UCLA’s Ellis, Leroux Lead U.S. Women’s Under-20 Team in Guatemala

UCLA and U.S. Under-20 Coach Jill Ellis and Bruin striker Sydney Leroux, named the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup Golden Shoe and Golden Ball winner, lead a 20-player squad in an eight-team regional qualifying tournament in Guatemala for the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup set for Germany.

The opening U.S. game against Jamaica can be seen live at 2:30 p.m. Thursday on Fox Soccer Channel or streaming (free) here (registration required). It’s the first time CONCACAF or any regional confederation has offered free live coverage of a youth tournament online.

Leroux, who had 23 goals for the Bruins last season, scored five goals in the U-20 World Cup, earning her the Golden Ball as tournament MVP and the Golden Shoe as top scorer. Leroux is the most capped player at the U-20 level on the qualifying roster, with a dozen goals in 16 games.

Also on the squad is Bruin midfielder Zakiya Bywaters.

More on the team and tournament here.

The U.S. also plays Trinidad & Tobago Saturday and Mexico Monday at the same time.

Three nations will qualify for the World Cup.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!