Posted On: April 14, 2015
CHICAGO (April 14, 2015, U.S. Soccer) - With 55 days until the USA's opening match of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 23 players who will represent the United States on women's soccer's grandest stage Tuesday. The roster will not become official until it is submitted to FIFA on May 25, which is the deadline for all teams to submit their final squads.
Six former University of North Carolina Tar Heels have been named to the team - the most from any university program. The Tar Heel contingent includes Heather O'Reilly, playing in her third World Cup, Lori Chalupny and Tobin Heath, playing in their second World Cups, and Ashlyn Harris, Meghan Klingenberg and Whitney Engen all playing in their first World Cups. Chalupny is the most veteran Tar Heel in the group, having last competed at UNC in 2005. O'Reilly's last season was 2006 while Engen, Harris and Heath finished in 2009 and Klingenberg in 2010.
Broken down by alma maters, the team includes six players from North Carolina, two each from UCLA, Stanford, Penn State and Virginia and one each from Washington, Santa Clara, Monmouth, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Portland, California, USC and Florida.
U.S. captain Christie Rampone has been named to her fifth Women's World Cup roster, tying Kristine Lilly for most World Cups for an American player, man or woman. Midfielder Shannon Boxx and forward Abby Wambach will be playing in their fourth World Cups while Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo and Heather O'Reilly make their third Women's World Cup roster. Ellis named eight players who will be participating for the first time and nine who will be participating for the second time.
The roster, which features three goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders and five forwards, is the product of nearly 11 months of player evaluation since Ellis was named head coach in May of 2014. During that time, she has been on the bench for 23 international matches (including two as interim coach before being officially named head coach) and has seen 34 players in training camps, 29 in international matches and many more in NWSL matches. Ellis selected 14 players who were part of the 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning team in London.
"The players selected have the confidence, experience and desire to help us win a world championship," said Ellis. "We had an excellent group to pick from and at the end of the last camp, I complemented all the players on how much they pushed each other and competed to make this selection challenging."
The Women's World Cup roster will make up the squad for the USA's final three matches before departing for Canada. The three-match Send-Off Series takes place in May and will start when USA faces the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, May 10, at 11:30 a.m. PT at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, the new home of Major League Soccer's San Jose Earthquakes. From there, the USA will travel down the coast for its second Send-Off Series match, facing Mexico on Sunday, May 17, at 6 p.m. PT at StubHub Center in Carson, California. Both California matches will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.
The U.S. heads to the East Coast to conclude the Send-Off Series against Korea Republic on Saturday, May 30, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. The match will kick off at 4:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN and WatchESPN. Fans can follow all the upcoming WNT matches on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp.
This summer, the USA will face Australia, Sweden and Nigeria in Group D at the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup. The USA opens against Australia on June 8 at Winnipeg Stadium, followed by Sweden on June 12 in Winnipeg and Nigeria on June 16 at BC Place in Vancouver.
"It's been a thorough process of evaluation, and we had a lot of good opportunities to see the players in highly competitive situations. I feel that this group of players can accomplish our goals," said Ellis. "We have positional depth, versatility, and players that will give us balance on every line."
The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup runs from June 6-July 5 and all 52 games will be shown live on FOX, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and on tablets and mobile devices through the FOX Sports GO app and FOXSportsGO.com.
2015 United States FIFA Women's World Cup Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris* (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher* (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo*** (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (8): Lori Chalupny** (Chicago Red Stars), Whitney Engen* (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston* (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg* (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger** (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara** (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone***** (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn** (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx**** (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian* (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath** (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday** (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd*** (Houston Dash), Heather O'Reilly*** (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe** (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux* (Western NY Flash), Alex Morgan** (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press* (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez** (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach**** (unattached)
* First Women's World Cup
** Second Women's World Cup
*** Third Women's World Cup
**** Fourth Women's World Cup
***** Fifth Women's World Cup
The 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup will be the seventh time FIFA stages the event and the first to include 24 nations, up from 16 that participated in the previous four editions. The 1991 and 1995 Women's World Cups featured 12 teams.
With the addition of eight teams, the format now includes an additional knockout round game (Round of 16) and it will now require seven matches to win the tournament, up from six in the previous tournaments. In part due to the additional match, Women's World Cup rosters now have 23 players (up from 21 in 2011).
Christie Rampone is poised to play in her fifth Women's World Cup tournament. Four female players have previously played in five Women's World Cups: Kristine Lilly of the USA (1991-2007), Formiga of Brazil (1995-2011), Birgit Prinz of Germany (1995-2011) and Homare Sawa of Japan (1995-2011). Formiga and Sawa have a chance to play in their sixth tournaments this summer. Bente Nordby of Norway (1991-2007) was on five Women's World Cup rosters but played in four tournaments. Rampone is the last remaining active player from the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup championship team.
Lori Chalupny becomes the second player in U.S. history to be named to non-consecutive Women's World Cup rosters, following Brandi Chastain (1991, 1999). Chalupny was a member of the 2007 Women's World Cup team.
The players making their first Women's World Cup roster are: Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher, Whitney Engen, Julie Johnston, Meghan Klingenberg, Morgan Brian, Sydney Leroux and Christen Press.
Naeher, Leroux, Klingenberg, and Morgan were a part of the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup in Chile.
O'Reilly, Harris and Chalupny were a part of the U.S. team that won the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women's World Cup in Canada.
Fifteen players on the roster have played for the USA in a FIFA Women's World Cup at the youth level.