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WNT Visits Mané Garrincha

The U.S. Women’s National Team will finish its 2014 campaign at the International Tournament of Brasilia against China PR, Brazil and Argentina. All the matches will be played at Mané Garrincha Stadium in the Brazilian capital, a 70,000-seat venue that hosted seven matches of the 2014 World Cup.

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.

Photo Gallery: WNT Claims 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship Title

Photos from the U.S. Women's National Team's 6-0 win against Costa Rica to claim the 2014 CONCACAF Women's Championship title.

WNT Set for Semifinal with Women’s World Cup Berth on the Line

The U.S. WNT is focused and ready for its semifinal clash with Mexico in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship. After handily winning Group A, the U.S. team is taking nothing for granted as a victory will earn a berth to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
2012: Did not play in a match for the U.S. WNT  … 2011: Earned her first two senior team caps, coming off the bench against Norway and Finland during group play at the Algarve Cup in Portugal … Trained extensively with the team in the lead up to the Women’s World Cup … 2010: First call-up to the senior team came in March of 2010, and she trained with the team during matches against Mexico in San Diego and Salt Lake City, Utah … Also called in to train in October of 2010 during two friendly matches against China … Youth National Teams: Played for the U.S. U-23 Women’s National Team in 2009 … Played with the U.S. U-20s in 2006 and 2007 … First Appearance: March 4, 2011, vs. Norway … First Goal: None.
2012: In October 2012, Engen signed with English club Liverpool Ladies for the 2013 FA WSL season … Played with the Pali Blues in the W-League during the summer … 2011 – At the end of the WPS season, Engen joined Swedish team Tyresö FF on loan, playing seven games with six starts while scoring one goal with one assist in Damallsvenskan … Signed with the Western New York Flash and played a key role in helping the team to the WPS regular season title and the WPS championship in its first year of existence … Played in 17 of the team’s 18 regular season matches, starting them all, and led the Flash in minutes played with 1,530 … Played every minute in the championship game shootout victory over Philadelphia … Was named the WPS Defender of the Year and to the 2011 WPS Top XI … 2010: Taken fourth overall by the Chicago Red Stars in the 2010 WPS Draft … She started all 24 games for the Red Stars and played all but four minutes of the season … 2009: Played for the Pali Blues in the W-League …Youth: Played youth club for Slammers FC, winning back-to-back state and regional titles in 2004-05 ... Took part in two national championships with the Slammers, taking second in 2004 and third in 2005 ... Won two ODP national titles with the Cal South ’86 State Team.

Full name is Whitney Elizabeth Engen… Nickname is Whit … Graduated with a degree in political science from North Carolina … Named to the Dean’s List five times … Has aspirations to attend law school after her soccer career … An avid reader, she loves science fiction and thrillers … Some of her favorite books include the Harry Potter series and the Game of Thrones series …  Loves to play all types of games – board, dice, card – anything that is competitive … Favorite TV series include “True Blood,” “The Office” and “Modern Family.”

A four-year starter at UNC, she played in 107 games in her career, starting 105 … She started her career as a forward, playing up top for her first two years before moving to the back … Scored 19 career goals with 27 assists during her Tar Heel career … As a senior in 2009, she started all 27 games while scoring one goal with three assists and helped the Tar Heels to the NCAA title … Named Defensive MVP of the College Cup … She was named NSCAA First-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC … Was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year on a team that allowed just 12 goals and had 19 shutouts … Won the NCAA’s prestigious Honda Award as the top women’s college soccer player … As a junior in 2008, she moved into the starting role at center back after playing her first two years as a starting striker and started all 28 games, leading the team in minutes played with 2,518 … Helped UNC to the NCAA title … Played the last 1,211 minutes of the season without a break ... Recorded three assists ... Tied the school record for games played and games started in a season with 28 … Was named a NSCAA Third-Team All-America and Second-Team All-ACC honoree ... Was named to the All-Tournament Teams at both the NCAA College Cup and the ACC Tournament ...  Named to the ACC All-Academic Team and was on the NSCAA’s First-Team Collegiate Scholar All-America squad ... On the ACC Academic Honor Roll ... As a sophomore in 2007, she appeared in 23 of 24 games during the season, starting all 23 games she played in ... Scored six goals with eight assists … Was on the All-ACC Academic Team and the ACC Academic Honor Roll … As a freshman in 2006, she played in 27 games, started 24, and tied for second on the team in goals with 12 and in assists with 13 ... Helped the Tar Heels to the NCAA title … Named to the 2006 ACC All-Tournament Team and ACC All-Freshman Team ... Named to the ACC All-Academic Women’s Soccer Team .. Had points in 18 of 28 games ... Had at least one point in each of the three ACC Tournament games and in five of the six NCAA Tournament matches ... Had a pair of goals in wins over N.C. State in the ACC Tournament quarterfinals and against Navy in the NCAA Tournament second round ... Also assisted on Casey Nogueira’s game-winning goal in the NCAA Tournament championship match against Notre Dame … High School: Graduated from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in 2006 ... Lettered as a freshman and sophomore as a forward and attacking midfielder but missed her junior season with an injury and then concentrated on club soccer during her senior year ... Named high school’s Most Valuable Offensive Player as a freshman and Most Valuable Player as a sophomore.

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