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Back at Home, WNT Preps for Final Stretch Before World Cup

After playing six consecutive matches in Europe and winning the Algarve Cup in Portugal, the U.S. WNT has come home for a final stretch of four games leading into the Women’s World Cup. A sign that the World Cup is close? The players knocked out the final Beep Test of the year.

Ellis Names 25-Player Roster for Next Stretch of World Cup Prep

CHICAGO (March 20, 2015) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named a 25-player roster that will train in Los Angeles for a week before traveling to St. Louis for the USA’s first domestic match of the year against New Zealand on April 4 at Busch Stadium. Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for that game.

The roster includes the same 25 players who were in Portugal earlier this month to help the USA win the 2015 Algarve Cup, the program’s 10th title at the prestigious annual tournament, after defeating France 2-0 in the championship game. Additionally, there are two St. Louis natives in the roster: Becky Sauerbrunn, who was an All-American at Ladue High School and the 2003 Missouri Player of the Year, and Lori Chalupny, who was an All-American at Nerinx Hall High School.

The USA’s training camp will take place at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California, from March 23-30. The team will then depart for St. Louis, where it will train for three days before facing New Zealand. The game will be shown live on FOX Sports 1 at 2:30 p.m. CT/3:30 p.m. ET. More than 31,000 tickets have already been sold. (TICKETS)

“Having the initial training period in L.A., when we can go a bit harder and then tapering into the match in St. Louis will be excellent preparation for a New Zealand team that always gives us a highly competitive game,” said Ellis. “This will be an excellent test for us. They are aggressive, athletic and like to press. We’ll see some similar tendencies that we could see in our first group match at the World Cup and certainly the crowd will be tremendous. It will be nice to be back at home.”

The match against the Kiwis begins a four-game run-up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup that includes three Send-Off Series games in May.

The U.S. Women will begin the Send-Off Series against 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 to face fellow CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifier Mexico on Sunday, May 17, at 6 p.m. PT at StubHub Center in Carson. Both California matches will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1, with the Mexico game also available on Univision Deportes.

After a short break, the U.S. team will head 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, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes. Fans can follow all the upcoming WNT matches on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp.

SEND-OFF SERIES TICKETS

USA vs. Republic of Ireland (May 10 in San Jose, Calif.)
Tickets for the USA vs. Ireland are available starting March 27 at 10 a.m. through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area (including Walmart and Chavez Supermarkets).

USA vs. Mexico (May 17 in Carson, Calif.) (TICKETS)
Tickets for USA vs. Mexico on May 17 are available now through ussoccer.com, by calling 1-888-929-7849, and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

USA vs. Korea Republic (May 30 in Harrison, N.J.) (TICKETS)
Tickets for USA vs. Korea Republic go on sale starting March 20 at 10 a.m. ET and are available through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area (including many Walmart stores), as well as the Red Bull Arena ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.

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.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), 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), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
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 (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Unattached)

Additional Notes:

  • The USA last faced Ireland on Dec. 1, 2012, a 2-0 victory in Glendale, Arizona.
  • The U.S. outscored Mexico 15-0 over a span of three games in 2014. The CONCACAF foes embarked on a two-game set in September with the USA scoring four goals in each half for an 8-0 win on Sept. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Five days later, the WNT nabbed a 4-0 victory at Sahlen's Stadium in Rochester, New York. The teams also met on Oct. 24 at PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania, during the semifinal of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship where the USA picked up a 3-0 win to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
  • The USA most recently played the Korea Republic on June 20, 2013, also at Red Bull Arena, earning a 5-0 victory in a match that saw Abby Wambach score four times to surpass Mia Hamm’s all-time goal scoring record of 158. Wambach currently has 178 goals.
  • While the match at the brand new Avaya Stadium will be the first for the WNT, the U.S. Women have played 10 matches at StubHub Center, going 10-0-0 at the home of MLS champion LA Galaxy.
  • The U.S. WNT played six matches in San Jose from 1997-2007, all at Spartan Stadium.
  • The match against the Korea Republic will mark the third for the U.S. Women at Red Bull Arena, home to MLS’s New York Red Bulls.

Photo Gallery: WNT Celebrates 10th Algarve Cup Crown

Photos from the WNT's 2-0 win against France at the 2015 Algarve Cup. Goals by Julie Johnston (her first career international score for the USWNT) and Christen Press handed the USA its 10th Algarve Cup crown, by far the most titles of any nation. 

The WNT next plays on April 4 against New Zealand at Busch Stadium in St. Louis (TICKETS). More than 30,000 tickets have already been sold for the match that will serve as the USA's 2015 home opener ahead of this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada, which begins June 6. Fans can also follow all the action on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt@ussoccer_esp and Instagram @ussoccer_wnt

Highlights: WNT Claims 10th Algarve Cup with 2-0 Defeat of France

The WNT played in the championship game of the Algarve Cup in a rematch game against France.

Algarve Quote Sheet: Jill Ellis and Players Discuss WNT's 2-0 victory over France

U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis:

On the Algarve Cup Final:
“I’m obviously pleased with the result. I think it was a competitive match with two good opponents. It was good for our confidence to get on the board early, but France put us under a tremendous amount of pressure. Having Hope [Solo] back with us and settled in was great and obviously she did very well. Now it’s about what are the takeaways, and what do we need to continue to work on? Because obviously June is the target.”

On the continued development of the team:
“For me and my staff – which haven’t been on the job as long as other staffs – I think what we had to do was kind of accelerate the process. We continue to believe in the process and this was a nice result and good for the momentum which can start to build. It was good for the players to get this result.”

On what she saw during the play that led to the USA’s second goal by Christen Press:
“It was a run with confidence. She’s been picking up those balls underneath and it’s a great spot for her to get the ball. I think she saw a gap and she’s got the acceleration going and the technique to get through. It was a world-class goal in transition.”On the aggressive play from the team:

“We started the game on the front foot and obviously got a goal, which was great. We knew it was going to be a 90-minute battle but I thought our physical presence was solid. I thought we got numbers around the ball and we limited the space better than we did before when we played them. The aggression and the defensive battles for 50-50 balls were really important to the outcome of this game so, I was really pleased.”

On the play of young center back Julie Johnson:
“She’s had an amazing tournament. Opportunity has knocked and she’s responded really well. It makes our job hard but in a way makes our job easy because now we’ve got great depth at that position and now she’s gained experience that she didn’t have in these games. I’m really, really proud of her and happy for her. “

On the play of Hope Solo:
“The minute she rejoined the team she’s had a focus. I was really pleased with giving up just one goal in this tournament and she’s a big part of that. I thought today her distribution was tremendous, her presence was excellent and obviously she had the big save on the penalty kick that was massive for us to maintain the two-goal advantage.”

On the takeaways from the tournament and what comes next for the team:
“We want to enjoy this for a day certainly but, we’re going into camp again in a matter of days. For me, the fitness piece and continuing to build that is important. I think our legs are getting there and this tournament was good in terms of getting a lot of players’ experience. It was a big tournament for Morgan Brian, Meghan Klingenberg, Christen Press and Julie Johnston in terms of getting experience at this level. I said to them at the beginning of camp, it’s really about finding ways to win and, sometimes you have to find ways to win when you don’t play well. Sometimes you win pretty or ugly. This has to be our mindset moving forward to gain the advantage.”

U.S. WNT goalkeeper Hope Solo

 On today’s game and the team as whole moving forward:

“France is a very good opponent and one of the best teams in the world. Jill had a great game plan, we stuck to it, and had an organized defense, which led to our counterattacks and we came out on top.”

On the continued development of the team:
“We’re on the right track to peak for the World Cup which is still three months away. We’re not at our best yet but we’re getting there. I was a very tactical game, but we had an organized defense, we were on the same page and we knew what we were doing.”

On her penalty kick save:
“It’s one of those things that you never know what you’re going to do when you step on the line. I stayed calm, I stayed relaxed and made the save,”

U.S. WNT midfielder Carli Lloyd

On what the tournament did for this team in terms of World Cup preparation:

“I think it’s a huge confidence booster. We’ve struggle a little bit in our previous games and we played against top contenders and it’s been really good. We came here with a certain game plan, certain things we wanted to work on and today we executed the game plan and scored two fantastic goals. We closed out the tournament on a high note which was a good boost for us.”

On the differences between this game against France and the one form a month ago:
“France came out and played well. They missed a penalty kick, which was a great save by Hope and a great follow up clear by Julie. We may not have did not created a ton of chances like we did in last game (in Lorient), but we took our chances well this time, had two great opportunities and put them away. It’s always good to play a top team and I think we can take a lot away from this. We can still improve. We still have some months to prepare, get ready and improve on a lot of things.”

On getting to return to the United States to play a home match for the first time since last October, which will be attended by more than 30,000 people in St. Louis:
“It’s been a while since we’ve played at home. It will be good to play in front of a home crowd. Thirty thousand tickets is an amazing number. It’s tremendous to see that, especially heading into the World Cup. These couple of games that are left before the World Cup are big preparation for us. We’ll be in Canada before we even know it.”

U.S. WNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe

On the impact this tournament had on the team:
“I think we got some confidence. I think we’re clicking more in all cylinders, especially defensively. We’re looking stronger by only giving up one goal in the first game. The team is feeling good.”

U.S. WNT defender Julie Johnston

On how it felt to score her first goal with the WNT:
“Happiness for sure. (Assistant coach) Tony (Gustavsson) gave me exactly the role that I needed to play on in set pieces so I was going to make sure that I did what he said I needed to do. They were happy and I was really happy to have my first goal.”

On Lauren Holiday’s cross that lead to her goal:
“It was a phenomenal ball; driven, perfect for a header. It was a great ball.”

On the experience of playing in her first big games for the WNT:
“The experience was great. I’m very thankful to even have the opportunity to be on the field and be able to play. I’ve learned a lot watching these players and playing with them every single day, so to be able to play with them in games like these is unbelievable. It’s definitely a dream come true.

U.S. WNT forward Christen Press

On her goal:

“It’s always hazy looking back on it, but I remember getting the ball in the pocket between the defensive line and midfield line and having a little bit of space as the defender was dropping off. Sometimes, as an attacking player, you see the little hole through the back line that you can try to wiggle through. Honestly, it doesn’t often work out so I’m glad it worked out today, and it was a great game to have it.”

On what getting that early goal lead did for the team:
“I think it was great for our momentum after having just played them and getting a difficult result. This time we came out and we took the power. We were able to settle down, play our style and dictate the tempo of the game and impose ourselves on the game. Towards the ends it changed because they were trying to push the goal and we were trying to hold them off but for a big part of the game we were able to play in a better style with more power and more influence in the game.”

On having a goalkeeper like Hope Solo:
“She’s a rock. We never doubt her. She knows what she’s doing. We listen, trust and respect her. The best part is that other teams do too and she imposes herself in every game. She’s huge for us and she makes the saves when we need her.”

U.S. National Team: A gifted young defender who has been part of the U.S. Soccer program since 2006 when she attended a U-14 National Identification Camp, Johnston found tremendous success with the U-20 WNT, captaining the team to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup title. The 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year earned her first cap with the WNT in 2013.

2015:
Scored her first goal with the WNT during the USA's 2-0 victory over France in the final of the Algarve Cup on March 11, helping the U.S. capture its 10th title... Has already set a new career-high in starts with three so far this year, all coming at the Algarve Cup... Did not see any action but was part of the roster that traveled to Europe for the U.S.'s first two matches of the year against France on Feb. 8 and England on Feb. 13... 2014: Made three substitute appearances for the WNT in the latter half of the year, featuring in international friendlies against Mexico and Switzerland as well as getting some time against China PR in the International Tournament de Brasilia … 2013: Earned her first senior cap in a 4-1 win against Scotland on Feb. 9 … Played her first full 90 minutes at the international level against the Netherlands on April 9 … Youth National Teams: The 2012 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year … A member of the full WNT and U-23 WNT player pools … The captain of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … She won the bronze ball as the third-best player in the tournament, a rare honor for a defender … Marshaled a U.S. defense that defeated three extremely talented group winners in the knockout rounds of the tournament, downing Korea DPR, Nigeria and Germany in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final, respectively, while allowing just one goal … Started all six games of the U-20 Women’s World Cup and played all but 32 minutes of the tournament  … A member of the team that won the 2012 CONCACAF Under-20 Women’s Championship and earned a berth to the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan … Played in three games in the qualifying tournament and scored three goals, including one in the 4-0 semifinal victory over Mexico that sent the USA to Japan … Scored a goal against Switzerland at the La Manga tournament in Spain in 2012 … Finished her U-20 career with 19 caps and four goals … Attended U.S. Under-18 Training Camps in 2010 and 2011 … Attended the U.S. Under-14 National Identification Camp in 2006. First cap: Feb. 9, 2013, vs. Scotland First goal: March 11, 2015, vs. France


Professional/Club – 2014: Signed her first professional contract with the Chicago Red Stars after being selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the NWSL Draft… Started all 21 games she played for the club, tying for third in games played … Was second in starts (21) and minutes played (1,890) only to WNT teammate Lori Chalupny … Named the 2014 NWSL Rookie of the Year … Scored two goals, the first one of the season for Chicago and the last one  … Also had two assists … Youth: Played U-9 through U-12 for Arsenal GSC … Played U-13 through U-19 for Sereno Soccer Club … Won the state title nine times with Sereno Soccer Club … Was the captain at Sereno.

College / High School: As a senior in 2013 she was a First-Team All-American, First-Team All-West Region  and the West Coast Conference Player of the Year … Also was First-Team All-WCC ... Played in all 22 games  and led the team with eight assists and four game-winning goals ... Was third on the team with 12 goals and 32 points ... Scored two goals vs. Long Beach State ... Scored game-winner in double overtime at Fresno State ... Had a goal and two assists vs. Iowa State ... Scored a goal vs. Kansas ... Scored the only goal vs. San Diego ... Scored two goals at Saint Mary's ... Has a goal and two assists vs. San Francisco ... Scored two goals vs. Pepperdine ... As a junior in 2012, and despite missing the team's first seven games while leading the USA to the U-20 Women’s World Cup title, Johnston was a 2012 First-Team All-WCC selection while leading the team in goals with eight and points with 21 … She added five assists and had three game-winning goals … She finished second in the conference in goals per game (0.53) and points per game (1.40) … She was named NSCAA First-Team All-American and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist for the second year in a row … As a sophomore in 2011, she was a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist, an NSCAA First-Team All-American and All-WCC First-Team … Started all 21 games and led the Broncos with nine goals and four assists ... Scored four game winning goals (at Cal Poly, vs. WSU, vs. Cal and vs. Nevada) … As a freshman in 2010, she was named the WCC Freshman of the Year, Second-Team All-West Region, First-Team Soccer America All-Freshman, Second-Team All-WCC and WCC All-Freshman ... Played in 20 games, starting 16 and totaling 1,519 minutes played ... Led the team with five assists … Opted not to play soccer at Dobson High School, but rather volunteered as a student athletic trainer.

Personal: Full name is Julie Beth Johnston … Nicknames are “JJ” or “Jules” … Majored in Communications … Enjoys cooking and baking, traveling, hanging out with friends and family and doing Pilates … Favorite foods are avocados and sweet potatoes… Favorite dessert is anything chocolate … Favorite movies are Bridesmaids, The Notebook, and Superbad … Favorite TV shows are “Modern Family” and “The Voice” … Sister Melanie played soccer at Grand Canyon University … Father David played football at Louisiana State University … Boyfriend Zach Ertz plays tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles … She was a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the National Honor Society at Dobson High School.


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