July 17, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame junior midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) and junior defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) are among 21 players who have been named to the final roster for the United States Under-20 Women's National Soccer Team, it was announced Thursday by U.S. Soccer and U-20 head coach Michelle French. Notre Dame is one of only three schools in the country (along with Stanford and Penn State) to have multiple players make the final U-20 roster.
After their two-week training camp in Seattle ends July 23, Roccaro, Naughton and their American teammates will head to Canada soon thereafter to compete in the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, slated for Aug. 5-24. Roccaro and Naughton (along with Fighting Irish sophomore midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford)) also were part of the U.S. U-20 squad that qualified for the World Cup back in January by winning the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands.
Because of their national team commitments, Roccaro and Naughton are expected to miss all of preseason training and the first week of the 2014 regular season at Notre Dame. The United States has been placed in Group B for the opening round of the 16-team tournament, and will play its first two group-stage matches at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta. The Americans open play on Aug. 5 with a rematch of the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup final against Germany (a game won by the U.S., 1-0, in Tokyo, Japan) -- the replay will kick off at 7 p.m. (ET) from Edmonton and will be televised live on ESPNU and the WatchESPN platform.
The United States then takes on Brazil in its second Group B match at 10 p.m. ET on Aug. 8, also in Edmonton and also to air live on ESPNU and WatchESPN.
The U.S. will close out the group stage by heading across the North American continent to Moncton, New Brunswick, squaring off with China at 4 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 12 at Moncton Stadium, with ESPN2 and WatchESPN carrying the contest live.
The top two finishers in each of the four preliminary-round groups will advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played Aug. 16-17. The semifinals are slated for Aug. 20, and the championship/third-place matches will take place Aug. 24 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec. Additional information on the tournament can be found on the official FIFA web site (fifa.com/u20womensworldcup) or the official U.S. Soccer web site (ussoccer.com).
"I can't tell you how excited I am for both Cari and Katie to be selected for the U-20 World Cup Team," Notre Dame head coach Theresa Romagnolo said. "It's not only a huge individual honor for both of them, but it's also a great testament to the strength and standards that are set in our program here at Notre Dame. I am so proud to see them wearing our colors and representing our nation in such a prestigious event. Even though we will miss them the first few weeks of our season, the experience they will gain and bring back to the rest of our program will be immeasurable."
Now in her second cycle with the American U-20 side, Roccaro has a team-high 30 caps and is serving as team captain this time around after previously competing as one of the youngest members on the U.S. squad that won the 2012 CONCACAF and Women's World Cup titles, playing every minute of all three knockout round matches at the World Cup. As will be the case this summer, Roccaro had a Notre Dame teammate on that 2012 United States squad, as she was joined by former Fighting Irish midfielder Mandy Laddish ('14), a three-time all-conference selection who recently concluded a successful career under the Golden Dome and now played for FC Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League).
The versatile Roccaro, who has seen time at all three field positions during her first two seasons at Notre Dame, plays primarily at center back for the United States. She started five of six matches at the 2012 Women's World Cup and was part of an American defense that posted a 4-1-1 record, a ledger 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.
Back in the States, Roccaro has enjoyed tremendous success on the college level, starting all 37 matches she has played in to date at Notre Dame while collecting 11 goals and three assists, including the match-winning goal in a 1-0 Fighting Irish victory over Western Michigan in the second round of last year's NCAA Championship.
All told, Roccaro, who will join Naughton and senior defender Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) as Notre Dame's team captains this fall, netted five goals and added two assists in 2013, earning Soccer America First Team MVP (All-America) accolades and first-team all-Southeast Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) as well as first-team all-Atlantic Coast Conference accolades. All three citations came on the heels of her freshman season when she was named the 2012 Soccer America National Freshman of the Year and an NSCAA third-team All-American, along with earning BIG EAST Conference Rookie of the Year, All-BIG EAST First Team and All-BIG EAST Rookie Team honors.
Meanwhile, Naughton will be making her first trip to the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. She has earned 16 caps at the U-20 level while become a mainstay at center back for the United States in recent months and started all five matches at January's CONCACAF U-20 Championship, going the distance in four of those outings (all but a group-stage match against Guatemala match, when she served as captain for the first time in her career, and then was able to earn some rest after halftime of the 10-0 rout). Naughton also logged an assist on the USA's first goal in its 6-0 semifinal win over Trinidad & Tobago, a victory that clinched the Americans' spot in this summer's U-20 Women's World Cup.
Together, Roccaro and Naughton (plus Andrews) were members of the USA squad that captured the country's fourth CONCACAF U-20 Championship back in January in the Cayman Islands, outscoring their five opponents by a combined 29-0 margin (the first time in six appearances the Americans swept through the CONCACAF U-20 tournament without allowing a goal). The United States won the crown with a 4-0 victory in the title match against a Mexico side that included current Notre Dame sophomore midfielder Cindy Pineda (Bolingbrook, Ill./Plainfield East), who appeared in two matches at the tournament (starting one), and scored the opening goal in Mexico's 10-1 group-stage win over Honduras.
Naughton, who will serve as one of Notre Dame's team captains for the second consecutive season in 2014, has been a rock for the Fighting Irish in her career, starting all 45 matches she has played as a center back. In that time, she has helped Notre Dame record 18 shutouts and she has proven to be a dangerous weapon on offense as well, logging five goals and two assists thus far, including the clinching goal in a 4-1 win over Iowa in the first round of last year's NCAA Championship at Alumni Stadium.
Like Roccaro, Naughton earned multiple BIG EAST honors as a freshman in 2012, taking home third-team all-conference recognition, as well as a place on the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team.
Roccaro and Naughton will continue a strong tradition of Notre Dame players on the U.S. U-20 World Cup Team (and its predecessors at the U-19 level).
In 2008 in Chile, eventual two-time Fighting Irish All-American and Academic All-American Lauren Fowlkes ('11) started all six matches for the United States, as the Americans won the U-20 World Cup title with a 5-1-0 record, defeating North Korea, 2-1 in the final that was played the same day (Dec. 7) Notre Dame squared off with North Carolina for the NCAA national championship in Cary, N.C.
A pair of future Notre Dame All-Americans, midfielder/forward Brittany Bock ('09) and defender Carrie Dew ('09), donned the Stars & Stripes for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship (as it was then called) in Russia, where the United States finished fourth after scoreless ties in both the semifinal against China and the third-place game against Brazil (both went against the U.S. on penalty kicks by identical 6-5 scores).
Four-time All-America forward and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks ('08) played for the USA at the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U-19 Women's World Championships, helping the Americans to the title in 2002 (defeating host Canada, 1-0 in overtime in the final) and a third-place finish in 2004 in Thailand. In the '04 third-place game, Hanks scored the opening goal for the U.S. on a free kick in the 21st minute. That 2004 tournament also was what caused Hanks to defer her enrollment at Notre Dame to the spring 2005 semester -- at the time, U.S. Soccer required all team members to forgo an entire semester of classes in order to take part in a residency camp prior to leaving for Thailand.
Roccaro and Naughton are among a group of 22 players that are expected to return for Notre Dame this fall, following last year's 13-8-1 record and a run to the third round of the NCAA Championship. The Fighting Irish, who were ranked 14th in the final NSCAA poll and 19th in the final Soccer America poll of the 2013 season, also welcome an 11-player freshman class that has been ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation according to Top Drawer Soccer.
Notre Dame opens the 2014 season with a pair of exhibitions, playing host to Illinois State at 3 p.m. (ET) on Aug. 11 at Alumni Stadium before traveling to Evanston, Ill., on Aug. 16, for a 6 p.m. ET/5 p.m. CT preseason clash with Northwestern at Lakeside Field.
After opening the regular season on the road at Big Ten Conference foe and fellow 2013 NCAA Championship third-round qualifier Illinois on Aug. 22 (1 p.m. ET/noon CT), the Fighting Irish kick off their 2014 regular season home schedule at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Aug. 24, welcoming Oakland to Alumni Stadium as the two schools meet for the third consecutive season (Notre Dame has each of the past two seasons by shutout, 3-0 in 2012 and 4-0 last year).
A week later, Notre Dame should have Roccaro and Naughton back in the fold as it plays host to the 22nd annual Notre Dame Invitational, one of the nation's top nonconference events, with the Fighting Irish squaring off against Texas Tech (7:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 29) and USC (1:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 31) at Alumni Stadium. Iowa State (Aug. 29 vs. USC at 5 p.m. ET) and Eastern Michigan (Aug. 31 vs. Texas Tech at 11 a.m. ET) complete the five-team "classic-style" invitational field.
To purchase a season pass or single-match tickets for the 2014 Notre Dame women's soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women's soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDSoccer), 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.
-- Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director