Jan. 29, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame freshman defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) and freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) are among 24 players who have been invited to the first United States Under-20 Women's National Soccer Team Camp of 2013, it was announced recently by U.S. Soccer Women's Technical Director April Heinrichs.
This initial U-20 camp will be held Feb. 2-9 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and it kicks off the latest two-year cycle for U.S. Soccer at this age group, a period that will culminate at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, which will be held in Canada. The United States is the defending U-20 Women's World Cup champion, having won its third U-20 gold medal last September, with Roccaro and Notre Dame junior midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee's Summit, Mo./Lee's Summit) playing key roles in the Americans' run to the title.
Both Naughton and Roccaro (pronounced row-CAH-row) have been mainstays in the U.S. Soccer youth team system since 2008. Naughton is stepping up to the U-20 roster for the first time after competing for the U.S. U-15, U-17 and U-18 teams. Meanwhile, Roccaro is in the unique position of possibly playing in two U-20 World Cups after moving up one age group to join last year's U-20 squad, for whom she appeared in five of the Americans' six matches. She also started four times and helping the U.S. to a 4-1-1 record that included three shutouts, most notably over Nigeria (2-0) and Germany (1-0) in the semifinals and championship match. The Stars & Stripes also had to battle through a 2-1 extra-time victory over North Korea in the quarterfinals.
Next week's U.S. U-20 Women's National Team training camp will be held concurrently with the U.S. U-18 camp, with those two sides scrimmaging at 3 p.m. (PT) Feb. 5. The U-20 team also will face UCLA in a second scrimmage at 5 p.m. (PT) Feb. 8. Additional information, including the full U-20 camp roster, can be found on the official U.S. Soccer web site (ussoccer.com).
Naughton and Roccaro were two of the important young contributors for Notre Dame, which posted a 16-6-2 record, earned a share of the BIG EAST Conference National Division title (8-1-1 record), and advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the 15th time in program history.
Naughton was a third-team all-BIG EAST and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team selection in 2012 as a cornerstone of Notre Dame's defense at center back. She started all 23 matches she played in, helping the Fighting Irish hold their opponents to 18 goals all season (a 0.73 goals-against average) while recording 10 shutouts. On the offensive end, Naughton scored three goals and added one assist, most notably scoring what proved to be the match-winning goal in the first half of a 5-1 win over Seton Hall on Oct. 5 at Alumni Stadium. She also netted the tying goal in the 44th minute of Notre Dame's 3-1 victory over Milwaukee in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 9, also at Alumni Stadium.
The versatile Roccaro was named the 2012 Soccer America Freshman of the Year and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) third-team All-American despite missing Notre Dame's first seven matches while competing in the U-20 World Cup. She started all 16 matches she played in and ranking third on the team in goals (6), points (13), total shots (41) and shots on goal (21) while earning three conference honors -- BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, All-BIG EAST First Team and All-BIG EAST Rookie Team.
Upon her return from Japan, Roccaro immediately stepped in the starting lineup, beginning with Notre Dame's 2-1 win over Louisville on Sept. 14, and helped the Fighting Irish go unbeaten in 14 of their final 17 matches while playing all three field positions (forward, midfielder and defender) at various times.
Roccaro also played a pivotal role in her team's postseason success, scoring the match-winning goal for the Fighting Irish in the BIG EAST Championship quarterfinals against Syracuse (a 1-0 victory on Oct. 28 at Alumni Stadium) and netting the tying goal early in the second half of Notre Dame's 2-1 comeback win over No. 10/12 Wake Forest in an NCAA Championship second-round match on Nov. 16 in Gainesville, Fla.
Naughton and Roccaro will be among 10 starters and 22 veterans returning for the Fighting Irish next season. Collectively, this returning group accounted for all 46 goals and 126 of a possible 127 points scored by Notre Dame during the 2012 season.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccer or @NDsoccernews), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the "Fan Center" pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.