USA have featured in all six previous editions of the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, winning the competition an unparalleled three times. The Stars and Stripes edged North American rivals and tournament hosts Canada 1-0 in extra time to claim the inaugural U-20 Women’s World Cup. Following a third-place finish and fourth-place effort at Thailand 2004 and Russia 2006 respectively, Sydney Leroux claimed the adidas Golden Ball and Golden Shoe by leading the Americans to their second title in Chile in 2008 with a 2-1 win over Korea DPR. USA were then beaten by Nigeria on penalties to crash out of Germany 2010 in the quarter-finals - their earliest ever exit - but rebounded two years later at Japan 2012, when they saw off Germany 1-0 in a tightly-contested final in Tokyo.
Just 12 short years after claiming their maiden FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Edmonton, USA are returning to Canada with their sights set on a record fourth title – this time aiming for a meeting in Montreal on 24 August. The Americans qualified with ease, cruising to their third consecutive U-20 CONCACAF Women’s Championship title and fourth overall. Simple wins over Costa Rica, Jamaica and Guatemala in the group stage, followed by a 6-0 semi-final victory and a 4-0 triumph over El Tri in the final, secured this latest continental honour. In recognition of their individual achievements during the regional competition, Katelyn Rowland received the Golden Glove award as the tournament’s best goalkeeper, midfielder Rose Lavelle won the Golden Ball and forward McKenzie Meehan shared the Golden Boot prize with Mexico's Tanya Samarzich as the tournament's joint-top scorers.
The FIFA U-20 and U-17 Women’s World Cups have always helped produce plenty of future American stars, and as the individual accolades at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship indicate, this current generation is not short on talent. USA coach Michelle French has stressed the importance of excelling both in attack and defence, a blend of style and solidity that has been crucial to forging the Stars and Stripes’ formidable reputation in the women’s game at all levels over the past few decades.