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Chivers: USA are underdogs

USA U20s head coach Bryn Chivers tells us how his side is preparing for the upcoming Nations Cup which his country is hosting. USA will host Canada, England and South Africa at the competition.

When was the last time the U20s side was in action?
Our last international competition was last summer against the Canada U20's in the final of the NACRA Championships. We lost 3-6

What has been happening with the team since then?
We held a camp in March for 60 players. In June we held another camp for 36 players in conjunction with the Collegiate National All Star Championships and played two games against the Northeast and Midwest Territorial Collegiate All Star Teams.

How have you picked your squad for this competition?
The camps provided us with a the opportunity to try out a lot of combinations and we used them to whittle the squad down from 60 to the 26 for the U20 Nations Cup

Which team do you think provides the biggest threat?
South Africa have put a lot of time and money into the development of the game for women so we expect them to be strong. In 2009 we lost two games to England andlast year we lost both games to Canada. We are again the underdog so all the other teams are a threat.

What are the strengths of your team?
With no international competition yet this year it's hard to say but it seems like this is the most well rounded team we've fielded. There are no exceptionally strong areas to their game but they seem to be doing all the small things well. For both camps there was great team chemistry off the field and that always leads to good things on the field.

What are your ambitions for the tournament?
We made it to the final in 2009 and I think that was the surprise of the tournament. In the last six games against this opposition we are 1-5 and while we are not favored to make another trip back to the final it has to be our primary goal.

What is your schedule for the rest of the year?
The U20's will be done for the year and we will turn our attention to the U17 squad. We also need to spend time working with our territorial U19 coaches to identify potential players for the 2012 pool.

Any names you can pick out as players to watch?
We have only eight returning players and the rest are in their first international event. Katie Johnson from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee is our most experienced player. As a fifteen year old she was on the u19 squad that toured England and Wales in 2007. Amee Svatos from Canby, Oregon and Aycia Washington from University of Connecticut are good returning players who performed well in camps this year. It's hard to say who will rise to the occasion from the new players.