CHICAGO (July 11, 2007) – With 62 days remaining until the USA’s opening match of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan has named the first 18 players who will represent the United States on women’s soccer’s grandest stage.
With all 16 participating teams allotted final rosters of 21 players, Ryan will make his final three selections in the coming weeks. The 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in five Chinese cities from Sept. 10-30. The USA opens the tournament against North Korea on Sept. 11 in Chengdu.
“We named the 18 now because we’ve been in Residency Camp two years in a row, we’ve spent two years together and we know these players inside out,” said Ryan, who will coach in his first FIFA Women’s World Cup. “These 18 have earned the right to be on this World Cup Team. We want to remove the stress from trying out and just say, ‘you guys are the ones, you’re in, let’s get after it.’”
The roster is a product of about two-and-a-half years of player evaluation by Ryan and his staff that has included 42 international matches. Since taking over as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team in March of 2005, Ryan has looked at 43 players in full international matches and more than 60 total including training camps.
Leading the way is team captain Kristine Lilly, 35, who was named to her record fifth Women’s World Cup Team. Lilly, who played in her first Women’s World Cup in China in 1991, is the only player still active from that U.S. team that won the inaugural Women’s World Cup. Lilly has played in all 24 matches the USA has contested in Women’s World Cup competition, starting 23 of them.
Lilly will play in her home state of Connecticut this weekend as the USA continues its Send-Off Series with a match against Norway on July 14 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Kickoff is 6 p.m. ET with the match broadcast live on ESPN2. Lilly comes into the match with a world record 327 appearances for the USA.
The first 18 players named include goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who will be participating in her fourth Women’s World Cup after making her tournament debut in 1995 in Sweden. Two other players – defenders Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone (known as Sobrero and Pearce, respectively, in the historic 1999 Women’s World Cup) were named to their third Women’s World Cup Team.
Lilly, Scurry, Markgraf and Rampone are also the only four players on the 2007 WWC roster who were on the USA’s 1999 WWC team.
Of the other 14 players, four were named to their second Women’s World Cup Team, but 10 players will be participating in a Women’s World Cup for the first time, the most first-timers ever for any U.S. Women’s World Cup Team (not counting, of course, the first Women’s World Cup in 1991).
With three players still to be named, more than half of the U.S. roster will likely be experiencing the Women’s World Cup for the first time. Conversely, the eight U.S. veterans who will be playing in multiple Women’s World Cups have combined for more than 1,100 total caps and 78 Women’s World Cup matches, giving the USA an enviable combination of youth and experience.
“We’ll probably name the last three players in the next couple of weeks,” said Ryan. “We’re just looking at what we need to round out the squad. We have some young players that we are still taking a look at and we want to make sure we make some very good decisions on these last three spots.”
Along with Scurry, Ryan finalized his goalkeeper corps with Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart. Solo has played 32 of the 42 matches Ryan has coached and is on the brink of becoming the second most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. history behind Scurry. Barnhart has just three caps, but at 5-10 and with tremendous athleticism, has a bright future.
The youngest player and only non-professional selected to the roster is 21-year-old defender Stephanie Lopez, who still has one season left of eligibility at the University of Portland. For the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, defender Cat Whitehill (then Cat Reddick), was the youngest player selected, and went on to play a major role in the tournament after an injury to Brandi Chastain. At the time, Whitehill was a rising senior at the University of North Carolina. Coincidentally, the youngest player on the 1999 Women’s World Cup roster was Lorrie Fair, also a defender and also, at the time, a rising senior at UNC.
Whitehill now has 110 caps and joins Markgraf (159 caps) and Rampone (164 caps) to give the USA a tremendously experienced back line. Ryan also chose defender Tina Ellertson, who has just 22 caps but is perhaps the fastest player in U.S. history and one of the best marking backs ever to play for the national team.
“Making the World Cup Team for the third time, making a big roster like this, is probably one of the best feelings because you are so excited to be considered to represent your country in a World Cup, but at the same time, you are not as affected by nerves because you know what to expect,” said Markgraf, who started for the USA in both the 1999 and the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cups. “We have more first-time World Cup players on this roster than ever, but Greg has really given them the chance over the past few years to get acclimated to this level of play. The young players really do have a lot of experience.”
The U.S. midfield will also feature a mixture of veterans and young legs as Shannon Boxx and Aly Wagner were named to their second Women’s World Cup teams, while Carli Lloyd, Lori Chalupy, Leslie Osborne and Marci Jobson will be playing in their first. Jobson, 31, was the second oldest player ever to earn a cap for the USA when she debuted in 2005.
All of the U.S. forwards named in the first 18 have a track record of coming through on the biggest of stages. Abby Wambach currently has 74 goals in 92 games for the USA, the best strike rate in U.S. history, and led the USA in scoring at the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and 2004 Olympics, where she scored the winning goal in the gold medal match.
Lilly has 123 career goals, second only to Mia Hamm all-time, and has seven career goals in Women’s World Cup play. Both Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly were members of the U.S. team that won the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Canada, and both scored huge goals for the USA at the 2004 Olympics as the two youngest players on the squad. O’Reilly’s strike came in the semifinal win over Germany and Tarpley’s in the gold medal game victory over Brazil.
Wambach, Lilly, Boxx and Whitehill are the only four players on the roster who have scored in Women’s World Cup play.
Despite the number of players entering their first Women’s World Cup, the first 18 players chosen for the 2007 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team have an average age of 27 years.
Following the Norway match, the USA will have a week off before traveling to Northern California to face Japan on July 28 in San Jose, Calif. The team hits the stretch run with a game on Aug. 12 against New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., before playing the Send-Off match in Carson, Calif., at The Home Depot Center against Finland on Aug. 25.
“The players now have that sense that ‘hey, this is our team’ and let’s start focusing on our team, on team building,” said Ryan. “We are going to focus on two great opponents in our next two games, Norway and Japan, both who will be in the World Cup, and then really start looking at our first-round matches with North Korea, Sweden and Japan. We’ll start focusing on those opponents so we can be set and ready when we get to China.”
2007 UNITED STATES WOMEN’S WORLD CUP ROSTER
|Barnhart, Nicole||GK||5-10||10/10/81||Gilbertsville, Pa.||Stanford||3/0|
|Boxx, Shannon||M||5-8||06/29/77||Redondo Beach, Calif.||Notre Dame||66/14|
|Chalupny, Lori||M||5-4||01/29/84||St. Louis, Mo.||UNC||40/4|
|Ellertson, Tina||D||5-9||05/20/82||Vancouver, Wash.||Washington||22/0|
|Jobson, Marci||M||5-7||12/04/75||St. Charles, Ill.||SMU||14/0|
|Lilly, Kristine||F||5-4||07/22/71||Wlton, Conn.||UNC||327/123|
|Lloyd, Carli||M||5-8||07/16/82||Delran, N.J.||Rutgers||32/5|
|Lopez, Stephanie||D||5-6||04/03/86||Elk Grove, Calif.||Portland||20/0|
|Markgraf, Kate||D||5-7||08/23/76||Bloomfield Hills, Mich.||Notre Dame||159/0|
|O'Reilly, Heather||F||5-5||01/02/85||East Brunswick, N.J.||UNC||61/10|
|Osborne, Leslie||M||5-8||05/27/83||Brookfield, Wisc.||Santa Clara||40/2|
|Rampone, Chrstie||D||5-6||06/24/75||Point Pleasant, N.J.||Monmouth||164/4|
|Scurry, Brianna||GK||5-8||09/07/71||Dayton, Minn.||UMass||162/0|
|Solo, Hope||GK||5-9||07/30/81||Richland, Wash.||Washington||44/0|
|Tarpley, Lindsay||F||5-6||09/22/83||Kalamazoo, Mich.||UNC||69/15|
|Wagner, Aly||M||5-5||08/10/80||San Jose, Calif.||Santa Clara||112/21|
|Wambach, Abby||F||5-11||06/02/80||Rochester, N.Y.||Florida||92/74|
|Whitehill, Cat||D||5-5||02/10/82||Birmingham, Ala.||UNC||110/11|
FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP – ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (5): Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.), Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.);
FORWARDS (4): Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).
FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP – ROSTER BY EXPERIENCE
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (2007), Briana Scurry (1995, 1999, 2003, 2007), Hope Solo (2007);
DEFENDERS (5): Tina Ellertson (2007), Stephanie Lopez (2007), Kate Markgraf (1999, 2003, 2007), Christie Rampone (1999, 2003, 2007), Cat Whitehill (2003, 2007);
MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx (2003, 2007), Lori Chalupny (2007), Marci Jobson (2007), Carli Lloyd (2007), Leslie Osborne (2007), Aly Wagner (2003, 2007);
FORWARDS (4): Kristine Lilly (1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007), Heather O’Reilly (2007), Lindsay Tarpley (2007), Abby Wambach (2003, 2007).
Head Coach: Greg Ryan Colorado Springs, Colo.
Asst. Coach: Bret Hall St. Charles, Ill.
Asst./GK Coach: Phil Wheddon Monroe, Conn.
Asst. Coach: Billy McNicol Huntington Beach, Calif.