The United States hold pride of place in the brief history of the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. Never having finished out of the top four, they won the first instalment of what was then known as the FIFA U-19 Women's World Championship in 2002 after overcoming hosts Canada in extra time. In Thailand 2004, the Americans finished third before rounding their worst performance to date in Russia in 2006, where they finished fourth.
The current side is led by an icon of the women's game in the USA, Tony DiCicco, who gained fame by leading the senior women's side to a second FIFA Women's World Cup title on home soil in 1999. He wasn't able to recreate the same fireworks with the U-20s at the CONCACAF championship in Mexico in June and was forced to watch his side bested in the final, losing out 1-0 to an inspired Canadian side.
Despite not heading into the fourth women's youth finals as regional champions, the Americans are still expected to be one of the top contenders in Chile, led through midfield by the outstanding Keelin Winters. "Our first goal was to qualify for the World Cup," said Winters after reaching the final of the regional qualifying tournament. "Now we'll set our sights on the challenges to come".
Facts and figures
Lori Chalupny, Heither O'Reilly, Angie Woznuk (2002), Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez (2004), Tobin Heath (2006)
Keelin Winters (midfield), Alyssa Naeher (goalkeeper), Kelley O'Hara (midfield)
The USA roared through to the group stages of the qualifying competition in Mexico. Scoring 16 goals, they conceded zero in their first three matches.
The numbers game
0 - the number of times the United States have finished lower than fourth place at a FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup.