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2008 U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team Bio Shorts


GOALKEEPERS

NICOLE BARNHART
Gilbertsville, Pa. (First Olympics)
Barnhart has played in her biggest games for the U.S. Women’s National Team this year, earning a shutout over Norway in the final group game of the Algarve Cup that put the USA in the championship game and also playing the full 120 minutes in the final of the CONCACAF Olympic Championship against Canada, where she made several tough saves and stopped Canada’s seventh penalty kick to seal the win. The third goalkeeper on the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team, she makes her first Olympic Team after recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery in early May. Tall, strong and quick, the youth national team veteran was a member of the 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 Under-21 Nordic Cup Teams.

HOPE SOLO
Richland, Wash. (First Olympics)

The remarkably athletic Solo has started for the USA at every level and played in her first World Cup last year in China, but now makes her first Olympic Team. She was the alternate goalkeeper for the 2004 Olympics in Greece. The second most capped ‘keeper in U.S. history, she has also earned the second most wins and second most shutouts. The former Washington Huskies All-America has one of the best kicking games in the world and can make the spectacular save. She has started 12 of the USA’s 18 games this year, earning seven shutouts, and has not lost a match in goal for the USA since she started getting consistent call-ups in 2005.

DEFENDERS

RACHEL BUEHLER
Del Mar, Calif. (First Olympics)

The rugged defender who is one of the USA’s toughest tacklers and ball-winners is a veteran of the USA’s Youth National Teams having played in the 2002 and 2004 FIFA youth Women’s World Cups. She finally broke into the full National Team this year after seeing some training in 2007 during Residency Camp and makes her first roster for a world championship at the senior level. She has earned all of her 11 senior team caps in 2008 and her ability to play in the middle of the defense or at outside back will give the USA increased depth on the back line. A pre-med student and Stanford graduate, she will take the MCATs in July.

LORI CHALUPNY
St. Louis, Mo. (First Olympics)

The versatile Chalupny had a fantastic 2007 Women’s World Cup where she was one of the USA’s standouts as a “link” player, starting all six games of the WWC in the center midfield, playing every minute while scoring two goals, including the game-winner against Nigeria. She has been playing exclusively outside back under Pia Sundhage and has consistently shown herself to be one of the USA’s best all-around players. She played in her first senior level World Cup last year in China, but was the unsung hero of the U.S. team that won the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship. Chalupny adds multiple dimensions to the U.S. team with her work ethic and ability to defend with tenacity, as well as her well-known offensive prowess attacking down the wings.

STEPHANIE COX
Elk Grove, California (First Olympics)

The young defender was one of the breakout players of the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, playing all but 45 minutes of the tournament, but was initially left off the final list of players competing for spots on the Olympic Team. Due to an injury to Cat Whitehill, she was recalled and earned a spot on the final 18. As the youngest player on the World Cup roster and the USA’s only collegian, she had an excellent tournament at outside back, where she will add depth during the Olympics. She has a wealth of Youth National Team experience, captaining the U.S. U-20s to a fourth place finish at the 2006 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia and played every minute for the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand.

KATE MARKGRAF
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Third Olympics)

The veteran defender and team leader makes her third Olympic Team. She played every minute of the 2007 Women’s World Cup until she had to leave the semifinal in the 74th minute after spraining her ankle. A starter in the last five FIFA world championships for the USA, Markgraf has started almost every game she has played on the backline as her tremendous recovery speed, world-class heading ability, athleticism and leadership have been a major part of the U.S. team since she debuted in 1998. One of the USA’s two soccer moms, she has an almost two-year-old son Keegan, and is still one of the top-four most capped defenders in U.S. history, along with Joy Fawcett, Christie Rampone and Carla Overbeck.

HEATHER MITTS
Cincinnati, Ohio (Second Olympics)

The speedy and feisty defender tore an ACL on May 12, 2007, knocking her out of the running for a spot on the Women’s World Cup Team, but she made her return to the lineup on April 27, 2008 against Australia, almost a year later, and is back to full fitness to earn her spot on the Olympic Team. A member of the USA’s 2004 Olympic gold medal team, she made her first major contributions to the U.S. team in 2004 and since then has been a consistent presence on the U.S. back line except during the last year when she was recovering from knee surgery. Mitts adds experience, toughness and speed for a defense that already features numerous veteran players.

CHRISTIE RAMPONE
Point Pleasant, N.J. (Third Olympics)

Rampone took over as captain in 2008 and has played extremely well in the center of the U.S. defense, starting 17 of the USA’s 18 games so far. Still one of the USA’s fittest, fastest and most powerful players, she will lead the USA in her third Olympic games. After missing all of the matches in 2005 due to pregnancy, Rampone came back strong in 2006, starting 17 of the 20 games she played, all the while traveling with her daughter Rylie. She also started all six games of the 2007 WWC. Rampone has proven to be an extremely reliable player at any position on the back line during her career, rising to sixth on the all-time caps list. She now the USA’s most-capped player and is a veteran of the last five World Championships. Always a tremendous competitor, Rampone’s leadership on and off the field will be vitally important in the USA’s Olympic run.

MIDFIELDERS

SHANNON BOXX
Redondo Beach, Calif. (Second Olympics)

Boxx has been one of the USA’s most consistently impactful players in 2008 with world-class ball-winning skills on the ground and in the air. She is also very skillful with the ball at her feet, and has become a key player in setting the USA’s attacking rhythm. Boxx was having a fine 2007 Women’s World Cup before getting an unwarranted second yellow card against Brazil, resulting in an ejection, and a suspension for the third-place match. Still, she was a rock in the middle as always, starting five matches at the World Cup, and scored a huge goal for the USA against England in the quarterfinal game, putting the Americans up 2-0. In Boxx’ first Women’s World Cup in 2003, she made the team without ever previously earning a full national team cap (the only player in history to do so), and has emerged as one of the world’s best defensive midfielders. Major knee surgery kept her out for the second half of 2006 and the beginning of 2007, but she rebounded very well from the injuries. She started all six games at the 2004 Olympics, scoring the opening goal of the tournament, and had the game-winning assist against Japan in the quarterfinal. She was named MVP of the prestigious Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal in 2004 and 2006.

TOBIN HEATH
Basking Ridge, N.J. (First Olympics)

The youngest player on the Olympic Team at age 20, Heath earned her first full Women’s National Team cap in the second game of 2008 against Finland, nutmegging a defender on her first touches. While she excelled at outside back for the U.S. U-20s at the FIFA World Championship in 2006 as one of the youngest players on the team, she has seen all of her minutes at flank midfield for the full National Team where she has carved out a consistent role coming off the bench. She has earned her first 12 caps this year, making three starts while scoring two fantastic goals, one against China at the Algarve Cup and one against Jamaica at Olympic qualifying. Despite her youth, she is one of the USA’s most skillful players and one of the best one-on-one dribbling artists in the country. Able to go inside or outside with equal proficiency when coming down both flanks, her ability to unleash driven shots and bend in crosses has made her one of the most dynamic young players in the United States. She is one of two players on the roster with college eligibility remaining and will be a junior at UNC next season.

ANGELA HUCLES
Virginia Beach, Va. (Second Olympics)

In her best year yet for the National Team, Angela Hucles scored perhaps her biggest-ever goal for the USA in the championship game of the 2008 Peace Queen Cup, where she was named tournament MVP. She also scored a big goal for USA against Australia on May 3, coming off the bench to pound home a stoppage time winning volley in the dramatic 5-4 victory. Hucles played very well in coming off the bench in the USA’s final two games at Olympic qualifying and got the final assist in the 2-0 win over Costa Rica that put the Americans in the Olympics. Her versatility and ability to make an impact off the bench has earned her spots on the last four World Championship Teams for the USA. A forward in college, she is still UVa’s all-time leading scorer.

CARLI LLOYD
Delran, N.J. (First Olympics)

Lloyd scored one of her biggest career goals in the championship game of the 2008 Olympic Qualifying tournament, pounding in a free kick in overtime. The next match saw her score the winning goal against Australia with just 75 seconds left in the game. In 2008, she has continued her development as an impact player out of the attacking midfield spot after struggling a bit in the Women’s World Cup in China. Lloyd started three of the five games she played in the WWC after earning a consistent starting role leading up to the tournament with her play in 2007. Lloyd had her breakout tournament in March of 2007 at the Algarve Cup, scoring four spectacular goals – one in each game – to earn Tournament MVP and Top Scorer honors as the USA won the title. With good size, great skills and a thundering shot, Lloyd was a top player on the U.S. U-21s from 2002-2004, and finally earned her first call-up and cap for the USA’s match against Ukraine in July of 2005. A rare player in the women’s game who can put players behind her on the dribble in the center of the field, Lloyd is looking to shoot anytime she gets within 30 yards of the goal, and U.S. goalkeepers can tell you she hits one of the heaviest balls on the team.

HEATHER O’REILLY
East Brunswick, N.J. (Second Olympics)

O’Reilly has picked up in 2008 where she left off in 2007, putting in an impact performance at the 2007 Women’s World Cup, starting five of the six games, while scoring two goals, including a crucial score against North Korea that tied the first game of the tournament. She earned MVP honors at the Four Nations Tournament in China last January. Despite being just 23 years old, she has developed into one of the USA’s team leaders. As the youngest player on the 2004 Olympic Team and second youngest on the 2007 WWC team, O’Reilly has accumulated much experience on the international stage, appearing 90 times for the full National Team, six times for the U-21s and 18 times for the U-19s. One of the fastest players on the team, she used that speed to score one the most important goals in U.S. history against Germany in overtime of the 2004 Olympic semifinal match. O’Reilly scored an amazing 18 goals in her 18 U-19 international matches, including four goals and seven assists in the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship. The 2004 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year has started most of the USA’s games over the past two years after serving as a reserve for most of the time since she broke into the full team in 2002.

LINDSAY TARPLEY
Kalamazoo, Mich. (Second Olympics)

Off to the best goal scoring year in her National Team career, Tarpley already has nine goals in 2008. Her previous yearly career high was eight in 2004. The 2002 Chevrolet U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year has emerged as a legitimate attacking presence coming out of the midfield after playing forward for the previous two years. She saw action in three games at the 2007 Women’s World Cup and instantly created a goal when she came on during the third-place match win over Norway. Despite her young age, Tarpley has scored two of the most important goals in U.S. soccer history, the first when she pounded in a rebound of her own shot in the championship game of the 2002 FIFA U-19 World Championship, giving the USA a dramatic 1-0 sudden death overtime victory over host Canada and the first-ever world title for youth women. The second came in the 2004 Olympic gold medal game off a blast from 25 yards out into the lower left corner. Tarpley’s experience in world championship events and her versatility will make her a valuable part of the Olympic Team as she is able to play forward as well.

ALY WAGNER
San Jose, Calif. (Second Olympics)

Wagner was hampered by injuries for the past year and a half, but got healthy in time to play her first matches of 2008 in the Peace Queen Cup and the veteran performed well enough to earn a spot on the Olympic Team. She underwent a double-hernia operation in late January. Injuries also limited her game action in 2007 when she played in just eight games. Those injuries reduced her to a spot role at the Women’s World Cup, but she did contribute greatly to the USA’s third-place match win over Norway, getting her first start and first minutes of the tournament. Wagner has special playmaking talents that can slice open opposing defenses and is one of the best passing midfielders in U.S. history. She has 41 assists in her career, good for sixth all-time. She also has 21 goals in her 121 games, showing she can put the ball in the net as well.

FORWARDS

NATASHA KAI
Kahuku, Hawaii (First Olympics)

Natasha Kai has come on strong in 2008, scoring 11 goals in 12 games and just 758 minutes, a goal every 68 minutes she’s been on the field. She has compiled 19 total goals in 48 matches. After struggling to find the net in 2007 she has rebounded in 2008 to show she can be remarkably dangerous as a starter or coming off the bench to give the USA’s opponents a lethal dose of speed and finishing ability. Still a bit raw like fresh cut sugar cane from her home state, her tremendous speed, one-on-one dribbling ability, world-class vertical leap and dangerous heading ability make her a player that can cause trouble for opponents in the attacking third. She played in three games at the Women’s World Cup off the bench.

AMY RODRIGUEZ
Lake Forest, Calif. (First Olympics)

This pocket Hercules has remarkable strength and acceleration due to her low center of gravity, powerful legs and world class speed. She has shown flashes of brilliance so far for the USA, scoring four goals this year (including the game-winner against Brazil in the Peace Queen Cup in South Korea) and has created scoring chances every time’s gotten into the game. With just 19 caps, her ability to get into scoring positions and set up her teammates should become even more potent with the sharpening of finishing skills that comes with increased experience. She was a key player in helping USC to a Cinderella NCAA title last season, scoring twice in the NCAA semifinal over rival UCLA and being named the MVP of the Final Four. She has played in two youth world championships for the USA, in Thailand in 2004 where she made her international debut and in Russia in 2006. She scored twice in each tournament. She is one of two players on the roster with college eligibility remaining and will be a senior at USC next season.

ABBY WAMBACH
Rochester, N.Y. (Second Olympics)

The thundering striker cemented her status as one of the world’s top forwards with six goals at the 2007 Women’s World Cup, good enough to win her the Silver Shoe as the second leading scorer in the tournament. She was also the USA’s leading scorer at the 2003 Women’s World Cup with three goals, including the historic game-winner in the 1-0 victory over Norway in the quarterfinals, and at the 2004 Olympics with four goals, including the dramatic game-winner in the gold medal match against Brazil. She reached 50 career goals for the USA in fewer matches than anyone but the great Michelle Akers and is currently roaring toward 100 goals, which would put her in an elite group with four other U.S. legends: Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly, Michelle Akers and Tiffeny Milbrett. When she reaches 100, she’ll be just the ninth woman in history to do so. The 2003, 2004 and 2007 U.S. Soccer Women’s Player of the Year is extremely technical despite her size and has a world-class heading and shooting presence. She is an intimidating force for any defense to handle and brings physicality to the game that is difficult to contain over 90 minutes. She finished fourth in the voting for 2006 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year and fifth for the 2007 award.


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