World Cup champions Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan and Hope Solo and Rockville Centre native Crystal Dunn headlined the roster announced Tuesday by U.S. women’s national team coach Jill Ellis for next month’s Olympic qualification tournament.
Ellis also included promising young players Emily Sonnett, Samantha Mewis, Dunn and 17-year-old sensation Mallory Pugh, the youngest woman ever named to a U.S. qualifying roster.
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The team will play in the qualifying tournament for the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, scheduled for Feb. 10-21 in Houston and Frisco, Texas. The U.S. team opens group play against Costa Rica on Feb. 10.
Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez, who played in the World Cup, are pregnant and won’t be able to take part in the Olympics. Megan Rapinoe was also absent from the roster because she is recovering from ACL surgery on her right knee, which could keep her out of the Rio Games.
It was expected that there would be changes from the team that beat Japan 5-2 to win the World Cup last year in Canada. Abby Wambach, Lauren Holiday, Shannon Boxx and Lori Chalupny have all retired from the team.
Whitney Engen and Heather O’Reilly were not on the 20-player roster, which included three goalkeepers and 17 field players. Thirteen players were on the World Cup roster and seven were also on the roster for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The United States has won three straight gold medals and has qualified for all five of the Olympic Games that have included women’s soccer.
“With only 17 field players allowed on the roster, and minimal time in between matches, I think we have one of the most versatile rosters ever for a qualifying tournament,” Ellis said in a statement. “Most of the field players are capable of playing at least two positions and as CONCACAF competitions generally present teams that will sit low and get numbers behind the ball, it is important to have players that can individually and collectively break teams down to create chances.”
The United States is coming off a 5-0 victory over Ireland last Saturday in San Diego to conclude the team’s January training camp.
Pugh, who is headed to UCLA in the fall, scored a goal in her first appearance with the senior national team. Lloyd, who scored three goals in the World Cup final, also scored a hat trick against Ireland.
Lloyd, named the FIFA World Player of the Year earlier this month, is co-captain of this year’s team along with defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
The roster, with NWSL affiliation, includes:
Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC).
Defenders: Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), 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), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash).
Forwards: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).