NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior midfielder/tri-captain Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) and freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) now can add the label of “World Cup champion” to their respective resumes, after the Fighting Irish duo helped the United States win the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup title with a 1-0 victory over previously unbeaten (and reigning U-20 champion) Germany in the championship match on Saturday night in Tokyo, Japan.
Both Notre Dame players were on the pitch when the final whistle sounded, signifying the Americans’ third title since this tournament began as the FIFA Under-19 World Championship in 2002. Four-time Fighting Irish All-America forward and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks (’08) was one of the youngest members (at age 17) of that victorious 2002 U.S. side (that defeated host Canada in the final), while Lauren Fowlkes (’11) helped the United States win the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile, downing North Korea in the title match.
Similar to Hanks in 2002, Roccaro was the second-youngest player on this year’s American roster, but hardly showed her age, emerging as a mainstay for the United States at center back. She appeared in five of the Americans’ six matches at this year’s U-20 World Cup, starting four times and helping the U.S. to a 4-1-1 record that included three shutouts, most notably over Nigeria (2-0) and Germany (1-0) in the semifinals and championship match. The Stars & Stripes also had to battle through a 2-1 extra-time victory over North Korea in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Laddish proved to be a vital second-half substitute for the United States, coming off the bench to lend support in three matches, including the semifinal win over Nigeria and the title match victory against Germany. She becomes the second Fighting Irish player ever to earn both a U-20 Women’s World Cup title and an NCAA national championship, having joined Fowlkes as a member of the title-winning 2010 Notre Dame squad.
In addition to Laddish, Roccaro, Hanks and Fowlkes, the Fighting Irish have been represented at two other U-20 Women’s World Cups. In 2004, Hanks deferred her enrollment at Notre Dame to help the United States to a third-place finish in Thailand, scoring the opening goal in the third-place match. Two years later, a pair of future Notre Dame All-Americans, midfielder/forward Brittany Bock (’09) and defender Carrie Dew (’09), donned the Stars & Stripes for the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship (as it was then called) in Russia, where the United States finished fourth after scoreless ties in both the semifinal against China and the third-place game against Brazil (both went against the U.S. on penalty kicks by identical 6-5 scores).
With Laddish and Roccaro now en route back to South Bend to resume (or in Roccaro’s case, begin) their college careers, their Notre Dame teammates will be back on the pitch at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT) Sunday when they travel to Seattle, Wash., to take on No. RV/22 Washington at the Husky Soccer Stadium. It will be the first visit for the Fighting Irish to the UW campus since the 1997 season, and just the second in program history.
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