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Sermanni era begins with immediate youth injection

Tom Sermanni makes his debut as US women's national team coach on Saturday vs. Scotland. (Photo: U.S. Soccer)

Tom Sermanni has never been afraid to give young players a chance to shine with the senior national team.

He made a habit of developing teenagers into young stars over the last seven years in his second stint as Australian national team coach. Kyah Simon, now 21 years old, and Sam Kerr, 19, are two of several examples of players who were thrown into senior team mix in their mid-to-late teenage years.

Sermanni is in the middle of his first training camp as US women’s national team coach after being hired in October. He is expected to continue his philosophy of developing young, talented players by giving them real game experience with their senior peers.

It didn’t take long for that to begin.

Sermanni named his 18-player roster for Saturday’s friendly vs. Scotland (5 p.m. ET in Jacksonville, Fla., streamed on ussoccer.com), which will mark his debut as U.S. coach. It includes a couple of surprise additions: 21-year-old Kristie Mewis and 20-year-old defender Julie Johnston, who just won the U-20 World Cup with the U.S. in September and earned the Bronze Ball as the tournament’s third-best player. Mewis was just drafted No. 3 overall by FC Kansas City in the 2013 NWSL college draft.

[Related: Sermanni talks NWSL, USWNT and how to better evaluate talent like Mewis in a new league]

Forward Christen Press, along with Mewis and Johnston, is in the roster and has the opportunity to earn her first cap on Saturday. Midfielder Yael Averbuch has the chance to earn her first cap for the U.S. in over two years.

Saturday could also mark the return of right back Ali Krieger just over one year after tearing her right ACL and MCL. She is in the 18.

No. 1 goalkeeper Hope Solo is out with a minor calf strain, while Megan Rapinoe and Rachel Buehler arrived to camp late (Rapinoe due to being in France with Lyon and Buehler due to a family commitment).

There is no guarantee that any of the aforementioned players will make it into the match, but with six substitutions at his disposal and an open-minded history of giving players chances, Sermanni’s time as U.S. coach is likely to begin immediately with some fresh faces getting opportunities.

Here is the full roster:

GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), 21-Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC)

DEFENDERS (5): 26-Julie Johnston (Santa Clara), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 3-Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 25-Yael Averbuch (Göteborg FC), 7-Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), 12-Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), 17-Tobin Heath (Paris Saint-German), 10-Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), 23-Kristie Mewis (FC Kansas City), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers)

FORWARDS (4): 14-Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), 13-Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), 22-Christen Press (Tyresö FF), 20-Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)

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