Heinrichs Names United States Olympic Women's Soccer Team
CHICAGO (Thursday, August 10, 2000) - U.S. Women's National Team head coach April Heinrichs today named the 18 players who will represent the United States in the women's soccer competition of the 2000 Olympics Games in Australia.
There were no major surprises among the selections as 15 members of the 1999 Women's World Cup championship team were chosen. The three players who will be competing in their first world championship event are 22-year-old goalkeeper Siri Mullinix, 22-year-old midfielder Nikki Serlenga, and defender Danielle Slaton, at 20 years of age, the youngest player on the squad. The team has an average age of 25.1 years.
Of the 15 Women's World Cup veterans, 11 were on the team that won the Olympic gold medal in 1996 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., with a 2-1 victory over China, and 10 players that started that match will go to Australia. The U.S. women have compiled a record of 20-4-5 in 2000 as forty-two players participated in full international matches this year, making the selection process long and challenging.
The U.S. women are currently training in Annapolis, Md., for Sunday's opener of the Nike "Road to Glory" tour against Russia, being televised live at 2 p.m. ET on ABC from Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. The "Road to Glory" will continue with a match on Aug. 20 in Kansas City against Canada (live on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. CT) and a match against Brazil in San Jose (live on ESPN at 5:30 p.m. PT).
"Given the busy schedule this year and the opportunities we've had to train and play together, we were able to open the door of opportunity to many players," said Heinrichs. "What we found, and to no one's surprise, is that the cream rises to the top. I have the greatest confidence that these 18 players will compete with urgency necessary to meet our goals and expectations."
The USA will enter the Olympics with the most experienced team in the tournament field, as 11 players will have played more than 100 times for their country. The Americans will need all that experience to navigate their way through a tremendously difficult first round that includes Norway, China and Nigeria.
"I feel that all the matches we've played this year have prepared us for the difficult challenge in Australia," added Heinrichs. "We very much respect Norway, China and Nigeria, and understand that this is game full of adversity, but I'm confident that we have the team that can handle any challenge to again become the best team in the world."
The 2000 Summer Games will mark the final international event for two legends of the U.S. Women's National Team in defender Carla Overbeck and midfielder Michelle Akers, both of whom will retire from international soccer after the Olympics. Overbeck, who captained the USA to the 1996 Olympic Gold medal and the 1999 Women's World Cup title, was also a starter on the 1991 Women's World Cup championship team. She fought hard to come back from knee surgery to make the Olympic team and has played 162 times for the USA. Akers, arguably the greatest player in the history of women's soccer, also battled to return from major shoulder surgery to make the team. The top scorer at the 1991 Women's World Cup, she is one of just four women to score 100 career international goals.
The U.S. women will play their first three Olympic matches at the 90,000-seat Melbourne Cricket Ground, facing Norway on Sept. 14, China on Sept. 17 and Nigeria on Sept. 20. The winner of the USA's group will play its semifinal in Canberra. The second place finisher in the group will play its semifinal in Sydney. The gold medal game will be played at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Heinrichs also named four alternates in goalkeeper Jenni Branam, midfielder Michelle French, forward Christie Welsh and defender Nandi Pryce. Branam and French will travel to Australia and be on call if needed while Welsh and Pryce will stay with their college teams.
|2000 U.S Women's Olympic Soccer Team|
|1||Scurry, Briana*||GK||5-8||145||9/7/71||Dayton, Minn.||UMass||100/0|
|2||Fair, Lorrie+||M||5-3||130||8/5/78||Los Altos, Calif.||North Carolina||73/7|
|3||Pearce, Christie+||D||5-6||140||6/24/75||Point Pleasant, N.J.||Monmouth||76/4|
|4||Overbeck, Carla*||D||5-7||125||5/9/68||Chapel Hill, N.C.||North Carolina||162/7|
|5||Serlenga, Nikki||M||5-7||130||6/20/78||San Diego, Calif.||Santa Clara||19/6|
|6||Chastain, Brandi*||D||5-7||135||7/21/68||San Jose, Calif.||Santa Clara||129/23|
|7||Whalen, Sara+||M||5-5||130||4/28/76||Greenlawn, N.Y.||UConn||61/7|
|8||MacMillan, Shannon*||M||5-5||135||10/7/74||Escondido, Calif.||Portland||112/33|
|9||Hamm, Mia*||F||5-5||130||3/17/72||Chapel Hill, N.C.||North Carolina||204/122|
|10||Akers, Michelle*||M||5-10||150||2/1/66||Orlando, Fla.||Central Florida||150/104|
|11||Foudy, Julie*||M||5-6||130||1/23/71||Mission Viejo, Calif.||Stanford||187/35|
|12||Parlow, Cindy*||F||5-11||145||5/08/78||Memphis, Tenn.||North Carolina||87/41|
|13||Lilly, Kristine*||M||5-4||125||7/22/71||Wilton, Conn.||North Carolina||213/84|
|14||Fawcett, Joy*||D||5-5||130||2/8/68||Huntington Beach, Calif.||UCB||174/22|
|15||Sobrero, Kate+||D||5-7||135||8/23/76||Bloomfield Hills, Mich.||Notre Dame||51/0|
|16||Milbrett, Tiffeny*||F||5-2||130||10/23/72||Portland, Ore.||Portland||152/77|
|17||Slaton, Danielle||D||5-6||135||6/10/80||San Jose, Calif.||Santa Clara||21/1|
|18||Mullinix, Siri||GK||5-8||145||5/22/78||Greensboro, N.C.||North Carolina||19/0|
|-||Branam, Jen||GK||5-7||155||10/08/80||Placentia, Calif.||North Carolina||5/0|
|-||French, Michelle||D||5-4||135||1/27/77||Kent, Wash.||Portland||9/0|
|-||Pryce, Nandi||D||5-10||140||5/30/82||Casselberry, Fla.||CF United||8/0|
|-||Welsh, Christie||F||5-10||155||2/27/81||Massapequa Park, N.Y.||Penn State||15/11|
|*Member of 1996 Olympic Team and 1999 Women's World Cup Team|
+Member of 1999 Women's World Cup Team
#1 - Briana Scurry, Goalkeeper
The USA's Women's World Cup hero has played in just two matches in 2000 after battling injuries for most of the year, but is now healthy, and recently became the first goalkeeper in U.S. history to play 100 times. She played a solid game in her return to the lineup on July 27 in Tromso, Norway, making a big save at the end of the match to preserve the 1-1 tie. Still pushing Siri Mullinix for the #1 spot, she gives the USA enviable depth at the goalkeeper position.
#2 -- Lorrie Fair, Midfielder
A defender for most of her career, Fair has found a home in the center midfield, starting 17 matches this year. She has scored six goals after scoring just one before this year and at age 22 has played 73 times for the USA. With Michelle Akers out with a shoulder injury for most of the year, Fair shared time with Nikki Serlenga in the middle, but also spent some time on the flank. Despite being 5-foot-3, she is an excellent header and her versatility is a huge plus for the Olympic Team.
#3 - Christie Pearce, Defender
One of the fastest and most rugged players on the team, Pearce has had a breakthrough year, starting 19 matches, mostly at right back after Joy Fawcett moved into the middle following Carla Overbeck's knee surgery. Pearce saw time in just one match during the Women's World Cup, but has shown this year that she can excel against the world's top teams. Virtually unbeatable on the sprint, she also owns the team's best vertical jump and is a crunching tackler. Her two goals this year came in the 8-0 rout of Iceland.
#4 - Carla Overbeck, Defender
The USA's co-captain and emotional leader, she overcame Graves Disease and knee surgery to make her second Olympic Team. In a testament to her mental toughness, Overbeck played one of the best games of her career in the 1999 Women's World Cup Final, and made the crucial first penalty kick in the shootout. As important to the team off the field as on, Overbeck has played in just seven matches this year, but has worked extremely hard to rehabilitate her knee and is close to full fitness. The captain of both the '96 Olympic and '99 Women's World Cup champions, she will retire from international competition following the 2000 Olympics.
#5 - Nikki Serlenga, Midfielder
The silky smooth midfielder burst onto the scene this year following a stellar career at Santa Clara University and stuck in the lineup with a combination of extraordinary ball skills, a solid heading presence and a rocket shot. She has scored six goals in 2000 including the tying goal in a 1-1 draw against Norway on July 27 in Tromso and her first career hat trick against Costa Rica on June 25 in an 8-0 romp. One of the best passers on the team, her ability to strike a ball accurately over 50 yards brings a valuable dimension to the U.S. attack.
#6 - Brandi Chastain, Defender
The totally two-footed Chastain has played in 23 matches this year, tied for the most on the team with Tiffeny Milbrett. She skyrocketed to fame after her icy clutch penalty kick (followed by her jersey clutched in her hand) in the Women's World Cup Final and was featured on the covers of Sports Illustrated, Time and Newsweek. One of the most skilful players on the team, Chastain rebounded from several years away from the national team to win a gold medal in the 1996 Olympics and make history last summer. Her veteran savvy will be extremely valuable in the pressure-cooker of Olympic competition.
#7 - Sara Whalen, Midfielder
Whalen has proven to be the USA's most versatile player this year, playing outside back, outside midfield and forward. Possessing burning speed, she can add a spark to the attack and has shown a consistent ability to get around defenses. Likely the first option off the bench at outside midfield, as the owner of 61 caps including an appearance in the Women's World Cup Final, she has shown that she can step into the most important of matches and perform.
#8 - Shannon MacMillan, Midfielder
The second leading scorer on the team with 11 goals and seven assists, MacMillan has experienced a rebirth at outside right midfield in the 4-4-2 formation. Should the USA play a different formation, MacMillan is a proven "supersub" who can enter the match in the midfield or at forward and decide a game. Tremendously strong and fast, she has the ability to wear down defenders. It was MacMillan who scored in both the semifinal and gold medal game at the 1996 Olympics to help the USA to the championship.
#9 - Mia Hamm, Forward
The world's all-time leading scorer has 122 career goals and counting. A marked woman who draws double and triple coverage from even the world's best teams, she has still slashed her way to eight goals and a team leading 10 assists this year. Still one of the best one-on-one dribblers in the world, Hamm has looked sharp during the latter half of 2000 and is a threat to score every time she touches the ball in the attacking third. While often overlooked, her defense and passing contribute as much to the U.S. team as her scoring.
#10 -- Michelle Akers, Midfielder
The battle-worn warrior, a veteran of the USA's first-ever international match back in 1985, will participate in her final tournament with the national team in Australia. When Akers hangs up her cleats, a glorious chapter of women's soccer history will come to a close, but not before she attempts to stamp her mark on yet another world championship. The leading scorer in the 1991 Women's World Cup, she scored crucial goals in both the 1996 Olympics and 1999 Women's World Cup, earning the Bronze Ball last summer for her inspirational play in helping the USA to the title. One of just four women with 100 or more career goals, she has come back from numerous injuries, all the while coping with chronic fatigue syndrome, and can still dominate her position. Likely to see time in the center midfield where her play-making and ball winning are world class, she also could get a run at forward, evoking images of the Triple-Edge Sword in 1991.
#11 - Julie Foudy, Midfielder
The USA's engine in the middle is the verbal leader that ignites the USA's competitive fire. Possessing flowing strides and a tireless work rate, she will do the running in midfield that releases the "personality players" to take on defenses. A veteran of the three Women's World Cups and one Olympics, she is the third most capped player in history. Foudy's ability to dictate the rhythm of the match through her passing and running is vital to the U.S. attack, and underrated ball-winning abilities add another layer of strength to the defense.
#12 - Cindy Parlow, Forward
The 5-foot-11 Parlow is the tallest player on the team and a handful for opposing defenses. Equally as dangerous posting up or running at defenders, she leads the team in scoring this year with a personal-best 15 goals and six assists. Her four hat tricks this year is one short of a U.S. record held by Michelle Akers and she is one of the best in the world at heading on goal. Tremendously strong, she dishes out as much punishment as she takes on the forward line, which is a lot in either case. The youngest player on the '96 Olympic Team, Parlow has proven herself dangerous as a starter or coming off the bench, depending on the USA's system.
#13 - Kristine Lilly, Midfielder
If a soccer anthropologist ever identifies the 1990s as a "lost generation of left-sided midfielders" we'll know why. No one has come close to unseating Lilly from a starting spot since she joined the national team just over 13 years ago. The world's most capped player at 213 appearances, no man or woman has played more times for their country than Lilly. One of the fiercest competitors on the team and no doubt one of the fittest players, her consistency has defied the laws of probability. Able to play flank midfield, center midfield or forward with equal aplomb, Lilly's two-way abilities never cease to make a positive impact on the match in some way.
#14 - Joy Fawcett, Defender
Simply the best defender in the world, Fawcett has the ability to read the game and defuse simmering danger before it explodes. Often overlooked because nothing exciting seems to be happening in her area of the field, lest anyone forgot that lack of excitement is a mark of quality defending. At 32, she still has world class closing speed and is no doubt the fastest "mother of two" ever to grace a soccer field. A career outside back with the national team, she moved into the middle after the injury to Carla Overbeck and showed no drop off in effectiveness. Fawcett's calmness under pressure and ability to score an occasional goal (she is the highest scoring defender in national team history) will be a key in the USA's Olympic run.
#15 - Kate Sobrero, Defender
Sobrero was forced to change her jersey from 20 due to the Olympic numbering system, but that is the only thing that will change as she reached a world-class level of play this year. Although slowed by a broken nose and later a concussion during the month of July, Sobrero has proved to be the grittiest and toughest of the USA's defenders. A heavy tackler with deceptive speed, she consistently runs down forwards who think they've gotten a step. The least experienced of the USA's starters in the Women's World Cup, she passed her trial by fire with flying colors and played a stellar match in the Final. Efficiently simple with the ball at her feet, she has shown the ability to strike a penetrating long ball on occasion.
#16 -- Tiffeny Milbrett, Forward
More than one defender is needed to stop the whippet-quick Milbrett who is one of the world's best at running with the ball at her feet. Possessing incredible acceleration and an uncanny scoring touch, she is the USA's fourth all-time leading scorer with 77 goals. She scored game winners in 1-0 victories over Brazil in the Gold Cup Final and Norway in the DFB Jubilee Cup, but her propensity for big goals was established long ago with three in the 1995 Women's World Cup and the winning goal in the 1996 Olympic Gold medal game. Paired with Hamm, they make the world's most prolific and dangerous striking tandem.
#17 - Danielle Slaton, Defender
The only member of the Olympic Team still with college eligibility remaining, Slaton will return to her college team after the Olympics to finish her junior season with the University of Santa Clara Broncos. The left-footed Slaton is one of the USA's best attacking defenders and can consistently work herself free on the flanks. A thundering athlete, she is a scrappy tackler and hard runner who is extremely tough to beat. The youngest member of the Olympic Team, she will prove valuable on the left side of the defense.
#18 - Siri Mullinix, Goalkeeper
Having taken over as the #1 goalkeeper, Mullinix has proved rock solid in the nets and needs just one more shutout this year to break the U.S. record. She was named the best goalkeeper at the 2000 CONCACAF Women's Gold Cup and her kicking game ranks among the best in the world. Her play with her feet behind the U.S. back line this year has been stellar. Solid on crosses and brave when the cleats are flying, the emergence of Mullinix gives the USA two starting goalkeepers on the roster.
|Date||Opponent||Location||Kickoff / TV||Tickets|
|Aug. 13||Russia||Navy-Marine Corps Stadium|
|2 p.m. (ET) / ABC||800-874-6289|
|Aug. 15||Russia||(College Park, Md.)||-- / --||Closed Door Match|
|Aug. 20||Canada||Arrowhead Stadium|
(Kansas City, Mo.)
|2 p.m. (CT) / ESPN2||816-920-9300|
|Sept. 1||Brazil||Spartan Stadium|
(San Jose, Calif.)
|5:30 p.m. (PT) / ESPN||408-985-GOAL|