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Ellis Names WNT Roster for International Tournament of Brasilia

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.”

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. 

Additional Notes:

  • 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)

How the USA Qualified for Its Seventh Women’s World Cup

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.

Alex Morgan Ruled Out of CONCACAF Women’s Championship with Ankle Injury

CHICAGO (Oct. 18, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan will be unavailable to participate in the remainder of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship due to a left ankle sprain suffered last night against Guatemala in the USA’s second Group A match.

Morgan underwent an MRI this morning that confirmed the sprain, but revealed no additional damage. She will be out an estimated 4-6 weeks to rehabilitate the injury. Morgan will depart the U.S. camp and return home to continue her rehab.

“We certainly feel for Alex and of course having her go down is a big loss to our team. But as I’ve often said, one of our strengths is depth and everyone on the roster is prepared to step up,” said U.S. head coach Ellis. “After talking with our medical staff and Alex, we all agreed that the best course of action for her is to head home to minimize travel and get into an environment where she can totally focus on recovery.”

Morgan, who has scored 49 goals in 77 matches for the USA and five goals in seven games in 2014, had started the USA’s first two games of the Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament.

“It’s unfortunate timing, but I know my teammates will take care of business and qualify for the World Cup and I’ll be watching from my couch,” said Morgan. “I have plenty of time to get healthy with a longer break coming up for the team, so my job is to focus on the rehab and get back healthy as soon as I can.”

Once the competition begins, teams cannot make roster changes due to injuries; therefore, the USA will play the remainder of the tournament with 19 players.

Photo Gallery: WNT Tops Group A with Win

Photos from the U.S. WNT's 5-0 win against Guatemala in its second game of the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship.


One of the USA's fastest players and hardest runners, Morgan has become a consistent scoring threat with her breakout 2012 campaign. She scored 14 goals in a 12-game stretch from January to late May of 2012, including three straight two-goal efforts. She earned her first career hat trick on March 7, 2012, during a 4-0 victory against Sweden in the third-place game of the Algarve Cup. Morgan tallied one of the most important goals in recent U.S. history when she scored the winning goal in stoppage time to give the U.S. a 1-0 victory against Italy on Nov. 20, 2010, in the first leg of the FIFA Women's World Cup Playoff.

She burst onto the international scene at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, helping the USA to the championship and scoring the winning goal in the final against Korea DPR … 2012: Had one of the best scoring years in U.S. history, pounding in 28 goals with 21 assists to lead the team in both categories … Was named the U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year for the first time … Her goal total was the third-best in U.S. history behind only Michelle Akers (39 in 1991) and Abby Wambach (31 in 2004) … Her assist total was tied for second-best in U.S. history behind only Mia Hamm (22 in 2004) and tied with Carin Gabarra (21 in 1991) … Finished third in the voting for the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and attended the Gala Awards ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland … Became a starter for the first time in the fifth game of the year, a 4-0 victory against Canada in the championship of the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver, Canada … She torched Canada with two goals and two assists and would go on to start every game but one the rest of the year … Ended the year with 31 matches played and 27 starts … Started all six games at the 2012 Olympics, her first, playing all but 27 minutes of the tournament … Scored three goals in the Olympics, two against France in the opening match, including the crucial equalizer to make it 2-2, and one of the most dramatic goals in women’s soccer history in the 123rd minute of the semifinal against Canada … The game-winner against Canada at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, was the latest goal ever scored in FIFA history … Her looping header off a cross from Heather O’Reilly came just moments before the final whistle … Also had four assists at the Olympics, which included setting up Abby Wambach goals against North Korea and in the quarterfinal against New Zealand, and the first goal in the Olympic Final to Carli Lloyd … Played in four games at CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, starting just the final, and had four goals and six assists … Her two goals against Canada in Olympic qualifying started a three-game streak in which she scored two goals in each game, which included a last-gasp winner against New Zealand during a 2-1 victory in front of a sold-out crowd at FC Dallas Stadium … In the third-place match of the Algarve Cup against Sweden in Portugal, she registered her first career hat trick … Had nine multiple-goal games on the year, including her second career hat trick, which came against Ireland in Portland, Ore., as she scored three times in a 21-minute span at the end of the first half … Scored in 18 of her 31 matches … Was named the FOX Soccer Player of the Year for men or women … 2011: Had a breakout performance at the Women’s World Cup, her first at the senior level, when she came off the bench for five of the six games and became, along with Abby Wambach, one of two U.S. players to score in the World Cup semifinal and championship game … Scored the third and game-clinching goal in the 3-1 victory over France in the semifinal and then tallied against Japan in the final to open the scoring … Also had an assist to Wambach in the championship game, becoming the first U.S. player to get a goal and an assist in the World Cup final … Played in 19 total matches, starting just two, but scored six goals with two assists … Scored three goals at the Algarve Cup in Portugal and was given the Top Scorer Award … Named one of 10 players on the short list for FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year … 2010: Earned her first career cap on March 31 against Mexico in Salt Lake City, coming on at halftime in a match played on a snow-covered field … Played in eight matches, all off the bench, and scored one of the most important goals in recent U.S. history when she came into the first leg of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Playoff against Italy in Padova on Nov. 20 and scored the winning goal in stoppage time to give the USA a 1-0 victory … Scored her first career goal on Oct. 2 against China in Chester, Pa., tallying the tying goal in the 1-1 draw with seven minutes left … Was the youngest player on the U.S. team at the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament where she played in four games and scored two goals against Guatemala and Costa Rica … 2009: Earned her first call-up to the senior side in December … Youth National Teams: Finished her U-20 career with 10 career caps and five goals … Four of those goals came at the 2008 FIFA Women’s World Cup where she won the Silver Ball as the second-best player in the tournament and Bronze Shoe as the third-leading scorer … Scored against France, twice against Argentina and then in the championship game against Korea DPR in the 42nd minute after a slaloming run … Played in four games at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament, scoring one goal against Cuba while picking up three assists … First Appearance: March 31, 2010, vs. Mexico … First Goal: Oct. 2, 2010, vs. China.
Allocated to Portland Thorns FC for the 2013 NWSL season … 2012: Played several matches with the Seattle Sounders in the W-League … 2011: Taken first overall in the 2011 WPS Draft by the Western New York Flash and helped the club to the WPS title in its first year … Played 689 minutes in 13 games for the Flash, starting six, and had four goals (tied for second-most of any WNT player) with three assists … Played 106 minutes of the championship game during the penalty kick win against Philadelphia … Club: Captained the 2006 Cal South ’89 State Team to the U-17 national title … Played club for Cypress Elite from ages 14-18 … Played a few matches at the U-20 level for the San Diego Surf.
Full name is Alexandra Patricia Morgan … Nicknames are “Al” or “Ali” … Graduated in December 2010, a full semester early, with a degree in political economy … Appeared in the 2012 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in body paint … Walked in the Just Dance 4 runway show during New York Fashion Week in the fall of 2012 and would love to have the experience again … Has a cat named Brooklyn that has six toes on both front feet … Enjoys shopping … Enjoys doing Vinyasa Yoga and recently started doing spin classes, especially enjoys FlyWheel … Supports Barcelona but enjoys watching all good soccer … Enjoys playing and watching tennis, especially the majors … Enjoys snowboarding and wakeboarding … Lettered in track for two years in high school, running the 100-meter, the 200-meter and competing in the high jump … She also played volleyball in high school, in which she lettered twice, and was a right outside hitter but had to stop playing due to soccer commitments … Studied in Madrid in the summer of 2009 and speaks a bit of Spanish … Has a license to drive a motorcycle, but doesn’t … Obsessed with the number 13 … Favorite TV shows are “Modern Family” and “The Amazing Race.”Concluded her college career at California in the fall of 2010 tied as the third all-time scorer in school history with 45 goals and in sole possession of third place in points (107) … Had she not missed numerous games as a senior while playing for the National Team, likely would have finished atop both lists … Played in 67 games in her college career, starting 61, and fired 272 shots … She was a four-time All-Pac-10 selection … As a senior, she played in only 12 games due to National Team commitments but still led the Bears in goals (14) and points (30) and was first in the nation for the majority of the season in goal scoring … She capped off her career by being named on NSCAA First-Team All-American … She was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy as a senior despite only playing in 12 matches … One of four finalists for the Honda Award, given to the best overall candidate in each sport … She led her Bears to the NCAA Tournament in each of her four years, advancing to the second round twice … As a junior in 2009, she led Cal in goals (14), assists (8), points (36), shots (97) and shots on goal (55) and tallied three game-winning goals … As a sophomore in 2008 she led Cal in points (23), goals (9), shots (76) and shots on goal (39) … As a freshman in 2007, she started 15 of the 17 games she played in but missed four games at the beginning of the season due to a sprained ankle … Led Cal in points (18) and goals (8) … Tallied game-winning goals against San Diego State, Saint Mary’s and No. 1 Santa Clara … Posted a hat trick against Saint Mary’s and had two goals at Arizona State … In the spring, she scored a hat trick in Cal’s 3-2 win against North Carolina … High School: Attended Diamond Bar High School where she was an NSCAA All-American and a three-time all-league pick.
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