The US women’s division is a very strong unit expected to perform very well in the upcoming Women’s U-20 championships in Russia this coming August, hoping to bring some sanity to football reputation in their country whose Men’s division brought so much shame in the recent FIFA World Cup 2006.
The U.S. team is looked poised for a proud performance following their focused training for several months in California, series of friendly competitions against top squads, a total of around 50 games since January, and were the U-19 world champions in 2002.
Six of their current players won Thailand 2004 against China in a score of 5-3 in overtime which head coach Tim Schulz being happy with his team’s poise and capability to win difficult matches. Scorers for that game where Jordan Angeli, Casey Nogueira (17-years-old), Amy Rogriguez (US Senior), Kelley O’Hara and Lauren Cheney. Though beaten by eventual champions Germany in the semi-finals, they seem to have more power than their male counterparts.
Head coach Tim Schulz is confident of their chances and has this to say: I think we will have the advantage in terms of experience, aware that fellow group D opponents Congo DR are first timers. Our players are used to playing competitive games either in regional championships or with their University teams. And for some of them it will be their second World Championship. I think my players will have more composure and savvy than some of the others. But France, Argentina and Congo (Group B opponents) will be desperate to beat us and we will have to be careful.
Women’s football is not as competitive as the Men’s division and US women may win the competition with less glamour and celebration, but bringing home an award furthers their sport and gives them a step forward much needed from their recent humiliating failures.
With extensive training camps in Germany, Brazil, Finland and Home Depot Center in Los Angeles, will the team have enough to win this year?
Jordan Angelie has this to say: We haven’t played any of these teams before, but it’s nice to go into a game with unfamiliar opponents because you won’t get complacent and you won’t know exactly how to play against them, who will be playing in her first FIFA finals when the Americans line up for their opening match in Moscow against the Congolese on 18 August. We will have to bring our best game and take nothing for granted.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Davis relies heavily on their internal preparation to get past through their opponents: We are concentrating on ourselves and not our opponents at this point, We are still building up our team. But it will be very exciting going up against tough teams like the ones we’ll face in the first round.
Schulz sees an upcoming interesting match: We have never faced these teams and they will be a bit of an unknown quantity for us. Our scouting of these teams and mock-up training sessions will be crucial in order to get comfortable before the games in Russia. There are some big contrasts in styles in this group and it should be very fun to see – you have Africa, Europe, South America and North America all represented.
We have such depth in our team, we have strong players throughout the squad. We can go to the bench at any time and I am totally confident. A World Cup is about the girls who step up and have nerves of steel on the big occasion. This is what makes a great athlete and I am sure we have that component on our team.
Their group games start against Africa’s second-place finishers Congo DR on August 18, Argentina three days later and finally France on August 24.
[tags]Women’s World Championship, Soccer[/tags]