Chicago, Ill. - United States Under 23 Women's National Team head coach Bill Irwin announced yesterday that University of Minnesota juniors Katie Bethke (L) and Jennie Clark (R) have been invited to attend the U23 training camp later this month in Corvallis, Ore. Bethke and Clark will be among 24 top college players who will be in attendance at the week long camp beginning April 18. Exhibition games against the University of Portland and Oregon State University will highlight the week.
Bethke is a forward/midfielder from Eau Claire, Wis. and led the Gophers last fall in scoring during her junior campaign when she earned Second Team All-Big Ten honors. She currently sits eighth in both career points and career assists going into her senior year for the Maroon and Gold. Bethke has been a three-year starter for Minnesota in the attack. Known for her versatility, her ability to beat defenders off the dribble, and for her overall technical ability, the former St. Croix and Bangu Tsunami youth player will be attending her first U.S. National Team camp. She is the daughter of Jan and Bill Bethke and played her high school soccer at Eau Claire Memorial High School.
Clark is a defender from Norwalk, Iowa and is a two-time First Team All-Big Ten honoree. She has played the center back position for the Gophers since her freshman year in the middle of the reputable Minnesota Back Three and has made 62 consecutive starts in that role. She was a major factor in the record-setting defense in 2008 when the Gophers recorded a Big Ten record 17 shutouts. In her three years as a starter in the back line, the Gophers have recorded their best two seasons defensively, allowing just 12 goals in 2008 and 14 goals in 2009. This is also the first national team call up for Clark who is known for her speed and her presence in the air. She is the daughter of Sherri and Jerry Clark and played her youth soccer with the West Des Moines Soccer Club and Norwalk High School in Iowa.
"We are very excited about this recognition for Katie and Jennie," stated Minnesota head coach Mikki Denney Wright. "Both of these young women are incredible examples of hard work and dedication to their development and to this program. It is a nice reward and a great opportunity for them. We expect that this experience will provide a great environment for them to continue to learn and grow as players and as leaders."
Bethke and Clark will next take the field with their Gopher teammates when they travel to Lincoln, Nebraska on Saturday, April 17 for a spring exhibition against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Kickoff is set for 9:30 a.m. and admission is free. For those planning to attend, Nebraska will be hosting thousands on campus that day for their spring football game.