CHICAGO, Illinois -- U.S. U-21 women's national team head coach Jillian Ellis has named the 18-player squad that will travel to Norway for the 16th Annual Nordic Cup being held July 16-22 in five small venues in and around Stavanger, Norway, in the southwestern part of the country.
The U.S. team will assemble on the east coast to train for a few days before leaving on July 11 for Norway, which will be hosting its third Nordic Cup, but first since 2001.
Held in Northern Europe every summer, the Nordic Cup is the top competition in the world for U-21 women and the focus of the USA's oldest youth national team during its six-month run-up to the prestigious tournament. The USA has won eight Nordic Cup titles, including a dominating 6-1 championship game win vs. Sweden in Norway in 2001.
Ellis will bring a relatively inexperienced squad to Norway this summer with just four players who have previously played in the Nordic Cup, and just three from last year's squad, defenders Rachel Buehler and Kendall Fletcher and midfielder Sarah Huffman.
"I think we've done a good job of getting the team some international games, so we've exposed them to that type of play," said Ellis. "At the end of the day, I am hoping they learn as they go, because in this tournament, you must start fast out of the gate. There is a really good energy on this team, they are excited to play for their country and to represent the USA in a prestigious tournament."
The USA opens the tournament against Denmark on Sunday, July 16, in Randaberg, and then faces Iceland on Tuesday, July 18, in Algard. The U.S. will finish first-round play with a clash against Norway on Thursday, July 20, in Sandnes. All four placement matches are set for Saturday, July 22.
2006 Nordic Cup Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Val Henderson (UCLA), Cori Alexander (Portland);
DEFENDERS (5): Rachel Buehler (Stanford), Kendall Fletcher (UNC), Brittany Taylor (Uconn), India Trotter (Florida State), Lauren Wilmoth (UCLA);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Bristyn Davis (UCLA), Sheree Gray (Penn State), Sarah Huffman (Virginia), Noelle Keselica (Virginia), Jennifer Maurer (Boston College), Rebecca Moros (Duke), Angie Woznuk;
FORWARDS (4): Danesha Adams (UCLA), Amanda Cinalli (Notre Dame), Katie Griffin (Colorado), Tiffany Weimer (Penn State).