The FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup opened yesterday in Costa Rica as Brazil and Spain played in the opening match. The USWNT U-20s, who qualified by winning the 2022 Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship, begin group play this afternoon against Ghana.
This is the first time since 2018 that the tournament will be held after the 2020 tournament was canceled due to COVID. Back with a field of 16 teams, the top two nations from each group will advance to the elimination round, which begins August 20th. The title game will be held on August 28th inside the 34,000-seat Estadio Nacional in San Jose.
This is the tenth consecutive time the United States have qualified for the U-20 Women’s World Cup, participating in every tournament. The U-20s are giving fans a glimpse of the future stars of U.S. Women’s Soccer.
Four players from the World Cup-qualifying senior USWNT and CONCACAF W Champions played in the 2018 U-20 World Cup. Samantha Mewis and Alex Morgan were also champions during their respective time on the U-20s. From 2002-2018, an average of 6.4 players per USWNT U-20 World Cup team have gone on to play at the senior international level.
The USWNT U-20s are in Group D, joining Ghana, Japan, and the Netherlands. First up is the match today against Ghana, followed by a match against the Netherlands, the first meeting in the U-20 World Cup between the two nations,
Everyone will be looking forward to the August 17th match against Japan. Japan are the defending champs and have defeated the USWNT U-20s in the last two World Cups.
The 21-player roster is completed with 18 players currently in college or enrolling this fall, along with one youth club player and two professional players. It’s the most professionals ever for a U.S. team at a FIFA Youth Women’s World Cup.
Michelle Cooper is the star of the show, leading the team in scoring during this international cycle with eight goals. Cooper walks into her sophomore season at Duke Blue Devils this fall as the ACC Freshman of the year and was named to the United Soccer Coaches All-American team.
Here’s the rest of the USWNT U-20s roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Mia Justus (Florida State Seminoles; Lakewood, Ohio), Neeku Purcell (UCLA Bruins; Seattle, Wash.), Teagan Wy (California Bears; Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.)
DEFENDERS (6): Lauren Flynn (Florida State Seminoles; Arlington, Va.), Samar Guidry (Virginia Cavaliers; McKinney, Texas), Emily Mason (Rutgers Scarlet Knights; Flemington, N.J.), Ayo Oke (California Bears; Lawrenceville, Ga., Lilly Reale (UCLA Bruins; Hingham, Mass.), Laney Rouse (Virginia Cavaliers; Cary, N.C.)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Korbin Albert (Notre Dame Fighting Irish; Grayslake, Ill.), Talia DellaPeruta (North Carolina Tar Heels; Cumming, Ga.), Carina Lageyre (Duke Blue Devils; Cooper City, Fla.), Sally Menti (Santa Clara Broncos; Seattle, Wash.), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC; Wilsonville, Ore.)
FORWARDS (7): Trinity Byars (Texas Longhorns; Richardson, Texas), Michelle Cooper (Duke Blue Devils; Clarkston, Mich.), Simone Jackson (USC Trojans; Redondo Beach, Calif.), Andrea Kitahata (Stanford Cardinal; Hillsborough, Calif.), Ally Sentnor (North Carolina Tar Heels; Hanson, Mass.), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; Frisco, Texas), Alyssa Thompson (Total Futbol Academy; Studio City, Calif.)
Tracey Kevins makes her World Cup debut as the U-20 head coach, newly hired in October 2021. Kevins has been a part of U.S. Soccer since 2017, coaching the U-15 and U-17 squads. Kevins’ coaching career extends to Europe, where she coached England’s U-15, U-17, U-19, and U-20 squads.
How To Watch
The Fox Sports family of networks will broadcast all of the games in this year’s U-20 World Cup. In addition, the U-20s will play primetime at least twice over the next week.
USA vs. Ghana 1 p.m. FS2
USA vs. Netherlands 7 p.m. FS1
USA vs. Japan 7 p.m. FS2
Hit the comments to discuss the USWNT U-20 roster and its chances to win the World Cup.