U.S. WNT OPENS 2015 SCHEDULE WITH MAJOR TEST AGAINST FRANCE: The U.S. Women’s National Team will face one of the most difficult matches to open a year in its history when it takes on France on Feb. 8 in Lorient to start a 10-game schedule that will lead into the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The match between the world’s second- and third-ranked teams will be played at the Stade du Moustoir and kicks off at 12 p.m. ET live on ESPN2. A crowd of around 14,000 is expected for the first meeting between the teams since last summer, when the USA won 1-0 in Tampa, Florida, and drew 2-2 in East Hartford, Connecticut. Following the match, the USA will travel to England for a match against theThree Lionesses on Feb. 13 at stadiummk in Milton Keynes. That game will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 at 3 p.m. ET. The USA’s most recent meeting with England was a 2-1 loss in London in April of 2011. Fans can also follow both matches on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and@ussoccer_esp.
24 TO EUROPE: Following an intense and highly productive three-week training camp in Los Angeles in January, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis named 24 players to travel to Europe for these two matches. Of the 30 players at that camp, Ellis named 23 plus first-time call-up Tori Huster of the Washington Spirit. As the World Cup is just four months away, every roster selection becomes crucial as Ellis and her staff work toward naming the 23-player squad for the Women’s World Cup. Ellis named three goalkeepers, nine defenders, seven midfielders and five forwards for the trip to France and England.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): 18-Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), 24-Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), 21-Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers)
DEFENDERS (9): 16-Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), 22-Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 6-Whitney Engen (WNY Flash), 14-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 25-Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 5-Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), 19-Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 7-Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), 15-Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), 17-Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), 12-Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), 26-Tori Huster (Washington Spirit), 10-Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 9-Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): 2-Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), 13-Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), 23-Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), 8-Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), 20-Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)
10 GAMES, THEN WINNIPEG: The USA will have 10 matches, six in Europe and four at home, before heading to Winnipeg, Canada, to open the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup on June 8 against Australia. Of those 10, six are friendlies with four coming at the 2015 Algarve Cup, which is held annually in Portugal.
WORLD RECORD AND COUNTING: U.S. forward Abby Wambach currently has 177 career goals and is coming off a year in which she scored 14 times (in 20 matches), the sixth most in a calendar year of her 15-year career. Wambach broke Mia Hamm’s all-time international goal scoring record (158 from 1987-2004) on June 20, 2013, when she scored four times against South Korea at Red Bull Arena and has not slowed down. In matches in which Wambach has scored at least one goal, the USA is 111-2-8. Wambach has scored 52 goals in her past 66 games over 2012, 2013 and 2014. She is also third all-time in assists with 69, behind only Kristine Lilly (105) and Hamm (144).
MORGAN SET FOR RETURN: U.S. forward Alex Morgan has not played for the USA since Oct. 17 when she injured her ankle at the end of the second half against Guatemala during Women’s World Cup qualifying. In June of 2014, Morgan also made her return from an ankle injury against France, playing in two matches against the French in what was her first action since November of 2013, an absence of almost seven months. Morgan came off the bench in a 1-0 victory in Tampa and then broke out for two goals five days later in a 2-2 draw in East Harford, Connecticut. With 49 goals in 77 caps, Morgan is already 10th on the USA’s all-time scoring list at the age of 25.
24 FOR FIRST TIME: For the first time in its history, the Women’s World Cup will feature 24 countries, having expanded from 16 that competed in the past four tournaments. The 1991 and 1995 Women’s World Cups featured 12 teams each. The expansion has given several debutantes that chance to compete on the world’s stage, which no doubt will serve to increase the profile and support for the women’s game around the world. Following are the changes in berths per Confederation from the 2011 Women’s World Cup:
|Host:||Canada||CONCACAF:||3.5 + host, up from 2.5|
|Europe:||8 total, up from 4.5 + host in 2011||South America:||2.5, up from 2|
|Africa:||5 total, up from 3||Oceania:||1, same as in 2011|
|Asia:||3 total, up from 2|
2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Groups
U.S. ROSTER NOTES:
- Veteran midfielder Shannon Boxx makes her return to a game roster for the first time since April of 2013 when she played against Germany in a 3-3 tie in Offenbach. Boxx’s long layoff was due to injuries, but also pregnancy, as she gave birth to a baby daughter about one year ago. Boxx has 27 goals in 186 caps for the USA and played in the past three Women’s World Cup and three Olympic tournaments for the USA.
- Midfielder Carli Lloyd was the only player to log all 450 minutes during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. She was named MVP of the tournament after scoring five goals.
- Lloyd led the USA in scoring in 2014, finding the net 15 times, tying her career high in a calendar year. Abby Wambach was second with 14 goals. Lloyd also led the USA in assists with eight.
- Ten players on the roster are trying to make their first Women’s World Cup Team: Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher, Crystal Dunn, Whitney Engen, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Morgan Brian, Tori Huster, Leroux and Christen Press.
- Christen Press’ four-goal performance against Argentina in Brazil in December was the ninth such game in U.S. history and second of 2014 after Abby Wambach scored four times against Costa Rica in the championship game of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. It was the first-career hat trick for Press.
- Naeher, the 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year for the Boston Breakers, made her USA debut against Argentina on Dec. 18, 2014, and became the 22nd goalkeeper to suit up for the U.S. WNT.
- Naeher also became the seventh U.S. WNT goalkeeper to earn a shutout in her first appearance. The others are Gretchen Gegg (1986), Amy Allmann (1987), Mary Harvey (1989), Briana Scurry (1994), Solo (2000) and Emily Oleksiuk (2001).
- Left back Lori Chalupny played in three matches in the International Tournament of Brasilia last December, starting them all, while making a return to the U.S. team for the first time since the fall of 2010. She now has 95 caps and potentially could reach 100 at the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal.
- First-time call-up Tori Huster, a Washington Spirit midfielder, is the only uncapped player on the roster.
- Huster played every minute of all 22 matches she played last season for the Washington Spirit, scoring one goal with one assist while playing center-back and center-midfield.
- The USA will be without three regulars for this tour as Megan Rapinoe (knee) and Christie Rampone (back) picked up minor injuries during the USA’s January training camp and will not be ready for action, and goalkeeper Hope Solo is serving a suspension.
- The WNT will also be without forward Sydney Leroux for the France match. Leroux injured her ankle at the end of the USA’s January camp and will not be ready for game action.
- Lauren Holiday, the 2013 NWSL MVP and 2014 NWSL Championship Game MVP, was also the 2014 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year.
- Morgan Brian, the USA’s youngest player at age 21, was the 2014 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year.
- Wambach is the USA’s top scorer on the roster with 177 goals. After Wambach, Lloyd is the top scorer with 61 career international goals and Alex Morgan has 49. Heather O’Reilly has scored 41.
- With 14 goals in 2014, Wambach reached double-figures in goals in eight different calendar years. Mia Hamm still holds the record with nine years in double-figures.
- Amy Rodriguez had an excellent 2014 NWSL season with 13 goals in the regular season, good for second in the league, and then scored three more in the playoffs, including both goals in the NWSL title game. Rodriguez has 28 international scores.
- Lloyd and Press led the USA with 23 appearances (out of 24 total games) in 2014. Lloyd started all 23.
- All nine NWSL clubs are represented on the roster.
IN THE RECORD BOOKS:
- With three goals against Argentina on Dec. 18, Carli Lloyd upped her career total to 61 and moved into sole possession of seventh place on the U.S. WNT’s all-time goal scoring list, passing Shannon MacMillan who scored 60 goals in her career.
- Lloyd is the highest-scoring player in U.S. history who has played exclusively as a midfielder.
- Heather O’Reilly is the ninth player to hit 200 caps in U.S. history after reaching the milestone against Korea DPR on March 12 of last year and with 215 is now seventh on the USA’s all-time list. Abby Wambach (231) and Christie Rampone (304) are the only active players ahead of her.
- O’Reilly is the second-youngest player to hit 200 caps for the USA. Lilly was 28 years old, 9 months, 15 days when she earned cap No. 200 on May 7, 2000. O’Reilly was 29 years old, 2 months, 10 days when she earned her 200th cap.
- O’Reilly is currently sixth all-time in assists with 52 and is 13th all-time in goals with 41.
- In addition to breaking Mia Hamm’s world scoring record, Wambach’s June 20, 2013,performance against the Korea Republic also made her the USA’s all-time leader in multiple-goal games with 39 for her career. She has since added four more and now sits at 43. She has 35 two-goal games, five hat tricks, two four-goal games and one five-goal game.
- Sydney Leroux is 15th on the all-time U.S. WNT goal scoring list with 33 goals.
- With one more goal, Alex Morgan would become the 10th player in U.S. history to score 50 or more goals.