Saturday, May 23, 2009

Matriculating to the WNT

We don't know how much PT they will get on Monday, but props to the four collegiate players that U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has called in four this event, all of whom have represented the USA at a FIFA youth Women’s World Cup. The players have just 17 caps between them, but 16 of those belong to Lauren Cheney, one of the top forwards in the country at UCLA and a member of the gold medal-winning 2008 Olympic Team. Cheney, who has scored 53 goals in three seasons for the Bruins, was a late addition to the Olympic roster, replacing Abby Wambach after she suffered a broken leg in the final pre-Olympic match. Midfielder Christine Nairn, a Penn State freshman and a member of the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup champions last fall in Chile, gets her second call up after training with the USA in January, but is looking for her first senior team cap. Sundhage also called up forward Casey Nogueira, a member of the USA’s 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Team in Russia, who had a fantastic junior season at North Carolina last year, pounding in 25 goals with eight assists including both scores in the NCAA title game victory against Notre Dame. She picked up a slew of national player of the year awards after the season. Nogueira earned her lone cap at the 2007 Four Nations Tournament in China, playing the first half against England. Goalkeeper Kelsey Davis from the University of Portland also gets a call up, earning the opportunity to train alongside veterans Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart. A long-time veteran of the USA’s youth national teams, Davis was the back-up goalkeeper at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand and the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia and was a member of the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team that won the 2007 Nordic Cup in Finland. No matter how much these players get to play against Canada, with the Women's World Cup two years away, the time is now to invest in young players to see if they can make an impact down the road.

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