she would probably be slightly preferred over the less experienced O’Malley, at least for the time-being.

Byars is the default center forward, with Sentnor and White in winger positions.


As mentioned earlier, the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship kicks off in April 2020, which give the USA six more months to finalize a roster for that tournament.

The USA should have at least five camps before April 2020:  Two or three during the remainder of 2019, plus at least three camps in early 2020.

Although the qualification process is different this time, absent an extraordinary situation, the USA should qualify as one of the top three teams in CONCACAF.  The one cause for the concern is the addition of two extra knock-out rounds.  A loss in the round of the sixteen is highly unlikely, but if Canada, Mexico, or Haiti muck it up in group stage, one of those teams could be a potential quarterfinal match-up.  Add in outside factors such as a poor playing surface,   injuries, and/or inferior refereeing, and the chance of a non-win becomes a significant possibility, especially at the youth level where performance inconsistency is normal.

For additional U-17 USWNT coverage, see:
The 2020 U-17 USWNT Cycle: Notes On Individual Players


The following table shows the minutes played in each match of the 2018 CONCACAF Girls’ U-15 Championship , which follows a unique format compared to other age group tournaments. Most notably, matches are 70 minutes long, consisting of two 35-minute halves, and six substitutes are allowed per match, instead of the normal three for regular-time official matches.

Additionally, the tournament was split into two divisions, with the USA in the top division, which consisted of three groups of four teams. Only the top team in each of the three groups, plus the best runner-up (which was the USA, due to a loss to Portugal plus blow-out wins against the other group teams) made the four-team knockout bracket.

The USA’s final against Mexico was scoreless after 70 minutes of normal time, so two 10-minute overtime periods were played. The USA ended up scoring three goals in extra time of that match.

Table A1: 2018 U-14 USGNT – Minutes Played at the 2018 CONCACAF U-15 Girls’ Championship

PLAYER                Pos.   JAM   POR   SLV   POR   MEX   TOTAL
Wy, Teagan            GK            70          70    90     230
Reason, Nona          GK      70          70                 140
Taitano, Maggie       DF      51    70    19    70    90     300
Thompson, Gisele      DF      35    70    35    64    90     294
Van Zanten, Amelia    DF      70    19    51    70    55     265
Shores, Evelyn        DF      35    70    35    70    35     245
Tabion, Maia          DF      70          70     6    55     201
Evans, Elise          DF      19    51    70     *    35     175
Hayward, Juliauna     MF      35    51    35    70    90     281
Cook, Sofia           MF      70    27    35    64    35     231
McCormack, Yuna       MF      35    35     8    70    46     194
Cagle, Maggie         MF      35    35    70          44     184
Moultrie, Olivia      MF      35    43    62     6    35     181
Shaw, Jaedyn          FW      35    70    35    70    90     300
Thompson, Alyssa      FW      35    70    19    70    90     284
Rader, Katherine      FW      70    19    35    53    55     232
Montoya, Allison      FW      35    51    51    17    20     174
Frias, America        FW      35    19    70          35     159

*Elise Evans enter the semifinal match against Portugal during second-half stoppage time.

The 2018 U-14 USGNT scored 22 goals, including one own goal, over the tournament: 8 goals against both Jamaica and El Salvador, plus 3 goals each against Portugal and Mexico in the knockout matches. However the USA was held scoreless by Portugal in the middle group match, which the guest team won, in part, due to two penalty kicks conceded by the United States.

Jaedyn Shaw led the team with five goals, including two from the penalty spot, and scored the championship-winner against Mexico in the final. Juliauna Hayward led the team in assists with five.

Table A2: 2018 U-15 USGNT – Goalscorers and Assists Earned in the 2018 CONCACAF U-15 Girls’ Championship

               G   A    P   Min.
Shaw           5   1   11   300
Montoya        2   4    8   174
Hayward        1   5    7   281
Moultrie       3   1    7   181
Rader          2   3    7   232
Frias          3   0    6   159
Thompson, A.   2   2    6   284
Cook           1   1    3   231
Evans          1   0    2   175
Van Zanten     1   0    2   265
Cagle          0   1    1   184
Own Goal       1

G – goals, A – assists, P – points (for sorting), Min. – total minutes played.

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