Manya Makoski and U.S. U-21 National Soccer Team Enter Final Camp Before Nordic Cup

June 16, 2004

Courtesy of U.S. Soccer

CHICAGO (June 15, 2004) -- U.S. Under-21 Women's National Team head coach Chris Petrucelli has named a 22-player squad for a training camp to be held from June 21-30 at the U.S. National Team Training Center in Carson, Calif. Once again, Arizona State midfielder Manya Makoski will be at the camp, the last training session before Petrucelli names the 18-player team that will travel to Iceland in late July for the 14th Annual Nordic Cup.

The U.S. team will reassemble to train in New Jersey from July 16-18, then depart for Iceland, which will be hosting its second Nordic Cup. The USA won its second of six Nordic Cup titles in Iceland in 1999. Held in Northern Europe every summer, the Nordic Cup is the top competition in the world for U-21 women and the focus of the USA's oldest youth national team during its seven-month run-up to the prestigious competition.

The USA was drawn into a tough Group B and will face Finland, Norway and Germany in first-round play. Group A features Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and England. The top two finishers in each group will cross over to play for the championship, while the two second place finishers will play for third, the third place finishers for fifth and the last place finishers in the groups will vie for seventh place.

The USA opens the tournament against the Finland on Friday, July 23, in Akureyrarvolluer, and then faces Norway on Sunday, July 25, in Olafsfjordur. The U.S. will finish first-round play against Germany on Tuesday, July 27, in Dalvik. All four placement matches are set for Thursday, July 29. All the matches will be played at nine different small venues in the northern part of Iceland up around the Arctic Circle.

'I know the team is excited and looking forward to the competition at the Nordic Cup,' said Petrucelli. 'We have a pretty dynamic team going forward. Last year, I thought the strength of the team was our back four, but this year we have a group that has the potential to score a lot of goals.'

The USA has won an amazing six out of the last seven Nordic Cups, winning its first in 1997 in Denmark, before falling the next year to Norway in the title game. Since then, the USA has reeled off five straight titles under four different coaches. This will be the second Nordic Cup for Petrucelli, who led the USA to 2-1 victory over Sweden in the 2003 Nordic Cup title game as Joanna Lohman scored both goals.

The 2004 Nordic Cup team should have a much different look than the 2003 version, with just five veterans of the 2003 side coming to the training camp in Carson, including Lohman, forwards Kelly Wilson and Makoski, midfielder Lindsey Huie, and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. Five players from that 2003 Nordic Cup title team are currently in full-time Olympic Residency Camp with the U.S. Women's National Team - Lindsay Tarpley, Leslie Osborne, Amy LePeilbet, Lori Chalupny and Cat Reddick - and several of those players could travel to Iceland if they do not make the 2004 Olympic Team. Tarpley, Osborne, Chalupny and Heather O'Reilly, who is also in full-time Olympic Residency Camp, will train for several days with the U-21s during the camp while the professional players Olympic Residency Camp are engaged in the WUSA Festivals.

'We have a strong team this year so it's going to be fun,' said Lohman, who will play in her third Nordic Cup should she get named to the final squad. 'The Nordic Cup is a great tournament for young players trying to break into the full team. You can get some quality international experience in games that really mean something.'

Petrucelli has also called in his top three scorers from 2004 in Natasha Kai (seven total goals) and midfielders Carli Lloyd (5), and Lohman (5), both of whom have spent time training with the senior national team this year. In addition, Petrucelli has called in five members of the USA's 2002 U-19 World Championship Team, including Jill Oakes and Makoski, both of whom have played in past Nordic Cups.

Age eligible players for the 2004 Nordic Cup are those born on or after January 1, 1983, but Petrucelli has the option of including four 'overage' players on team. Those are players who were born on or after January 1, 1980. Of the 22 players in this training camp, five are 'overage' in Barnhart, Huie, Lloyd, Lohman and UNC defender Carmen Watley.

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