USA to Gear Up for Annual Trip to Algarve Cup in Portugal
Where Americans Will Face Iceland, Norway and Sweden in Group Play
CHICAGO (Jan. 7, 2009) â€“ U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has called in 26 players for an extended 20-day training camp at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., running from Jan. 17 through Feb. 4. The camp will give Sundhage a final look at the core of her current player pool before selecting an 18-player roster for the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal.
The USA has been grouped this year with Iceland, Norway and Sweden in the tournament that will run from Feb. 24 through March 3, a week earlier than it is traditionally staged. Germany, Finland, China and Denmark will also be participating. The matches in Portugal will be the first international games of the year for the U.S. women, who went 7-0-1 in 2009 and currently sit atop the FIFA Womenâ€™s World Rankings. Sundhage used 29 players during the eight matches in 2009.
The USA will get the unique opportunity to scrimmage the Korea RepublicÂ Womenâ€™s National Team twice during the camp, on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 5 p.m. and on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. The Koreans are training in Southern California for three weeks and will also play two games against the U.S. U-23 Womenâ€™s National Team, which is in camp at The Home Depot Center from Jan. 13-20. Like the USA, the Koreans also started a womenâ€™s professional soccer league last year.
Of the 24 players Sundhage called for the teamâ€™s December 2009 camp at The Home Depot Center, 22 return to California for the three-week â€œpre-season.â€ The new additions are veteran defender Stephanie Cox (55 caps), midfielder Tobin Heath, the 2009 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year who was sidelined from the December camp with an injury, goalkeeper Jillian Loyden, Hope Soloâ€™s back-up for St. Louis Athletica, and U.S. Under-23 defender Brittany Taylor.
Loyden, who was recently named goalkeeper of the year in Australiaâ€™s W-League where she was on loan to the Central Coast Mariners during the WPS off-season, is the only player in camp receiving her first-ever call-up, although six players in camp are uncapped. Lloyden played in three WPS matches for Athletica last season.
Sundhageâ€™s roster features 19 WPS players, six players who should be high picks in the upcoming WPS Draft and one who is a college junior in California Golden Bear forward Alex Morgan, one of the USAâ€™s stars at the 2008 FIFA U-20 Womenâ€™s World Cup. Midfielder Christine Nairn, who was at the December camp, was not called in for January as she recently finished a training camp with the U.S. U-20s, who are preparing for CONCACAF qualifying to be held later this month in Guatemala. The Americans will be looking to earn a berth to the 2010 FIFA U-20 Womenâ€™s World Cup in Germany.
The roster includes the usual group of veterans, led by U.S. captain Lori Chalupny, midfielder Shannon Boxx and forward Abby Wambach, who is the USAâ€™s active leading scorer with 101 career goals. The roster also includes veterans Carli Lloyd (85 caps), Heather Mitts (104), Heather Oâ€™Reilly (116), Hope Solo (85) and Cat Whitehill, who with 130 caps is just one behind Wambach, the most-capped player in camp.
The USAâ€™s college seniors will all be attached to WPS clubs by the time they arrive at camp as the WPS Draft is set for Friday, Jan. 15 at the NSCAA Convention in Philadelphia, Pa. Forwards Lauren Cheney and Kelley Oâ€™Hara, Heath and midfielder/forward Casey Nogueira are widely considered to be first round picks while goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and Taylor are sure to follow quickly.
The USA will be participating in the Algarve Cup for the 13th consecutive year and 15th time overall. Last year, the USA fell in the championship game to Sweden after penalty kicks but have won the tournament six times. The USAâ€™s group match with Sweden this year at the Algarve Cup will mark the third time Sundhage has faced her home country while coaching the Americans. The U.S. defeated Sweden, 1-0, in Skelleftea in 2008 before last yearâ€™s meeting in the Algarve Cup Final.
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION Full Roster Listing
GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jillian Loyden (St. Louis Athletica), Alyssa Naeher (Penn State), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica)
DEFENDERS (8): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Stephanie Cox (Los Angeles Sol), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Meghan Schnur (Sky Blue FC), Brittany Taylor (UConn), Cat Whitehill (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Tobin Heath (UNC), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather Oâ€™Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (7): Lauren Cheney (UCLA), Ella Masar (Chicago Red Stars), Alex Morgan (California), Casey Nogueira (UNC), Kelley Oâ€™Hara (Stanford), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)
U.S. Women's National Team Staff:
Head Coach:Â Pia Sundhage (Charlotte, N.C.)
Asst. Coach:Â Hege Riise (Charlotte, N.C.)
Asst. Coach:Â Erica Walsh (State College, Pa.)
Goalkeeper Coach:Â Paul Rogers (St. Louis, Mo.)
General Manager:Â Cheryl Bailey (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
Athletic Trainer:Â Cody Malley (Apex, N.C.)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Athletic Trainer:Â Â Hollie Walusz (Williamsburg, Va.)
Athletic Trainer:Â Rebecca Gutherie (Atlanta, Ga.)
Massage Therapist:Â Allison Griffith (Charleston, S.C.)
Massage Therapist:Â Raul Aparicio (Houston, Texas)
Equipment Manager:Â Andrew Dessert (Kansas City, Mo.)
Press Officer:Â Â Aaron Heifetz (Cypress, Calif.)