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Rachel Van Hollebeke

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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 For the entire tournament schedule, please visit the Algarve Cup tournament page on

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’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!

The rugged defender is a fearless ball-winner who has done her best work for the USA in the center of the defense. In 2011, Buehler started in 18 of 19 games she played and became a consistent force next to Christie Rampone on the back line. Her breakout 2010 campaign included 1,474 minutes to lead the team.

One of the USA’s toughest and most experienced defenders, she had an extensive youth international career before breaking into the full team in 2006 and 2007 … 2012: Played in 31 of the USA’s 32 matches, starting 26 and had one goal with four assists, doubling her career assist total to that point … Her 2,433 minutes marked the first time she had played more than 2,000 minutes in a year for the USA … Earned her 98th career cap in the final match of the year, putting her in position to be the 29th female player to play 100 times for the United States … Started all six games at the 2012 Olympics, playing all but 38 minutes of the tournament in helping the USA to the gold medal, her second … Played four matches at Olympic qualifying, starting three games, and scored her one goal of the year against the Dominican Republic, giving her three for her career … 2011: A full-time starter for the USA in 2011, she played in 19 of the USA’s 20 matches, starting 18 … The only match she missed came when she was suspended for the Women's World Cup semifinal after getting a controversial red card in the quarterfinal win against Brazil ... Started all five games she played in the Women's World Cup in Germany and scored her first-ever World Cup goal in the 2-0 victory over Korea DPR to clinch the USA's opening match of the tournament … It was just her second career goal … Was second on the team in minutes played with 1,608 … 2010: Had a breakthrough year for the U.S. WNT, becoming a starter and named co-captain … Started 17 matches and led the team in minutes played with 1,474, playing in the central defense and at outside back … Played four matches in the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament and scored her first career goal against Haiti in a 5-0 win … Played all 180 minutes in the two-leg Women’s World Cup playoff against Italy … 2009: Played in all eight WNT matches, making five starts, including the huge win against Germany in Germany at the end of October … Also started the final two matches at the Algarve Cup in Portugal … Solidified her role as an impact player on the USA’s backline as she passed 30 career caps … 2008: Made her first WNT roster and debuted for the full team in March of 2008 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal, starting and playing the entire game against China … Earned the first 23 caps of her career in 2008, playing well enough – mostly at outside back – to earn a spot on the 2008 Olympic Team … Played in two matches at the Olympics, starting one, in which she played all 90 minutes against New Zealand in group play … Started eight total matches during the year and picked up one assist … 2007: Attended training camps throughout the winter and spring with the Women’s National Team and participated in the Residency Training Camp ... 2006: Got her first call-up to training camp in July 2006 … Youth National Team: Played extensively with the U.S. U-21 Women’s National Team (earning 17 U-21 caps), playing in the Nordic Cup in Sweden (2005), Norway (2006) and Finland (2007), while winning the title in 2005 and 2007 … Was a starter for the USA in two FIFA youth world championships … Played on the U.S. team that took third place in the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand and on the team that won the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Canada, but suffered a torn ACL right at the beginning of the championship game in Edmonton … She had started five of six games in the tournament to that point, scoring a goal off a penalty kick against England … Started all five games at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in Canada in 2004, playing every minute while scoring two goals with one assist … Finished her U-19 international career with 30 U-19 caps … In 2003, she did not play with the U-19s as she was recovering from another ACL injury, this one to her other knee which came on the first day after returning to the field after rehabbing her first torn ACL … Played with the U-17 and U-16 National Teams … First Appearance: March 5, 2008, vs. China … First Goal: Oct. 28, 2010, vs. Haiti.
Allocated to the Portland Thorns for the inaugural NWSL season … 2012: Signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Beat before the WPS folded … 2011: Signed with the Boston Breakers and played 895 minutes over 10 matches, starting them all … Scored one goal, the third of her professional club career, and helped the Breakers to the WPS playoffs … 2010: Played in and started 22 matches for the Gold Pride, scoring one goal while captaining the club to the WPS title … Named a starter in the WPS All-Star Game and to the WPS Best XI … Committed just 13 fouls over 1,958 minutes … 2009: Allocated to FC Gold Pride for the inaugural WPS season … Started 17 matches, playing every minute of each game as she anchored the back line … Had one goal and one assist … Committed just 10 fouls in more than 1530 minutes … Youth: Competed for the San Diego Surf for seven years ... Named the club’s 2003 Player of the Year ... Was an NSCAA U-16 and U-17 Youth All-American.

Full name is Rachel Marie Buehler … Nicknames are Rach, Buehles, Bue, Boo and, of course, the Buehldozer … Married Bobby Van Hollebeke in San Diego in October of 2012 … Father, Donald, a heart surgeon, was a member of Stanford’s water polo and wrestling teams ... Is the proud daughter of the ultimate soccer mom, Mary Ellen … Graduated pre-med with a degree in human biology … Took her medical school entrance exams in July of 2008 and hopes to be in the medical field one day after her soccer career is over … Has been accepted into medical school at the University of San Diego, but has deferred for now to pursue her soccer career … Received an NCAA post-graduate scholarship  … She is one of 27 Buehlers to have attended Stanford … Has one sister, Anna, who played soccer for the Surf and graduated from Stanford … Enjoys going to the beach, rocking out to oldies, trying new restaurants, reading novels, and hanging out with her family, friends and husband Bobby … Loves to hike and be in nature, and to explore the many places to which the U.S. WNT travels … Was named one of the Girl Scout’s Cool Women of the Year in 2013 … She is known for being dedicated to warming up before practices and games and for being extremely prepared by having everything she might need at training in her backpack … Loves to go to farmers markets on the weekends … Has a vast collection of fun socks … Considers ladybugs her lucky charm … When she has free time, she volunteers at local elementary schools and a children’s hospital and spends time with senior citizens.

Finished a decorated career at Stanford in the fall of 2007 and was named by the NCAA Honors Committee as a recipient of the prestigious NCAA Top VIII Award … A three-year captain for the Cardinal, she was an All-Pac-10 Conference First-Team selection …She was an NSCAA First-Team All-American Scholar Athlete and was chosen as the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year … As a red-shirt senior, she started all 23 of Stanford’s games during one of the school’s most successful years ever … As a redshirt junior in 2006, she was an All-Pac-10 First Team selection and named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team, one of two players in the conference to be named to both First Teams ...  She was also an ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American First Team selection ... Started all 23 games for the Cardinal, one of four Stanford players to start every game ... Led the defense to 15 shutouts and a 0.55 goals-against average ... As a redshirt sophomore in 2005, she started all 20 games for the Cardinal and earned Second Team All-Pac-10 accolades ... Named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District Second-Team ... Tallied two goals on the year, both game-winners during the Stanford Nike Invitational ... Her first collegiate goal came against Santa Clara ... Followed up with her second goal two days later against Colorado College ... As a sophomore in 2004, she redshirted the season, spending the fall with the U.S. Under-19 National Team … As a freshman in 2003, she played in 15 games and made eight starts … High School: At Torrey Pines High School, she was twice named a Parade Magazine All-American (2002 and 2003) and named the Torrey Pines’ Defender of the Year in 2000 and Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002 ... Captained her high school squad during her junior and senior seasons ... Named the 2001 and 2002 Palomar League Player of the Year ... Earned First Team All-CIF and All-Palomar League honors for three straight years (2000-02).