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U.S. WNT Finishes Two-Game Series vs. Mexico

U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis prepares her team for one last match before the start of Women's World Cup qualifying and the focus is on fine-tuning and finalizing a 20-player roster.

Ellis Names 28 Players to U.S. WNT Training Camp Roster Prior to Matches Against Mexico

CHICAGO (Aug. 29, 2014) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 28 players for a training camp prior to two matches against Mexico, on Sept. 13 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, and on Sept. 18 at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York.

The Sept. 13 kickoff time has changed to 7:30 p.m. MT and the game is live on ussoccer.com (TICKETS). The Sept. 18 match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN (TICKETS). Fans can also follow the U.S. WNT on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp.

This will be the first extended training period Ellis has had with the team since she was officially named the head coach on May 16. It will also be the final camp and matches before she names a 20-player roster that will attempt to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship being held in Kansas City, Kansas; Bridgeview, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; and Chester, Pennsylvania, from Oct. 15-26.

“Obviously as a coaching staff in the international arena, you are delighted when you can get a large group of players together for an extended period,” said Ellis. “It’s no secret that the battle for spots on the qualifying roster will be extremely competitive and we’re looking forward to the training environment and two tough games against a Mexico team that we will likely see again during the CONCACAF Championship.”

Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan

Twenty-nine players have represented the USA in international competition this year and 25 of them were invited to this camp along with midfielder Shannon Boxx and goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart and Alyssa Naeher, all of whom have yet to see action for the U.S. Women’s National Team in 2014.

The majority of the roster will begin training in Salt Lake City on Sept. 5 with the eight players who are playing in the NWSL Championship Game this weekend getting a few extra days off. Seattle Reign FC and FC Kansas City players will arrive on Sept. 8. Midfielder Morgan Brian, the lone non-professional on the roster, will arrive into camp on Sept. 7 after completing her weekend games with the University of Virginia.

Goalkeeper Hope Solo will likely get a shot to break the USA’s all-time shutout record in one of the matches against Mexico. She is currently tied with former U.S. great Briana Scurry at 71 career shutouts.

Additional Notes:

  • Jill Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each of the matches.
  • The USA comes into the matches with an 8-2-3 record in 2014.
  • Twenty-seven of the 28 players named played in the NWSL this season.
  • The five U.S. strikers scored a combined 36 goals in the NWSL this season, although Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach missed significant parts of the season due to injury and Christen Press played in less than half the season’s matches after returning from Europe.
  • Should Christie Rampone play in both Mexico matches, her cap total would grow to 297, meaning she would have a chance to hit 300 during the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October. Kristine Lilly is the only other player in soccer history to play 300 or more times for their country.
  • Ali Krieger’s next cap will be her 50th, which would make her the 48th player in U.S. WNT history to reach 50 international appearances.
  • The USA is 27-1-1 all-time against Mexico.
  • Several U.S. players won NWSL postseason awards: Alyssa Naeher was the Goalkeeper of the Year, Becky Sauerbrunn was the Defender of the Year and Julie Johnston was the Rookie of the Year.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position – Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), 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 (9): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), 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)

Alyssa Naeher Replaces Ashlyn Harris on U.S. WNT Roster for Switzerland Match on Aug. 20

CHICAGO (Aug. 18, 2014) – Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher has replaced Ashlyn Harris on the U.S. U.S. Women’s National Team roster that will face Switzerland on Aug. 20 in front of a sold-out crowd at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina.

Harris suffered a concussion playing with the Washington Spirit on Aug. 2. While she was expected to be fully recovered in time for the Switzerland match, the U.S. Soccer and Washington Spirit medical staffs determined she will need a few more days of rest and recovery.

Naeher, who is uncapped, has made 102 saves this season for the Boston Breakers (by far the league leader) and was named the National Women’s Soccer League Player of the Week for her stellar performance in her team’s 2-0 victory against Portland Thorns FC on Aug. 10.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), 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)

WNT vs. France: Highlights - June 19, 2014

Alex Morgan scored her first international goals of 2014 to help the U.S. earn a 2-2 draw against France.

Post-Match Quote Sheet: U.S. WNT vs. France

U.S. WNT head coach JILL ELLIS
Initial thoughts on the game and Alex Morgan’s performance:

I think every time we step on the field I’m learning some things. I thought it was a great show of character tonight and obviously Alex is coming back (into form). In the second half we stepped it up a bit and solved a few things, but France is a great opponent. I was really pleased with some of the adjustments and some of the things that we did and our transition I thought was very good tonight.”

On Morgan’s recovery from an ankle injury:
“I wasn’t expecting a lot out of her when I initially came in. Through the camp she’s done really well. In the games, she’s improved. I’m really pleased for her. She’s worked very, very hard to come back from this.”

On what she has emphasized since taking over as head coach:
“There are some qualities that we want to try and look at. When you have the full team together, you want start to do some things. We want to work on attacking shape and look at defensive transition. Those are things that we’re starting to build on.”

On second half adjustment:
“We played a little higher out of the back. That allowed us to connect to the midfield a little bit more. I think overall our ball movement was much better in the second half and we set the line a little bit higher defensively and then in the attack I felt like we were able to play out a little bit better.”

On what she was looking for from the game:
“I think we wanted some answers, not just in how we want to try and play but also looking at players and looking at players in different spots. I was very pleased with some of the things we saw tonight.”

U.S. WNT defender CHRISTIE RAMPONE
On Jill Ellis’ impact on the team thus far:

“This is the first time I’ve had her as a head coach and she’s really taking charge. She’s defining roles and we’ve done a lot of film work. It’s been only a few short days but I think the team has really done well under her and we are more defined and clear-cut, and I think she’s done well in these last two games for us.”

On playing different formations in preparing for the 2015 Women’s World Cup qualifying:
“It’s a process. We are starting a new formation, a 4-3-3. It’s only an extra thing in our pocket because we’ve been playing a 4-4-2 for so long. It’s a process of learning how to defend and attack out of it. There are moments of the game that we are finding it to click, and then we go back on watch film. It’s a process over this next year to define it and get it at the right tempo and the right pace so that we’re ready.”

On Alex Morgan’s return and contribution:
“It’s great to see Alex coming back on after being gone for so long and scoring those two goals. She looked great, she’s in stride. It’s good to see.”

On the flow of the game and difference between the first and second halves:
“We were just a little tight in the first half and not really finding the spaces in between our lines and the pockets. I think in the second half we opened up our shape a little bit and found those seams. And also Alex, when she came in, she stretched them a little bit so that allowed us to find the pockets underneath and connect a little bit more. Our tempo was also a little bit better in the second half.”

U.S. WNT goalkeeper ASHLYN HARRIS
On the match:

“A really exciting game. A tough game. I would have loved to have won. I would have loved to have had a shutout. But this is the type of environment we want to be in. We want people to put us under pressure. We want people to challenge us. It was a great crowd tonight. It’s been a long camp, and it was our second game, so some heavy legs. Overall I’m really proud of the team. I think they dug deep, gritted it out in a really physical match and I’m really pleased.”

On preparing to start in place of Hope Solo:
My job is to show up every day at training, give everything I have and if my name is called, I’m ready.”

On the physicality demanded of a goalkeeper:
“It’s tough. I come in with my hands; they come in with their feet. Sometimes it’s not a win-win. I just have to make myself as big as possible. If I take a knock, I’ve got to get back up and continue to do it. I’ve got to be as big as I can for my team. I knew coming out here today I was going to have to make some big saves and in doing that I have to put my body on the line.”

On the second goal scored by France:
“There was a lot of stuff going on, but at the end of the day we just needed to pressure harder. It took a deflection off Klingenberg’s calf. I was already leaning one way. It’s tough to get back and get down. The pitch got slick as the night wore on. It was a good goal, a good open opportunity for her, we’ve just got to tighten up here and there and make sure we don’t allow those types of shot at the top of the 18.”

On getting more time with the U.S. WNT:
“I’m super confident. Every day, playing with the best players in the world, our practices are absolutely top drawer quality. These players are insane. And they work and they work and they are always on the grind. It just makes me better every single day. I love being a part of it. I’m just a small piece of the puzzle, trying to climb my way up. These girls are great. They’re great people, great footballers. I think people are going to have a fun show watching these girls continue.”

U.S. WNT forward ALEX MORGAN
On jumping over the sign boards and celebrating with the fans after her first goal:

“I wanted to do something special actually. I thought about crying in the moment but it was still early in the game, no time for that. I just wanted to give appreciation to the American Outlaws for being here and coming out here tonight.”

On her first goal:
“To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of it. I just remember turning and seeing the far post open. I hit it as well as I could have and from there and I felt so happy.”

On how she feels about the team going forward:
“I just feel like, finally I’m back and doing what I am supposed to be doing; scoring goals. It feels good. This team has made a lot of progress in this formation under Jill. I see us continuing to improve and France gave their all. I think we played a really good team today and I’m happy that we fought back for the tie.”

On the process of returning from injury:
“The past few months have definitely been mentally draining and physically just trying to get my fitness back has not been the easiest. After getting a couple minutes the other night and 45 minutes tonight and hopefully a lot of minutes with my club team in the coming weeks, I think I’ll be back to 100 percent fit. I feel like my recovery is done, so I’m now looking forward to what else I can do to better myself on the field.”

On how valuable the two games against France were:
“It was a great game for the World Cup qualification tournament coming up in October. You can’t get a better team than France to come here to the U.S. and play us twice. It’s a great opportunity for us to try out new things, to see what works and what doesn’t. I think there’s a lot of positive to take from this moving forward into qualifiers.”

On her second goal:
“After the moment I thought it was a little similar to Clint’s (World Cup) goal, his first goal of the tournament when he cut the defender inside then slotted it. All I remember is being on the ground and the ball going in the back of the net and just feeling so happy to be able to tie the game up.”

U.S. WNT midfielder Carli Lloyd
On the match:

“I think we did some good things in the first half. We’re still working on things and I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re slowly building. We had some good sequences. We just talked about a few tactical things in the first half. In the second half, we just went at them more. We had a little bit more grit and determination. We were tackling and scored some great goals. This is the first time in a really long time where we’ve played a team that’s pretty much up to our level. It was a fantastic night to play.”

On how playing France will help the team going forward:
“They were definitely throwing numbers at us. I think the first game we played them they did a really good job of countering us and I thought in the first half we did a good job of countering them in transition. They play good soccer. Anytime you give them space and time, they’re really good at moving the ball out, getting it out to the other side, playing in between those gaps and seams. The more we can stay compact, vertically and horizontally, the better off we’re going to be. This is Jill’s second game with us. I thought in two games in a 10-day span, we implemented some really good things and it’s only going to get better.”

On her presence as a leader on the field:
“I think I try to bring that every single game. We all lead in different ways. Hope leads in her way back there. Abby obviously is very vocal. I just try to lead by example and grit. Get the team going, set the standard with tackles and all of that. But obviously, those are two phenomenal players that we’re still missing on the pitch. So when we add those pieces in, we’re moving in the right direction that’s for sure.”

One of the best young goalkeepers in the world at the 2002 and 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cups, she suffered several major injuries during her college career and didn’t get her first call-up to the senior team until her final season of college soccer at UNC in 2009 … 2012: Did not play in a game, but did train in numerous camps with the U.S. WNT … 2011 – Trained extensively with the U.S. team in the run-up to the Women’s World Cup … 2010: Got her second call-up to an extended training camp in Kennesaw, Ga., after the WPS season, and worked her way into the goalkeeping mix for the USA … Youth National Teams: Played every minute of all 12 matches for the USA over the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Canada and the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in Thailand … The youngest starter on the team that won the inaugural U-19 Women’s World Cup in 2002, she made several key saves during the 1-0 overtime win in the title game … Was the captain of the 2004 U-19 Women’s World Cup Team that finished third … Finished her U-19 international career with 39 caps, one of the highest totals in U.S. history … Was also the starting goalkeeper for the USA in both CONCACAF qualifying tournaments for those youth World Cups … Played for the U.S. U-23/U-21s in 2009, 2006  and 2003, when she  helped the U-21s win the Nordic Cup title in Denmark as the starting goalkeeper … During 2000 at the age of 15, she played with the U.S. U-16, U-17 and U-19 teams … Attended the U.S. U-14 I.D. camp in 1999 … First Appearance: None … First Shutout: None.

2013: Allocated to the Washington Spirit for the inaugural season of the NWSL … 2012: In June 2012, she signed with FCR 2001 Duisburg in the Women’s Bundesliga … Played eight matches with Duisburg in 2012 before the winter break, seven Bundesliga games (630 minutes) and one German Cup game (120 including extra time), before the Spirit reached a mutual agreement with Duisburg for her release to start the NWSL season in Washington … 2011: Signed with the Western New York Flash for the 2011 WPS season and put in a stellar performance, earning WPS Goalkeeper of the Year honors while helping the club to the regular season title and championship in its first year of existence … Made several key saves in the championship game victory over Philadelphia, including stopping the Independence’s fifth and final penalty kick during the shootout to clinch the title for the Flash … She played every minute of all 18 regular season games while compiling a 13-2-3 record and a 1.00 GAA, which was tops in the league … She tied for the league lead in shutouts with five … 2010: Taken in the second round of the 2010 WPS Draft, 19th overall, by the St. Louis Athletica, but did not play in a match as she backed up Hope Solo … She signed with the Washington Freedom as a free agent in June after St. Louis folded and played a key role in the team’s playoff run, starting the final nine matches in relief of injured goalkeeper Erin McLeod … She went 4-3-2 with four shutouts, making 36 saves and allowing 10 goals … Made six saves in an excellent performance in the Freedom's playoff match against Philadelphia Independence … Youth: Played club soccer with boys until the age of 14 ... First teams were the Palm Bay Rangers and South Brevard United ... Played for the Seminole Ice girls for three seasons ... Won the state championship in 2003 with the U-17 Indialantic Force.

Full name is Ashlyn Michelle Harris … Nicknamed “Ash” … Majored in communications … Loves fashion … Always up for an adventure … Has extensive tattoo work on her left arm and left side of her torso, “my body is a canvas, it tells my story, it’s personal and real” … Comes from a small beach town where surfing and skateboarding are ways of life, and those are her two favorite things to do outside of soccer … Very artistic, loves to draw, paint and design clothes … Loves being around people, telling stories and making people laugh … Absolutely loves Shark Week on Discovery Channel … Has always wanted a pet dragon as in a “Game of Thrones” dragon  … Wishes money grew on trees … Owns a silver and black four-door hard-top 4x4 Jeep, lifted with big tires whose name is King Arthur … Favorite thing to eat is mac n’ cheese … Aspires to be on America’s Next Top Model … Loves movies and date nights … Considers herself a giving person and a dreamer and likes to live life to the fullest and then never look back … Loves to act, loves to be in front of the camera and took several acting classes in college … Would one day love be in a movie and loves to be in front of the camera … Always up for a dance party, no matter what time or place … Has an older brother Chris … Really loves home-cooked meals at grandma’s house.

After arriving in Chapel Hill in the spring of 2005, she suffered two ACL tears (in 2005 with UNC and in 2006 while playing with the U.S. U-23s) and a serious thumb injury before she ever played in a college game … After getting healthy, she ended up playing in 79 games in her college career and winning three NCAA titles … Named to the ACC All-Academic Team as a junior and sophomore and the ACC Academic Honor Roll her first three years … As a senior in 2009, her first as a full-time starter, she started 25 of the 27 games she played, posting a record of 23-3-1 … Made 45 saves and had a GAA of 0.42 … As a redshirt junior in 2008, she appeared in 27 games, starting 13 while playing half of each game … Had a 0.66 goals against average … As a redshirt sophomore in 2007, her first season healthy, she appeared in 19 games and allowed just nine goals while splitting matches … Was in goal for the ACC Tournament semifinal against Virginia in the second half and overtime and saved the fourth Virginia penalty kick during the shootout as Carolina advanced to the finals … As a redshirt freshman in 2006, she returned from rehabilitation for her second ACL tear to enter the Carolina lineup in time to play in all six NCAA tournament matches … She made seven saves and allowed three goals in 247 minutes of action … She entered the playoff game against Texas A&M with the Tar Heels trailing 2-1 with 33 minutes to play and held the Aggies scoreless the rest of the way as Carolina rallied for a 3-2 victory ... Made a key save in the second half of the NCAA semifinals on a breakaway against UCLA when the game was still scoreless ... Redshirted what would have been her freshman year in 2005 after tearing her ACL … High School: Graduated from Satellite High School in Satellite Beach, Fla. in May 2004 ... A four-year (2001–2004) starter at Satellite High School … The 2002 Satellite girls’ women’s soccer team finished 29-1-1, scoring 178 goals and allowing 10 goals in 31 games and finished No. 1 in the state … Named a four-time NSCAA All-America and was the NSCAA Player of the Year in 2004 ... A four-time Parade Magazine All-America, including being named the Parade Magazine Player of the Year in 2004 ... Named team MVP and to All-County Team and All-Region Team in 2003 and 2004 ... Was the Gatorade National Girls’ Soccer Player of the Year in 2004 ... Led high school team to state championships her sophomore and junior years in 2002 and 2003.

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