Dec. 23, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - When the United States Under-20 Women's National Team takes the pitch Jan. 9 against Costa Rica for its first group-stage match at the 2014 CONCACAF U-20 Championship in the Cayman Islands, three Notre Dame women's soccer players will be wearing the Stars & Stripes.
Sophomore defenders Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove) and Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip), and freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford) all were named to the 20-player roster for the U.S. U-20 squad, it was announced Monday by U.S. Soccer and U-20 head coach Michelle French.
Notre Dame is one of only two programs in the country (along with Stanford) to have at least three players suiting up for the United States in the eight-team U-20 tournament, which will serve as the region's qualifier for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, to be in Canada. The U.S. is the defending champion for both the CONCACAF and World Cup tournaments, having claimed its third crown in the latter event in 2012 with a 1-0 victory over Germany in the final (played in Tokyo, Japan).
This year's squad will begin the CONCACAF Championship in Group A, following their opening match against Costa Rica with contests against Jamaica (Jan. 11) and Guatemala (Jan. 13) -- all three group matches will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (ET). The top two teams in each of the two groups will advance to the semifinals (Jan. 17), with the championship and third-place matches set for Jan. 19 and the entire tournament set to be played at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex in George Town, Cayman Islands.
The top three finishers from the CONCACAF Championship (two finalists, plus winner of the third-place match) will earn a berth to the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.
"We couldn't be prouder of all three players for the hard work they've put in to be selected for the U.S. roster," Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. "They're all veterans of the international game and that experience should make them strong contributors for our country in the CONCACAF Championships next month, and then the World Cup next summer."
It should come as no surprise that Roccaro (pronounced row-CAH-row) is joined by Naughton and Andrews on the latest U.S. roster, as the Notre Dame trio has been a mainstay in the U.S. Soccer U-20 camp through 2013, highlighted by their participation with the American side in March for three matches in La Manga, Spain, at the 12 Nations Tournament. The United States went 0-1-2 at the event, earning draws with Norway (1-1) and Sweden (0-0), while falling to Germany (3-0).
Roccaro served as the American captain and started all three matches in Spain, playing the full 90 minutes each time. Andrews, who was making her international debut at the U-20 level, also started all three contests, going the distance against Norway and Sweden, while coming off midway through the second half against Germany. Naughton, who also was in her first international U-20 tournament, started and went the distance against Sweden, while coming on as a second-half substitute in the first two matches (replacing Andrews in the Germany contest).
Naughton and Roccaro also competed with the U-20s on a two-match trip to Sweden in late May/early June, defeating the Scandinavian U-23 side twice (3-1 and 1-0). Both Fighting Irish sophomores got the start in each of the Sweden matches, with Roccaro playing every minute in both contests, while Naughton departed at halftime of the second match. Andrews would have joined her future Notre Dame teammates in Sweden, but was excused from the trip to attend to a prior family commitment.
Most recently, the trio was part of a contingent of six Notre Dame players that attended the U.S. Soccer U-20 camp in August at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Now in her second cycle with the American U-20 side, Roccaro has a team-high 22 caps and is serving as team captain this time around after previously competing as one of the youngest players on the squad that won the 2012 CONCACAF and Women's World Cup titles (a team that also included Notre Dame senior midfielder Mandy Laddish, a three-time all-conference selection who recently concluded a successful career with the Fighting Irish).
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 in her first two seasons at Notre Dame, starting all 37 matches she has played in to date 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 this year's NCAA Championship.
All told, Roccaro netted five goals and added two assists this past season, earning 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. Both 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 Rookie of the Year, All-BIG EAST First Team and All-BIG EAST Rookie Team honors.
Naughton has earned seven caps at the U-20 level, and has extensive experience with other U.S. youth national teams since 2009, most notably teaming with Roccaro to help the 2010 U.S. U-17 National Team to the U-16 Nordic Cup title in Denmark, outscoring its four opponents by a combined 13-1 margin.
Naughton has been a rock for Notre Dame in her still-budding college career, starting all 45 matches she has played as a center back for the Fighting Irish. 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 this 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.
Although a relative newcomer to the U-20 level with four caps to date, Andrews is no stranger to the U.S. Soccer kits, having emerged as one of the rising stars in the American youth system since her debut in 2008 with the U-14 Girls' National Team. Prior to the start of this calendar year when she moved into the U-20 system, Andrews was a major contributor for the U.S. U-17 Women's National Team, earning 20 caps and starting 15 times while logging two goals and two assists. Her biggest role came as U.S. captain for the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women's Championship in Guatemala and FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan, with the Americans winning the CONCACAF title in dominating fashion (26-0 aggregate) and finishing in a three-way tie for first in their group at the World Cup (only to be eliminated on goal differential).
Andrews wasted little time in making key contributions for Notre Dame in her first season at the college level, starting all 22 matches in 2013 and recording a team-high 19 points and four match-winning goals, while tying for team-best honors with seven goals and sharing third with five assists. She also had a knack for coming through with key scores at critical times, none bigger than her first-half goal at top-ranked North Carolina on Sept. 15, proving to be the lone marker in a 1-0 Notre Dame win over the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill, N.C. She added a pair of goals in her NCAA tournament debut, scoring twice in the first half as the Fighting Irish bounced back from an early deficit to rout Iowa.
Andrews received numerous honors during her freshman season, highlighted by her selection as the ACC Freshman of the Year. She also was a third-team all-region honoree by the NSCAA, as well as a second-team all-ACC and ACC All-Freshman Team choice.
Andrews, Naughton and Roccaro are among a group of 24 players that are expected to return for Notre Dame next season, following a 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, also will add a solid contingent of newcomers to the mix, with those players to be announced at a later date.
For more information on the Notre Dame women's soccer program, follow the Fighting Irish on Twitter (@NDsoccernews and @NDSoccer), like them 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