U.S. U19 Women's Soccer Team Training in Portland

Aug. 11, 2002

Santa Clara University women's soccer players Jessica Ballweg, Megan Kakadelas and Leslie Osborne are currently training with the U.S. Under 19 National Women's Soccer Team, preparing for that age group's first World Championship. The following are notes provided by U.S. Soccer:

The U.S. Under-19 Women's National Team finished its short two-day training stint in Portland this afternoon at the sun-soaked Ronaldo Fields on the campus of the NIKE World Headquarters. The U.S. team squared off against a team of local collegians, made up mostly of players from the University of Portland and the University of Washington, and notched a solid 2-0 victory on goals from Manya Makoski and Lindsay Tarpley. Overlooking the Ronaldo Fields is a bigger-than-life bronze statue of the Brazilian soccer deity. The U.S. players posed for a picture with Brazil's #9, which ironically sits not far from a building named after another famous #9, Mia Hamm.

The U.S. team arrived in Portland on Friday afternoon after a nine-day break following the team's last training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in San Diego in late July. On Friday night, the young U.S. players had dinner on the Joan Benoit Samuelson Patio on the NIKE Campus after being treated to a multi-media presentation from the NIKE soccer marketing staff at Steve Prefontaine Hall. NIKE welcomed the U-19s to the picturesque northwest and wished them luck as they head up to Canada for the first-ever FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship. The U.S. team had a full day on Friday, training in the morning, eating lunch on the patio of the Tiger Woods Center, and then did team-building exercises with U.S. Women's National Team Sports Psychologist Dr. Colleen Hacker, which as usual, produced a challenging, educational, but laughter filled afternoon. The U.S. team then enjoyed the amenities of the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center for several hours and got a tour of the Mia Hamm Building before regrouping for dinner at the Tiger Woods, followed by a meeting with Dr. Hacker. The U.S. team returned to their hotel for "Christmas in August," each receiving a tall stack of brand new NIKE gear and shoes to outfit them for this historic World Championship. On Sunday following the scrimmage, the USA posed for their official team photo on massive lawn in front of the Tiger Woods Center before heading back to the hotel for dinner and one final meeting with Dr. Hacker before heading back to their rooms to pack for the trip to Canada.

The U.S. team will leave tomorrow morning for Victoria, B.C., site of all three of the USA's first round games, as the team will take a five-hour bus ride through some of the most beautiful country in the United States, driving through Oregon and Washington to get to the USA-Canadian border. The team will go through customs and then re-board the bus as it rolls straight onto a ferry for a one-hour cruise that will take them to Vancouver Island and the stunningly scenic Victoria. Located on the southeastern tip of the Vancouver Island across the Straight of Juan de Fuca from Washington state's snowcapped Olympic peninsula, Victoria is actually 45 miles south of the 49th Parallel, the border between most of Canada and the contiguous United States.

A total of 14 games from the 2002 FIFA Women's World Championship will be shown on Rogers Sportsnet inside the Canadian borders, including all games involving Canada's U-19s and its group in Edmonton, all four quarter-finals, both semi-finals and the consolation final and Final. Two highlight shows will also be broadcast during the tournament. However, the matches will not be shown in the United States unless fans can find a satellite dish that picks up the Canadian station. Still fans can follow the action as it happens during all the U.S. matches on www.ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics. The USA will open the tournament on Saturday, Aug. 17, against England at 1 p.m. PT. That is also the first match of the tournament.

At this time 11 years ago, a group of U.S. Women's National Team players were also preparing for a "first" FIFA World Championship for women. Those players, which included several familiar names who were about the same age as these current U.S. U-19s, would go onto win the first ever FIFA Women's World Cup in China. On that team were a 19-year-old Mia Hamm, a 20-year-old Julie Foudy, a 20-year-old Kristine Lilly and a pair of spry 23-year-olds, Brandi Chastain and Joy Fawcett. That team and the 2002 U.S. Under-19 World Championship team share several common characteristics: tremendous unity, dynamic attacking personalities and a keen appreciation of their opportunity to make history. The one common link between both teams, a person who can share the history and tradition of the U.S. Women's National Team programs, is U.S. head coach Tracey Leone, who was a reserve midfielder on that first Women's World Cup Team, starting one game in the tournament against Japan.

In a sad and heart-wrenching turn of events for the U.S. team, midfielder Annie Schefter, who had been named to the 18-player roster for the World Championship, tore her the ACL in her right knee in a pickup game a little more than a week before the U.S. was to arrive in Portland. Schefter had surgery last Tuesday, but amazingly joined her teammates in Portland on Friday, sometimes walking without crutches, and attended the trainings and meetings to show her support, as well as helping out as the "assistant equipment coordinator," sorting and passing out gear, all the while icing her knee and doing therapy. Schefter, who is headed to Notre Dame after the tournament and will have to red-shirt her freshman year, will also be in Canada to cheer the team on.

U.S. forward Kelly Wilson is the only player on the World Championship roster who has more goals (22) than caps (14) in full Under-19 international matches. Team captain Linsday Tarpley is close with 20 U-19 caps and 18 goals.


U.S. defender Jill Oakes on beginning the team's quest for a youth world championship:

Oakes: "When we all got to Portland, we could feel there was something different about this trip. All of our conversations, our activities and our focus are on Canada. Tomorrow, we set foot on the soil of the country in which we play for a world championship. Everyone is so excited."

U.S. defender Kendall Fletcher in a philosophical conversation with her teammates about why there should NOT be a fourth Austin Powers movie:

Fletcher: "The third movie was really good, which is rare for sequel to a sequel. It would just get too redundant with a fourth. Plus, now that Dr. Evil has gone to the good side, they should keep it that way."