- Â USA Opens Tournament on Oct. 28 vs. Haiti
- Seven Players Have Previous Women's World Cup Qualifying Experience
CHICAGO (Oct. 13, 2010) â€“ U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named 20 players to the roster for the 2010 CONCACAF Womenâ€™s World Cup Qualifying tournament, being held in CancÃºn, Mexico, from Oct. 28-Nov. 8.
Sundhage named the roster after a three-week training camp that consisted of 30 players. The camp took the team from Kennesaw, Ga., to Chester, Pa. and also featured two matches against China.
â€œIt was a difficult process to pick the final roster,â€ said U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage. â€œWe had some good players coming in and there were a lot of discussions among the coaches, but I think we made the right decisions during the camp and with the players we have going to the qualifications, we are ready.â€
Just seven players on the roster have previous Womenâ€™s World Cup qualifying experience, led by Kristine Lilly, who is the USAâ€™s all-time leader in qualifying appearances with 14 during her illustrious career. Lilly has been a part of each of the previous four U.S. squads that qualified for Womenâ€™s World Cups and will be the only player in CONCACAF history to appear in all five Womenâ€™s World Cup qualifying tournaments.
Forward Abby Wambach participated in qualifying for the 2003 and 2007 Womenâ€™s World Cups. Defenders Heather Mitts, Stephanie Cox and Christie Rampone and midfielders Heather Oâ€™Reilly and Carli Lloyd participated in qualifying for 2007. Ten players, a full half of the roster, participated in the qualifying tournament for the 2008 Olympics, a competition that was also held in Mexico.
Sundhage named a roster that features seven defenders, seven midfielders and four forwards, along with goalkeepers Nicole Barnhart and Jill Loyden. Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will accompany the team to CancÃºn to train but will not be on the game roster.
â€œOf course, we wanted to pick the best team so we looked at the best players for their particular positions and tried to make both our attack and defense as strong as possible,â€ said Sundhage. â€œOn any roster you want experience, but we also wanted to get some fresh inspiration with some new players.â€
The defenders are, for the most part, a veteran group, led by team captains Rampone and Rachel Buehler, as well as outside backs Cox and Mitts. All four were part of the USAâ€™s 2008 Olympic gold medal team. Current starting center back Amy LePeilbet will be participating in her first CONCACAF competition while Ali Krieger (six caps) and Becky Sauerbrunn (two caps) are the least experienced of the bunch. Sauerbrunn, the only player in the short two-season history of Womenâ€™s Professional Soccer (WPS) to play every minute of all of her clubâ€™s regular season games, makes the qualifying roster after being a late and last addition to the USAâ€™s training camp due to an injury to another player.
The midfielders are also heavy on experience with a few younger players . Lilly brings her world record 349 caps to Womenâ€™s World Cup qualifying, where she has also scored nine goals, while Oâ€™Reilly and Shannon Boxx have surpassed 100 career caps and Lloyd (93) is not far off.
Megan Rapinoe, who has started the USAâ€™s last four matches on the left flank, Yael Averbuch and Lori Lindsey have combined for just 37 career caps. The latter two will add depth to the USAâ€™s center midfield.
Among the four strikers named are three 2008 Olympic gold medalists in Wambach, the USAâ€™s leading scorer this year with eight goals in 2010 and 109 for her career, and rising young talents Lauren Cheney and Amy Rodriguez. The speedy Rodriguez finished tied for second with Wambach in goals (13) during this past WPS season. The fourth forward is the USAâ€™s lone collegian on the roster, Alex Morgan. One of the stars on the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Womenâ€™s World Cup in Chile, she scored her first career goal for the senior team on Oct. 6 in a 1-1 draw with China.
Krieger, who plays her club soccer in Germany with FFC Frankfurt, and Morgan, a senior at California, are the only players on the roster who do not play in WPS.
â€œThe (three-week) training camp was hard for them,â€ said Sundhage. â€œPhysically, the players just keep pushing and always go a little bit harder, so that was good, but you could see that mentally, at times, they were struggling a bit coming off the WPS season and almost straight into national team camp with just a few days rest. Still, I am happy with the camp and the break we have going into qualifying will be good for all of us.â€
Qualification for the 2007 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup consisted of just two matches with the USA defeating Mexico in the semifinal 2-0 on two goals from Abby Wambach to earn its berth to China. In the championship game, the USA defeated Canada 2-1 on a penalty kick in the last minute of overtime by Lilly.
On Oct. 11, CONCACAF announced a change in venues for the qualifying tournament, moving the USAâ€™s Group B match from Playa del Carmen, about 42 miles south of CancÃºn, to the 20,000-seat Estadio Quintana Roo in CancÃºn. The stadium was opened in August of 2007 and was built for Atlante of the Mexican First Division when the club relocated from Mexico City.
The change means that all matches of the tournament, being held from Oct. 28-Nov. 8, will be played in CancÃºn. The schedule of matches and the kickoff times remain the same as previously announced for both groups.
The United States will open its tournament on Oct. 28 against Haiti, face Guatemala on Oct. 30 and finish Group B play against Costa Rica on Nov. 1. All the USAâ€™s group matches will kick off at 7:30 p.m. local time. The matches on Oct. 28 and Oct. 30 are at 8:30 p.m. ET, but as Mexico falls back to Standard Time on Oct. 31 (and the USA does not change until Nov. 7), the USAâ€™s match on Nov. 1 against Costa Rica will kick off at 9:30 p.m. ET.
After round-robin play within the groups, the top two teams in each group will cross over for the all-important semifinals on Nov. 5 at Estadio Beto Ãvila, with the first-place team in Group A facing the second place team from Group B and vice-versa. The championship game and third-place match will be played on Nov. 8 at Estadio Quintana Roo.
2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup Qualifying
U.S. Women's National Team Roster by Position: Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Jill Loyden (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (7): Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers), Ali Krieger (FFC Frankfurt), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Philadelphia Independence), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Washington Freedom)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Yael Averbuch (Sky Blue FC), Shannon Boxx (FC Gold Pride), Kristine Lilly (Boston Breakers), Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Heather Oâ€™Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (4): Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (California), Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)