GERMANTOWN, Md. (Feb. 22) — Before they kick off the National Women’s Soccer League season with the Washington Spirit, three players have a little trip to make.
Midfield/forward Colleen Williams and forwards Tiffany McCarty and Stephanie Ochs were named to the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team, and they’ll travel with the squad from Feb. 22-March 5 to play against Norway, England and Sweden in La Manga, Spain.
The matches mark a return to international play for the two pure strikers, as both have featured in previous U.S. squads. McCarty has been a frequent performer dating back to her time with the U-16 team, and Ochs started all three U-23 games in 2012, scoring a goal against England in La Manga.
It’s the first competition call-up for Williams, though she was in training camp last summer at the Home Depot Center. The University of Dayton product established herself as one of the nation’s top young players during her college career on the way to becoming just the 20th player in NCAA Women’s Soccer history to reach the 50/50 mark in goals (58) and assists (50).
“This will be an excellent opportunity for Tiffany, Stephanie and Colleen to gain international experience, as well as prepare for our March 11 preseason,” Spirit head coach Mike Jorden said. “We’re excited to see them represent the U.S., and then carry that momentum into our first NWSL camp.”
All three players were drafted by the Spirit in January. Washington selected McCarty with the second overall pick before taking Williams in the fourth round, and Ochs arrived via the No. 1 pick in the NWSL Supplemental Draft.
McCarty started every match last season for Florida State, leading the team in scoring and becoming the first three-time All-American in school history. She also led all players at the NCAA Tournament in points (15) and goals (seven). Ochs was a two-time All-America selection at San Diego, and Williams is a three-time NSCAA All-American and a two-time Hermann Trophy candidate, as well as the 2012 Atlantic 10 Offensive Player.
Other Spirit players or draftees who have featured at the international level:
- Ali Krieger: A fan favorite for the USWNT, Ali rose through the youth teams to play with the full national team, where she helped the U.S. finish second at the 2011 World Cup — even scoring the decisive penalty kick in a quarterfinal shootout against Brazil.
- Robyn Gayle: Robyn has made more than 50 appearances for the Canadian National Team, including at two Olympics, two Pan-American Games and two World Cups.
- Candace Chapman: A member of the Canadian Women’s National team since 2002, Candace has earned 108 caps and played alongside Gayle to win gold at the 2011 Pan American Games.
- Ashlyn Harris: After playing on the U.S. U-16, U-17 and U-19 squads, Ashlyn is part of the full national team player pool and was named to the 23-player roster for the upcoming Algarve Cup. She will join the Spirit later this season after finishing her club obligations in Germany.
- Lori Lindsey: Lori first appeared for the U.S. in 2005, enjoying her biggest year in 2010, when she played in 13 matches. She was also a member of the 2011 World Cup squad and alternate at the 2012 Olympics.
- Alina Garciamendez: Alina has played for the Mexican National Team since 2009, starting in both the 2011 World Cup and in Mexico’s semifinal match of the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
- Diana Matheson: Since making her first appearance for Canada in 2003, Diana has appeared in two Olympics, three World Cups and two Pan-American Games. She scored a 92nd-minute game-winner against France in the 2012 Olympics bronze medal match.
- Ingrid Wells: Ingrid played on the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile and has also played with the U-23s.
- Chantel Jones: Chantel has played for U.S. at U-16, U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels, including at the 2008 U-20 World Cup.
- Jordan Angeli: Jordan played midfield for the U.S. at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship.
- Natasha Kai: A regular on the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2006-09, Natasha has played in both the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup.
- Heather Cooke: Heather began training with the Philippine National Team in 2012.