Kelly Cobb and Mollie Pathman selected to the 21-player roster that will compete in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup held in Japan.DURHAM, N.C. – The United States released the Under-20 Women’s National Team with Duke University standouts
“I feel blessed that I made this team,” said Cobb. “To have this opportunity to represent my country as well as Duke and to be going down with my teammate Mollie just seems like a dream come true. I feel completely honored to be wearing that crest and to go down to Japan and play in the U-20 World Cup. I have put in a lot of work into making the team. I am very excited.”
The Duke duo will leave Aug. 10 and will compete in the World Cup Aug. 19 through Sept. 8 that will be played in Miyagi, Kobe, Saitama, Hiroshima and Tokyo, Japan. Cobb and Pathman are expected to miss seven regular season Blue Devil contests and two exhibition matches before returning back to Durham. They should be back in time for ACC action to start Sept. 13 at Florida State.
“We are very, very proud of both Mollie and Kelly for making the U-20 World Cup team,” commented Duke head coach Robbie Church. “It is a great honor. All of our team is very happy for them and shares in the excitement they have. It is a real testament for of all their hard work that they have put in over the years. We know they will represent the United States and Duke with nothing but class both on and off the field.”
The U.S. plays its first two Group D matches at the Hiroshima Big Arch Stadium in Hiroshima, opening its tournament on Aug. 20 against Ghana at 4 p.m. local (3 a.m. ET) before facing China PR on Aug. 23 at 7 p.m. local (6 a.m. ET). The USA will finish the group stage on Aug. 27 against Germany in what will be an extremely rare meeting during group play between former U-20 world champions. The clash between the USA and Germany, who have each won this tournament twice, takes place at Miyagi Stadium in the town of Rifu near Sendai at 4 p.m. local (3 a.m. ET).
“The World Cup is an honor,” commented Pathman. “It’s something I’ve been working for since I started playing soccer and it has been a dream of mine. It is nice to have a different role this time, more of a starter than I was in the last World Cup. Anytime you can get to put on that USA jersey is truly an honor.”
Head coach Steve Swanson named his squad after a two-week training camp in Bradenton, Fla., which was the last extended domestic event for the U.S. team before it departs for Japan in early August. Swanson put his player pool through a thorough evaluation process
over the past year and a half, taking a hard look at more than 80 players.
“Overall, this is a talented group of players with a good blend of technical ability, creativity, unselfishness and teamwork,” said Swanson. “This team is truly representative of the entire nation, not only in terms of geography but also in the fact that so many quality coaches and teachers have helped develop these players through club, high school and college soccer along the way.”
Pathman will see action in her second U-20 World Cup as she played in the 2010 tournament in Germany. A junior native of Durham, N.C., Pathman came off the bench in two matches in 2010, but has been starting for this current team at left back. A sophomore product of Chugiak, Alaska, Cobb made the team after coming back from a foot injury this spring.
Both Cobb and Pathman combined to score 17 goals and post 20 assists last season for Duke, which advanced to the national championship match and notched a school-record 22 victories.
The USA will head into the Women’s World Cup having compiled a record of 12-1-0 this year in international matches. The lone loss came against the Women’s World Cup hosts by a 1-0 score on a June trip to Japan. The USA won the second match against Japan by a 2-0 score three days later.
The age cut-off date for this Women’s World Cup is players born on or after Jan. 1, 1992. Sixteen of the 21 players selected by Swanson were born in 1992, three were born in 1993 and two were born in 1994, meaning they would be age-eligible for the 2014 FIFA Under-20
Women’s World Cup.
The 16 nations competing in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup are: host Japan; China PR, Korea DPR and Korea Republic from Asia; Ghana and Nigeria from Africa; Germany, Italy, Norway and Switzerland from Europe; the USA, Canada and Mexico from CONCACAF; Brazil and Argentina from South America; and New Zealand from Oceania.
Roster by Position –
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bryane Heaberlin (North Carolina; St. Petersburg, Fla.), Jami Kranich (Villanova; Hamden, Conn.), Abby Smith (Dallas Texans; Dallas, Texas)
DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Amack (Mustang Blast; Pleasanton, Calif.), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina; Rockville Centre, N.Y.), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara; Mesa, Ariz.), Kassey Kallman (Florida State; Woodbury, Minn.), Mollie Pathman (Duke; Durham, N.C.), Cari Roccaro (Albertson Fury; East Islip, N.Y.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia; St. Simons Island, Ga.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois; Naperville, Ill.), Sarah Killion (UCLA; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Mandy Laddish (Notre Dame; Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Samantha Mewis (UCLA; Hanson, Mass.), Taylor Schram (Penn State; Canonsburg, Pa.)
FORWARDS (6): Kelly Cobb (Duke; Chugiak, Alaska), Maya Hayes (Penn State; West Orange, N.J.), Kealia Ohai (North Carolina; Draper, Utah), Katie Stengel (Wake Forest; Melbourne, Fla.), Chioma Ubogagu (Stanford; Coppell, Texas), Becca Wann (Richmond; Chesterfield, Va.)
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