In March, the Under-19 United States Women’s National Team will be back in action for the first time since 2018, as 23 players – fourteen born in 2001 and nine born in 2002 –have been called up for a friendly U-19 tournament at the La Manga resort in Spain where the USA will play their age counterparts from England, the Netherlands, and Sweden.
For this camp, the U-19 USWNT will be led by current Houston Dash assistant head coach Twila Kaufman (Dash profile), who was previously the head coach at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis profile).
* * *
Not Your European Relatives’ U-19 Team
In the USWNT youth system, the U-19 team is a bit of an oddity, as it is neither a competitive youth national team, such as the U-17s or U-20s, which have winning a FIFA youth Women’s World Cup as their short-term purpose, nor is it a preparatory YNT for one of those two teams, such as the U-15s, U-16s, or U-18s. Additionally, the top players in the U-19’s cutoff year (the odd year before the current U-20 WWC) are usually part of the U-20 USWNT. Thus, this age group team could be viewed as somewhat superfluous, especially in CONCACAF, where there is no annual U-19 championship.
In the current youth USWNT set-up, the U-19 team provides a bridge for potential senior USWNT players with odd birth years who might not fit into the U-20 USWNT for whatever reason, but could develop into USWNT-ready players. In 2021, a new two-year U-20 cycle will begin and these players will be absorbed into the U-23 USWNT pool for possible call-ups to that team.
Conversely, in Europe, the U-19 age group is typically viewed as the most important as UEFA holds an annual Women’s Under-19 Championship. In odd years, that tournament serves as a qualifier for the following year’s FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. Only U-19 teams that qualify for the next year’s U-20 WWC get to live on and become actual U-20 women’s national teams. (The three UEFA teams that the USA will face are all preparing for next month’s “Elite Round” of qualifying for this year’s UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship.)
* * *
The 23-player roster includes six current NCAA players who debuted as freshmen in 2019. Most of the remaining attendees should make their NCAA debuts this year, while a few of the nine 2002-born players have expected high school graduation years of 2021.
Two players are attending their first-known USA youth camp: Sierra Enge, a Pepperdine commit and younger sister of current U-20 USWNT player Sierra Enge (Stanford profile), and Laughlin Ryan, who is officially committed to Virginia.
Except for FC Virginia’s, Ellis Wheeler, who is attending just her second known YNT camp (after a U-17 USWNT camp in July 2018), all other non-new players have attended at least four camps. Over half of the roster has at least ten camps under their belts, with karate black belt Astrid Wheeler being one of the most experienced players, having attended over 20 camps.
All but seven players have attended at least one U-20 USWNT camp this cycle (which started in December 2018), including Astrid Wheeler who was an alternate for their current CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship squad. The Stanford-bound midfielder has attended five full U-20 camps this cycle. Six other players have attended at least three U-20 camps this cycle: Forwards Lia Godfrey and Reilyn Turner, plus defenders Michaela Agresti, Samar Guidry, Smith Hunter, and Bria Schrotenboer. Eleven of the players attended the November 2019 U-20 camp, which featured only a few college players.
Six players born in 2002 were with the U-18 USWNT for their recent camp in Florida where they hosted China PR, Norway and the Netherlands in a friendly tournament: Goalkeeper Mia Justus, midfielders Michelle Cooper and Aislynn Crowder, plus forwards Dilary Heredia-Beltran, Quincy McMahon, and Reilyn Turner. Those players will see some familiar faces in La Manga, as 11 players from that Netherlands’ U-18 squad are on their U-19 team for this tournament. (Roster links at bottom of article.)
As noted in U.S. Soccer’s write-up five players have been on a FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup roster for the USA: Lia Godfrey, back in 2016, plus Michela Agrestri, Samar Guidry, Smith Hunter, and Astrid Wheeler. Of the five, only Guidry did not have any minutes in a U-17 WWC.
Two other players have official tournament experience: Virginia forward Diana Ordonez was on the U-17 CONCACAF qualifying roster in 2018, while Notre Dame’s Madison Mercado was a member of the USA’s CONCACAF Girls’ Under-15 Championship team, back in 2016.
- Wednesday, March 4th: Friendly vs. England (14:00 local)
- Friday, March 6th: Friendly vs. Netherlands (18:00 local)
- Sunday, March 8th: Friendly vs. Sweden (18:00 local*)
*In the USA, Daylight savings begins on the 8th.
The Netherlands and Sweden regularly post basic youth national team match reports (starting line-up, goal scorers with times, and a substitution timeline) to their websites, so details on those matches should be available (and are typically published the same day).
U-19 USWNT ROSTER FOR U-19 LA MANGA TOURNAMENT – MARCH 2020
Parenthetical Key: Listed Club; Hometown; reported verbal or official NCAA Commitment (team-verified official signings bolded, with links to the team’s announcement), Expected Freshman Year
Players with a 2002 birth year are indicated by an asterisk (*) after their name.
Michela Agresti (Boston College; Swampscott, Mass.)
Samantha Agresti (Boston College; Swampscott, Mass.)
Abby Allen (Lonestar SC Acad.; Austin, Texas; North Carolina , 2020)*
Megan Bornkamp (Charlotte SA; Mooresville, N.C.; Clemson, 2020)
Samar Guidry (FC Dallas Acad.; McKinney, Texas; Virginia, 2020)*
Smith Hunter (Reign Acad.; Seattle, Wash.; Harvard, 2020)*
Bria Schrotenboer (Michigan State; Holland, Mich.)
Ellis Wheeler (FC Virginia; Fairfax, Va.; Penn State, 2020)^
Isabella Cook (Tennessee; Elmhurst, Ill.)
Michelle Cooper (IMG Acad.; Clarkston, Mich.; Duke, 2021)*
Aislynn Crowder (Hawaii Rush; Mililani, Hawaii; UCLA , 2020)*
Skylar Enge (San Diego Surf SC; Cardiff, Calif.; Pepperdine, 2020)
Madison Mercado (Notre Dame; San Diego, Calif.)
Laughlin Ryan (Charlotte SA; Charlotte, N.C.; Virginia, 2020)
Mackenzee Vance (United Soccer Alliance; Bluffton, S.C.; UCLA , 2020)
Astrid Wheeler (Concorde Fire SC; Atlanta, Ga.; Stanford, 2020)
Lia Godfrey (United Soccer Alliance; Fleming Island, Fla.; Virginia, 2020)
Dilary Heredia-Beltran (Sporting Blue Valley SC; Overland Park, Kan.; West Virginia, 2021)
Quincy McMahon (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; UCLA, 2021)*
Diana Ordonez (Virginia; Prosper, Texas)
Reilyn Turner (So Cal Blues SC; Aliso Viejo, Calif.; UCLA, 2020)*
NCAA Commitment Notes
^U.S. Soccer’s roster lists Ellis Wheeler‘s team as Penn State, which is her verbal commit school (Twitter), however her signing and/or enrollment has not (yet) been announced on goPSUsports.com or by the team’s Twitter account. She could be an early enrollee. FC Virginia is her last known club (ussoccerda.com; 11 matches played in the 2019-2020 season).
Dilary Heredia-Beltran now has a known verbal commit: West Virginia, for 2021 (per TopDrawerSoccer).
Virginia has not yet officially announced any of their incoming 2020 class, but their Twitter account recently called Lia Godfrey, Samar Guidry, and Laughlin Ryan “future Hoos.”
OTHER TEAMS’ ROSTERS
England: TheFA.com write-up. (A table version of the roster, with dates of birth was posted on Twitter by journalist Rich Laverty.) Three players are currently based in the States, playing NCAA soccer: Ava Kuyken (Florida), Abbie Roberts (Rutgers), and Lucy Roberts (South Florida).