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In-form Sophia Smith highlights USWNT U-20 World Cup roster

United States U-20 national team head coach Jitka Klimkova has named her 21-player roster for the upcoming World Cup. Savannah DeMelo, Emily Fox and Ashley Sanchez return for a second U-20 World Cup to join a talented group highlighted by star forward Sophia Smith and midfielders Jaelin Howell and Brianna Pinto.

The U.S. has been drawn into a difficult group featuring Japan, Paraguay and Spain. The tournament will take place from August 5-24 in the Brittany region of northwestern France.

Klimkova’s roster consists of 16 current college players and five who will enter college this fall.  Players born on or after Jan. 1, 1998 are eligible for this U-20 World Cup.

While Pinto, Howell and Sanchez have also had previous looks in training camps with the senior U.S. team, Smith enters the tournament as the player to watch for the Americans. She has scored 13 goals for the U-20 side this year, including tallies in nine straight matches, a record for U.S. youth national teams and tying her with Michelle Akers, who scored in nine straight matches for the senior team in 1991. Smith’s 21 all-time goals for the U-20s are second to only Sydney Leroux (29), Kelley O’Hara (24) and Lindsey Horan (24).

Ten players on this squad represented the U.S. at the 2016 U-17 World Cup in Jordan.

The U.S. finished fourth at the 2016 U-20 World Cup, falling to Japan in the third-place match. The Americans won the event in 2012, 2008 and 2002 — the first event of its kind, which was called the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship.

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)

2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Group C Schedule – USA

Date Match Kickoff (ET) Venue; City
Aug. 6 USA vs. Japan 1:30 p.m. Stade Guy-Piriou; Concarneau, France
Aug. 9 USA vs. Paraguay 1:30 p.m. Stade Guy-Piriou; Concarneau, France
Aug. 13 USA vs. Spain 7:30 a.m. Stade du Clos Gastel; Dinan-Léhon, France

All U.S. matches will be broadcast on FS2.

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