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Kansas City Current assistant Natalia Astrain named USWNT U-17 coach

Houston Dash v Kansas City
Posted at 1:09 PM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 14:09:01-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Current assistant coach Natalia Astrain is leaving Huw Williams’ staff to become the new head coach of the U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team.

Astrain — a native of Pamplona, Spain — spent one season with the Current, who played their inaugural season in Kansas City under a generic name before unveiling the new name in conjunction with the season finale last month.

She previously served as the head coach for FC Barcelona’s women’s team and as a coach in the team’s boys soccer academy in her native Spain. She became the first woman in her nation’s history to earn a UEFA Pro license, the highest coaching certification in Europe.

“We’re excited to bring Natalia on to lead our U-17 USWNT program,” USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf said in a statement. “She brings an impressive resume at every level of the game, both domestically and abroad. That blend of experience in the pro game and the academy system makes her an excellent choice to assist in the development of our U-17 players and help them reach the next level. We’re confident Natalia will do a great job preparing the group for World Cup qualifying next spring.”

Astrain will work across age groups, but her focus will be on U-17 development after previously serving as an assistant with the USWNT U-17 and Under-15 teams.

“It's an honor to have the opportunity to work for U.S. Soccer,” Astrain said in a statement. “To be part of supporting and developing these young players at such an important phase in their careers is incredibly exciting. The U-17 cycle is a critical one with the chance to participate in both Concacaf and World Cup competitions. Working with the country's top talents is a great responsibility and challenge and I’m eager to help push them toward excellence as we prepare them for success at the international level.”

Astrain will jump into the fray with a week-long training camp, which began Wednesday in San Diego in preparation for the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship from April 23 to May 8 in the Dominican Republic.

She previously served as the head coach for Club Levante Las Planas, a third-tier women’s club in Spain, and Club de Futbol Damm, a top-tier youth club.