Aug. 2, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame junior midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) and freshman forward/midfielder/defender Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip) are among 21 players who have been named to the final roster for the United States Under-20 Women’s National Soccer Team, it was announced Thursday by U.S. Soccer and U-20 head coach Steve Swanson. Laddish, Roccaro and their American teammates will head to Japan shortly to compete in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, slated for Aug. 19-Sept. 8. Laddish and Roccaro also were part of the U.S. U-20 squad that qualified for the World Cup back in March by winning the CONCACAF U-20 Championship in Panama.
Because of their national team commitments, Laddish and Roccaro are expected to miss the first three weeks of the 2012 season at Notre Dame. The United States has been placed in Group D for the opening round of the 16-team tournament, and will kick off play at 3 a.m. ET (4 p.m. local) Aug. 20 against Ghana at Big Arch Stadium in Hiroshima, Japan. The Americans then will play China at 6 a.m. ET (7 p.m. local) on Aug. 23, also in Hiroshima, before closing out the group stage against Germany at 3 a.m. ET (4 p.m. local) on Aug. 27 at Miyagi Stadium in Rifu, Japan.
The top two finishers in each of the four preliminary-round groups will advance to the quarterfinals, which will be played Aug. 30-31. The semifinals are slated for Sept. 4 at the National Stadium in Tokyo, and the championship/third-place matches will take place Sept. 8, also in Tokyo. Additional information on the tournament can be found on the official FIFA web site (fifa.com/u20womensworldcup) or the official U.S. Soccer web site (ussoccer.com).
“I cannot tell you how excited I am for both Mandy and Cari to be selected for the U-20 World Cup Team,” Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum said. “It’s not only a huge individual honor for both of them, but it’s also a great testament to the strength and standards that are set in our program here at Notre Dame. I am so proud to see them wearing our colors and representing our nation in such a prestigious event. Even though we will miss them the first few weeks of our season, the experience they will gain and bring back to the rest of our program will be immeasurable.”
Laddish was a second-team all-BIG EAST Conference selection last year and has started all 46 Fighting Irish matches in her career, collecting three goals and eight assists to date, including a career-high seven assists in 2011. She also scored the memorable match-winning goal in the 83rd minute against Ohio State in the 2010 NCAA Women’s College Cup semifinals in Cary, N.C., securing a 1-0 Notre Dame win and helping the Fighting Irish earn a critical victory on the road to their third national championship.
Laddish has played in eight matches with the U.S. U-20s during the 2012 cycle, starting twice, and she has 12 international caps to her credit since joining the United States U-20 player pool in 2009.
Meanwhile, Roccaro is one of 12 freshmen on this year’s Notre Dame roster, and comes to South Bend as one of the nation’s top young players, having been ranked fourth in the 2012 ESPNHS Top 150 and fifth in the 2012 Top Drawer Soccer club player ratings. She piled up 39 goals and 19 assists during her high school career, in addition to being a mainstay on the club level with national power Albertson Fury, and as part of several U.S. Soccer youth national team programs, starting with the U-14s in 2008 and continuing to her present roster spot with the U-20s.
Roccaro, the second-youngest player on the American U-20 roster, has earned all 10 of her international caps at the U-20 level during the current cycle, starting eight times, including five during the CONCACAF U-20 Championship back in March. Roccaro also netted her first goal for the United States U-20s in their opening match at the CONCACAF tournament, scoring in the 60th minute of a 6-0 victory over Guatemala.
Laddish and Roccaro will continue a strong tradition of Notre Dame players on the U.S. U-20 World Cup Team (and its predecessors at the U-19 level). Most recently in 2008 in Chile, eventual two-time Fighting Irish All-American and Academic All-American Lauren Fowlkes started all six matches for the United States, as the Americans won the U-20 World Cup title with a 5-1-0 record, defeating North Korea, 2-1 in the final that was played the same day (Dec. 7) Notre Dame squared off with North Carolina for the NCAA national championship in Cary, N.C.
A pair of future Notre Dame All-Americans, midfielder/forward Brittany Bock and defender Carrie Dew, 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).
Four-time All-America forward and two-time Hermann Trophy recipient Kerri Hanks played for the USA at the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championships, helping the Americans to the title in 2002 (defeating host Canada, 1-0 in overtime in the final) and a third-place finish in 2004 in Thailand. In the ’04 third-place game, Hanks scored the opening goal for the U.S. on a free kick in the 21st minute. That 2004 tournament also was what caused Hanks to defer her enrollment at Notre Dame to the spring 2005 semester — at the time, U.S. Soccer required all team members to forgo an entire semester of classes in order to take part in a residency camp prior to leaving for Thailand.
Notre Dame opens its 25th anniversary season with a pair of home exhibitions against Virginia (1 p.m. ET, Aug. 10) and Baylor (1 p.m. ET, Aug. 12), with both contests to be played at the team’s practice field, located behind the outfield wall of Frank Eck Baseball Stadium. Admission is free, with fans asked to park in the Gold Lot adjacent to Eck Stadium and follow the access road behind the outfield wall to the practice field.
After opening the regular season on the road with matches at Wisconsin on Aug. 17 (7 p.m. CT/8 p.m. ET) and Tulsa on Aug. 24 (7:30 p.m. CT/8:30 p.m. ET), the Fighting Irish kick off their 2012 regular season home schedule at 1 p.m. (ET) Aug. 26, welcoming East Carolina to Alumni Stadium for the first-ever meeting between the two schools.
A week later, Notre Dame will play host to the 21st annual adidas Invitational, one of the nation’s top nonconference tournaments, with the Fighting Irish squaring off against fellow perennial powers Santa Clara (7:30 p.m. ET, Aug. 31) and North Carolina (1:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 2), while another BIG EAST member, Connecticut, completes the tournament field.
To purchase a season pass or single-game tickets for the 2012 Notre Dame women’s soccer season, call the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office at (574) 631-7356, visit the official Notre Dame athletics ticketing web site, UND.com/tickets or stop by the Murnane Family Athletics Ticket Office windows during normal business hours (9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday). Tickets also can be purchased at Alumni Stadium on match days.
For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccer or @NDsoccernews), like them on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.
— ND —