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WNT Preps For Its 20th Algarve Cup

The WNT has once again encamped on the beautiful southern coast of Portugal for the annual Algarve Cup. This year’s tournament takes on increased importance with the 2015 Women’s World Cup about 100 days away. With group matches against Norway, Switzerland and Iceland in a span of six days, the coaches and players are looking forward to the excellent competition as they continue the process of building towards the World Cup.

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.

One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories - WNT Trailer

ussoccer.com’s “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.” returns in Spring of 2015 with the Women’s National Team. Stay tuned for information about the full release schedule!

A powrful and crafty forward, Leroux has accumulated 33 goals in 61 appearances with the Women's National Team since 2011, including nine goals and a team-best five assists in 2014. She opened 2012 in dramatic fashion by tying a U.S. WNT record with five goals during the USA's 13-0 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying win against Guatemala on Jan. 20 in Vancouver, Canada, where Leroux grew up. All of her goals came in the second half in just her second international cap.

2014: Has developed into a key part of the U.S. attack, appearing in 18 games while setting a career-high in games started (13), minutes played (1130) and assists (5) … Has scored nine goals, third-best on the team … Her goals came against Canada (two in two different games), Russia, Japan, Denmark, China PR, France, Mexico, and against Costa Rica during the USA’s 6-0 win in the final of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship …  Scored the USA’s lone goal in three different games, two wins and a tie … Played in all five games the CONCACAF Women’s Championship, helping the USA earn a berth to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup … 2013: Made a major impact while scoring 10 goals (second on the team) with four assists … Averaged a goal for every 83 minutes she was on the field … She played 835 minutes in 15 games, starting nine, which were her first nine starts after coming off the bench in the first 29 games of her career … Scored four goals – all in the first half and all in a row – in a 7-0 victory against Mexico on Sept. 3 in Washington, D.C. … Also scored against Scotland, China PR, New Zealand and the game-clincher in a 3-0 win vs. Canada in Toronto on June 2 … Scored twice in the 4-1 victory against Brazil on Nov. 10 in Orlando that finished the year …  Tied for third for most goals for club and country (21) of any American player … Headed into 2014 with 24 goals in her first 43 games … 2012: Had a breakout year, playing in 27 games, all as a reserve, and set a U.S. record for most goals as a substitute with 14, which were the first 14 of her career … Averaged a goal for every 37 minutes she was on the field … In her second career cap against Guatemala at CONCACAF Olympic qualifying, she scored the first five goals of her career, all in the second half, in her hometown of Vancouver, Canada … Played in three games during Olympic qualifying as the USA won the regional title … Made her first world championship team at the senior level for the 2012 Olympics and played off the bench in four games … Scored her first Olympic goal against New Zealand in the quarterfinal, sealing the 2-0 victory in Newcastle … Scored the winning goal against Norway in a 2-1 victory in group play at the Algarve Cup … Also scored against Denmark at the Algarve Cup … Had a two-goal game against Ireland on Nov. 28 during the Fan Tribute Tour … Tied for third among players for most goals combined for club and country with 21 … 2011: A prolific scorer with the U.S. Under-20 WNT, she earned her first cap with the senior team at the beginning of 2011 … Made the roster for the Four Nations Tournament in China in January and came off the bench late in the game in the first match of the tournament against Sweden … Youth National Teams: One of the most dangerous forwards in the world at the U-20 level, finished her U-20 career as the USA’s most-capped player (39) and highest scorer at this level (24) … The USA’s all-time leading scorer in U-20 Women’s World Cups with 10 goals … Played in 18 international matches in 2010, including four at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, and scored 17 goals in those games … Scored against Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, Germany, England, New Zealand, Japan, Ghana, Switzerland and Korea Republic in 2010… Scored a hat trick against Switzerland at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, just the third ever in a Women’s World Cup by a U.S. player … A member of the U.S. team that won the 2010 CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Championship in Guatemala to earn a berth to the 2010 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, she scored the winning goal in the final minutes of the 1-0 victory against Mexico in the championship game … Started all five games in Guatemala and led the USA in scoring with six goals, scoring two each against Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago and two against Mexico, one in group play and one in the final … Also a key member of the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile … She became the first American since Carin Gabarra in 1991 to win the Golden Ball as the tournament’s top player at a FIFA Women’s World Cup … She also won the Golden Shoe as the tournament’s top scorer with five goals, including the first in the 2-1 championship game victory against Korea DPR … At the age of 14, she was a member of Canada’s team that played in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand, where she was the youngest player in the tournament ...Served as captain of Canada’s U-15 team that traveled to Germany in 2005 but got her clearance from FIFA to change associations to the USA in 2008 and went on to star at the U-20 Women’s World Cup … First Appearance: Jan. 21, 2011, vs. Sweden … First Goal: Jan. 22, 2012, vs. Guatemala (5 goals).

2014: Played in 22 games for the Seattle Reign, starting 21 … Scored five goals, four of them game-winners, to help Seattle to a 16-2-6 overall record, a regular season title, the Supporters’ Shield and the No.1 seed in the NSWL playoffs where the Reign fell 2-1 to FC Kansas City in the Championship Game …  2013: On Nov. 18, she was traded to Seattle Reign FC for midfielder Kristie Mewis, goalkeeper Michelle Betos and two 2015 draft picks … Allocated to the Boston Breakers for the inaugural NWSL campaign and had a tremendous season, scoring 11 goals to finish tied for second with Abby Wambach… She played 1,694 minutes while starting all 18 games in which she played … Finished fifth in the league in shots (62), but just three behind second-place Megan Rapinoe … Named to the NWSL Best XI … 2012: Taken with the first pick in the 2012 WPS Draft by the Atlanta Beat, but never played after the league ceased operations … 2011: Played with the W-League Vancouver Whitecaps in her hometown during the summer, scoring 11 goals in 11 games with two assists … Youth Club: Won provincials three years in a row with the Coquitlam City Wild, where she played from U-14s through U-16s … 2004: The Wild won the national championship, where she had two four-goal games and more than 11 goals in the four-game tournament ... Youngest player to play for the Vancouver Whitecaps Club in the W-League at the age of 15 ... 2005: Won a championship with Team BC at the Canada Games in 2005 where she scored in the final ... 2006: Member of three state cup-winning teams in the United States, helping Eastside (Seattle, Wash.) to a title in 2006 before moving to Arizona where she played for Sereno in 2007 and 2008.

Full name is Sydney Rae Leroux … Nickname is “Syd” … Majored in history at UCLA and graduated in the Fall of 2012 … Gives much credit in her youth development to club coaches Chico Munoz and Les Armstrong … Loves animals and has a rather fierce Chihuahua named Boss who is eight pounds, a two-pound teacup Chihuahua named Penelope and a pit bull named Olivia, after her favorite TV character Olivia Pope from “Scandal”… Is an avid shopper … Has confessed that she has a “ridiculous” amount of clothes … Loves wearing heels, but admits she can’t walk in them very well … Always has her nails done … Mom is Canadian and played third base for the Canadian National Softball Team … Father is American and played Major League Baseball with the Anaheim Angels … Born and raised in Canada until she was 14 and moved to the United States with a goal of earning a college scholarship and playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team … Loves music, vacationing and is a collector of inspirational quotes … Favorite musical artists include Beyonce, The Weeknd and Drake … Favorite candy is Swedish Fish … Favorite color is purple … Does yoga whenever she can … Favorite movies are “Pitch Perfect,” “Dumb and Dumber” and “Wedding Crashers” … Played Little League Baseball with boys from the ages of 5-14.

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