Kitahata Selected for U20 Championship
STANFORD, Calif. - Freshman Andrea Kitahata has been selected to represent the USA at the 2022 Concacaf Women's Under-20 Championship which will run from Feb. 25-March 12 in the Dominican Republic.
The USA, led by U.S. Under-20 Women's Youth National Team head coach Tracey Kevins, will take aim at one of three berths to the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup and a record seventh Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship after a dominant run to the confederation crown in 2020. The U-20s kick off the tournament on Friday, Feb. 25 vs. Nicaragua, take on Puerto Rico on Sunday, Feb. 27 and wrap up the group stage vs. host Dominican Republic on Tuesday, March 1.
Players born on or after Jan. 1, 2002, are age-eligible for the 2022 Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship. Kevins selected nine players born in 2002, nine born in 2003, one born in 2004 and one born in 2005.
Kitahata played in all 20 matches as a freshman, starting 19. The native of Hillsborough, Calif. scored four goals and added six assists for 14 points to finish second on the team. Following her first season on The Farm, Kitahata was named to the Pac-12 all-conference second team and earned a spot on the all-freshman team.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Mia Justus (Florida State; Lakewood, Ohio), Neeku Purcell (OL Reign Academy; Seattle, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (8): Lauren Flynn (Florida State; Arlington, Va.), Samar Guidry (Virginia; McKinney, Texas), Emily Mason (Rutgers; Flemington, N.J.), Aidan McConnell (Wisconsin; Dexter, Mich.), Ayo Oke (California; Lawrenceville, Ga.), Avery Patterson (UNC; Jacksonville, Fla.), Lilly Reale (UCLA; Hingham, Mass.), Laney Rouse (Virginia, Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Emily Colton (UNC; Carlsbad, Calif.), Talia DellaPeruta (UNC; Cumming, Ga.), Sally Menti (Santa Clara; Seattle, Wash.) Alexis Missimo (Texas; Southlake, Texas), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC; Wilsonville, Ore.)
FORWARDS (5): Trinity Byars (Texas; Richardson, Texas), Michelle Cooper (Duke; Clarkston, Mich.), Simone Jackson (USC; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Andrea Kitahata (Stanford; Hillsborough, Calif.), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy; Studio City, Calif.)
The roster consists of 17 collegiate players, two youth club players and one professional in Portland Thorns midfielder Olivia Moultrie, who is the lone 2005-born player on the roster. Moultrie, the youngest player ever to play in the NWSL, made eight appearances for the Thorns in her debut NWSL season last year and scored her first pro goal during last summer's Women's International Champions Cup.
Defender Emily Mason and midfielder Talia DellaPeruta were part of the USA's impressive run to the 2020 Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship, held in February/March 2020 just before the global COVID-19 pandemic shut down the sporting world. In that tournament, the U.S. rolled to a record sixth Concacaf Women's U-20 title with seven straight victories and a 44-1 goal differential.
Defender Samar Guidry, DellaPeruta and forward Trinity Byars all represented the USA at the 2018 FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in Uruguay. DellaPeruta also helped the U.S. win the 2018 Concacaf Women's Under-17 Championship to secure a World Cup berth.
The 2022 Concacaf Women's U-20 Championship features 20 teams -- 16 divided into four groups of four, and four who have already advanced to the Round of 16 via pre-tournament qualifying.
The top three finishers in the four groups will advance to the Round of 16 and join the four teams already qualified for the knockout round. From there, the teams will play a single-elimination tournament with the two finalists and third-place game winner qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. As host of the U-20 WWC, Costa Rica qualified automatically and will not participate in the Concacaf Championship.
Several players are coming off successful collegiate campaigns, as eight players were named First or Second Team All-Conference and 11 named to All-Freshman Teams. Defender Lauren Flynn and goalkeeper Mia Justus helped Florida State take home the 2021 NCAA College Cup, while Mason helped Rutgers reach the Final Four. Midfielder Sally Menti (Santa Clara), forward Michelle Cooper (Duke) and forward Alexis Missimo were named Freshman of the Year in their respective conferences (WCC, ACC, Big 12).
Twelve colleges are represented on the roster, led by three players from UNC. The roster is made up of players from 13 states, with four coming from California.
Before heading to the Dominican Republic, the team will train in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. from Feb. 16-21. Kevins will bring two alternates to the pre-camp for training purposes – midfielder Jillian Shimkin (Texas) and forward Katherine Rader (Florida United) – but the players will depart camp before the tournament, barring any injuries.