Will travel to Spain for three-game series as part of La Manga tournament
CHICAGO, Ill. – Chicago Red Stars players Danielle Colaprico and Vanessa DiBernardo have been called up to the 22-player U.S. U-23 roster that will travel to La Manga, Spain, for three matches in a six-team invitational tournament to be played from February 21 to March 3. Colaprico, DiBernardo and company will face the U-23 squads from Japan (February 26), Norway (February 28) and England (March 2). The friendly tournament also features China PR and Sweden.
The Red Stars recently selected former University of Virginia standout Colaprico at number nine in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. The dynamic attacker is looking forward to the chance to test herself against quality opposition on European soil.
“It’s a great opportunity to play with some of the best young players in the country, and to be able to compete against other countries is always really exciting,” she offered. “We want to win every game, which means we have to get on the same page as a team quickly, since we’ll only be together for a short time but will be playing three games. I’m looking forward to that challenge.”
The upcoming trip will mark the first time Colaprico and midfielder DiBernardo represent the Red, White and Blue together as Chicago teammates.
“I’ve played with Vanessa in other camps and we both tend to be in the midfield, so I definitely know her pretty well,” said New Jersey native Colaprico. “She’s a great player and I love playing with her, so now I’m really excited that we’ll be competing together against other teams all the time.”
The sentiment was echoed by DiBernardo, who will be entering her second season with the Red Stars this coming April.
“Danielle is an excellent player and I really enjoy playing with her,” said the Illinois native. “Having been in a few camps together, each of us knows how the other one plays, so it’s going to be fun and I’m excited we’ll be going straight into the Red Stars preseason following the trip with the U.S.”
DiBernardo has worked hard to maintain a good fitness level in recent months. The trip to Europe presents an opportunity for the 22-year-old to continue getting in shape for the demanding NWSL schedule ahead.
“I was very excited when I got the news that we’ll be playing three really good games in Spain,” she offered. “The timing of it is great too, since the domestic season is right around the corner and this will make us better prepared to start camp with our club teams. I’m just really looking forward to playing for the U.S. and then getting started with the Red Stars.”
With current U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team Head Coach Steve Swanson serving as an assistant coach for the senior team at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, University of Illinois Head Coach Janet Rayfield will be in charge during the trip to Spain. She was an assistant to Swanson when the USA won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan.
The 22-player squad competing in the La Manga tournament features 14 professionals, including a total of 13 who were taken in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. Red Stars whirlwind DiBernardo is the only one-year pro and one of four 2012 World Cup winners on the roster, the other three being Sky Blue FC’s Sarah Killion, Western New York Flash’s Samantha Mewis and Notre Dame’s Cari Roccaro.
Of the nine first-round picks in the 2015 NWSL College Draft, a total of seven are heading to La Manga. Top pick Morgan Brian of the Houston Dash is currently in Portugal with the senior side.
Mewis is the only player on the U-23 roster with full national team caps, but five additional players have been called into senior camps. Among them is Chicago’s DiBernardo, in addition to goalkeepers Jane Campbell and Abby Smith, midfielder Killion and forward Stephanie McCaffrey.
Chicago Red Stars fans can see all of their international stars in action throughout the upcoming NWSL season, which kicks off on April 18 with a home game against Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe and current Shield holders Seattle Reign FC. Single-game and season tickets ($145) may be purchased by calling 773-698-6001 or by clicking here.
U-23 Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Abby Smith (Texas; Dallas, Texas)
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Western NY Flash; Menlo Park, Calif.), Caprice Dydasco (Washington Spirit; Honolulu, Hawaii), Jaelene Hinkle (Western NY Flash; Castle Rock, Colo.), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.), Emily Sonnett (Virginia; Marietta, Ga.), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; Lorton, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; Freehold, N.J.), Daphne Corboz (Sky Blue FC; Greenbrook, N.J.), Vanessa DiBernardo (Chicago Red Stars; Naperville, Ill.), Kristin Grubka (Sky Blue FC; Melbourne, Fla.), Sarah Killion (Sky Blue FC; Fort Wayne, Ind.), Lo’eau Labonta (Sky Blue FC; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash; Hanson, Mass.), Stephanie Verdoia (Boston Breakers; Salt Lake City, Utah)
FORWARDS (5): Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City; Liberty, Mo.), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers; Winchester, Mass.), Cheyna Williams (FSU; Hampton, Ga.), Lynn Williams (Western NY Flash; Fresno, Calif.)