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.”
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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)
After initially not making the 20-woman roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, Julie Johnston was invited to Kansas City to train with the U.S. team for a week prior to the tournament. She thought she’d be leaving before the first game.
But things change quickly in the world of international soccer and after an injury to her good friend and former U-20 teammate Crystal Dunn, Johnston has been handed the #19 jersey for the her first World Cup qualifying tournament with the senior Women’s National Team.
“In the last camp before this tournament, I really wanted to make the 20-player roster and my whole focus going into that camp was to play and train like I was going to be a part of the team,” said Johnston, a 22-year-old former Santa Clara University star. “Then not making the team was definitely hard, but this team is so good that you just have to value the time you get. When I was offered to come in and train I was so excited because as a young player every training with these players helps you grow.”
Truth be told, her bags were packed and she was ready to head home before the coaching staff made the change official. It wasn’t easy seeing her good friend head to the airport instead.
“Crystal and I are very close and we’ve been through a lot together in soccer, so to replace her on the roster was bittersweet,” said Johnston. “I know these things happen, but I also know how hard she worked to make this roster and how deserving she was to be here, so it was emotional for both us.”
Now that she’s officially among the 20 players that will attempt to qualify the USA for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, her mentality hasn’t changed.
“I initially wanted to come in a do well as if I was on the 20-player roster,” said Johnston, who in her four caps and during training has seen time both at defensive midfield and at center back. “I wanted to learn how it is to prepare for a World Cup qualifying tournament, to get a feel for the whole experience and now I’m going to do whatever the team needs me to do.”
Johnston, who was the NWSL Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Red Stars in 2014 after being the third overall pick in the draft, is ready to step up if needed, and considering the USA will likely play five games in 12 days, she surely will be. Known for her world class ball-winning and grit, she’s also focusing on contributing to the attack and is tremendous going after crosses from set pieces in the opposing penalty box.
“One of the most important things, especially for a young player, is to learn from the players around you,” said Johnston. “My goals are to get totally confident playing at high pace with the best players in the world, understand my roles and play whatever positions I’m asked. I’m excited for the next step of this journey.”
Full name is Crystal Alyssia Dunn … Majoring in sociology … A member of her high school honor roll … Loves all sports … Likes to dance (and is one of the best dancers on the team), sing, go to movies and hang with friends … Likes to entertain people with her musical talents … Also likes to watch scary movies … Is one-quarter Native American … Brother Henry played in the minor leagues for the Cleveland Indians … Is a sneaker fanatic … Favorite athlete is LeBron James … Loves to eat Chinese food … Enjoys listening to Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé … Favorite movie is Love and Basketball.
As a junior, she had a memorable year, scoring five goals with five assists while playing all over the field while leading North Carolina to an improbable NCAA title and winning the MAC Hermann Trophy as college soccer’s best player … Dunn missed the non-conference portion of the Tar Heels' schedule while playing in the Women’s World Cup, but once she joined the lineup, her experience and versatility made an immediate impact … Dunn started at center back for the first 11 games back in the lineup before being moved to the center midfield for UNC's six-game NCAA Tournament run … She played a key role in helping Carolina capture their 22nd national championship in school history, assisting on goals in both Final Four games … The three-year starter earned NSCAA First Team All-America honors and was named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year … As a sophomore, she played in 19 of UNC’s 20 games while scoring three goals with six assists … Soccer America Freshman of the Year … A 2010 NSCAA First-Team All-America and was First-Team All-ACC … As a freshman, she was the All-ACC Defensive Player of the Year, the first ever freshman to win the honor … Part of the ACC All-Freshman Team … Started all 23 games she played in as a freshman -- totaling 1,929 minutes -- and was the third-leading scorer with 26 points on nine goals and eight assists … Scored six goals in the final five games of the campaign and played the entire match in 18 games … Attended South Side High School where she scored 20 goals her senior year and was a four-year starter on the pitch at forward and midfield … A Parade All-American and New York Player of the Year … First-team All-State and All-Long Island in 2006, '07 and '09 … She was an All-New York First Team selection and All-Long Island as a freshman, sophomore and senior … 2009 NSCAA, ESPNRise and Parade high school All-America … Only played three games during her junior year due to National Team commitments … The New York Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 2009 … Team captain in 2008 & 2009 … Led team to New York state championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009 … She missed the 2008 campaign due to National Team commitments … The teams she played on in in '07 and '09 went undefeated and were ranked No. 1 in the nation by the NSCAA … Lost only two games in three seasons in high school … Score 46 goals and had 35 assists in three high school seasons… In the 2009 state championship game, she scored four goals and had a hat trick in the first 20 minutes of the match … As a senior, she was named Newsday Long Island Player of the Year, Nassau County Class A Player of the Year, New York Sportswriters Class A Player of the Year, BigAppleSoccer.com youth Player of the Year and the winner of the Mike Clark Award for the best all-around athlete in Nassau County.
Date of Birth
Jul 3, 1992
Rockville Centre, N.Y.