TEAM USA SOLID IN LEADERSHIP BUT THERE'S A LONG ROAD AHEAD
By Al Mattei
And now, the fun begins.
After two weeks of "A"-Camp selections, the 2000 U.S. Women's National Team settles in for what it hopes will be eight months of hard work leading up to the Olympic Games in Sydney.
That is the hope; but it all could come crashing down as soon as April 1 if the United States cannot earn one of the five qualifying slots at the Olympic Qualifier in Milton Keynes, England.
The United States is in the Pool of Death -- 1998 World Cup bronze medalists Germany, 1992 Olympic champion Spain, a rapidly improving India squad, and Ireland are in the group. Should the Americans not place in the top two slots in its pool, the only chance to make the Olympics is to play off for the fifth and final spot available at Milton Keynes.
But if Team USA is able to maximize its strengths, it should have a better than even chance of taking one of the top two slots in its group, guaranteeing at least a fourth-place finish in the tournament.
One definite strength is experience: four members of the team have more than 100 caps each: Four members of the team have more than 100 caps: captain Tracey Fuchs (178), vice-captain Kelli James (135), Antoinette Lucas (134), and Kris Fillat (109). Close behind is Jill Reeve (82).
Too, eight of the players -- Fuchs, Reeve, James, Lucas, Fillat, Katie Kauffman, Andrea Weiland, and Cindy Werley -- made the 1996 Olympic Team.
At the same time, however, much of the team is comprised of present college players. Three are college seniors: Tracey Larson (Penn State), Rachel Barger (Delaware), and Coleen Krieger (James Madison).
Five players have remaining college eligibility: Jessica Coleman (Virginia), Carla Tagliente (Maryland), Jana Toepel (North Carolina), Kristin McCann (North Carolina), and Amy Herz (Connecticut). It will be interesting to see which of these miss the 1999 NCAA season, and which come back to their college seasons immediately after the Olympics, if any so choose.
There is a definite generation gap in the 26-player pool: the oldest player is Fuchs (b. 3 Nov 1966) and the youngest is Coleman (b. 12 March 1980).
|Kate Barber||Unionville (Pa.)||North Carolina|
|Rachel Barger||Alexandria Thomas Jefferson (Va.)||Delaware|
|Lisa Cellucci||Radnor Archbishop Carroll (Pa.)||Iowa|
|Jessica Coleman||West Long Branch Shore Regional (N.J.)||Virginia|
|Christine DeBow||Unionville (Pa.)||Maryland|
|Kris Fillat||San Diego Serra (Calif.)||Iowa|
|Tracey Fuchs||Centereach (N.Y.)||Connecticut|
|Amy Herz||Willow Grove Upper Moreland (Pa.)||Connecticut|
|Kelli James||Pennsauken Bishop Eustace (N.J.)||Old Dominion|
|Tara Jelley||Greenfield (Mass.)||Massachusetts|
|Katie Kauffman||West Lawn Wilson (Pa.)||Maryland|
|Coleen Krieger||Fairview Village Methacton (Pa.)||James Madison|
|Tracey Larson||Levittown Pennsbury (Pa.)||Penn State|
|Antoinette Lucas||Richmond Collegiate (Va.)||Northwestern|
|Kristin McCann||Emmaus (Pa.)||North Carolina|
|Nancy Pelligreen||St. Louis Visitation (Mo.)||North Carolina|
|Eleanor Stone Race||Cheshire (Conn.)||Penn State|
|Jill Reeve||Hoosick Falls Central (N.J.)||Old Dominion|
|Mimi Smith||Virginia Beach Ocean Lakes (Va.)||Old Dominion|
|Peggy Storrar||Mahopac (N.Y.)||North Carolina|
|Carla Tagliente||Marathon (N.Y.)||Maryland|
|Jana Toepel||Boyertown (Pa.)||North Carolina|
|Michelle Vizzuso||North Caldwell West Essex (N.J.)||University of Virginia|
|Cindy Werley||Emmaus (Pa.)||North Carolina|
|Andrea Weiland||The Westtown (Pa.) School||Iowa|
|Jana Withrow||Greenville A.I. DuPont (Del.)||North Carolina|