U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team head coach B.J. Snow has named a 24-player roster for the 2019 Thorns Spring Invitational where the USA will face Reign FC, Portland Thorns FC and the Chicago Red Stars in the four-team NWSL pre-season competition. Louisville’s Emina Ekic is one of the 24 players selected.

Snow named a roster that features 21 collegiate players, two players current playing professionally in Europe – Schuyler Debree (Sparta Prague in the Czech Republic) and Martha Thomas (Le Havre in France) — and one U.S. Soccer Development Academy player in Maycee Bell, who is a member of the USA’s current Under-20 WNT player pool.

Ekic earned second team All-American honors by the United Soccer Coaches Association this season. She was also named a first team all-region selection after an impressive sophomore campaign.  Following the regular season, she earned first team All-ACC honors. 

Coming off an injury from last season, Ekic was outstanding in ACC play this season.   She finished the regular season with seven goals and five assists for 19 points.

The U.S. Under-23s are taking part in Thorns Spring Invitational for the third year in a row and all the matches will take place at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland. The competition will take place over three matchdays, with an early game that has free admission and a later match featuring the Thorns that will be a ticketed event. Tickets for the matches featuring the Thorns are general admission. Individual tickets are on sale to the public online at www.thornsfc.com

The USA opens against Reign FC on Sunday, March 24 at 11:30 a.m. PT, while Portland will face Chicago at 5 p.m. PT. The second matchday on Wednesday, March 27, features Chicago vs. Reign FC at 1:30 p.m. PT and the USA taking on Portland at 7:30 p.m. PT. The U.S. finishes against the Red Stars on Saturday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m. PT and Portland wraps things up with rival Reign FC at 7:30 p.m. PT.

U.S. U-23 WNT Roster – 2019 Thorns Spring Invitational:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.) 

DEFENDERS (8): Maycee Bell (NC Courage Academy; Wichita, Kan.), Schuyler Debree (Sparta Prague, CZE; Fair Haven, N.J.), Emily Fox (UNC; Chapel Hill, N.C.), Naomi Girma (Stanford; San Jose, Calif.), Meaghan Nally (Georgetown; Herndon, Va.), Kirsten Pavlisko (Florida State; Middleburg, Fla.), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.), Emina Ekic (Louisville; Fairdale, Ky.), Channing Foster (Mississippi; Murray, Ky.), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; Windsor, Colo.), Jenna Nighswonger (Florida State; Huntington Beach, Calif.), Brianna Pinto (UNC; Durham, NC)      

FORWARDS (8): Paula Germino-Watnick (Georgetown; Chevy Chase, Md.), Penelope Hocking (USC; Anaheim, Calif.), Haley Hopkins (Vanderbilt; Newport Beach, Calif.), Catarina Macario (Stanford; San Diego, Calif.), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; Monrovia, Calif.), Martha Thomas (Le Havre, FRA); Weston, Fla.), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; Colorado Springs, Colo.), Morgan Weaver (Washington State; University Place, Wash.)  

2019 Thorns Spring Invitational Schedule – Merlo Field, University of Portland

Sunday, March 24
Reign FC vs. U.S. U-23 WNT                            11:30 a.m. PT
Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars      5 p.m. PT

Wednesday, March 27
Chicago Red Stars vs. Reign FC                       1:30 p.m. PT
Portland Thorns FC vs. U.S. U-23 WNT           7:30 p.m. PT

Saturday, March 30
U.S. U-23 WNT vs. Chicago Red Stars             1:30 p.m. PT
Portland Thorns FC vs. Reign FC                     7:30 p.m. PT  

Kimberli Pemberton
Assistant Sports Information Director
University of Louisville

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