United States women's national under-20 soccer team

United States under-20
Nickname(s) Team USA
The Stars and Stripes
The Yanks
Association United States Soccer Federation
Confederation CONCACAF (North America)
Head coach Michelle French
Most caps Maya Hayes (43)
Top scorer Kelly Wilson (31)
First colors
Second colors
CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship
Appearances 7 (first in 2002)
Best result Winners (2006, 2010, 2012, 2014)
FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup
Appearances 8 (first in 2002)
Best result Winners (2002, 2008, 2012)

The United States U-20 women's national soccer team is a youth soccer team operated under the auspices of U.S. Soccer. Its primary role is the development of players in preparation for the full women's national team. The United States U20 Women's National Team made its most recent appearance in the 2014 FIFA U20 Women's World Cup in Canada where they lost to Korea DPR in the Quarterfinals with penalty kicks deciding the winner.[1] The team competes in a variety of competitions, including the biennial FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, which is the top competition for this age group. The current head coach is Michelle French.


Beginnings as a U-18 program

The United States U-20 team has been active since 1998; however, it was run as a U-18 team from its inception until 2001.[2] It was led by Shannon Higgins-Cirovski, the first coach in the team's history, through the middle of 1999 before she left for the Maryland Terrapins soccer team. Jay Hoffman, who served as Higgins-Cirovski's assistant, took charge of the team and led them to a gold medal for the 1999 Pan American Games, the first time the tournament was open to women's teams. Among the U-18 women playing at the 1999 Pan American Games were future senior national team members Cat Whitehill and Hope Solo.[3]

The switch to U-19

2001 through 2003

In 2001, the United States Soccer Federation decided to change the age limit from the U-18 team to U-19. The move was in preparation for FIFA's introduction of the first ever FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship (which has since changed). The new U-19 squad won the inaugural 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Canada, where they beat the hosts on a golden goal by captain and future United States women's national team mainstay Lindsay Tarpley. Five other members of that same team would join Tarpley as teammates on the senior international team: Rachel Buehler, Lori Chalupny, Heather O'Reilly, Leslie Osborne and Angie Woznuk. Other notable 2002 team members were Kelly Wilson, the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of the U-20 team, as well as two-time Hermann Trophy winner Kerri Hanks, who would go on to become one of the most decorated players in women's collegiate soccer.


In 2004, the U-19 team placed third at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in Thailand, after having been defeated by Germany in the semifinals.[4] The tournament marked the world championship debut of future senior national team members Yael Averbuch, Stephanie Lopez, Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe. However, in 2006, FIFA increased the age limit of the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship to 20. 2004 also saw the first loss to a similar-aged team in the history of the program when the squad lost to Japan.

Competing as a U-20 team

2005 and 2006

As the United States Soccer Federation did in 2001 prior to the introduction of the U-19 tournament, they raised the age of the squad from U-19 to U-20 in 2005. The move was, again, in response to FIFA's altering of the competition from U-19 to U-20. The actual team's play in 2005 was quiet due to a transition in coaches.

In 2006, the United States U-20 team played in a whopping 50 matches prior to the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship in Russia; however, the team finished in fourth place. The U.S. lost to China in penalties in the semifinal and followed up the loss with another to Brazil in the third-place match, also on penalties.[5] Seven members of that 2006 team: Lauren Cheney, Christina DiMartino, Tobin Heath, Stephanie Lopez, Casey Nogueira, Kelley O'Hara and Amy Rodriguez, have made appearances for the senior national team. Lopez played in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, and, joined by Cheney, Heath and Rodriguez, also represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Nogueira and O'Hara helped the 2008 U-20 team to qualify for the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup that same year.

2007 and 2008

2007 saw the squad sent to the 2007 Pan American Games, just as they had done prior in the 1999 Pan American Games. This time around, the United States sent along two "over-aged players" in Lauren Cheney and Brittany Taylor. The decision proved costly as the supplemented U-20 team were dismantled in the finals, 5–0, to a full-strength Brazil squad.[6]

In 2008, two years removed from the disastrous fourth-place finish at the 2006 U-20 World Championship, the United States U-20 women finally reclaimed the World Cup title at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile, with Sydney Leroux winning the Golden Ball and Golden Shoe for being named the best player of the tournament as well as scoring the most goals. Alex Morgan earned the Silver Shoe as the tournament's second-highest scorer and the Silver Ball as the tournament's second-best player behind teammate Leroux.[7] To date, Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux, Christine Nairn, Alyssa Naeher, and Meghan Klingenberg are the only members of the 2008 squad to be capped by the senior national team.

2009 and 2010

In 2009, Tony DiCicco handed the coaching reins back to Jill Ellis, who had coached the 2007 Pan American Games squad. 2009 also saw the influx of players who took part in the inaugural FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup into the U-20s, including Kristen Mewis, US Soccer's 2008 Young Female Player of the Year, and Vicki DiMartino, younger sister of U-20 alumni Christina (2006) and Gina (2007–2008). Two members of the 2008 squad, Sydney Leroux and Christine Nairn, returned to captain the team through the next World Cup cycle.

The team won the 2010 CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship title the next year and secured a berth to the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, to be held in Germany. Sydney Leroux was the leading scorer at the tournament with six goals.[8] In the World Cup, they won their group, but lost on penalty kicks to Nigeria in the quarterfinals. Leroux was again their leading scorer, tallying five goals in their four matches.

2011 and 2012

In 2011, Steve Swanson was named coach of the squad for the second time, after having coached in 2000. To prepare for the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, the team played 8 friendlies (winning seven) and qualifying with ease for the World Cup, scoring 24 goals in the qualifying tournament, while conceding only once.

In the World Cup, the squad was led by a Maya Hayes hat trick en route to beating Ghana 4–0. After a 1–1 draw against China, and a 3–0 loss to Germany, the US qualified for the quarterfinals over China on goal differential. In the quarterfinals, Chioma Ubogagu scored in extra time in a 2–1 victory over North Korea. In the semifinal, Morgan Brian and Kealia Ohai scored in a 2–0 win over Nigeria. The final was a rematch with Germany. Ohai scored right before halftime, and the US held on for a 1–0 win and their third World Cup championship.

2013 and 2014

Following the 2012 World Cup win, Michelle French took over the U-20 program. Defenders Cari Roccaro and Stephanie Amack returned from the 2012 World Cup winning side to lead the team along with Paris Saint-Germain target woman Lindsey Horan, the first American woman to skip college and turn professional, and Andi Sullivan, who was named co-captain despite being the youngest player on the squad during qualifiers. The US team again coasted through the CONCACAF qualifying tournament, winning all 5 matches without conceding even a single goal. However, the World Cup would offer much greater resistance as they started out in the Group of Death with International Powerhouses Germany, Brazil, and China.

The World Cup tournament would feature a large sense of deja vu from two years prior with the Americans grouped with China and Germany again. The US opened in a rematch of the previous final against Germany, this time coming up short losing 2–0. But in a similar manner that they had in the previous World Cup, they survived the group stage with wins against Brazil and China behind strong performances by Lindsey Horan and central midfielder Rose Lavelle. The second-place finish in their group would match them for the second tournament in a row against North Korea and as they had two years before, the match went into extra time. Unfortunately for the Americans, this time the winning magic was not to be found as the game went into a shootout from the penalty spot and the Korean keeper dominated. Savannah Jordan, Lindsey Horan, and Rose Lavelle were all denied by Korean keeper Kim on weak efforts from the spot and the Americans exited the tournament earlier than expected.

Competition Records

FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup

Year Result Matches Wins Draws Losses GF GA Coach
Canada 2002Champions6600262Tracey Leone
Thailand 2004Third place6501144Mark Krikorian
Russia 2006Fourth place6420113Tim Schulz
Chile 2008Champions6501123Tony DiCicco
Germany 2010Quarterfinals422082Jill Ellis
Japan 2012Champions6411105Steve Swanson
Canada 2014Quarterfinals421153Michelle French
Papua New Guinea 2016Semifinals5-----Michelle French

2012 FIFA U20 World Champions

After the award ceremony at the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women'S World Cup in Japan. Players from left to right, front row: 6—Morgan Brian, 1—Bryane Heaberlin (GK), 12—Katie Stengel, 17—Taylor Schram, 7—Kealia Ohai, 5—Maya Hayes, 9—Chioma Ubogagu, 10—Vanessa DiBernardo, 4—Crystal Dunn, 20—Kelly Cobb, 15—Kassey Kallman; back row: 19—Stephanie Amack, 11—Becca Wann, 21—Jami Kranich (GK), 13—Sam Mewis, 14—Mandy Laddish, 3—Cari Roccaro, 2—Mollie Pathman, 16—Sarah Killion, 18—Abby Smith (GK), 8—Julie Johnston (c); behind Johnston and further right: Steve Swanson (head coach). Players in bold font type have been called to training camp of senior team.

CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship tournament record

The U-20 women have won the CONCACAF Women's U-20 Championship five times, in 2006, 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015;[9] the 2002 tournament did not have a championship final.[10] The U-20s finished as runners-up to Canada in 2004 and 2008.

Year Result Matches Wins Draws Losses GF GA Coach
Trinidad and Tobago 2002No final held3300341Tracey Leone
Canada 2004Runners-up5311323Mark Krikorian
Mexico 2006Champions5500193Tim Schulz
Mexico 2008Runners-up5401201Tony DiCicco
Guatemala 2010Champions5500152Jill Ellis
Panama 2012Champions4400241Steve Swanson
Cayman Islands 2014Champions5500290Michelle French
Honduras 2015Champions5410223Michelle French

Pan American Games

The under-18 team participated and won the inaugural soccer tournament in the 1999 Pan American Games,[11] while the under-20 team lost in the final of the 2007 Pan American Games;[12] competing against full national teams. These opportunities are a consequence of holding the FIFA Women's World Cup in the same year as the Pan American Games

Year Result Matches Wins Draws Losses GF GA Coach
Canada 1999Champions6510222Jay Hoffman
Dominican Republic 2003
No United States team participated
Brazil 2007Runners-up64021711Jill Ellis
Mexico 2011
No United States team participated
Canada 2015
No United States team participated


Head coach Michelle French called up 21 players to participate in the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Papua New Guinea, November 13 - December 3, 2016.[13]

The cutoff for the 2016 U-20 Women's World Cup is January 1, 1996 and all players are eligible. Mallory Pugh and Rose Chandler return to the team having competed in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.

0#0 Pos. Player Date of birth (age) Caps Goals Club
1 1GK Casey Murphy (1996-04-25)25 April 1996 (aged 20) United States Rutgers
2 3MF Parker Roberts (1997-07-30)30 July 1997 (aged 19) United States Florida
3 2DF Kaleigh Riehl (1996-10-21)21 October 1996 (aged 20) United States Penn State
4 2DF Sabrina Flores (1996-01-31)31 January 1996 (aged 20) United States Notre Dame
5 2DF Maddie Elliston (1996-03-29)29 March 1996 (aged 20) United States Penn State
6 2DF Taylor Otto (1997-10-23)23 October 1997 (aged 19) United States North Carolina
7 3MF Savannah DeMelo (1998-03-26)26 March 1998 (aged 18) United States USC
8 3MF Courtney Petersen (1997-10-28)28 October 1997 (aged 19) United States Virginia
9 4FW Mallory Pugh (1998-04-29)29 April 1998 (aged 18) United States UCLA
10 3MF Emily Ogle (1996-08-05)5 August 1996 (aged 20) United States Penn State
11 4FW Ally Watt (1997-03-12)12 March 1997 (aged 19) United States Texas A&M
12 1GK Rose Chandler (1996-09-24)24 September 1996 (aged 20) United States Penn State
13 3MF Marley Canales (1997-11-16)16 November 1997 (aged 18) United States UCLA
14 2DF Ellie Jean (1997-01-31)31 January 1997 (aged 19) United States Penn State
15 4FW Jessie Scarpa (1996-05-17)17 May 1996 (aged 20) United States North Carolina
16 2DF Emily Fox (1998-07-05)5 July 1998 (aged 18) United States FC Virginia
17 3MF Kelcie Hedge (1997-09-19)19 September 1997 (aged 19) United States Washington
18 3MF Ashley Sanchez (1999-03-16)16 March 1999 (aged 17) United States So Cal Blues
19 2DF Natalie Jacobs (1997-08-16)16 August 1997 (aged 19) United States Notre Dame
20 3MF Katie Cousins (1996-09-25)25 September 1996 (aged 20) United States Tennessee
21 1GK Brooke Heinsohn (1998-03-11)11 March 1998 (aged 18) United States Duke

Previous rosters

2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup squad
2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup squad
2010 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup squad
2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup squad
2007 Pan American Games squad
2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship squad
2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship squad
2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship squad

Notable Past Players and U-20 World Cup years

Player records

International match statistics, as of August 12, 2014. All goals scored in international matches only.

Top scorers

Rank Player Goals Years
1 Kelly Wilson 31 2001–2002
2 Lindsey Horan 24 2011–2014
2 Sydney Leroux 24 2008–2010
2 Kelley O'Hara 24 2006–2008
2 Lindsay Tarpley 24 2001–2002
6 Kerri Hanks 22 2002–2004
7 Heather O'Reilly 18 2001–2002
8 Maya Hayes 16 2010–2012
9 Lauren Cheney 15 2006–2007
10 Amy Rodriguez 11 2004–2006

Most capped players

Rank Player Caps Years
1 Maya Hayes 43 2010–2012
2 Crystal Dunn 39 2010–2012
2 Ashlyn Harris 39 2002–2004
2 Sydney Leroux 39 2008–2010
5 Samantha Mewis 38 2010–2012
6 Kelley O'Hara 35 2006–2008
7 Cari Roccaro 34 2011–2014
8 Kerri Hanks 30 2002–2004
9 Christine Nairn 28 2008–2010
10 Lindsey Horan 26 2011–2014
10 Teresa Noyola 26 2007–2010
10 Lindsay Tarpley 26 2001–2002
Players still eligible for the U-20 player pool in bold.



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