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Fuel Soccer Talk: New faces highlight USWNT December training camp; US Youth Soccer update; More from Clarence Goodson

It’s going to be a much different look and feel to the USWNT training camp Dec. 9-14 in Bradenton, Fla. It will be a chance for other players to step up and make a name for themselves – and maybe even a spot on the final roster.

The camp will not include any players from the USA’s 2019 World Cup Team, all of whom are on a well-deserved end-of-year break. This event is being staged to evaluate younger players from the college game and those who have performed well in the National Women’s Soccer League or in pro leagues abroad, with the goal of deepening the player pool and positioning players for possible future call-ups to events in 2020.

“One of our main goals heading into 2020 is to expand the player pool, but with Olympic Qualifying coming up soon, we don’t have much time to do that, so this camp is a great opportunity for the players and the coaches,” said Coach Vlatko Andonovski. “For the players, it’s a chance to try to earn invitations to future camps so we can evaluate them against the veteran players, and for the coaches, it’s a very valuable few days to try to add depth to positions where we may need it.”

The roster features 17 uncapped players, six with three caps or less and Houston Dash midfielder Kristie Mewis, older sister of 2019 World Cup champion midfielder Samantha Mewis, who earned 15 caps over 2013 and 2014.

US Youth Soccer: 14U Girls complete opening week of National League

After four days of play, the US Youth Soccer National League 14U Girls teams have solidified their spots in the standings until all of the sides resume play March 20-22 in Las Vegas, Nev., where they will continue competing for a league title and a ticket to the 2020 US Youth Soccer National Championships.

The competition at the Spanish River Athletic Park in Boca Raton, Fla., has seen many close races develop in the 14U Girls age group. The first place team’s lead is no more than two points in any of the four 14U Girls divisions, and two groups have ties atop the standings.

Just one team — Real JFC 06 (NJ) — managed to win all four of its games in Boca Raton. That hot start has given Real JFC a two-point lead over Sporting STL 2006 Academy (MO) in the 14U Girls White Division. The Missouri side remained within striking distance thanks to a big win against GSC Prima Green 06G (NE) in a matchup of previously unbeaten teams on Wednesday.

FULL REPORT 

More From Goodson: On club soccer’s lessons and playing in college

Clarence Goodson played professional soccer from 2004-2016 for FC Dallas, IK Start (Norway), Brondby (Denmark), San Jose Earthquakes and the US Men’s National Team. He was a regular contributor to the US national team since earning his first cap in 2008 until his most recent appearance in 2014. He had 46 caps with the USMNT.

Here are a couple questions from a FUEL Q&A:

Speaking of championships, your club team the Braddock Road Warhawks won the 1999 U-17 national championship. What did club soccer teach you?
“One of the things our coach taught us was that things aren’t always going to go your way. When you are younger you have a clear image of how things should go and when they don’t it can be hard to take. I learned that soccer is an evolving game and you have to be able to change, adapt and react to different situations. We travelled a lot including overseas and played against some high level opponents and that taught us that to be successful we needed to work even harder.”

You had great success at Maryland. What advice do you have for players looking at colleges?
“One of the most important things to remember in the recruiting process is to consider where you feel most comfortable. You have to feel comfortable with the coach, the goals of their program and with the academics. We all want to play professional soccer but you have to consider what you want to do with your life. Even for me, when soccer is over, I have to find something to do. And that’s why working for a degree is so important.”

Send story ideas and comments to Terry Jacoby at tajacoby@comcast.net