McCaffrey, Verdoia called into U.S. U-23 National Team camp

(Feb. 18, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team will travel to La Manga, Spain, from Feb. 21-March 3 for three matches in a six-team invitational tournament. Included in the squad is a pair of 2015 Breakers draft picks: Stephanie McCaffrey and Stephanie Verdoia.

(Feb. 18, 2015) – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team will travel to La Manga, Spain, from Feb. 21-March 3 for three matches in a six-team invitational tournament. Included in the squad is a pair of 2015 Breakers draft picks: Stephanie McCaffrey and Stephanie Verdoia.

The USA will face the U-23 squads from Japan (Feb. 26), Norway (Feb. 28) and England (March 2). The friendly tournament also features China PR and Sweden.

McCaffrey was Boston’s first pickup in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. The Breakers owned the No. 9 pick in the first round, but swapped it, along with their No. 11 pick, sending both to the Chicago Red Stars for the former Boston College forward. The Red Stars selected McCaffrey at No. 5. A product of the Boston Breakers Academy program, McCaffrey recently trained with the senior U.S. Women’s National Team in California.

“I’m really looking forward to playing international games,” McCaffrey said. “I’ve played in international scrimmages before, but this is the first time I’ve kicked off an international game, so I’m excited for that. It’s a great and really talented group of girls. We’ve been playing together now for over a year in training camps, so I’m excited to see what we can put together in an international game."

McCaffrey also takes the field for the first time with Verdoia.

"I know she’s a really great player, so I’m excited to meet her," McCaffrey said. "And, it’s awesome to have as many players from the Breakers as we can in that environment because there is no better way to get ready for (preseason).”

Verdoia was selected in the fourth round (No. 29 overall) at the 2015 NWSL College Draft. The former Seattle University midfielder became the first player from SU to be drafted professionally. She scored 22 goals for the Redhawks during her senior season and 51 for her career. The 22 goals this past fall ranked her in the top five in the nation.

"I cannot put into words how much it means to me to be given the chance to play with some of the best players in the world and to represent the United States," Verdoia said. "Since it is my first experience, I am trying to go in with an open mind and prepare myself to work my hardest and utilize this opportunity. I am looking forward to training at the highest level and learning more about the game and the ways I can improve. This is an experience I know I won't forget."

Verdoia, too, is looking forward to playing with a fellow Breakers draftee.

"I am excited to meet Stephanie McCaffrey and get to know her," Verdoia said. "I am grateful I get the chance to play with her and learn from her before becoming teammates in Boston. I know she will only improve my game and help my transition to Boston."

With current U.S. U-23 WNT head coach Steve Swanson serving as an assistant coach for the senior team at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, Janet Rayfield will be the head coach for this trip. She was an assistant to Swanson when the USA won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan.

The 22-player squad features 14 professional players, including 13 who were taken in the recent 2015 NWSL Draft. The only one-year pro is Chicago Red Stars midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo, who along with Sarah Killion (second pick overall to Sky Blue FC), Samantha Mewis (fourth overall to Western New York Flash) and Notre Dame defender Cari Roccaro, were all 2012 world champions.

Of the nine NWSL first-round draft picks, seven are heading to La Manga with top pick Morgan Brian of the Houston Dash in Portugal with the full team.

Just one player on the U-23 roster has caps with the full WNT, that being Mewis, but five additional players have been called into senior camps: goalkeepers Jane Campbell and Abby Smith, DiBernardo, Killion, and McCaffrey.

Four players from the USA’s 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Team were called up in Campbell and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year Andi Sullivan from Stanford, Roccaro, Wisconsin midfielder Rose Lavelle and Virginia forward Makenzy Doniak, who scored against Korea DPR at the World Cup.

The U.S. U-23s will precede the U.S. U-20s in La Manga. The U-20s are part of a 10-team friendly tournament and will play Norway (March 5), the Netherlands (March 7) and Sweden (March 9).

U-23 Women’s National Team Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Abby Smith (Texas; Dallas, Texas)

DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Western NY Flash; Menlo Park, Calif.), Caprice Dydasco (Washington Spirit; Honolulu, Hawaii), Jaelene Hinkle (Western NY Flash; Castle Rock, Colo.), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.), Emily Sonnett (Virginia; Marietta, Ga.), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; Lorton, Va.)

MIDFIELDERS (9): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; Freehold, N.J.), Daphne Corboz (Sky Blue FC; Greenbrook, N.J.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Chicago Red Stars; Naperville, Ill.), Kristin Grubka (Sky Blue FC; Melbourne, Fla.), Sarah Killion (Sky Blue FC; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Lo’eau Labonta (Sky Blue FC; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash; Hanson, Mass.), Stephanie Verdoia (Boston Breakers; Salt Lake City, Utah)

FORWARDS (5): Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City; Liberty, Mo.), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers; Winchester, Mass.), Cheyna Williams (FSU; Hampton, Ga.), Lynn Williams (Western NY Flash; Fresno, Calif.)

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