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United States names roster for next month’s U-20 World Cup

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In just over two weeks, the U.S. national team will be back in action; at least, one version of it. Today, head coach Michelle Franch named the 21-woman team that will try to defend the U.S.’s title at this year’s U-20 World Cup in Canada.

Among those that will be part of that defense is PSG forward Lindsey Horan and Notre Dame defender Cari Roccaro, who was part of the team that defeated Germany in the final two years ago.

The final will be replayed on the opening day of the 2014 tournament, with the U.S. and Germany kicking off Group B play on Aug. 5 in Edmonton. Three days later, French’s side faces a Brazil team that went undefeated through South America’s qualifying tournament. After relocating to Montréal, the U.S. will finish its group stage on Aug. 12 against China, a team that beat out Japan for Asia’s final spot.

Particularly compared to the tournament’s other groups, the U.S.’s seems particularly tough, with each of the four teams having made at least two previous semifinals. (This year’s will be the seventh U-20 World Cup.) Though the U.S. and Germany are favorites to move on, the second place finisher could face a strong Canadian team in the quarterfinals. If there’s a loser on Aug. 5, that team will face a much tougher, much more tension-filled rout to Aug. 24’s final.

Horan, who scored 14 times for PSG last season, will be one of the team’s key components, as will defender Roccaro, who played every minutes of the knockout stage two years ago. Wisconsin’s Rose Lavelle, MVP at January’s CONCACAF Championship, and co-captain Andi Sullivan will lead an otherwise inexperienced midfield, while goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland can leverage experience garnered during a national title run with UCLA.

French, from U.S. Soccer:

“We have a good mixture of leadership, talent and great technical ability on all three lines,” said French. “We have a lot of tactical understanding and creativity based on the way they read the game, and I see a lot of grit and bite in the way we defend. The combination of these factors gives us a very well-rounded team.”

“Because we have players that have previously played in the U-20 World Cup, and we have Lindsey Horan who is playing professionally, and we have players who had a great amount of time with the U-17s, in a lot different areas we have players that lead,” said French. “That’s not just vocally, but in how they conduct themselves on and off the field. As a staff, to know that we can rely on a number of different people to lead, is a great benefit to this team.”

Here’s the full squad:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford; Kennesaw, Ga.), Rosemary Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Katelyn Rowland (UCLA; Vacaville, Calif.)

DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Amack (Stanford; Pleasanton, Calif.), Brittany Basinger (Penn State; Purcellville, Va.), Christina Gibbons (Duke; Raleigh, N.C.), Katie Naughton (Notre Dame; Elk Grove Village, Ill.), Kaleigh Riehl (BRYC; Fairfax Station, Va.), Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame; East Islip, N.Y.)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Carlyn Baldwin (Tennessee; Oakton, Va.), Nickolette Driesse (Florida State: Wayne, N.J.), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin; Cincinnati, Ohio), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Taylor Racioppi (PDA; Ocean Township, N.J.), Andi Sullivan (Bethesda SC; Lorton, Va.)

ORWARDS (6): Makenzy Doniak (Virginia; Chino Hills, Calif.), Summer Green (North Carolina; Milford, Mich.), Lindsey Horan (PSG; Golden, Colo.), Savannah Jordan (Florida; Fayetteville, Ga.), McKenzie Meehan (Boston College; Scituate, R.I.), Margaret Purce (Harvard; Silver Spring, Md.)

The full draw:

Group A: Canada, Ghana, Finland, North Korea
Group B: Germany, United States, China, Brazil
Group C: England, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria*
Group D: New Zealand, Paraguay, France, Costa Rica
* – may not play due to FIFA’s suspension of all Nigerian international teams

More on the U.S.’s team, though I’d recommend turning the volume down before pressing play on this one:

Klopp to the Kop: Multiple reports say deal agreed at Liverpool

TURIN, ITALY - FEBRUARY 24:  Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp shouts to his players during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Juventus and Borussia Dortmund at Juventus Arena on February 24, 2015 in Turin, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp is on his way to Liverpool to sign a contract naming him the next coach of the Reds.

The celebrated manager, 48, has been on “hiatus” from football since leaving Borussia Dortmund last season.

[ MORE: Messi to stand trial in Spain ]

Reports starting emerging earlier today that an agreement was imminent, and now the BBC is among those reporting that Klopp will be rolled out Friday morning.

From the BBC:

No contract has yet been signed but that is viewed as a formality when Klopp arrives in Liverpool later on Thursday. He will be officially unveiled by Liverpool on Friday morning at 10:00 BST.

There’s not much to say besides this: Klopp’s addition to the Premier League will give more color and brilliance to the country’s footballing scene. Only a certain class of manager can be instantly expected to find a better system for an inherited group of players.

This could and should be a game changer on Merseyside.

Appeal rejected! Lionel Messi will face court trial in Spain

VIGO, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 23:  Lionel Messi looks dejected after the La Liga match between Celta Vigo and FC Barcelona at Estadio Balaidos on September 23, 2015 in Vigo, Spain.  (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)
Alex Caparros/Getty Images
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It was a mere 48 hours ago that Lionel Messi looked close to in the clear when it came to tax evasion charges.

Now the question is whether a Spanish court will lock away the greatest active footballer, as a judge rejected the prosecutors’ (!!!) request to drop the charges.

[ WATCH: Hilarious spoof pegs Messi, Ronaldo as “Friends” ]

Messi and his father have already made a $5.5 million corrective payment, but there’s principle in play here. And the judge wants to know how Messi can claim he had no idea what was being done with his money.

From the BBC:

Lawyers acting on behalf of the tax authorities demanded 22-month jail sentences for both defendants.

“There are rational signs that the criminality was committed by both accused parties,” wrote the judge in a court filing, according to the AFP news agency.

Can you imagine one of the world’s richer men ending up in a Spanish prison? It’s very difficult to consider. In some ways it’s more plausible that he would buy his own island and start the “Messi Isle Premiership”.

Still, we won’t laugh off the idea, especially with FIFA apparently going down. Messi in prison. That’s something. Sepp in Switzerland. Lionel in Spain.