NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Notre Dame sophomore defender Katie Naughton (Elk Grove Village, Ill./Elk Grove), sophomore forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) and sophomore forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy), along with incoming freshman midfielder Morgan Andrews (Milford, N.H./Milford) and rookie goalkeeper Kaela Little (Tulsa, Okla./Bishop Kelley), are among 27 players who have been selected to attend the United States Under-20 Women's National Soccer Team camp July 2-11 at the University of Portland in Portland, Ore.
The nine-day session, which is designed to continue the U-20 team's preparation for qualifying for the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, will feature a pair of scrimmages with National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) teams, as the U-20s take on the Seattle Reign (whose roster includes U.S. Women's National Team members Megan Rapinoe and Hope Solo) and Portland Thorns FC (paced by USWNT forward Alex Morgan and Canadian National Team striker Christine Sinclair).
Andrews, Naughton and Roccaro (pronounced row-CAH-row) have been mainstays in the 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).
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 most recently competed with the U-20s on a two-match trip to Sweden less than a month ago, 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. While still a novice at the U-20 level, Naughton 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.
Thomas will be making her first appearance with the U-20 National Team next week, although she has prior U.S. youth national team camp experience, having taken part in the U-23 training sessions last month at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.
Naughton, Roccaro and Thomas were three of the important young contributors last season for Notre Dame, which posted a 16-6-2 record, earned a share of the BIG EAST Conference National Division title (8-1-1 record), and advanced to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the 15th time in program history.
Naughton was a third-team all-BIG EAST and BIG EAST All-Rookie Team selection in 2012 as a cornerstone of Notre Dame's defense at center back. She started all 23 matches she played in, helping the Fighting Irish hold their opponents to 18 goals all season (a 0.73 goals-against average) while recording 10 shutouts. On the offensive end, Naughton scored three goals and added one assist, most notably scoring what proved to be the match-winning goal in the first half of a 5-1 win over Seton Hall on Oct. 5 at Alumni Stadium. She also netted the tying goal in the 44th minute of Notre Dame's 3-1 victory over Milwaukee in the first round of the NCAA Championship on Nov. 9, also at Alumni Stadium.
Thomas became the first Fighting Irish player since 2008 to register double-digit goals, finishing with a team-high 10 goal and two assists while pacing Notre Dame with 25 shots on goal. The talented striker earned second-team all-BIG EAST honors and was a member of the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team after tying for third in the conference in goals and sharing seventh in the loop in points (22). Thomas also was responsible for one of the signature moments in the 2012 Fighting Irish season, scoring the winning goal in the Nov. 16 Wake Forest match with 19:35 remaining.
Naughton, Roccaro and Thomas are among 10 starters and 21 veterans returning for the Fighting Irish this fall. Collectively, this returning group accounted for all 46 goals and 126 of a possible 127 points scored by Notre Dame during the 2012 season. Meanwhile, Andrews and Little lead a stellar incoming freshman class that was ranked third in the nation by Top Drawer Soccer.
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