CHICAGO (Jan. 13, 2011) â€“ U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named 23 players to the roster for the 2011 Four Nations Tournament taking place in Chongqing, China, where the USA will face Sweden, Canada and the host.
With the 2011 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup commencing in late June, the tournament will be a key part of Sundhageâ€™s crafting of the eventual Womenâ€™s World Cup roster as the USA takes on three strong nations, including Sweden, which is the USAâ€™s third Group C opponent at the Womenâ€™s World Cup in Germany.
All the matches will take place at the 28,000-seat Yongchuan Sports Centre with the USA opening the tournament against the Swedes on Friday, Jan. 21 (2:35 a.m. ET). The USA then meets Canada on Sunday, Jan. 23 (6:05 a.m. ET) and China PR on Tuesday, Jan. 25 (5:35 a.m. ET). Fans can follow all three of the USAâ€™s matches from China on Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
The USA is coming off a six-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., which was not attended by eight veterans and defender Ali Krieger (who is fulfilling club commitments in Germany). Seven of those veterans are on the roster for China with the exception of striker Abby Wambach who has a lingering heel injury that will require more rest.
The veterans named were Shannon Boxx, Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Carli Lloyd, Heather Mitts, Heather Oâ€™Reilly and Christie Rampone, all of whom were given extended time off during the recently completed camp after a long 2010 schedule.
Sixteen players from the squad that qualified for the 2011 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup by winning a two-leg playoff series against Italy were named to the roster, including goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, midfielders Lori Lindsey, Yael Averbuch and Megan Rapinoe, defenders Stephanie Cox and Becky Sauerbrunn, and forwards Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan and Amy Rodriguez, who was the scorer of the winning goal in the second leg against the Italians.
Sundhage chose 16 of the 25 players from the training camp. Included in that number are two players making their first tournament rosters with the full team in forward Sydney Leroux and midfielder Megan Klingenberg. Both were members of the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Womenâ€™s World Cup in Chile while Leroux was also the USAâ€™s leadings scorer at the 2010 FIFA U-20 Womenâ€™s World Cup in Germany. Klingenberg makes the roster after her very first WNT camp.
Midfielder Tobin Heath returns to a tournament roster for the first time in 18 months after recovering from reconstructive ankle surgery that limited her to three WPS matches in her rookie year. She earned her first caps at the Four Nations Tournament in 2008. Midfielder Kelley Oâ€™Hara, the 2009 MAC Hermann Trophy winner for Stanford, played in just three matches off the bench in 2010, but after a fine rookie season in WPS, makes the roster for her first Four Nations Tournament.
Lindsey Tarpley, a veteran with 120 caps and 30 goals, was in just her third training camp since completely recovering from ACL surgery. She earned just one cap in 2010, but makes this roster looking for a return to form that has saw her earn a place on the USAâ€™s last two Olympic Teams and the 2007 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup Team.
Defender Brittany Taylor, who earned her lone cap in the snow against Mexico in last March, will be looking for her second appearance in China. The USA lost back-up goalkeeper Jill Loyden to a broken hand during training camp and with Hope Solo not yet ready for game action, Ashlyn Harris makes the roster to back-up Barnhart.
This will be the USAâ€™s eighth trip to the Four Nations Tournament, but first since 2008 after skipping the competition in 2009 and 2010. The USA has won the tournament six times, failing to take top honors only in 2002. During its 21 all-time matches in the tournament, the USA is 13-2-6, with one loss each to China and Norway.
U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team Roster by Position -Â Detailed Roster
2011 Four Nations Tournament
Jan. 21-25, 2011
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (out of contract), Ashlyn Harris (Western New York Flash)
DEFENDERS (7): Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (out of contract), Christie Rampone (out of contract) Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington Freedom), Brittany Taylor (Sky Blue FC)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Yael Averbuch (Western New York Flash), Shannon Boxx (out of contract), Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC), Meghan Klingenberg (North Carolina), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat), Kelley Oâ€™Hara (Boston Breakers), Heather Oâ€™Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence), Lindsay Tarpley (out of contract)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Sydney Leroux (UCLA), Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence)