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U.S. WNT Faces Switzerland for First Time on Aug. 20 at WakeMed Soccer Park

U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Switzerland
WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, North Carolina
Aug. 20, 2014

U.S. WNT FACES SWITZERLAND FOR FIRST TIME: The U.S. Women’s National Team will face Switzerland for the first time in its history when the two teams square off on Aug. 20 at WakeMed Soccer Park in a match that sold out its 10,000 tickets on July 25. The match kicks off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be shown on ussoccer.com. Fans can also follow on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt. The USA is 7-2-3 so far in 2014 and will be playing its third match under head coach Jill Ellis since she was officially been named to the position.

SWISS, THEN SEMIS: With just two days of training prior to the match, U.S. head coach Jill Ellis has called up just 19 players for this match and will choose 18 for the game-day roster. Eighteen of the 19 players are currently playing in the NWSL (only rising college senior Morgan Brian is not a professional) and 10 players are on clubs that will enter the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League Semifinals this coming weekend when FC Kansas City hosts Portland Thorns FC on Aug. 23 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2)and Seattle Reign FC takes on the Washington Spirit on Aug. 24 (11 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The USA will have two more international friendly matches before CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying takes place in the United States in October. The USA faces Mexico on Sept. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and on Sept. 18 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York.

2014 U.S. WNT SCHEDULE:

Date

Opponent

Result/Time (ET)

U.S. Goal Scorers/TV

Venue

Jan. 31

Canada

1-0 W

Leroux

Toyota Stadium; Frisco, Texas

Feb. 8

Russia

7-0 W

Lloyd (2), Press (2), O’Reilly,

Leroux, Wambach

FAU Stadium; Boca Raton, Fla.

Feb. 13

Russia

8-0 W

Own Goal (2), Rodriguez, Wambach, Brian, Holiday, Leroux, Press

Georgia Dome; Atlanta, Ga.

March 5

Japan*

1-1 T

Leroux

Parchal, Portugal

March 7

Sweden*

0-1 L

-

Albufeira, Portugal

March 10

Denmark*

3-5 L

Press, Leroux, Rapinoe

Albufeira, Portugal

March 12

Korea DPR*

3-0 W

Wambach (2), O’Reilly

Parchal, Portugal

April 6

China PR

2-0 W

Holiday, Rapinoe

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.

April 10

China PR

3-0 W

Lloyd (2), Leroux

Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, Calif.

May 8

Canada

1-1 T

Leroux

Investors Group Field; Winnipeg, Canada

June 14

France

1-0 W

Leroux

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.

June 19

France

2-2 T

Morgan (2)

Rentschter Field, East Hartford, Conn.

Aug. 20

Switzerland

7:30 p.m.

WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary, N.C.

Sept. 13

Mexico

6:30 p.m.

TBD

Sept. 18

Mexico

7 p.m.

Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, N.Y.

* Algarve Cup

#SOLO72: U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo, who has earned 71 shutouts in her 152 caps since debuting for the USA in 2000, needs just one more clean sheet to surpass Briana Scurry’s record, set over 173 caps from 1994-2008. Eleven of Solo’s shutouts have come in world championship play – five in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and six during the Olympics. As a confirmation of her reputation as a big-game player, 42 of Solo’s career shutouts – almost 60 percent – have come in tournament competitions that include world championships, qualifying for the World Cup and Olympics and elite tournaments such as the Algarve Cup, which is held annually in Portugal.

USA TO HOST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which will qualify three teams for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, will be played from Oct. 15-26 in four host cities in the United States: Chicago, Kansas City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. The tournament features eight countries divided into two groups of four with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play moving on to the semifinals. All the countries, including the U.S. Women’s National Team, will play one match in each of the three first-round venues. Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas; Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois; and RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., will each host two doubleheaders, one each for Groups A and B. PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, will host the semifinal matches on Oct. 24, along with the third-place match and championship games on Oct. 26. The two finalists and the winner of the third-place match will qualify directly for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. The fourth-place team will enter a playoff with a South American country for a final berth. The Final Draw for the tournament will be held Sept. 5 in Miami.

U.S. ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The USA’s 19-player roster features two goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and five forwards. Of the USA’s 19 players, just four are over 30: team captain Christie Rampone (39 years old), Abby Wambach (34), Hope Solo (33) and Carli Lloyd (32). Rampone heads into the game with 294 career caps as she is the most-capped active player in the world and second all-time in world history. The least-capped players on the roster are: Alyssa Naeher (0), Julie Johnston (2) and Allie Long (3). Naeher was brought in to replace Ashlyn Harris, who suffered a concussion in NWSL play on Aug. 2 and will need a few more days of rest and recovery.

U.S. Women’s National Team By Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): 18-Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), 1-Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): 19-Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 16-Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), 25-Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), 11-Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), 3-Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Morgan Brian (Virginia), 12-Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), 10-Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), 6-Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), 9-Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), 15-Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
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)

WORLD RECORD AND COUNTING: U.S. forward Abby Wambach currently has 167 goals in her career after scoring twice against Korea DPR in the final match of the Algarve Cup in March. Wambach passed the legendary Mia Hamm to become the world’s all-time leading scorer on June 20, 2013, when she pounded in four goals against South Korea at Red Bull Arena. Hamm had 158 international goals from 1987-2004. The match against North Korea at the Algarve Cup marked the 107th win for the USA in a game in which Wambach has scored at least one goal (107-2-8). Wambach has scored 42 goals in her past 53 games over 2012, 2013 and 2014. She is also third all-time in assists with 65, behind only Kristine Lilly (105) and Hamm (144). Wambach missed the two matches against France in June due to a knee injury suffered in NWSL play.

MORGAN BAGS TWO IN RETURN: Alex Morgan returned to the U.S. team in June for the two matches against France and her second half appearance on June 14 in Tampa was her first time since November of 2013, an absence of almost seven months. Morgan came on in the second half against France in East Hartford, Connecticut, and scored two excellent goals to pull out the 2-2 draw, her first scores since June 2, 2012, when she scored twice against Canada in Toronto for a 3-0 U.S. victory. She now has 46 goals (10th all-time) in her 79 caps.

COMING BACK TO CARY: The U.S. Women will be playing their sixth match all-time in Cary. This is a region long known for women’s soccer excellence, and the largest crowd will be on hand Wednesday for the first sellout at WakeMed. The U.S. roster includes four players who played their college soccer at the North Carolina: defenders Meghan Klingenberg and Crystal Dunn and midfielders Allie Long and Heather O’Reilly, who scored her first career WNT goal here on Oct. 6, 2002, against Italy. The USA has won all five previous matches at WakeMed Soccer Park, four by shutout and a wild 3-2 victory against Australia in 2008 that was played in a driving rainstorm and featured a last-minute game-winner from Carli Lloyd. The U.S. Women have previously played 11 matches in North Carolina – five in Cary, two in Charlotte, three in Davidson and one in Greensboro.

SEVEN IN, 17 TO GO: With Switzerland winning European Group 3 with one match to play, and with the completion of the 2014 Asian Women’s Cup, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup now has seven teams. Along with host Canada, Japan, Australia, China PR, Korea Republic and Thailand have qualified out of Asia. Japan defeated Australia 1-0 in the championship game while China defeated Korea 2-1 to take third. Perhaps the biggest news was the qualification of Thailand to its first Women’s World Cup. Thailand defeated host Vietnam 2-1 for fifth place and became the first team to wholly benefit from the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams. The remaining 17 countries will come from Europe (8 total: Switzerland plus 7 more, up from 4.5 + host in 2011), Africa (3, up for 2), CONCACAF (3.5 + host, up from 2.5) South America (2.5, up from 2) and Oceania (1, same as in 2011). The fourth-place finisher in CONCACAF will play the third-place finisher in South America in a two-game playoff for the final berth.

U.S. ROSTER NOTES:

  • Twenty-eight players have seen game action for the USA so far in 2014, including first-cappers Samantha Mewis, Sarah Hagan and Allie Long.
  • Lauren Holiday, the 2013 NWSL MVP, became the 30th American female player to earn 100 caps when she played against Canada on May 8.
  • Abby Wambach is the USA’s top scorer on the roster with 167 goals, and after Wambach, midfielder Carli Lloyd is the top scorer with 50 career international goals, followed by Alex Morgan (46) and Heather O’Reilly (40). Sydney Leroux is quickly climbing the charts with 31. Amy Rodriguez, who is having an excellent NWSL season with 13 goals, good for second in the league, has 27 international scores to match Shannon Boxx and Joy Fawcett for 18th on the all-time list.
  • Leroux is the USA’s leading scorer this year with seven goals. Wambach, Lloyd and Christen Press have four goals each. Lloyd also has four assists, best on the team this year, while Press also has one assist this year and has scored 12 times in her first 24 WNT games.
  • Julie Johnston gets her third consecutive call-up after a fine season with the Chicago Red Stars. She had not been with the WNT since the February matches against Russia and will be looking for her first international minutes of the year and her third cap.
  • Midfielder Allie Long earns her third call-up after getting her first cap on May 8 against Canada, coming on for Morgan Brian in the 68th minute. Long played in the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Russia with current WNT players Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara, Stephanie Cox, Holiday and Rodriguez. Long started both games against France, playing 90 minutes in the first game and 60 in the second.
  • Due to NWSL games, players from Kansas City, Washington, Sky Blue, Chicago and Western New York arrived on Sunday, Aug. 17, while players from Seattle, Portland, Houston and Boston arrived on Monday, Aug. 18.
  • All nine NWSL clubs are represented on the roster.

IN THE RECORD BOOKS:

  • Hope Solo is currently tied with Briana Scurry for all-time shutouts with 71, and her next clean sheet would set a WNT record.
  • The USA’s current 84-game unbeaten streak at home (73-0-11 since Nov. 6, 2004) is a team record. The next-highest streak is 50 games (48-0-2) from Feb. 10, 1996, through April 22, 1999. The USA tied the record on May 14, 2011 (2-0 win against Japan at Columbus Crew Stadium) and broke the record with the 51st game on May 18, 2011 (another 2-0 win against Japan at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina).
  • 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 and with 203 has now moved past Kate Markgraf (201) into eighth on the USA’s all-time list.
  • O’Reilly has moved ahead of Tiffeny Milbrett for seventh all-time with 206 caps in her career.
  • O’Reilly is the second-youngest player to hit 200 caps for the USA. Kristine 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 tied for sixth all-time in assists with Shannon MacMillan with 50.
  • In addition to breaking Mia Hamm’s world scoring record, Abby 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 another on March 12 against Korea DPR and sits at 40. She has 33 two-goal games, five hat tricks, one four-goal game and one five-goal game.
  • With her next assist or goal, Wambach will join Hamm as the only WNT players to reach 400 points in their career. Wambach has 399 points (167 goals, 65 assists) and Hamm had 460 (158 goals, 144 assists).
  • Carli Lloyd’s goal on Oct. 27 against New Zealand gave her 46 goals in her career and moved her past Julie Foudy into ninth on the all-time scoring list. Lloyd scored her first two of the year against Russia on Feb. 8 and added another two-goal game on April 10 against China PR to become the ninth player in U.S. history to score 50 or more goals. Lloyd is also the highest-scoring player in U.S. history who has played exclusively as a midfielder.
  • In the Jan. 31 match against Canada, defender Becky Sauerbrunn became the 46th player in U.S. Women’s National Team history to hit 50 caps. She now has 61, which ranks her tied for 41st all-time.
  • On April 10 against China PR, Sydney Leroux became the 47th player to hit 50 caps. She now has 53 and ranks 45th all-time.
  • Defender Christie Rampone is second all-time with 294 caps, trailing only Lilly (352 caps from 1987-2010).
  • With four more goals, Alex Morgan would become the 10th player in U.S. history to score 50 or more goals.

BY THE NUMBERS:

  • 0.83: Goals per game the USA has allowed in 2014
  • 1: USA’s FIFA ranking
  • 2.67: Goals per game the USA has scored in 2014
  • 3: Number of players who have played in all 12 games so far this year: O’Reilly, Press and Sauerbrunn
  • 4: Assists by Carli Lloyd and Christen Press in 2014, most on the team
  • 10: Number of U.S. players to score a goal in 2014
  • 12: Goals in 24 career games for U.S. forward Christen Press
  • 50: Career goals by Carli Lloyd, most ever for a WNT player who has played exclusively as a midfielder
  • 71: Career shutouts by Hope Solo, tied for the all-time WNT record with Briana Scurry
  • 99: Minutes on field per goal averaged by Abby Wambach in her career
  • 107: U.S. victories when Wambach scores a goal (107-2-8 overall)
  • 130: Minutes on field per goal averaged by Mia Hamm in her career
  • 294: Caps by Christie Rampone, second all-time to Kristine Lilly (352)

JILL ELLIS FACT FILE : After her second stint as interim head coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team, a capacity in which she coached two games this year – a win against China PR and a tie against Canada – Jill Ellis was officially named the eighth head coach of the U.S. WNT on May 16. After coaching the final seven games of 2012 when she compiled a 5-0-2 record, Ellis officially started the job with a 6-0-2 record and is now 7-0-3. Ellis has stepped away from her job as Development Director for the U.S. Women’s National Teams, a job she was appointed to in January of 2011, but will still work closely with U.S. Women’s National Team Technical Director April Heinrichs to oversee the USA’s youth teams.

  • Ellis has extensive experience in the U.S. Women’s National Team programs having served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women’s National Team under Pia Sundhage, helping the team to a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. She has served two stints as head coach of the U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team, guiding the squad to the CONCACAF title in 2010 and to the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany.
  • Ellis also had two stints as the head coach of the U.S. Under-21 Women’s National Team, the second starting in the middle of 2005, after which she guided the team to the Nordic Cup in Sweden. She also coached the U-21s to the Nordic Cup title in Germany in 2000.
  • Ellis was a scout for the USA at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and has served as an assistant coach with the U.S. U-21s and U.S. U-16 Girls’ National Teams.
  • Ellis joined U.S. Soccer full-time after a highly successful 12-year run as the head women’s soccer coach for the UCLA Bruins. Ellis led UCLA to eight NCAA Final Fours, including seven in a row from 2003-2009, and won six straight conference titles from 2003-2008. She finished her time in Westwood with a record of 229-45-14. Ellis, who was also head coach at the University of Illinois, has an all-time collegiate coaching record of 248-63-14.
  • She was the 2000 NSCAA National Coach of the Year after leading the Bruins to the NCAA Final in just her second season as head coach.
  • Ellis arrived in Westwood after heading the University of Illinois women's soccer program for two years. In 1998, she brought the Fighting Illini to a 12-8 record and a first-ever Big Ten Tournament berth. Prior to coaching at Illinois, Ellis served as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia for one year (1996-97), at Maryland for three years (1994-96) and at North Carolina State for another three years (1988-90). As an assistant coach at North Carolina State, Ellis helped the Wolfpack secure the 1988 ACC title and an NCAA Final Four appearance.
  • A forward during her playing days at the College of William & Mary from 1984-87, Ellis was a Third-Team All-American in 1987. In 1984, Ellis helped Braddock Road in Virginia to the Under-19 club national championship.
  • Ellis grew up in Portsmouth, England, and came to the United States in 1981 at the age of 15. She also lived in Singapore for two years while her father helped to develop a national soccer program in that country. She earned her B.A. in English Literature and Composition from the College of William & Mary in 1988 and currently resides in Los Angeles. She has a USSF “A” coaching license.

IN FOCUS: SWITZERLAND
Schweizerischer Fussballverband
Founded: 1895 (Joined FIFA in 1904)
Head Coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
FIFA World Ranking: 19
FIFA World Cups: 2015 will be first participation
Best FIFA World Cup Finish: None

Switzerland Women's National Team Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Thalmann Gaëlle (MSV Duisburg), 12-Senia Michel (FF USV Jena)
DEFENDERS (5): 2-Nicole Remund (FC Zürich Frauen), 5-Noëlle Maritz (VfL Wolfsburg), 6-Selina Kuster (FC Zürich Frauen), 14-Rahel Kiwic (MSV Duisburg), 15- Caroline Abbé (FC Bayern München)
MIDFIELDERS (6): 7-Martina Moser (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim), 8-Sandy Maendly (Hellas Verona), 9-Lia Wälti (FFC Turbine Potsdam), 16-Fabienne Humm (FC Zürich Frauen), 18-Vanessa Bürki (FC Bayern München), 22-Vanessa Bernauer (VfL Wolfsburg)
FORWARDS (5): 10-Ramona Bachmann (FC Rosengard), 11-Lara Dickenmann (FC Olympique Lyonnais), 13-Ana Maria Crnogorcevic (FFC Frankfurt), 19-Eseosa Aigbogun (FC Basel 1893), 23-Fabienne Bangerter (SC Freiburg)

SWITZERLAND ROSTER NOTES

  • Switzerland will be the 25th European country that the USA has faced in its history, although several of those countries no longer exist.
  • Lara Dickenmann, who plays for France power Olympic Lyon and played college soccer at Ohio State (where she was the Big Ten Conference Freshman of the Year in 2004), leads Switzerland in Women’s World Cup qualifying with 10 goals. She also played for the New Jersey Wildcats and Jersey Sky Blue during her time in college.
  • Fabienne Humm has scored eight times for Switzerland in qualifying, as has former Women’s Professional Soccer player Ramona Bachmann, who played for the Atlanta Beat. Ana Maria Crnogorčević, who plays for Frankfurt in Germany, has six goals in qualifying.
  • Switzerland’s coach is former Germany international Martina Voss-Tecklenburg who played more than 100 matches for her country and played in the 1991, 1995 and 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cups as well as the 1996 Olympics.

USA VS. SWITZERLAND:

  • While the teams have not met at the senior level, they did meet in group play at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany, a 5-0 win for the USA in which Sydney Leroux scored a hat trick.

LAST TIME
On the field for the USA:
June 19, 2014 – Rentschler Field; East Hartford, Conn.

USA    2    Morgan 56, 85
FRA    2    Necib 27; Henry 68

Lineups:
USA: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 11-Ali Krieger, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 6-Whitney Engen (3-Christie Rampone, 46), 25-Meghan Klingenberg (5-Kelley O’Hara, 79); 15-Allie Long (17-Tobin Heath, 60), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.), 12-Lauren Holiday; 9-Heather O’Reilly (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 2-Sydney Leroux (8-Amy Rodriguez, 79), 23-Christen Press
Subs Not Used: 7-Morgan Brian, 18-Nicole Barnhart
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

FRA: 16-Sarah Bouhaddi; 8-Jessica Houara, 2-Wendy Renard, 4-Laura Goerges, 24-Julie Soyer; 6-Amandine Henry, 15-Elise Bussaglia, 14-Louisa Necib, 12- Elodie Thomis; 9-Eugenie Le Sommer (10-Camille Abily, 84), 17-Gaetane Thiney (18-Marie Laure Delie, 89)
Subs Not Used: 1-Celine Deville, 3-Laure Boulleau, 5-Sabrina Delannoy, 7-Viviane Asseyi, 11-Laetitia Tonazzi, 13-Pauline Crammer, 19-Marina Makanza, 20-Anaig Butel, 21-Laetitia Phiippe, 22-Amel Hamraoui, 23-Kheria Hamraoui, 25-Ines Jurena
Head Coach: Philippe Bergeroo

Abby Wambach Takes ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

U.S. WNT forward Abby Wambach completes the #alsicebucketchallenge from U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. She will be donating to this worthy cause and challenges the #USMNT.

U.S. WNT Stadium Training in Cary, North Carolina

Here’s an up close look at the U.S. Women’s National Team training in Cary, N.C., on Aug. 19, 2014, the day before its match against Switzerland at WakeMed Soccer Park.

Rodriguez, Sauerbrunn Reflect on 2004 Trip to Thailand

The very first venture into big-time international soccer for U.S. Women's National Team players Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriguez turned into a bittersweet experience.

Their participation at the 2004 FIFA Under-19 Women's World Championship was quite sweet because of its exotic location – Thailand – and the competition opened the eyes of both teenagers to the demands of one the highest levels of international soccer.

It was bitter as well, because the Americans failed in their quest to win the championship and due to the damage and loss of life the great tsunami caused a month afterwards.

The team had discovered paradise in Phuket, Thailand.

"I loved my experience in Thailand," Rodriguez said. "It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Actually, one of my favorite countries ever. Very exotic, very beautiful. It was gorgeous. It was amazing."

Amy Rodriguez and Becky Sauerbrunn

The team's first two group-stage games were in Phuket. The USA stayed at a beach hotel.

"We lucked out," Sauerbrunn said. "You look out your window and you're looking straight at the ocean. The first time I walked through the lobby I was like 'Oh my God. I had never seen this.' It was beautiful. I really wasn't expecting the turnout at the games, either. The Thai people really came out. We got 10,000 people for the opening matches and for a lot of us; we had never played in front of that kind of crowd before. The country did the tournament justice."

It might have been paradise, but the tournament was work for the WNT. The U.S. won its first four matches before running into a talented German side, losing them in the semifinals, 3-1. Germany would go on to win the tournament. The USA blanked Brazil and an 18-year-old Marta in the third-place match, 3-0.

Rodriguez said not winning "was quite disappointing," which only left the players hungry for more success.

"Most definitely," she said. "My goal, my ultimate career goal at this point is to win a World Cup. I'm hoping that I have a good year this year and I can make that World Cup team and hopefully get that World Cup gold that I haven't been able to get."

The tournament turned out to be a learning experience on several levels.

"It was a gut check," Sauerbrunn said. "It was kind of an expectation that we were going to win. For a lot of girls it was the first time, like, wow, we're not used to this. This is not a good feeling. What I carried on from the U-19s is that it doesn't matter how hard you prepare, what you're doing; you show up on that day, you take care of business."

Nikki Krzysik, Becky Sauerbrunn and Amy Rodriguez

Rodriguez remembered how fast the players and teams were.

"I was shocked as a 17-year-old playing against these great players," she said. "The speed of play was much quicker. I was still in high school at the time when I was brought in with the U-19s, so I learned to play a lot of faster and how to go against tough competition."

They also learned how fragile life and paradise can be. On Dec. 26, 2004, about month after the tournament final, a tsunami wreaked havoc in 15 countries. The Phuket hotel was destroyed. More than 230,000 people were killed, including almost 5,400 in Thailand.

"I felt very fortunate to be there when I did in such beauty and such an awesome experience, but it was sad to hear that it was destroyed by a giant tsunami," Rodriguez said.

Added Sauerbrunn "It just makes you put things into perspective a little bit about soccer. For us it's a passion, but it’s not an end-all, be-all of life. We were so sad about the people that we met, the hotel staff. We were still bummed about the tournament then it was kind of like well, there way worse things that can happen to us. We should be really fortunate for everything that we had."

Amy Rodriguez, Jen Redmond and Becky Sauerbrunn

Solo on Verge of U.S. Soccer Shutout Record

As the U.S. Women’s National Team heads into its first fall friendly on Aug. 20 against Switzerland in front of a sold-out crowd at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina, U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo is on the verge of breaking a long-standing U.S. Soccer record. Solo, who has earned 71 shutouts in her 152 caps since debuting for the USA in 2000, needs just one more clean sheet to surpass Briana Scurry’s record, set over 173 caps from 1994-2008.

“It’s taken a lot of work over many years to get to this point, but of course no goalkeeper earns a shutout without their teammates,” said Solo. “The U.S. team has always taken pride not only in its defense and in winning games, but also in keeping opponents off the scoreboard. It’s been fun to play with so many players over the years and especially those in the back, so it’s an honor to be in a position to earn a record like this one. Hopefully, we can earn this shutout soon, and keep earning them as we work toward qualifying for the Women’s World Cup next summer.”

Solo, who made her debut on April 5, 2000, in an 8-0 victory against Iceland, is part of a six-goalkeeper club that earned a shutout in their first senior team cap for the United States. She would not earn another until 2002 and got her third in 2005 when she became the USA’s starter and began racking up the clean sheets.

Solo’s shutouts have spanned the globe with 30 of the 71 coming outside the United States in South Korea, China PR, Mexico, Norway, Germany, Canada, Japan and England. She has also earned shutouts against 16 different countries, the most coming against Canada (9) and China (8), which are two of the USA’s most frequent opponents.

She has played behind almost three dozen different defenders during her international career, but the back four for her first shutout consisted of Christie Pearce (now Rampone), current U.S. U-20 Women’s World Cup Team head coach Michelle French, Nandi Pryce and Danielle Slaton.

The back four for her most recent shutout, on June 14 against France, has one name in common with that back four 14 years ago: Christie Rampone. The current U.S. captain was joined by Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn and Stephanie Cox as the USA won 1-0 in Tampa, Florida.

Solo has averaged just over five shutouts a year during her 14-year international career, and her high came during the Olympic gold-medal winning year of 2008 when she notched 13 clean sheets. Five of Solo’s shutouts have been 0-0 affairs, but she has been in the nets for a remarkable 19 matches that ended 1-0 for the USA. She has guarded the goal for the USA for 12,552 minutes.

Hope Solo

As a 5-foot-9 athletic specimen out of Richland in eastern Washington, she has always been known as a big-game player. She has put together some of her greatest performances when the lights were brightest and the stakes were the highest. And the statistics bear that out. Eleven of Solo’s shutouts have come in world championship play, five in the FIFA Women’s World Cup and six during the Olympics.

In fact, 42 of Solo’s career shutouts – almost 60 percent – have come in tournament competitions that include world championships, qualifying for the World Cup and Olympics and elite tournaments such as the Algarve Cup, which is held annually in Portugal.

She won the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany and also won the Bronze Ball as the third-best player, the first time a goalkeeper has been voted one of the top three players in the tournament.

Solo has earned shutouts under five different U.S. WNT head coaches, including the most (37) for Pia Sundhage. She is also closing in on Scurry’s record of 133 career wins for the U.S. WNT. Solo is at 117 wins and counting.

Scurry’s last shutout came in June of 2007, so the record has stood for more than seven years. Soon, it will fall and #Solo72 will take its place.

Alyssa Naeher Replaces Ashlyn Harris on U.S. WNT Roster for Switzerland Match on Aug. 20

CHICAGO (Aug. 18, 2014) – Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has replaced Ashlyn Harris on the U.S. U.S. Women’s National Team roster that will face Switzerland on Aug. 20 in front of a sold-out crowd at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.

Harris suffered a concussion playing with the Washington Spirit on Aug. 2. While she was expected to be fully recovered in time for the Switzerland match, the U.S. Soccer and Washington Spirit medical staffs determined she will need a few more days of rest and recovery.

Naeher, who is uncapped, has made 102 saves this season for the Boston Breakers (by far the league leader) and was named the National Women’s Soccer League Player of the Week for her stellar performance in her team’s 2-0 victory against Portland Thorns FC on Aug. 10.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)

Jill Ellis Names 19 Players to Face Switzerland on Aug. 20 in Cary, North Carolina

CHICAGO (Aug. 12, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 19 players for the meeting with Switzerland on Wednesday, Aug. 20, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. The match, which has been sold out since July 25, will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ussoccer.com.

“With the very short time together, we’re just bringing in these 19 players, but we’re excited about the chance to play a team that has some talented attackers and that will be in the World Cup next summer,” said Ellis. “It’s been tremendous to watch our players compete in the NWSL this season and I’m really excited to get them together for what will be another great test for our team.”

The match will mark the first meeting between the sides at the women’s senior level, a rare occurrence for the U.S. team, which has been playing international soccer for 29 years.

Eighteen of the 19 players named to the roster played in the National Women’s Soccer League this season and at least 10 will be heading back to their clubs for semifinal playoff matches the following weekend. Midfielder Morgan Brian, a rising senior at the University of Virginia, is the only non-professional named to the roster.

The roster includes five players who will be returning to the area where they played their college soccer at the University of North Carolina in goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defenders Meghan Klingenberg and Crystal Dunn and midfielders Allie Long and Heather O’Reilly.

The match will likely mark the first attempt for U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo to break the USA’s all-time shutout record. She is currently tied with former U.S. great Briana Scurry at 71 career shutouts.

Switzerland is one of six nations that have already qualified for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, where it will join host Canada. Switzerland has won European Group 3 with one match left to play in qualifying, taking 25 points from nine games with an 8-0-1 record ahead of Iceland and Denmark. The achievement marks the first time Switzerland has qualified for a Women’s World Cup at the senior level.

Additional Notes:

  • Jill Ellis will name 18 players among the 19 to suit up for the match.
  • Switzerland will be the 25th European country that the USA has faced in its history, although several of those countries no longer exist.
  • The game on Aug. 20 will be the sixth time the U.S. Women have played at WakeMed Soccer Park, but the first since the venue was expanded to seat 10,000 fans. It will be the first sell-out.
  • The U.S. Women have previously played 11 matches in North Carolina – five in Cary, two in Charlotte, three in Davidson and one in Greensboro.
  • The USA comes into the match with a 7-2-3 record in 2014.
  • The five U.S. strikers have scored a combined 31 goals in the NWSL this season, although Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach have missed significant parts of the season due to injury and Christen Press will have played less than half the season’s matches after returning from her time in Europe.
  • The USA’s five NWSL midfielders have actually outscored the forwards, combining for 35 goals, even though Megan Rapinoe has played just a handful of games for Seattle Reign FC.
  • Should Christie Rampone play in the match it would be her 295th cap, meaning she would have a chance to hit 300 during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)

Two-Time U.S. Paralympian Jon McCullough Passes Away

CHICAGO (Aug. 16, 2014) – Jon McCullough, chairman of U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council and a longtime leader and volunteer in the Olympic and Paralympic movements, passed away after succumbing to cancer.

“We are deeply saddened by the news of Jon McCullough’s passing,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said. “Jon lived his life with the embodiment of team spirit, always willing to give everything he could for the good of the sport and his community. The U.S. Soccer and Paralympic communities have lost a great advocate and an even better person. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”

McCullough represented the U.S. Paralympic Team in the 1996 and 2004 Paralympics as a defender. He was a member of the USA squad for 12 years, also playing in the 1998 World All-Star Game in Brazil, three ParaPan American Games and three World Championships.

McCullough’s on-field passion for soccer filtered off the field as he served in a variety of leadership and volunteer roles in the Olympics and Paralympics. He was a member and chair of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Athletes Advisory Council, a chairman of U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council and a member of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. McCullough also served on the International Paralympic Committees Athlete Council and the USOC’s Paralympic Advisory Committee.

At the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, McCullough was a keynote speaker for the Man-Up Summit, a weeklong gathering of 150 international delegates seeking to develop domestic initiatives to halt violence against women and girls, using sport and music as tools. Also in South Africa, McCullough was a facilitator for FIFA’s youth initiative Football for Hope.

Most recently, McCullough served as the executive director at BlazeSports America, based in Decatur, Georgia. BlazeSports provides all children and adults with physical disabilities the chance to play sports and live healthy and active lives.

McCullough was a decorated disabled veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and held an undergraduate dual degree in international environmental health from The American University in Washington, D.C.

Tim Howard’s MNT Roots Trace Back to Ecuador Shutout Win in 2002

The U.S. Men’s National Team is set to host Ecuador on Oct. 10 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, marking the first home appearance post-2014 FIFA World Cup.

It is without question that goalkeeper Tim Howard was the rock star from the USA’s World Cup team, especially after recording a tournament-record 15 saves against Belgium in the knockout stage.

The upcoming USA-Ecuador matchup serves as a time capsule moment of sorts for Howard, seeing as how Ecuador was his first international opponent on March 10, 2002.

Howard earned a clean sheet during his 90-minute debut as the USA defeated Ecuador 1-0 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama.

Howard made three saves, including a noteworthy first-half stop against Edison Mendez in the 33rd minute. The USA also had to play shorthanded for much of the second half following a Clint Mathis red card in the 58th minute.

“It was a real challenge for our players,” former U.S. head coach Bruce Arena said after the game. “We dealt with a lot of adversity with the red card early in the second half, but I think our team showed a lot of maturity and composure.”

Tim Howard

Howard was playing professionally for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars at the time, and the 23-year-old told the New York Times that he was honored for the opportunity.

“I was a little bit anxious at the beginning, but once I got into it, I felt very comfortable,” Howard said. “I’m very pleased that we were able to get the win, and hopefully I’ll get more opportunities. I just have to keep working hard and keep learning.”

More than 12 years later, Howard is now the USA record holder for goalkeeper wins (55), starts (103), caps (104), and is the most-capped U.S. goalkeeper in the modern era of the FIFA World Cup with eight appearances.

Prior to his MNT debut, Howard was a member of the Youth National Team system, appearing for the U-17, U-20 and U-23 teams, including the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship and the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Tim Howard

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