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Photo Gallery: WNT Gets Out on the Practice Pitch

Photos from the U.S. WNT's second day of training in Portugal ahead of the annual Algarve Cup, which begins on March 4, when the USA takes on Norway in its opening Group B match. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and will also be available on FOX Sports Go. Fans can also follow U.S. Soccer's coverage on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt, @ussoccer_esp and Instagram @ussoccer_wnt.

Photo Gallery: WNT Players Stretch Their Legs in Portugal

Photos from the U.S. WNT's first day of training in Portugal ahead of the annual Algarve Cup, which begins on March 4, when the USA takes on Norway in its opening Group B match. 

Ellis Names U.S. WNT Roster for 2015 Algarve Cup

CHICAGO (Feb. 21, 2015) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named a 25-player roster that will travel to the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal. It will be the USA’s 20th trip to the Algarve Cup. Before the competition begins, Ellis will name 23 players to the tournament roster to face Norway, Switzerland and Iceland in Group B.

The roster includes 22 of the 24 players that were in Europe for the USA’s recent matches against France and England, with midfielder Megan Rapinoe, defender Christie Rampone and goalkeeper Hope Solo. After a formal review by U.S. Soccer, Solo was reinstated to the squad after serving a 30-day suspension last month.

This year’s tournament will run from March 4-11, and the U.S. team will depart for Europe on Feb. 22. The majority of the games will be played at small venues across the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country, with several matches at the 30,000-seat Algarve Stadium. The placement matches will take place on March 11.

The USA will face 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup participant Norway on March 4 (2 p.m. ET) at the Municipal Stadium in Vila Real de San Antonio, which sits right on the border with Spain. The USA then takes on Switzerland, which will play in its first Women’s World Cup this summer, on March 6 (12 p.m. ET), also in Vila Real de San Antonio. The U.S. finishes group play on March 9 against Iceland at Municipal Stadium Lagos (1:30 p.m. ET), which is in the western part of the Algarve region.

The USA’s first two matches and its placement match on March 11 (time TBD) will be shown live on FOX Sports 1. Fans will be able to follow the U.S. matches on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp. Highlights will be available ussoccer.com. For the entire tournament schedule, please visit the Algarve Cup tournament page on ussoccer.com.

Six of the world’s top-10 ranked teams are in this year’s Algarve Cup, including the top five. Brazil, which is currently ranked eighth, will be participating for the first time. Eleven of the 12 participating countries are ranked in the top-20 in the world.

“The value of the Algarve Cup is of course great games against top teams in a tournament format without much rest,” said Ellis. “In any year, this tournament presents great challenges, but as we continue to progress towards the World Cup, we want to get tested at the highest possible levels. Our opponents at this tournament give us another opportunity to gauge our depth and fitness.”

Group A features Germany, Brazil, Sweden and China PR. Group C features host Portugal, Japan, France and Denmark.

This will be the 22nd edition of the Algarve Cup and for the first time in 14 years, it will undergo a change in the competition format. When the Algarve Cup expanded from eight to 12 teams in 2001, a Group C was created that generally consisted of lower-tier teams that were eligible to compete only for spots in the placement matches for seventh, ninth and 11th place.

This year, for the first time, all 12 teams will be competing for the tournament title. The final will be contested by the two group winners with the most points (or if all three group winners are tied on points, the top two will be determined by a series of tiebreakers). The third-place match will feature the third-best group winner against the best second-place team from the three groups.

In addition, the fifth-place match will be played between the two remaining second-place teams; the seventh-place match between the two best third-place teams; the ninth-place match between the remaining third-place team against the best fourth-place team; while the 11th-place match will feature the remaining two teams that finished fourth in their groups.

The U.S. Women have won the Algarve Cup a record nine times, including an unprecedented three straight championships from 2003-05. The USA made the championship game for nine consecutive years from 2003-11 and most recently won the tournament in 2013, defeating Germany 2-0 in the final on two goals from Alex Morgan. Last year, the USA had its worst finish ever, taking seventh place with a 3-0 win against Korea DPR.

Eighteen players from last year’s Algarve Cup roster return, many of whom have played in numerous Algarve Cup tournaments.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position:
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 (Western NY Flash)

Additional Notes:

  • Christie Rampone and Megan Rapinoe return to the roster after overcoming injuries that caused them to miss the USA’s two-game European tour in early February, while Hope Solo returns after serving her suspension.
  • The USA has a 53-12-10 record all-time at the Algarve Cup and has scored 165 goals while allowing 61.
  • U.S. forward Abby Wambach comes into the tournament with 177 career goals, 21 of which have been scored at the Algarve Cup in 10 tournaments. Wambach is the top Algarve Cup scorer in U.S. history, having found the net eight more times than Kristine Lilly’s 13 scores.
  • Rapinoe and Lori Chalupny head into the tournament with 96 caps each and both could earn their 100th if they play in all four matches.
  • U.S. midfielder Heather O’Reilly heads into the tournament with 215 career caps and earned her 200th last year at the Algarve Cup. O’Reilly will be playing in her 13th Algarve Cup and made her U.S. debut at the tournament in 2002 at the age of 17.
  • Four other players made their WNT debut at the Algarve Cup: goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (2013), defender Whitney Engen (2012), defender Rachel Van Hollebeke (2008) and forward Amy Rodriguez (2005).
  • U.S. captain Rampone, who currently is the second most-capped player in U.S. history with 304, will lead the U.S. team that features 10 defenders. Rampone will be playing in her 14th Algarve Cup.
  • Midfielder Carli Lloyd was the MVP of the 2007 Algarve Cup after scoring in all four games that year. She also scored three goals in the 2010 tournament and has 10 goals in total at the Algarve Cup. That ranks third among active players behind only Wambach (21) and Alex Morgan (11).
  • Defender Ali Krieger (2013) and midfielder Tobin Heath (2008) scored their first WNT goal at the Algarve Cup. Both against China PR.
  • U.S. midfielder Lauren Holiday missed last year’s tournament due to a family commitment. She has scored six goals in this tournament, as has O’Reilly.
  • The tiebreakers within the groups are as follows: 1) head-to-head result, 2) goal differential, 3) goals scored, 4) best Fair Play ranking from the group matches and 5) best FIFA ranking.
  • If two or more teams have the same points in different groups, the tiebreakers to determine the placement matches will be: 1) goal differential, 2) goals scored, 3) best Fair Play ranking from the group matches and 4) best FIFA ranking.
  • Each team is allowed six substitutions per game using four stops during the match. However, when the second half starts, each team can only make three stops to perform a maximum of six substitutions.
  • There are no suspensions for yellow card accumulation during the tournament, but an ejection during the tournament will result in a one-game suspension.

Quote Sheet: WNT vs. England - Feb. 13, 2015

U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis

On the match:

“This was a challenging match, but I thought we deserved the goal that we got. Later in the game they started to press us, but again, it was good test for us and this game gave us things we need to see in preparation for the World Cup. “ 

On the importance of winning this game after the loss last week:

“Yes, it’s important as far as momentum but I think the players truly understand where we are in the process. We scheduled Brazil, we scheduled France, we scheduled England early in our preparation phase so we’re still building momentum in our fitness and our play. I think playing those teams early is a test for us. It’s important that we remember where our end point is, and where our end product is, and we’re not there yet.”

On what she has learned from the team during the last two matches in Europe:

“When we came off our World Cup qualifiers, we don’t find out as much as we need to. We’ve played some of these types of games closer to the event, but having games scheduled now, it helps as you have young players on the squad that need to be in stressful situations. These are the things that we have to go through and experience now instead to be ready for June.” 

U.S. WNT midfielder Lauren Holiday

On the overall team performance:

“I thought that was a huge step for us. We connected passes, our shape was pretty good and Alex had a great goal. We need to clean some things up, but overall our team performance was a step in the right direction. 

On ball-possession and creating opportunities:

“I think it’s going to come. Obviously the final pass needs to be a little cleaner and when we’re in the final third we need to have a little more patience, but I think it’s going to come and we’ll get our chances.”

On the trip as a whole serving as preparation for the World Cup:

“These were two fantastic games for us to play. France was awesome to play against; it was a learning experience for us and we needed to be exposed in some places just to grow. England the same thing; a great team and we were able to pick them apart and grow from the France game.”

U.S. WNT forward Alex Morgan

On what was learned from the France game heading into the England match:

“It was a long travel day from France to England so we had a lot of time to think about what we could have done better, and how the team can move forward on this journey to the World Cup. I think it was a positive thing for us to see our weaknesses and see where we can work on. We came together and really focused on each other, on being selfless and putting it all out there. It’s been a couple of games since we’ve seen a positive result on the field, so we feel really good finishing this European tour.”

On what’s next on the road to the World Cup:

“We only have about a week off and then we go to Portugal for the Algarve Cup. That will be another test, playing four great teams and hopefully getting to the final, but for us we’re going to take one game at time. Obviously, you saw from these last two games that are going to be tested with every team in the World Cup. These are great teams that we’re playing pretty early before the World Cup to prepare ourselves and see the steps we need in order to get to the level we want to be at for the World Cup.”

U.S. WNT forward Christen Press

On the match:

“This match was a huge step forward for us. Coming back after a tough loss is not easy. So for us to come out and put in a good performance, play as a team and work for each other was huge. We have a big tournament ahead of us at the Algarve Cup so we have to get better every game and I think we did that today.”

On the European tour:

“These games were great learning opportunities for us. Of course, there is a lot of evaluation being done on our squad right now. Not just from within, but other teams are looking at us, the media is looking at us, so there’s a lot of evaluation going on, but it’s important for us to take these games in stride and realize that we are learning and getting better and come this summer, we have to peak.”


WNT vs. England: Highlights - February 13, 2015

Alex Morgan scored the 50th goal of her career and the U.S. Women's National Team notched its first win of the year, defeating No. 6-ranked England 1-0 in front of 14,369 spectators at stadiummk.

2014: Set a new career-high with the WNT in appearances with 20, the only player to play in all 20 games so far … Has more than doubled her starts from the previous year with 12 and minutes played with 1115 … Has scored seven goals, including one goal against Haiti on Oct. 20 in a 6-0 USA win, and one against Mexico on Oct. 24 in the semifinal game of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, helping the team to a 3-0 win and a berth into the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup … Played in all five games at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship and finished the tournament two scores and one assist … Has averaged almost a goal for every two games she’s played over her first two years with the WNT … Also scored against Russia and Switzerland …  2013: Earned her first 12 caps while starting five games and scoring eight goals, third most on the team … Played 554 minutes and averaged a goal for 69 minutes she was on the field … Also had two assists … No American player scored more goals for club and country in 2013 as she found the net a total of 45 times, including 23 in the Damallsvenskan … Scored twice in her debut on Feb. 8 against Scotland in Jacksonville, Fla., as she made her first start … Was the 17th U.S. player to score her in debut … Also scored in her second and fourth games to become just the fifth U.S. WNT player to score at least four goals in her first four matches … Also had a two-goal game against the Netherlands on April 9 in the Hague … 2012: Trained with the full U.S. team for the first time in April of 2012 in Bradenton, Fla. … Also traveled and trained with the U.S. team for two matches in Sweden in June … Named as an alternate to the 2012 Olympic Team without previously earning a cap and traveled with the squad to the U.K. … Youth National Teams: Attended training camp with the U-23s in October of 2011 … In July of 2010, she scored three times in three matches for the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team, including in a 1-0 defeat of Sweden, as the U.S. won the Four Nations Tournament in England ... Traveled to Germany with the U.S. U-23s for a three-match tour in May of 2010 and started both matches which ended as 2-2 draws against Germany and South Korea ... Also played for the U.S. U-23s in 2009 and scored against an Irish select side during a U-23 two-match tour of Ireland and Northern Ireland ... Finished her U-23 career with five caps and three goals … Was a member of U.S. U-20 player pool in 2008 … First Appearance: Feb. 9, 2013, vs. Scotland … First Goal: Feb. 9, 2013, vs. Scotland (two goals).

2014: Joined the Chicago Red Stars midway through 2014 NWSL season … Helped team to a fifth place finish in the regular season … Despite playing and starting in just 12 matches for the Red Stars, Press led the team with six goals while playing every minute of every match she appeared in … She was named to the NWSL Best XI second team … Came to Chicago after a highly successful stint with Tyresö FF where she helped the club to UEFA Champions League Final, scoring nine total Champions League goals during that run … 2013: Signed with Stockholm-based Tyresö FF for her second season in Damallsvenskan, Sweden’s premier women’s soccer league and became the first American to lead the league in scoring, finding the net 23 times in 20 games, all starts … Also scored nine goals in the Swedish Cup, once in the Swedish Super Cup and four goals in the UEFA Champions League to help Tyresö to two-leg victories over Paris Saint- Germain (Roundof 32) and Danish club Fortuna (Round of 16) … She scored both goals in 2-1 victories in each of the first legs of the two series’… 2012: Played her first season in Damallsvenskan with Göteborg FC and finished second in the league in scoring with 17 goals … Helped Göteborg win the Swedish Cup in overtime, 2-1, against 2012 league champions and her future club, Tyresö while scoring one goal and assisting on the other … Played in 34 games (21 Damallsvenskan, six Champions League, one Supercup, and six Swedish Cup), starting 33 … Scored 25 goals in all competitions (17 Damallsvenskan, three in the Champions League and five in the Swedish Cup) … 2011: Selected with the No. 4 pick in the Women’s Professional Soccer Draft by the Washington Freedom which transitioned to the magicJack based in Boca Raton, Fla. … Played in 17 matches for magicJack spanning 1,173 minutes and scored eight goals, which included a hat trick against the Boston Breakers, and was named the league’s Rookie of the Year … 2009: Helped the Pali Blues to the W-League championship in the summer of 2009 … Youth: Played club for the Slammers FC of Newport Beach, Calif. ... Won the Golden Boot for most goals scored in the USYSA National Championship tournament … Her team won U-14 and U-16 national titles and were finalists as U-18s and U-19s.

Full name is Christen Annemarie Press … Double majored in Communications and Psychology … As a senior at Stanford, she was named to the ESPN Academic All-America First-Team ... Selected as the Pac-10’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year for women’s soccer and named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First-Team ... As a junior, she was an Pac-10 All-Academic Second-Team Selection … As a sophomore she was Second Team All-Academic Pac-10 ... Father played football for Dartmouth … Writes a well-read and well-received blog for SoccerAmerica.com and her own website at footballschristenpress.blogspot.com … Has recently started freelance writing for several magazines … The middle of three daughters and says “we are like Alvin and the Chipmunks” … Loves the ocean and sunshine … Most days she can be found writing and sipping a cappuccino at a coffee shop … Has volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club in Los Angeles … Lived in Madrid for three months during the winter quarter of her junior year – where she took classes only in Spanish – and taught English to Spanish-speaking kindergarten-aged children … Is fluent in Spanish … Is also learning Swedish … Enjoys the sweeter things in life, especially chocolate and pastry-type desserts … She is a daily meditator and recently turned yogi.

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