Four members of the University of Virginia women’s soccer program will represent the United States this fall at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.
Laurel Ivory of Surfside, Fla., Zoe Morse of East Lansing, Mich., Alexa Spaanstra of Brighton, Mich. and Taryn Torres of Frisco, Texas were all selected to compete for the U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team. The 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup begins on Monday, August 5, and runs through Friday, August 24.
Ivory and Spaanstra will both be making their second appearance representing the United States at a FIFA World Cup, having served as starters for the U.S. at the 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan.
“Our entire program is extremely proud of, and excited for, Zoe, Laurel, Taryn and Alexa for making the final roster for the Under 20 Women’s World Cup in France,” said UVA head coach Steve Swanson. “Each of them has worked extraordinarily hard to put themselves in a position to be selected. It is an honor anytime your wear the United States jersey, but especially in a World Cup. We know these four will represent their country, the University of Virginia, their families and themselves exceptionally well, and we look forward to supporting them and the entire team throughout the tournament.”
The roster is made up of 16 current collegiate players and five youth club players who will enter college this fall. All five competed in the recently-completed first season of the U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy. Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1998 are eligible for the World Cup. The U.S. roster is made up of seven players born in 1998, 10 born in 1999 and four born in 2000.
“Honestly, these were some of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make in my coaching career,” said United States U-20 Women’s National Team head coach Jitka Klimkova. “The overall pool was so competitive, and we needed every training session and game before we selected the final 21. We are confident that the group we picked is the best team. We looked at many factors over the past year from their influence and decision making in games to their training mentality and versatility, to the intangibles, and of course their performances in international matches. The credit goes to the players for their work ethic and mental toughness throughout the process.”
The U.S. was drawn into Group C at the upcoming World Cup in France and opens the tournament on Monday, Aug. 6 against Japan (1:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time/ 7:30 p.m. local on FS2), faces Paraguay on Thursday, Aug. 9 (1:30 p.m. EST / 7:30 p.m. local on FS2) and finishes the group against Spain on Monday, Aug. 13 (7:30 a.m. EST / 1:30 p.m. local on FS2). The U.S. will play its first two group games at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau and its third group game at Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan/Léhon.
The 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup features 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group advance to the knockout round quarterfinals. All 32 matches of the tournament will take place in four venues across France’s Brittany region.
The 16-team field for the tournament is a strong one, featuring Mexico, the U.S., Haiti, host France, England, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Paraguay, China PR, Japan, Korea PRK and New Zealand. The U.S. has won the tournament three times (2002, 2008, 2012), as has Germany (2004, 2010, 2014), while Korea DPR has won it twice, in 2006 and most recently in 2016.
Below is the U.S. team’s roster by position, with UVA players in bold.
2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Roster by Position (College or Club; Hometown; U-20 Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Hillary Beall (Michigan; Laguna Beach, Calif.; 0/0), Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.; 12/0), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.; 10/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Emily Fox (UNC; Chapel Hill, N.C., 32/3), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; San Jose, Calif.; 17/0), Samantha Hiatt (Stanford; Newcastle, Wash.; 11/1), Tara McKeown (USC; Newbury Park, Calif.; 22/0), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing, Mich.; 19/0), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; Santa Barbara, Calif.; 16/0), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.; 19/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.; 36/5), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.; 26/2), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, N.C.; 22/3), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas; 12/2), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.; 23/1)
FORWARDS (6): Erin Gilroy (Tennessee; Bellmore, N.Y.; 4/2), Penelope Hocking (So Cal Blues; Anaheim, Calif.; 9/3), Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.; 24/6), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; Monrovia, Calif.; 33/11), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.; 3/0), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.; 25/21)