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U.S. Women to Face Toughest Send-Off Series Test on Saturday vs. Norway Live on ESPN2

U.S. Women’s National Team Notes
USA vs. Norway
East Hartford, Conn.
July 13, 2007

USA SET TO FACE NORWAY ON “KRISTINE LILLY DAY” IN CONNECTICUT: The U.S. Women’s National Team continues its “2007 Send-Off Series” on Saturday, July 14, at Rentschler Field in East Hartford against long-time rival Norway in the third of six matches that will take the U.S. women to the brink of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, being held Sept. 10-30 in China. The match marks the return of U.S. captain Kristine Lilly to her home state and Governor M. Jodi Rell has signed a proclamation officially declaring Saturday as “Kristine Lilly Day” in the state of Connecticut. Every game Lilly plays extends her world record for international appearances and Saturday will mark her 328th game for the USA. U.S. Soccer will honor “The Queen of Caps” -- the only player ever to reach 300 international matches -- before the match that will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. ET. Fans can also follow on’s MatchTracker. JP Dellacamera and former U.S. captain Julie Foudy will call the action.

KRISTINE SPEAKS: To find out Kristine Lilly’s thoughts on returning to her home state and much, much more, click here for an in-depth conversation with the USA’s team captain.

2007 Women’s National Team Send-Off Series
Date         Opponent          Venue (City)                                                                Kickoff                TV
June 16   China                 Cleveland Browns Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio)    2-0 W
June 23   Brazil                  Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)                 2-0 W
July 14     Norway               Rentschler Field (East Hartford, Conn.)              6 p.m. ET            ESPN2
July 28     Japan                 Spartan Stadium (San Jose, Calif.)                      7 p.m. PT   MatchACCESS
Aug. 12    New Zealand    Soldier Field (Chicago, Ill.)                                     12 p.m. CT          ESPN2
Aug. 25    Finland               The Home Depot Center (Carson, Calif.) 6:30 p.m. PT                  ESPN2

RYAN NAMES 18 PLAYERS TO 2007 FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP TEAM: Last Wednesday, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Greg Ryan named the first 18 players who will represent the United States on women’s soccer’s grandest stage at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. With all 16 participating countries allotted final rosters of 21 players, Ryan will make his final three selections by the end of the month. The USA opens the Women’s World Cup against North Korea on Sept. 11 in Chengdu. 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 in March of 2005, Ryan has looked at 43 players in full international matches and more than 60 total including training camps. Kristine Lilly will be playing in her fifth Women’s World Cup, goalkeeper Briana Scurry in her fourth and Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone in their third. 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. To watch the exclusive video introducing the 18 players, click here.

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.).

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).

RECORD FOR SOCCER MOMS ON A WWC TEAM: U.S. head coach Greg Ryan set an unofficial record when he named three Soccer Moms to the U.S. Women’s World Cup Team. In the 18 players named so far, are three true Soccer Moms in Kate Markgraf (with year-old son Keegan), Christie Rampone (with 21-month old daughter Rylie) and Tina Ellertson (with six-year old daughter MacKenzie).

RYAN NAMES 18 TO FACE NORWAY: With two players named to the 2007 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team recovering from injuries in forwards Heather O’Reilly and midfielder Aly Wagner, and third goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart not on the roster, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan has named three players to the squad for the Norway game who are still battling for spots on the final WWC roster. Those players are midfielder Angela Hucles, a veteran of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup (although she didn’t play due to an injury) and the 2004 Olympics (where she played in two matches off the bench), forward Natasha Kai, the only Hawaiian ever to play for the National Team, who has scored seven goals in her first 25 games, and defender Marian Dalmy, who has just two caps for the USA.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster - July 14 vs. Norway
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): Marian Dalmy (Lakewood, Colo.), 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.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.);
FORWARDS (4): Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

USA vs. Norway History
The USA has won the last six matches it has played against Norway, the longest such streak in the long history between the two teams that began in 1987. Twice in the series, Norway put together four-game winning streaks against the USA, but the rivalry has certainly been back-and-forth over the years. The six consecutive wins allowed the USA to move ahead in the all-time series at 19-18-2, erasing Norway from the one-team list of countries that had a winning all-time record against the United States. The fourth of those six wins was a 1-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup that not only knocked Norway out of that tournament, but also the 2004 Olympics, as the WWC serves as Europe’s qualification for the Olympic Games. The teams last met at the Four Nations Tournament in 2006, a 3-1 victory that saw a stunning free-kick from Kristine Lilly in her 300th cap as well as an assist to Shannon Boxx off a corner kick and a clinching goal from Abby Wambach. Norway’s lone goal came off an odd penalty kick after Leslie Osborne fell on the ball in the penalty area after getting knocked to the ground by a charging Hope Solo, who had come hard for a cross. The long and heated rivalry between the two teams has never been short on animosity, mostly agitated by the numerous important matches the teams have played against each other in World Cups and Olympics over the years. Recently, the USA’s matches with Germany and Canada have taken over as more intense rivalries, but the world’s two most successful women’s soccer nations will no doubt show the fans of Connecticut why they have six senior world titles between them.

Norway Tops UEFA Group 1 to Earn Berth to WWC
Norway pretty much cruised to its Women’s World Cup berth, winning seven and tying just one game (for 22 points) in European Group 1, to finish ahead of Ukraine (16 points) and Italy (15 points). The Norwegians have played in all four previous Women’s World Cup Tournaments, finishing second in 1991, winning in 1995, finishing fourth in 1999 and losing to the USA in the quarterfinals in 2003. During Euro Qualification, Norway tied Ukraine, 1-1, in its second to last qualification match, but that point was enough to clinch a berth to China and make Norway’s final match, a 2-1 win over Italy, meaningless. Former WUSA player Ragnild Gulbrandsen led Norway during qualifying with five goals. Another WUSA player, former Carolina Courage star Unni Lehn, scored three times while Lise Klaveness and the now-retired Dagny Melgrenn, who played for the Boston Breakers, scored two goals each. Other goal scorers from qualifying on the Norway roster are defender Marit Christnesen, defender Gunhild Følstad, midfielder Marie Knutsen and defender Madeline Giske. Norway will be without three of its top players, all of whom have club commitments in Sweden. Long-time goalkeeper and U.S. nemesis Bente Nordby, who will be on her fifth Women’s World Cup Team, is playing for Djurgården. Ingvild Stensland, one of the top defensive midfielders in the world, is playing for Hope Solo’s former club Kopparberg/Gøteborg and midfielder turned target forward Lise Klaveness plays for Umeå.

Norway National Team Roster (caps/goals)
GOALKEEPERS (2): 1-Christine Nilsen (2), 12-Erika Skarbø (0); DEFENDERS (6): 2-Ane Horpestad (80/2), 3-Gunhild Følstad (50/1), 5-Siri Nordby (24/0), 6-Camilla Huse (18/0), 11-Maritha Kaufmann (21/2), 19-Marit Christensen (46/6); MIDFIELDERS (4): 8-Solveig Gulbrandsen (104/33), 10-Unni Lehn (133/24), 18-Marie Knutsen (29/4), 21-Lene Storløkken (14/1); FORWARDS (6): 7-Guro Knutsen (2/1), 9-Melissa Wiik (17/6), 14-Leni Larsen Kaurin (26/0), 15-Madeleine Giske (6/1), 16-Kristin Lie (2/0), 17-Lene Mykjåland (7/0).

Norway Heads Group C in China
Norway looks to be the class of Group C in China at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but each of their three group opponents – Canada, Ghana and Australia – promises a physical battle. Norway has won its group in Women’s World Cup play twice, that coming in 1995 and 1999. In 1991 and 2003, Norway finished second in its group, but still advanced to the knock out rounds.

A Look at Norway
Since failing to make the final four at the 2003 Women’s World Cup and missing the 2004 Olympics, Norway has been in a rebuilding phase as Bjarne Berntsen has integrated numerous young players into the side. Norway still has quality leadership with several veterans, especially Solveig Gulbrandsen, one of the top attacking midfielders in the world who is coming back from having a baby, and Unni Lehn, a hard-working midfielder. While Norway will be without several of its top players, there are numerous speedy young attackers and hard defenders who will be looking to create problems for the USA. Norway has for years played their traditional long-ball style, sending 50-yard services at the U.S. back line, waiting for a mistake to swoop in and win a second ball, but the new team has shown the propensity to play through the midfield more. The American back line has always dealt well with the long balls, but the steady diet of 50-yard services always makes for a combative match between the teams. The USA has had the speed advantage over Norway in the past, but goalkeeper Bente Nordby has historically had excellent matches against the Americans. With Nordby gone due to club commitments, Norway’s young goalkeepers will certainly be tested. Norway had a sub-par performance at the 2007 Algarve Cup as far as results, but could have won all three of its first-round matches. Norway started with a 2-1 defeat of Germany (which turned out not to be too much of an upset, as the Germans lost three of four games in Portugal), but then fell to Denmark (on a late free kick in a match that they dominated) and France by 1-0 scores to earn a spot in the fifth place match, where Norway downed Finland, 2-0.

MARCI AND CARLI – ARE THEY BFF OR BEF?: Are U.S. midfielders Marci Miller Best Friends Forever? Or Best Enemies Forever? Find out by clicking on the latest production from’s all_access video as the two players, both name to their first Women’s World Cup Team last Wednesday, talk about their unique friendship and how they both helped the other through hard times on the field. Hint: They are BFF.

U.S. head coach Greg Ryan
On Norway’s attacking style:
“They throw the kitchen sink at you. They throw seven or eight players into the attack and really require you to defend very well. You end up getting some pretty good looks on the counter (attack), because they don’t have a lot back to defend. It makes for an end-to-end game and a very exciting game. Not the kind of game that coaches like, but you have to deal with it.”

On Norway:
“They force you to bring people back and defend. A lot of teams will look more at defending us, Norway looks at it the opposite way. Let’s attack the U.S. and maybe we can knock them out. It’s like a boxer coming in with a big punch. You have to be ready to duck it and counter…I think Norway will be the strongest opponent we’ll face in the build up to the World Cup.”

On the humbleness of team captain Kristine Lilly, one of the most accomplished players in the world:
“That’s the way she’s always been. She puts the team first. The team’s success and the well-being of her teammates is of the utmost importance to her.”

Stat of Note
Kristine Lilly has previously played in the state of Connecticut three times previously, against Norway in 1991, against Canada in 1997 and against China in 2004. She actually missed two matches the USA played in her home state, the most recent in 1995 when she attended the wedding of teammate Julie Foudy. Lilly, who has 123 career goals, second all-time behind Mia Hamm, has never scored in Connecticut. This will be her 31st match against Norway. She has only faced Canada (33) more times.