ASHEVILLE, N.C. - UNC Asheville women's soccer coach Michelle Demko will serve as an assistant coach for the U.S. Under-23 Women's National Team when it plays in a four-nations tournament in LaManga, Spain, from Friday through March 4.
Demko, who has served as UNC Asheville head coach for three seasons, will assist head coach Randy Waldrum. Waldrum is also the head coach at Notre Dame. The tournament field also includes England, Norway and Sweden.
This will be Demko's second coaching experience on the international stage. A year ago, the Bulldogs' head coach was in California, training the Under-20 U.S. Women's National Team as it began preparations for the FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup.
"The opportunity to work for US Soccer again in an assistant coach capacity is exciting," stated Demko. "Randy Waldrum is an outstanding coach. He has built Notre Dame into one of the most successful programs in college soccer. Additionally, he has worked with US Soccer for a number of years, having been on staff with several youth national team programs. He has a wealth of knowledge about the game, which makes this is an incredible experience with regard to professional development. I am certain I will learn an enormous amount from Randy and be able to bring that knowledge back to UNC Asheville and the women's soccer program."
The U.S. will have 20 players on a roster featuring top collegiate players and young pros. Three players - defender Julie Johnston, midfielder Kristie Mewis and forward Zakiya Bywaters - will be coming off almost two weeks of training with the full Women's National Team that resulted in Johnston and Mewis earning their first senior team caps against Scotland on Feb. 9 in Jacksonville, Fla. Bywaters also was the top pick in the first NWSL College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars.
The roster features eight players from the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Japan, including Johnston, who captained the side and won the Bronze Ball as the third-best player in the tournament, as well as the dynamic center-midfield trio of Morgan Brian (Virginia), Vanessa DiBernardo (Illinois) and Sara Killion (UCLA). DiBernardo scored in the 2-1 victory against Korea DPR in the quarterfinals, and Brian scored in the 2-0 victory against Nigeria in the semifinals.
The U.S. U-23's will play Norway on Feb. 28, Sweden on March 2 and finish up the tournament against England on March 4.