Jill Ellis Names USWNT squad for Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Seven Players Return from 2012 Olympic Team, 14 from 2015 Women’s World Cup Included;
USA Will Play Last Match Before Olympics on July 22 vs. Costa Rica in Kansas City, Kansas
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 18-player roster for the 2016 Olympic Games. Seven players make a return to the Olympics after helping the USA to the gold medal in 2012 in London while 14 players who were members of the USA’s 2015 Women’s World Cup championship team were named.
Midfielders Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath and goalkeeper Hope Solo were named to their third Olympic rosters. Solo was also an alternate in 2004 and will be attending her fourth Games. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, forward Alex Morgan and defenders Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn will be playing in their second Olympic Games. The remaining 11 players made their first Olympic roster, although forward Christen Press and defender Meghan Klingenberg were alternates on the 2012 team. Having just turned 18 on April 29, forward Mallory Pugh becomes the USA’s second youngest women’s soccer Olympian.
Rapinoe’s selection caps a remarkable recovery from ACL surgery last December. She returned to full play for the first time at the USA’s training camp outside of Chicago last week.
The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 – two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony – against New Zealand (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. The USA will stay in Belo Horizonte – which is 270 miles north of Rio de Janeiro – to face France at Mineirão Stadium on Aug. 6 (5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus, the same arena in which the U.S. Men’s National Team tied Portugal 2-2 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the furthest soccer venue from Rio (more than 1,700 miles).
The U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team has advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic women’s soccer tournament that has been contested. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Athens, Ga., won silver in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and will be going for its fourth straight gold medal after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.
2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team
Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars),
Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers),
Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars),
Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC),
Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit),
Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC),
Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
Morgan Brian (Houston Dash),
Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC),
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC),
Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash),
Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC),
Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit),
Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride),
Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars),
Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
“The last few camps capped a nine-month evaluation process and the players certainly made it a real challenge to narrow the roster down to 18,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “We’ve got a great blend of players with experience at the Olympic Games and in major events along with the youthful energy of some players who did not play in the Women’s World Cup last summer. As a coach in the Olympic Games, you want to put together a group capable of reaching the top of the podium while also being mindful of getting players prepared for the next World Cup, and I think we’ve done that.”
Ellis also named four alternate replacement players that will travel to Brazil in midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who is a three-time gold medalist (2004, 2008 and 2012), goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defender Emily Sonnett and midfielder Samantha Mewis. O’Reilly and Harris were part of the USA’s World Cup championship team last summer.
Ellis will bring the Olympic team plus the four alternates to Kansas City, Kansas, for a final Olympic send-off match on July 22 against Costa Rica at Children’s Mercy Park (8 p.m. CT on ESPN).
“We’ve got excellent balance in the squad, and with some injuries lately to some major players, it has allowed us to get experience for a few newer players which helped them in their cases to make the team,” said Ellis. “Now the task is getting our team 100% healthy and finalizing our preparations during the next camp.”
Tickets for the match in Kansas City are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Kansas City area (including Hen House Markets). [Note: Tickets will not be sold at the Children’s Mercy Park ticket office except for the day of the event.] Purchases are limited to eight tickets per household.
All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
The WSU Team bringing you news and updates from the world of women’s football.