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- Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Panama
Date:
Dec. 6, 2015
Competition:
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Venue:
Escuela Internacional Sampedran; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Weather:
79 degrees; Rain 

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F
USA                                3          2          5
PAN                                 0          1          1 

USA – Kelcie Hedge (Jessie Scarpa)                   8th minute
USA – Mallory Pugh (Savannah de Melo)          11
USA – Jessie Scarpa (Mallory Pugh)                   42
USA – Jessie Scarpa (Mallory Pugh)                   47
USA – Mallory Pugh (Ashley Sanchez)              78
PAN – Keisilyn Gutierrez                                    82

Lineups:
USA:
1-Rose Chandler; 16-Emily Fox, 2-Natalie Jacobs, 5-Tierna Davidson, 4-Sabrina Flores; 11-Kelcie Hedge (20-Zoe Redei, 46), 17-Parker Roberts, 6-Savannah DeMelo (13-Ashley Sanchez, 71), 12-Kiara Pickett (7-Marley Canales, 32); 15-Jessie Scarpa, 10-Mallory Pugh (capt.)
Subs not used: 3-Mikaela Harvey, 8-Ella Stevens, 9-Jordan Harr, 14-Taylor Otto, 18-Brooke Heinsohn, 19-Shannon Horgan
Head coach: Michelle French
 

PAN: 12-Keytin Oglivie; 6-Laurie Batista (capt.), 4-Katherine Castillo, 3-Maria Murillo, 2-Ariadna Stuart; 10-Marta Cox, 9-Karla Riley (15-Estafania Salas, 81), 8-Gilean Romero (17-Darlin Branda, 51), 7-Nicol Flores (18-Keisilyn Gutierrez, 63); 14-Solemar Ortiz, 11-Yassiel Franco
Subs not used: 1-Karen Chavarria, 5-Yomira Pinzon, 13-Ivonne Fernandez, 16-Rosario Vargas, 19-Mariana Molina, 20-Miluska Guevara
Head coach: Raiza Gutierrez

Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots:  /
Shots on Goal:  /
Saves:  /
Corner Kicks:  /
Fouls:  /
Offside:   / 

Misconduct Summary:
PAN – Yassiel Franco (caution)               44th minute
PAN – Marta Cox (caution)                     62
PAN – Laurie Batista (caution)                68

Officials:
Referee: Gillian Martindale (BAR)
Asst. Referee 1: Marie-Han Gagnon-Chertin (CAN)
Asst. Referss 2: Nereida Diaz (CUB)
4th Official: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (TRI)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: TBA

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U-20 WNT Defeats Panama 6-1 in Second Game of 2015 World Cup Qualifying

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Dec. 7, 2015) - The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team defeated Panama 6-1 in its second match of the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship behind impressive scoring performances from forward duo Jessie Scarpa and Mallory Pugh.

The U.S. sits tied with Mexico atop Group B as both team have four points and a plus-five goal difference after Mexico also claimed a win in the day's earlier game, beating Haiti 5-0. The two rivals tied 2-2 in their opening group match and will vie for top spot in the group on Wednesday when Mexico faces Panama (11 a.m. ET, FOX Soccer Plus) and the U.S. plays Haiti (3 p.m. ET, FOX Soccer 2GO and delayed on FOX Soccer Plus: 9:30 p.m. ET). Haiti sits third in Group B with three points and Panama is last with zero.

Scarpa's hat trick led the scoring for the U.S. and was bolstered by two assists from Pugh, who also bagged a pair of goals. Kelcie Hedge grabbed the USA's first goal, kick starting the rout in the eighth minute. Additionally, 17-year-old Ashley Sanchez came off the bench to turn in a fine performance, notching two assists.

With Canada looking strong and sitting atop Group A, the U.S. will be keen to put in a high-scoring performance against Haiti on Wednesday in order to give itself the best possible chance of claiming top spot in Group B and avoiding a potential semifinal match-up with its northern neighbor.

The tournament semifinals are scheduled for Dec. 11 (6 and 9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 2) with the two winners earning automatic berths to the 2016 FIFA Women's World Cup. The winner of the tournament's third place match is also awarded a place at the World Cup. The 2015 CONCACAF Women's Championship final is scheduled for Dec. 13 and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 2. Fans can also follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

- Under-20 Women’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team vs. Panama
Date:
Dec. 6, 2015
Competition:
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Venue:
Escuela Internacional Sampedran; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Weather:
79 degrees; Rain 

Scoring Summary:       1          2          F
USA                                3          3          6
PAN                                 0          1          1 

USA – Kelcie Hedge (Jessie Scarpa)                   8th minute
USA – Mallory Pugh (Savannah DeMelo)          11
USA – Jessie Scarpa (Mallory Pugh)                   42
USA – Jessie Scarpa (Mallory Pugh)                   47
USA – Mallory Pugh (Ashley Sanchez)              78
PAN – Keisilyn Gutierrez                                     82
USA – Jessie Scarpa (Ashley Sanchez)                90+3

Lineups:
USA:
1-Rose Chandler; 16-Emily Fox, 2-Natalie Jacobs, 5-Tierna Davidson, 4-Sabrina Flores; 11-Kelcie Hedge (20-Zoe Redei, 46), 17-Parker Roberts, 6-Savannah DeMelo (13-Ashley Sanchez, 71), 12-Kiara Pickett (7-Marley Canales, 32); 15-Jessie Scarpa, 10-Mallory Pugh (capt.)
Subs not used: 3-Mikaela Harvey, 8-Ella Stevens, 9-Jordan Harr, 14-Taylor Otto, 18-Brooke Heinsohn, 19-Shannon Horgan
Head coach: Michelle French
 

PAN: 12-Keytin Oglivie; 6-Laurie Batista (capt.), 4-Katherine Castillo, 3-Maria Murillo, 2-Ariadna Stuart; 10-Marta Cox, 9-Karla Riley (15-Estafania Salas, 81), 8-Gilean Romero (17-Darlin Branda, 51), 7-Nicol Flores (18-Keisilyn Gutierrez, 63); 14-Solemar Ortiz, 11-Yassiel Franco
Subs not used: 1-Karen Chavarria, 5-Yomira Pinzon, 13-Ivonne Fernandez, 16-Rosario Vargas, 19-Mariana Molina, 20-Miluska Guevara
Head coach: Raiza Gutierrez

Stats Summary: USA / PAN
Shots: 26 / 8
Shots on Goal: 10 / 4
Saves: 3 / 4
Corner Kicks: 7 / 0
Fouls: 11 / 24
Offside:  5 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
PAN – Yassiel Franco (caution)               44th minute
PAN – Marta Cox (caution)                     62
PAN – Laurie Batista (caution)                68

Officials:
Referee: Gillian Martindale (BAR)
Asst. Referee 1: Marie-Han Gagnon-Chertin (CAN)
Asst. Referss 2: Nereida Diaz (CUB)
4th Official: Marie-Soleil Beaudoin (TRI)

ussoccer.com Woman of the Match: TBA

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U-20 WNT Dec 7, 2015

U-20 WNT Continues Rainy CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship vs. Panama

U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team vs. Panama
2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Escuela Internacional Sampedra; San Pedro Sula, Honduras
Dec. 7, 2015

U.S. U-20 WNT CONTINUES WORLD CUP QUALIFYING RUN: The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team continues play in the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship today, when it faces Panama (2 p.m. CT on FOX Soccer Plus). The team opened with a 2-2 draw against Mexico on Friday and will look to add three points against Panama. The group concludes group play against Haiti on Tuesday, Dec. 8 (2 p.m. CT); the broadcast of this match on FOX Soccer Plus will be delayed until 9:30 p.m. ET. Follow the U-20 WNT throughout the tournament on ussoccer.com and Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship
Group B Schedule - USA
Date    Match                          Kickoff (CT)   Venue / TV
Dec. 4 USA vs. Mexico          2-2, T
Dec. 7 USA vs. Panama         2 p.m.              Escuela Internacional Sampedra FOX Soccer Plus
Dec. 9 USA vs. Haiti              2 p.m.              Escuela Internacional Sampedra FOX Soccer Plus

WATCH U-20 WNT QUALIFYING ON FOX SOCCER 2GO: While the U.S. matches will be broadcast on the FOX family of networks, all the tournament matches can be watched via live stream through FOX Soccer 2GO on a subscription basis and will also be available on-demand VOD for seven days following the match. Additionally, authenticated subscribers of FOX Soccer Plus and FOX Sports 2 will be able to live stream the broadcast feeds for the matches on FOX Sports Go as part of their cable/satellite subscription. Fans who only have FOX Sports 2 and not FOX Soccer Plus on their cable or satellite systems will only be able to watch the FOX Sports 2 matches online, and vice versa.

Both semifinals (Dec. 11 at 6 and 9 p.m. ET), the third-place match (Dec. 13 at 6 p.m. ET) and the championship match (Dec. 13 at 9 p.m. ET) will air on FOX Sports 2.

TOURNAMENT FORMAT: The 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship, which has been held seven previous times in various incarnations (the first two were held as U-19 tournaments), features eight nations divided into two groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will qualify for the semifinals, with the winners of those games and the winner of the third-place match earning berths to the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Group A is comprised of host Honduras, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. Group A kicks off the tournament on Thursday, Dec. 3, as Canada faces T&T and Honduras meets Jamaica.

U-20 HISTORY LESSON: Of the seven tournaments CONCACAF has held for U-19/U-20 women, the USA has won four of them, including the past three. The first tournament back in 2002 did not produce a champion as the two groups in Trinidad & Tobago were played on separate islands (one on Trinidad and one on Tobago) and the group champions advanced to the first FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup without semifinals or a final being played. The USA then won four of the next six tournaments, losing the final in 2004 and 2008 to Canada. The USA has advanced to the final of the past six tournaments, facing Canada four times and Mexico twice, including in 2014 when the USA won 4-0. The USA is 30-2-1 all-time in the tournament, and after racking up some high scores in the early days of this tournament, has scored 227 goals, while allowing 11. In the 2014 qualifying tournament, in which Canada, as host of that year’s U-20 Women’s World Cup did not play, the USA won all five games by shutout, racking up a 29-0 goal margin. The USA has qualified for all seven FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups that have been contested, winning three of them: 2002, 2008 and 2012.

U-20 WNT A SPRINGBOARD TO FULL WNT: Many of the players who have scored for the USA in this tournament have become familiar to WNT fans. Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly, Leslie Osborne, Megan Rapinoe, Yael Averbuch, Rachel Buehler (now Van Hollebeke), Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Cheney (now Holiday), Kelley O’Hara, Alex Morgan, Meghan Klingenberg, Sydney Leroux, Kristie Mewis, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston and Morgan Brian have scored in this tournament and gone on to earn caps with the full Women’s National Team. Crystal Dunn also represented the USA during two U-20 cycles. Thirteen of the players listed above have played for the USA in a Women’s World Cup at the senior level. 

THEY’RE IN: Half of the field for the 16-team 2016 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup is set. Joining host Papua New Guinea will be Japan, Korea Republic and Korea DPR from Asia, European qualifiers France, Germany, Spain and Sweden and Oceania qualifier New Zealand. Along with the three CONCACAF berths, there are still two berths from Africa and two from South America up for grabs. Up to four stadiums in Papua New Guinea may be utilized for the World Cup tournament.

RUN-UP TO HONDURAS: The timing of the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship at the end of the college season made the process of the U.S. roster selection a bit more difficult, and thus the roster is made up of eight collegiate players and 12 high-school aged players who are still playing youth club soccer. The roster ranges over four birth years from 1996-1999 with the youngest player being 16-year-old midfielder Kiara Pickett. Players born on or after January 1, 1996, are eligible for the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup. U.S. head coach Michelle French was able to watch 57 players in game action this year and many more during college matches this fall, while having an excellent preparation schedule that saw the team go 10-2-1 overall and 6-1-1 in international matches. The only loss came to youth women’s power Japan while the USA picked up wins against Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil and Honduras, as well as victories against Spanish women’s clubs Atletico Madrid and Rayo Vallecano. From the qualifying roster, Marley Canales, Jordan Harr, Mikaela Harvey, Mallory Pugh, Zoe Redei and Ella Stevens have all scored in international matches this year.

CAPTAIN IN FORM: Team captain Mallory Pugh got off to a great start in the team’s opening match against Mexico, scoring the opening goal of the tournament and assisting on the USA’s other score. This is the second go-around in this tournament for the 17-year-old, who was the youngest player on the U-20s when the team won the tournament in 2013.

U.S. U-20 WNT CONCACAF Qualifying Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), 18-Brooke Heinsohn (New England FC; Norfolk, Mass.)

DEFENDERS (7): 5-Tierna Davidson (De Anza Force; Menlo Park; Calif.), 4-Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), 16-Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), 19-Shannon Horgan (Clemson; Long Beach, N.Y.), 2-Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza; Calif.), 14-Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), 12-Kiara Pickett (Eagles; Santa Barbara, Calif.)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), 6-Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), 9-Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), 3-Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), 11-Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), 17-Parker Roberts (Kansas; Leawood, Kan.), 8-Ella Stevens (GSA; Grayson, Ga.)

FORWARDS (4): 10-Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), 20-Zoe Redei (Eclipse Soccer Club; Highland Park, Ill.), 13-Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), 15-Jessie Scarpa (UNC; Lakeland, Fla.)

U.S. ROSTER NOTES:

  • French, a member of the USA’s silver medal winning team at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, became head coach of this age group in February of 2013 and coached the USA to the championship of the last CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament in the Cayman Islands, which earned the USA a trip to the last U-20 World Cup in Canada. The USA lost to North Korea in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal round of that tournament.
  • Goalkeeper Rose Chandler and forward Mallory Pugh are the only two players on the roster who were on the U.S. team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
  • Neither player was a member of the USA’s squad that participated in the 2014 qualifying tournament.
  • Pugh was a starter in all four games the USA played in Canada in 2014 and is the only player on the roster with World Cup experience.
  • Six-foot-one goalkeeper Brooke Heinsohn is the granddaughter of Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn.
  • Chandler, who is currently the back-up ‘keeper at Penn State, where she has played in five matches off the bench this year, is the only player on the roster whose college team is still in contention in the NCAA Playoffs.
  • Chandler made the start at goalkeeper against Mexico to earn her first cap at the U-20 leve.
  • Of the eight college players on the roster, four are freshmen (Chandler is a red-shirt freshman) and four have played two years of college soccer in Mikaela Harvey, Clemson sophomore defender Shannon Horgan, Notre Dame sophomore defender Sabrina Flores and UNC sophomore forward Jessie Scarpa.
  • The freshmen are: Chandler, Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame), Parker Roberts (Kansas) and Kelcie Hedge (Washington).
  • Pugh is the leading U-20 cap-winner and scorer on the roster with 14 and six respectively. Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC) and Canales have seven U-20 caps each.
  • Two players are age-eligible for the U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team in defender Kiara Pickett (5 caps for the U-17s this year) and forward Ashley Sanchez (six caps and 11 goals for the U-17s this year).
  • The 20 players on the roster come from 20 different youth clubs in 13 different states. There are five players from Southern California on the roster and one from Northern California, two from Georgia and two from Texas.
  • Five of the players on the roster were born in 1996. Seven were born in 1997, six in 1998 and two in 1999. The players born in 1998 and 1999 are age-eligible for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
  • The USA has had the top scorer in this tournament six times. In 2002, it was Kelly Wilson with nine goals. In 2004, Kerri Hanks scored 10 times. In 2008, Kelley O’Hara and Michelle Enyeart shared the tournament lead with six each, and in 2010 Sydney Leroux led the tourney in goal scoring with six. In 2014, McKenzie Meehan shared the Golden Boot with six goals.
  • The USA has won 15 consecutive matches in this tournament – all five over the past three tournaments – while scoring 68 goals and allowing three.

USA VS. PANAMA SERIES:

  • Panama fell to Haiti in its opening match 3-2.
  • The only meeting between the USA and Panama at this tournament came in the third group match in 2012 in Panama City as the USA won 6-0.
  • Panama participated in U-20 qualifying in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2012, with its best finish (4th) coming in 2012.
  • Since host Honduras automatically earned one of Central America’s two spots in the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship, Panama did well to secure the other with a first-place finish in regional qualifying, winning three games and tying one.
  • The key result proved to be a 2-0 victory over eventual runner-up Costa Rica on August 6, 2015. Karla Riley and Solemar Ortiz netted the goals in a winning effort, effectively eliminating the Ticas.
  • Panama’s success in the CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship has been limited, but it did come in fourth place in 2012. That year, the then 14-year-old Marta Cox scored in a 2-1 triumph against Cuba. She is still with the squad. In qualifying for this year’s competition, Cox struck for two goals, both coming in a 3-0 defeat of Guatemala.
  • Panama is 3-10-2 all-time in the tournament with 13 goals scored and 57 against.

HOW THEY GOT HERE:

  • Like the USA, Mexico was granted an automatic berth into the final tournament.
  • Panama qualified for the tournament by winning the Central Zone qualifying tournament, finishing first over Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. Panama tied Nicaragua 0-0 but defeated El Salvador (2-1), Costa Rica (2-0) and Guatemala (3-0). Yassiel Franco scored three goals during the tournament, Emily Cox had two and Solemar Ortiz and Karla Riley had one each.
  • Haiti qualified by first winning its final round group in Caribbean Zone qualifying, which it hosted, losing to Puerto Rico by a 3-0 score, but winning the group by defeating Bermuda 8-0 and seeing Bermuda defeat Puerto Rico 1-0. Haiti then defeated Trinidad & Tobago 2-0 in the semifinal and Jamaica 2-0 in the championship game. In the final round, Nerilla Mondesir scored four goals, while Sabine Chandler, Kensia Destinvill and Roseline Eloissaint scored two each. Batcheba Louis and Darline Radaaker scored single goals in qualifying.

BY THE NUMBERS:
1     Players still in high school on the USA’s qualifying roster for the last U-20 WWC
5     CONCACAF U-19/U-20 tournaments, out of seven, in which the USA has won all its games
7     U.S. players who stand 5-foot-7 or taller
8     Players from the western region of the U.S. on this year’s qualifying roster
11   Different countries the USA has faced in CONCACAF U-19/U-20 Women’s Qualifying
12   Players still in high school on the USA’s 2015 qualifying roster
15   Consecutive matches that the USA has won in the CONCACAF U-20 qualifying tournament
15   Games out of 33 in which the USA has scored five or more goals in CONCACAF U-19/U-20 qualifying
30   All-time matches won in the CONCACAF U-19/U-20 championship by the USA
57   Players who played in a game for the U.S. U-20 WNT in 2015
630 Minutes played by Natalie Jacobs this year in international competition, the most on the team

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U-20 WNT Dec 7, 2015

CONCACAF U-20 Women's Championship Games Pushed Back Due to Extreme Weather

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (Dec. 6, 2015) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team match against Panama will now be played on Monday, Dec. 7, at 2 p.m. CT in a new venue, Escuela Internacional Sampedrana, due to inclement weather that led to unplayable conditions at previously scheduled venue, Estadio Olimpico.

The Group A matches originally scheduled for Saturday evening – Jamaica vs. Canada and Trinidad & Tobago vs. Honduras – were re-scheduled to Sunday due to heavy rainfall, and as a result all other matches remaining in the group phase have been pushed back by one day and moved to the new venue. Kickoff times for the matches at the Escuela Internacional Sampedrana are 10 a.m. CT and 2 p.m. CT.

The semifinals, third-place match and the tournament final are still to be played as scheduled at the Estadio Francisco Morazan, with the semifinals being played on Dec. 11 and the third-place match and final to be played on Dec. 13.

Fans will still be able to watch the U.S. U-20 WNT matches online via a subscription to FOX Soccer 2GO as well as follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer_ynt.

The U.S. U-20s, are tied for second in Group B with one point after opening tournament play on Friday night with a 2-2 draw against Mexico. The USA will look to add three points against Panama, which sits last in Group B after falling to Haiti 3-2 on Friday, when it resumes group play on Monday. The top three finishers in the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship will qualify directly to the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papa New Guinea.

CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship Honduras 2015 – Revised Schedule
All times listed are Central Time

Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015 – Escuela Internacional Sampedrana             
10 a.m. - Jamaica vs. Canada
2 p.m. - Trinidad & Tobago vs. Honduras

Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 – Escuela Internacional Sampedrana
10 a.m. - Mexico vs. Haiti
2 p.m. - Panama vs. United States

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 – Escuela Internacional Sampedrana
10 a.m. - Trinidad & Tobago vs. Jamaica
2 p.m. - Honduras vs. Canada

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 – Escuela Internacional Sampedrana
10 a.m. - Panama vs. Mexico
2 p.m. - United States vs. Haiti

Friday, Dec.11, 2015 – Estadio Francisco Morazán (Semifinals)
5 p.m. - Winner Group B vs. Second Group A
8 p.m. - Winner Group A vs. Second Group B

Sunday, December 13, 2015 – Estadio Francisco Morazán (Third Place and Final)
5 p.m. - Loser SF1 vs. Loser SF2
8 p.m. - Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2

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U-20 WNT Dec 6, 2015

Q&A: U-20 WNT's Mallory Pugh Hyped Up to Lead USA Through U-20 Women's World Cup Qualifying

In 2014, Mallory Pugh was the youngest player on the U.S. Under-20 Women’s World Cup Team, but still started all four games in Canada before the USA was knocked out in the quarterfinals by Korea DPR. Now, a bit older, more experienced and wiser, Pugh leads the USA into Qualifying for the 2016 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup as the most experienced player on the roster. ussoccer.com sat down with Pugh in San Pedro Sula, Honduras where the USA is preparing for the 2015 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship.

ussoccer.com: Now that you’ve arrived in Honduras, what’s the mood of the group and how excited are you all to get this tournament underway?
Mallory Pugh: “I think everyone is just super excited. Only a few people get this opportunity and I think what we need to do is just make the most of it and get the job done, and while we’re doing it just have fun.”

ussoccer.com: You were with the U-20 WNT in the last edition of this tournament as the youngest player; now you’re back with experience and ready for another go. How is your role different this time, and what do you hope to bring to the table?
MP: “I feel like my role is to make sure the team chemistry is on point. Obviously that will translate onto the field and if we’re all comfortable together I think great things can happen through that. I really try to just be positive with everyone. I think it’s really important for everyone to bond. We’ve had a lot of different ages coming through and I think the chemistry of everyone throughout the camps is really important. That’s something I take into my hands. If someone’s not being included in something I try to grab them under my wing and help them. We’re a young team but I think most of us know each other from past camps and even over the past four days all of us have gotten along really well and I just feel like this chemistry is going very well.”

ussoccer.com: What sort of challenges do you expect from the CONCACAF opponents in this tournament?
MP: “I really think that every team in this tournament is going to be a challenge for us and each team has their own style of play. So our biggest thing will be knowing how they play beforehand and knowing wat they’re going to do is really important so we’re prepared for it.”

ussoccer.com: You were a part of the group that came down to Honduras in September. How does that experience help prepare you for this tournament?
MP: “It was a lot of fun. Being in Honduras and in this environment definitely gives us an advantage going into this tournament. We got a chance to get used to the hotel, the Wi-Fi, the food and just get that experience that prepared us for these coming weeks.”


Pugh races down the sideline in the U-20 WNT's group match against Brazil at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Canada. The U.S. won the match 1-0.

ussoccer.com: How tight of a group is this team?
MP: “We’re a team that has a lot of fun and that’s one of my favorite things about coming into camp. You get to spend time with people you don’t see every day and we call each other best friends; it’s something that not a lot of people get to do. The laughter and the silliness and everything in between is just great.”

ussoccer.com: You had the opportunity to train with the senior Women’s National Team this year. How was that experience for you?
MP: “I think when I played for the senior team it was just their communication on the field that stood out to me a lot and I think translating that onto this team is a really important thing because it helps me and it helped them and everyone knew what they were doing. It’s just a huge experience.”

ussoccer.com: What is it like to put on the crest and know you’re representing the whole country when you play?
MP: “Putting on the crest is just a huge honor. Not everybody gets to do it. We’ve all worked really hard for this moment.  For some of us this is our first main world event, but that just makes it even more inspiring to be in this position. We’re just working really hard and we know that work has been really important leading up to this tournament. Every time you step on the field wearing the crest it’s just such an honor and it really makes you want to give it your all. You’re playing for you country, your family and you’re playing for past players that have been in your position as well as younger players that you hope to inspire.”

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U-20 WNT Dec 4, 2015
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