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Sundhage Names 18-Player Roster For 2009 Algarve Cup; U.S. Women Will Face Denmark, Iceland and Norway

CHICAGO (Feb. 5, 2009) – Following a 17-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named an 18-player roster for the 2009 Algarve Cup, from March 4-11 in southern Portugal.

The U.S. team, which has been placed into Group B at the annual tournament, will open play on March 4 against Denmark, face Iceland on March 6 and finish the first-round against Norway on March 9. Group A features Germany, Sweden, China and Finland. Group C consists of Portugal, Poland, Wales and first-time participant Austria. The venues and kickoff times for all the matches will be confirmed shortly.

The USA will travel to Portugal to face teams gearing up for the 2009 UEFA Women’s Championships in Finland next summer. All six European teams in Groups A and B will be competing in Finland as the quadrennial European Women’s Championships will be contested by 12 teams for the first time, up from eight countries in the past.

“The Algarve Cup is always an important tournament and is especially good for the U.S. as we get to play the top European countries,” said Sundhage. “We will not play as many matches this year as we did in 2008, so these games are important to keep the team evolving, in defending but especially in the attack. These games will test our ability to play our style while developing a rhythm that helps make our attack unpredictable and involves a lot of different players and positions. Of course, we are bringing some young players to the tournament this year and it will be great to get them some experience in these kinds of games.”

All the games will be played at small venues spread out over the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country with the placement matches taking place on March 11. Fans can follow the USA’s intense schedule of four games in eight days online via's MatchTracker and watch highlights on’s all_access video.

Since the expansion from eight to 12 teams eight years ago, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows: The teams in Group A and B will compete for the title as the group winners will play in the championship game on Wednesday, March 11. The two second-place finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place while the third-place finishers will play for fifth. The Group C teams will be competing for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the best fourth place team from Groups A or B for seventh place. The second place team in Group C will play the worst fourth place team from Groups A or B for ninth place and the third and fourth place finishers in Group C will play each other for 11th place.

This will be the 14th trip to the Algarve Cup for the U.S. women who have won the tournament six times, including an unprecedented three straight championships from 2003-05 at what has become the world’s most competitive women’s international event outside of the Women's World Cup, the Olympics and the European Championship. The USA defeated Denmark in the last two Algarve Cup Finals, winning 2-0 in 2007 on goals from Kristine Lilly and Carli Lloyd and 2-1 in 2008 on goals from Natasha Kai and Abby Wambach. The USA advanced to the championship game of the 2006 Algarve Cup but fell in penalty kicks to Germany. The USA has played in six consecutive Algarve Cup championship games.

The U.S. roster features 13 players from the 2008 Olympic gold medal champions, including three-fourths of the starting back line in captain Christie Rampone and flank defenders Heather Mitts and Lori Chalupny. With Kate Markgraf pregnant, Olympian Rachel Buehler and uncapped Kendall Fletcher will compete for playing time, although Shannon Boxx also trained at center back during the recently completed camp. Boxx has twice been named the MVP of the Algarve Cup (2004 and 2006). Buehler made her international debut last year at the Algarve Cup.

Sundhage named three relatively inexperienced midfielders to go along with Olympians Boxx, Lindsay Tarpley, Heather O’Reilly and Lloyd. Among midfielders Angie Woznuk (6 caps, 1 goal), Tina DiMartino (1/0) and Kacey White (15/0), only Woznuk has attended the Algarve Cup before, playing in two matches last year.

With forward Wambach not quite game-ready as she nears the end of her comeback from a broken leg, the striking responsibilities will fall to Kai, the USA’s leading scorer last year with 15 goals, young forwards Amy Rodriguez and Megan Rapinoe, and Olympic hero Angela Hucles, who can of course also play in the midfield. 2008 Olympics goalkeepers Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart make up the remainder of the roster.

Rampone leads the way in Algarve Cup experience as she will be playing in her ninth tournament. This will be the seventh Algarve Cup for Tarpley and O’Reilly and the sixth for Boxx. Lloyd and Tarpley are the top Algarve Cup scorers on the roster with each having found the net five times in the tournament. In 2007, Lloyd scored in each of the four Algarve Cup matches to earn MVP and top scorer honors. If Mitts plays in all four matches during the tournament, she will hit 100 caps in the USA’s last game. She would become the USA’s 25th female player to reach the century mark.

United States Women's National Team 2009 Algarve Cup Roster
The Algarve, Portugal
March 4-11, 2009

No. Players Pos. Ht. DOB Hometown Club Caps/Goals
1 Solo, Hope GK 5' 9" 07/30/81 Richland, Wash. St. Louis Athletica 79/0
2 Mitts, Heather D 5' 5" 06/09/78 Cincinnati, Ohio Boston Breakers 96/2
3 Rampone, Christie D 5' 6" 06/24/75 Manasquan, N.J. Sky Blue FC 211/4
4 Buehler, Rachel D 5' 5" 08/26/85 Del Mar, Calif. FC Gold Pride 23/0
5 Tarpley, Lindsay M 5' 6" 09/22/83 Kalamazoo, Mich. Chicago Red Stars 113/29
6 Kai, Natasha F 5' 8" 05/22/83 Kahuku, Hawaii Sky Blue FC 63/23
7 Boxx, Shannon M 5' 8" 06/29/77 Redondo Beach, Calif. Los Angeles Sol 110/18
8 Rodriguez, Amy F 5' 4" 02/17/87 Lake Forest, Calif. Boston Breakers 31/6
9 O’Reilly, Heather M 5' 5" 01/02/85 East Brunswick, N.J. Sky Blue FC 108/25
10 Lloyd, Carli M 5' 8" 07/16/82 Delran, N.J. Chicago Red Stars 79/19
12 Woznuk, Angie M 5' 5" 03/29/85 El Cajon, Calif. St. Louis Athletica 6/1
13 Fletcher, Kendall D 5' 6" 11/11/84 Cary, N.C. Los Angeles Sol 0/0
15 Rapinoe, Megan F 5' 7" 07/05/85 Redding, Calif. Chicago Red Stars 4/2
16 Hucles, Angela F 5' 7" 07/05/78 Virginia Beach, Va. Boston Breakers 102/13
17 Chalupny, Lori D 5' 4" 01/29/84 St. Louis, Mo. St. Louis Athletica 87/8
18 Barnhart, Nicole GK 5' 10" 10/10/81 Gilbertsville, Pa. FC Gold Pride 17/0
19 DiMartino, Tina M 5' 2" 11/06/86 Massapequa Park, N.Y. FC Gold Pride 1/1
21 White, Kacey M 5' 4" 04/27/84 Arlington, Texas Sky Blue FC 15/0

United States Women's National Team 2009 Algarve Cup Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (3) (FC Gold Pride), Hope Solo (6) (St. Louis Athletica);
DEFENDERS (5): Rachel Buehler (2) (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (6) (St. Louis Athletica), Kendall Fletcher (1) (Los Angeles Sol), Heather Mitts (5) (Boston Breakers), Christie Rampone (9) (Sky Blue FC);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (6) (Los Angeles Sol), Tina DiMartino (1) (FC Gold Pride), Carli Lloyd (4) (Chicago Red Stars), Heather O’Reilly (7) (Sky Blue FC), Lindsay Tarpley (7) (Chicago Red Stars), Kacey White (1) (Sky Blue FC), Angie Woznuk (2) (St. Louis Athletica);
FORWARDS (4): Angela Hucles (5) (Boston Breakers), Natasha Kai (4) (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (1) (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (4) (Boston Breakers).

Number of Algarve Cups attended, including 2009, in parenthesis.

Team Staff:
Head Coach: Pia Sundhage Redondo Beach, Calif.
Asst. Coach: Erica Walsh State College, Pa.
Asst. Coach: Hege Riise Oslo, Norway
Goalkeeper Coach: Phil Wheddon Syracuse, N.Y.
General Manager: Cheryl Bailey Redondo Beach, Calif.
Team Doctor: Dr. Scott Powell Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Team Doctor: Dr. Stephen Lucey Greensboro, N.C.
Athletic Trainer: Greg Banks Charleston, S.C.
Massage Therapist: Pam Durant Charleston, S.C.
Massage Therapist: Allison Griffith Charleston, S.C.
Equipment Manager: Andrew Dessert Kansas City, Mo.
Press Officer: Aaron Heifetz Cypress, Calif.
Videographer: Vanessa Smith Palos Verdes, Calif.
Security: Mark Pharris Atlanta, Ga.
Press Officer: Aaron Heifetz Cypress, Calif.

16th Annual Algarve Cup
The Algarve, Portugal

Group A
Germany, Sweden, China, Finland

Group B
USA, Norway, Iceland, Denmark

Group C
Portugal, Poland, Austria, Wales 

March 4 
Group Teams
A Germany vs. Finland
A China vs. Sweden
B USA vs. Denmark
B Norway vs. Iceland
C Portugal vs. Poland
C Wales vs. Austria

March 6
Group Teams
A Sweden vs. Finland
A Germany vs. China
B USA vs. Iceland
B Denmark vs. Norway
C Portugal vs. Wales
C Austria vs. Poland

March 9
Group Teams
A Finland vs. China
A Germany vs. Sweden
B USA vs. Norway
B Iceland vs. Denmark
C Portugal vs. Austria
C Poland vs. Wales

March 11 – Placement Matches
11th Place Match
9th Place Match
7th Place Match
5th Place Match
3rd Place Match