Pryce Selected for U-21 Duty
May 12, 2003
CHICAGO - The U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team will embark on a four-game tour of Brazil in mid-May as Chris Petrucelli takes his first trip abroad as head coach of the U-21s. The tour will serve as preparation for the 2003 Nordic Cup, the most important competition in the world for U-21 women, taking place in Denmark from July 21-27, 2003.
The USA opens the Brazil tour on Saturday, May 17 vs. Santos FC, the current Sao Paulo state champion. The USA will play its second match of the tour on Monday, May 19 against the Brazilian U-21 National Team. On Thursday, May 22, the USA will take on Saad FC, a top club in Brazil that has featured some legendary Brazilian players, including WUSA stars Sissi and Kï¿½tia of the San Jose CyberRays, and currently fields a handful of domestic-based national team players. Saad was three times Brazilian champion and is coached by former Brazilian National Team coaches Ademar Jï¿½nior and Josï¿½ Duarte, who led Brazil in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. The USA will finish the tour on Sunday, May 25, against a Brazilian National Team featuring U-21 and senior players. All the matches will be played in Sao Paulo.
It will be the first international tour for the U.S. U-21s since last year's Nordic Cup in Finland, and the first tour of Brazil for a U.S. women's team since December of 1997 when the full U.S. Women's National Team split a pair of games with Brazil.
'It's a good trip for us because it gives us a chance to organize our team against quality opponents,' said Petrucelli. 'We will be challenged by the Brazilian style and speed of play, but we've got a talented team and we're confident in our ability to compete against older players.'
Petrucelli's 18-player roster is loaded with college soccer's top talent and includes five players from the USA's 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship team that defeated Canada, 1-0, in sudden death overtime on Sept. 1, 2002, in front of almost 50,000 fans in Edmonton. Those players are goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (Indialantic Force), defender Amy Steadman (UNC), midfielder Leslie Osborne (Santa Clara), and forwards Manya Makoski (Arizona State) and Kelly Wilson (Texas). Several other former U-19 world champions, including forwards Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O'Reilly and midfielder Lori Chalupny are also in the mix for the Nordic Cup team, but will not travel to Brazil.
Wilson won the Silver Boot as the second leading scorer in the U-19 World Championship, scoring nine goals in five games, and the Bronze Ball as the third most valuable player. Wilson scored 31 goals in just 19 full U-19 international matches and has one goal for the senior side. Her running mates with the U-19s, Tarpley and O'Reilly, combined for 18 goals in Canada and will likely be reunited for the Nordic Cup.
The roster is also bolstered by defender Cat Reddick, who has 31 caps for the full national team, is a veteran of three Nordic Cup championship teams, and is in the running for a spot on the 2003 Women's World Cup team. She will join the team in Brazil a few days late, coming from the full Women's National Team event in her hometown of Birmingham, Ala., as the U.S. Women face England on May 17 at Legion Field. Defenders Nandi Pryce (UCLA) and Ally Marquand (Stanford) and midfielder Joanna Lohman (Penn State), all have caps for the full national team. All four played on last year's Nordic Cup champions along with Amy LePeilbet (Arizona State), Nicole Barnhart (Stanford) and Kim Yokers (California).
The Nordic Cup has been contested in northern Europe every summer since 1990 and was an Under-20 competition until 1997, when it moved to Under-21. The USA won its first Nordic Cup in 1997, lost in the championship game to Norway the next year, and has since reeled off an unprecedented four straight Nordic Cup titles. The USA defeated Norway (1999), Germany (2000), Sweden (2001) and Germany (2002) in the respective championship games. This year's Nordic Cup has an age limit of players born after Jan. 1, 1982, but each team is allowed two overage players. Petrucelli will take overage players Ally Marquand and Nicole Barnhart to Brazil.
The roster for Brazil includes three players from Stanford University, three players from Texas, two players from Arizona State and UNC, and one each from Maryland, Portland, Santa Clara, Penn State, UCLA, and UC Berkeley. Petrucelli also selected two players still in high school in Harris, a junior, and Lauren Zealer, a senior headed to Santa Clara in the fall.
'The team is starting to take shape,' said Petrucelli. 'We've had close to 50 different players in camp since January and we are getting closer to a team of 18 players gelling and become a tight-knit unit. These games will be great opportunity to develop that cohesiveness even more.'