United States women's national under-23 soccer team
The Stars and Stripes
|Association||United States Soccer Federation|
|Confederation||CONCACAF (North America)|
|Head coach||Steve Swanson|
|Appearances||12 (First in 1997)|
|Best result||Winners (1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008)|
The United States U-23 women's national soccer team is a youth soccer team operated under the auspices of U.S. Soccer. Its primary role is the development of players in preparation for the full Women's National Team. The team's most recent major tournament was the 2008 Nordic Cup, in which the United States team won 3–0 over Germany. The team competes in a variety of competitions, including the annual Nordic Cup, which is the top competition for this age group. The current head coach is Steve Swanson.
Beginnings as a U-20 program
The United States U-23 team has been active since 1989, however it was run as a U-20 team from its inception until 1998. Its main goal was to prepare college players for the step up to international soccer. Women had no viable opportunities to enhance their playing abilities, aside from overseas, since the United States lacked a top-level domestic league during this time.
The switch to U-21
In 1998, United States Soccer Federation decided to make the team a U-21 team in order to give women a higher level of play to better prepare them for the full National Team. In accordance with this strategy, the U-21 team frequently rostered "over-aged" players in the U-21 training camps, as well as the Nordic Cup. It remained a U-21 team from 1998 through 2008.
Competing as a U-23 team
2008 saw the change of the USA's oldest youth national team moved to the U-23 level. The move was made by the United States Soccer Federation in response to age-level changes FIFA had made to its oldest women's youth competition, now named FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. The age limit was raised from being a U-19 tournament to a U-20 tournament. This change, coupled with a newly introduced U-23 age limit to the Nordic Cup, prompted the USSF to rethink and eventually change the youth development team. The team continues to serve as a stepping-stone for collegiate and post-collegiate players to the United States Women's National Team. Additionally, many U-23 players develop further through the National Women's Soccer League. While many of the post-collegiate players play in this league to develop their game, the U-23's turned focus on college players who are out of season and may not yet be NWSL-eligible.
The following 20 players were called up for the 2016 Nordic Tournament running from May 28-June 8, 2016.
The following players were named to a squad in the last twelve months.
- Jerry Smith (2001–2002)
- Chris Petrucelli (2003–2004)
- Jill Ellis (2005–2006)
- Bill Irwin (2007–2011)
- Randy Waldrum (2012–2013)
- Steve Swanson (2013–present)
- 2009 WNT U.S. Soccer Media Guide
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