CHICAGO (Dec. 5, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 24 players to travel to Brazil for the International Tournament of Brasilia, a four-team competition being held from Dec. 10-21 at the National Stadium Mane Garrincha.
Ellis named all 20 players who helped the USA win the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In addition, she named Washington Spirit defender Crystal Dunn, who was initially on the qualifying roster before suffering an injury in the lead-up, Boston Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, former UCLA midfielder and 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy candidate Samantha Mewis and Chicago Red Stars defender Lori Chalupny.
“It’s a chance to travel to a new environment and play international matches in unfamiliar territory, which is always valuable when getting ready for a World Cup,” said Ellis. “It’s pretty exciting to get to play in a World Cup stadium, and many of our players have never played or even been to Brazil before. It’s a unique opportunity to go to a fantastic soccer country, have a great cultural experience and get four competitive games to end the year on a high note.”
- Bem-Vindo A Brazil: U.S. WNT Takes Rare Trip to South America
The USA will open the tournament Dec. 10 against China PR (4:20 p.m. ET), face Brazil on Dec. 14 (3:45 p.m.) and finish group play on Dec. 17 against Argentina (4:20 p.m.). The final match day on Dec. 21 will feature the top two teams after round-robin play squaring off for the tournament championship while the two countries that finished third and fourth will battle for third place. The USA, Brazil and China PR will be participating in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer in Canada.
The U.S. Women have not played in Brazil since 1997 when they played two matches against the host, a 2-1 win in Taubaté and a 1-0 loss in São Paulo.
The matches mark the end of the USA's 2014 campaign, which will feature 24 games, the most of any year in which the U.S. players have competed in a domestic league. The current high came in 2003, the third year of the WUSA and also a World Cup year, when the U.S. WNT played 23 games.
- Midfielder Morgan Brian is still involved in the NCAA Tournament with the University of Virginia and will travel to Brazil to join the team following the completion of this weekend’s NCAA College Cup.
- The International Tournament of Brasilia will be staged entirely at National Stadium Mane Garrincha, which hosted seven matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
- The National Stadium Mane Garrincha cost $900 million to build, making it the second-most expensive soccer stadium in the world after England's Wembley Stadium. It opened during the summer of 2013.
- In its history, the U.S. WNT has played six matches in Brazil, four at a tournament in 1996 in Campinas (two against Brazil and matches against Ukraine and Russia) and two against Brazil in 1997.
- The USA won the championship of the 1996 event in penalty kicks after drawing Brazil 1-1 in regulation.
- The U.S. Women have never played anywhere in South America outside of those six games in Brazil.
- Christie Rampone is the only player on the roster to have previously played in Brazil with the full National Team.
- The U.S. Under-20 Women's National Team did participate in the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 getting to the final of a tournament that featured full Women's National Teams before losing 5-0 to Brazil. That U-20 team featured current U.S. WNT players Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath, Alyssa Naeher and Kelley O'Hara.
- The USA has not played Argentina since 1998 when the countries played twice in three days in Southern California. The USA earned 8-1 and 7-0 victories on April 24 and 26, respectively. Those were the only matches between the two teams.
- China PR is one of the most frequent opponents in U.S. history with 52 previous meetings, most recently in April - a 2-0 U.S. victory in Colorado and a 3-0 win in San Diego.
- The USA most recently faced Brazil on Nov. 10, 2013, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, a 4-1 U.S. victory.
- The USA is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. Brazil is sixth, China PR is 14th and Argentina is 37th.
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 (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (WNY 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): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), 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 (WNY Flash)
The USA’s qualifying road to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup was not without drama or difficulty, but in the end the Americans once again swept through a CONCACAF tournament and booked their tickets to Canada.
The 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship was staged in four U.S. cities – Kansas City, Kan., Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia – with the top three finishers earning automatic berths to the Women’s World Cup.
The USA opened its competition in Kansas City against a tough and determined Trinidad & Tobago side that held the Americans to a lone goal, scored by Abby Wambach in the 54th minute. The USA did have a 29-7 advantage in shots, but T&T goalkeeper Kimika Forbes had an excellent match to keep the score down while her teammates executed their tactics extremely well in forming a bunker in front of her.
A bit of frustration and adversity can add steel to a team, and a focused USA headed to Chicago for its second group match against a Guatemala side that also sat way back in its defensive third. The WNT could produce only one goal in the first half, that coming from Tobin Heath in the 7th minute, but found its legs after the break and smashed in four more goals for a 5-0 win. Heath added another along with single goals from Carli Lloyd, defender Whitney Engen and Megan Rapinoe.
The USA did suffer a setback in the match as forward Alex Morgan badly sprained her ankle in the first half. She was ruled out of the tournament and, unable to replace an injured player after the start of the tournament, the USA continued on with a 19-player roster.
Carrying momentum from the victory against Guatemala, the USA traveled to Washington, D.C. to face Haiti in its final group match, and the Caribbean side dropped even deeper into its own defensive third than the USA’s first two opponents. Despite facing 11 defenders often within 40 yards of the Haiti goal, the USA managed to break the bunker with an early strike from Lloyd, while Wambach scored seven minutes before the break. The USA then put away the Haitians in the second half with another goal from Wambach, a goal-of-the-year worthy strike from defender Meghan Klingenberg (her first in a U.S. uniform) and single scores from Christen Press and Morgan Brian to win 6-0.
Photos from the U.S. Women's National Team's 6-0 win against Costa Rica to claim the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship title.
2012: Played for Tyresö in Damallsvenskan in Sweden and in her first season with the club, Tyresö won the league and qualified for Champion's League … Tyresö won the league in the last game of the season over rivals LdB Malmö … 2011: Taken third overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by magicJack, but after seeing action in just two games, she was traded in early June to the Boston Breakers for Nikki Washington … She played 10 matches for Boston, starting them all and totaled 961 minutes for the season … It didn't take Klingenberg long to make an impact on the field once she came to Boston, as four days after the trade, and in her first game as a Breaker, she scored what proved to be the game-winner in a 2-1 victory at home over her former club and also assisted on the first goal of the game … She totaled one goal and two assist on the season … Youth: Played youth club for Penns Forest FC from U-15 through U-19 … Won state titles with PFFC at U-15 and U-17 levels.
Full name is Meghan Elizabeth Klingenberg … Nickname is “Kling” … Majored in business administration … Twice named to the Dean’s List … Is a third-degree black belt in taekwondo … As a budding thespian, she performed in a Pine-Richland production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Cats,” a masterpiece that won an award for best high school musical production in the Pittsburgh area … Says she loves musicals and “if I could hit a C or knew what note a C was, then I would try out for Broadway” … Member of National Honor Society in high school … Away from the field, she likes to spend time biking, reading, singing, dancing and cooking … Is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburg Penguins fan … Loves Gatorade, her best buddy Monica’s chocolate chip cookies and Iron City Pretzels … Has younger brother Drew who currently plays soccer at Penn State … Favorite beverage is water … Favorite athlete is Michelle Akers … Favorite movie is The Sound of Music … Says if she possessed the gift of time travel she would go back to the “Gone with the Wind” era because Scarlett is an icon and was ahead of her time and “I want to be her” … In a perfect world where making money was not a consideration, she says her dream jobs would be playing soccer, singing on Broadway and being an author … Favorite place she’s visited was South Africa for the FIFA World Cup 2010 and Rome.
A four year starter at North Carolina, she played in 94 games in her career, starting 65 … She scored 18 career goals with 24 assists … Played on all three lines at UNC … As a senior in 2010, she was an NSCAA All-American while playing in all 24 games for the Tar Heels and was fourth on the team with 23 points … She had 11 assists (second on the team) and scored six goals … She was named First-Team All-ACC … As a junior in 2009, she played in 26 games and played 1,668 minutes while scoring five goals with one assist … Scored against Notre Dame, North Carolina State and Florida State … Scored against Georgia in the NCAA second round on a penalty kick … Scored the game-winning goal in a 5-2 triumph over Wake Forest in the NCAA quarterfinals … As a sophomore in 2008, she played in 20 games, starting eight, and missed the last six games of the season playing for the USA at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile … Tied for second on the team with nine assists and two goals … Named to the ACC All-Academic women’s soccer team and the ACC Honor Roll … As a freshman in 2007, she played in 24 games, starting 10, and earned Freshman All-ACC honors … Had five goals with three assists and was a Soccer America First-Team All-Freshman selection … Led UNC freshmen in all offensive categories … Had golden goals in ACC road wins against Boston College and Florida State … Scored her first collegiate goal against Texas A&M … Was an All-ACC Academic Team selection … High School: Graduated from Pine-Richland High School in 2007 … Was the captain of her high school team … Led Pine-Richland to 2005 Pennsylvania state high school championship and was an NSCAA All-America selection … Was also a Parade high school All-American.