PREVIEW: U.S. WNT Kicks Off Send-Off Series, Presented by Volpi Foods

By: U.S. Soccer

With the 23-player Women’s World Cup squad named on May 2, the U.S. Women’s National Team is in its final phase of preparation before the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA’s begins its three-game Send-Off Series Presented by Volpi Foods, against South Africa on May 12 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. (1:30 p.m. PT on FOX). TheUSA has posted a 4-1-2 record so far in 2019 with all but one of those games coming against World Cup-bound teams.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 21/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 43/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 37/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 19/1); Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 82/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 99/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 155/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 31/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 82/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 79/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 66/8), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 24/6), Allie Long (Reign FC; 42/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 47/9)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 147/28); Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 271/107), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 7/2), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 160/101), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 113/47), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 50/15), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 150/44)





Venue; City

May 12

South Africa

1:30 p.m. PT

Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, Calif.

May 16

New Zealand

7 p.m. CT

Busch Stadium; St. Louis, Mo.

May 26


12 p.m. ET

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.


June 11


3 p.m. ET

Auguste Delaune Stadium; Reims, France

June 16


12 p.m. ET

Parc des Princes; Paris, France

June 20


3 p.m. ET

Stade Océane; Le Havre, France


USA vs. South Africa: Sunday’s matchup will be only the second ever in the history of these two teams. When the USA played South Africa for the first time in July of 2016 in the lead up to the Olympics, it was the 49th nation the USA had faced in its history. That match, played at Soldier Field in Chicago in front of almost 20,000 fans, saw the USA win 1-0 on a goal from Crystal Dunn in the 35th minute. The USA out-shot South Africa 18-4 in the match.

ELLIS vs. ELLIS: The match vs. South Africa will feature an Ellis on each bench as head coach for both teams. Jill Ellis for the United States and Desiree Ellis for South Africa.

Breaking Down the USA’s World Cup Roster: On May 2, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis made public the 23-player roster that will represent the USA in France this summer, a roster that was a product of more than two-and-a-half years of evaluation in trainings and games since the end of the 2016 Olympics. Ellis selected 12 players who were part of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup championship squad, while the roster averages 80 international caps per player and has a combined total of 94 previous Women’s World Cup appearances. Of the 23 players named to the roster, Carli Lloyd has the most World Cup experience having played in 18 matches while scoring seven goals, six at the 2015 tournament. Lloyd is also the oldest player on the roster at 36, while Tierna Davidson is the youngest at 20.

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is Around the Corner: The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off June 7 as host France faces South Korea in Paris and will run through July 7 when the championship game is staged in Lyon.The tournament will mark the eighth consecutive World Cup appearance for three-time World Cup champion USA (1991, 1999, 2015), one of six countries to qualify for all eight Women’s World Cups along with Brazil, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and Nigeria. This will be the second Women’s World Cup to include 24 nations. Sixteen teams participated in the four World Cups held from 1999-2011. The 1991 and 1995 WWC featured 12 teams.The field for this tournament includes host France along with Spain, Italy, England, Scotland, Norway, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands from Europe; China PR, Thailand, Australia, South Korea and Japan from Asia; Brazil, Chile and Argentina from South America; the United States, Canada and Jamaica from Concacaf; Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon from Africa; and New Zealand from Oceania.

Back in the Bay Area: The Send-Off Series is set to take USA to the West Coast, Midwest and East Coast. To kick things off, the match at Levi’s Stadium will be the first for the U.S. WNT at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. The U.S. roster features numerous players with ties to the Bay Area. Defenders Abby Dahlkemper and Tierna Davidson both grew up in Menlo Park and attended the same high school – Sacred Heart Preparatory – but not at the same time. Davidson also attended Stanford where she helped the Cardinal win the 2017 NCAA title. Julie Ertz was a star at Santa Clara University and Alex Morgan was a star at UC Berkeley across the bay. Kelley O’Hara and Christen Press both won the MAC Hermann Trophy at Stanford.

New Rules Get Test Run: In preparation for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, U.S. Soccer requested and received approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB) to implement three changes to the Laws of the Game during the tournament. These changes, although not officially instituted until June, will be used for the USA’s April friendly matches. At the 133rd AGM of The IFAB held in Aberdeen, Scotland on March 2, 2019 these changes (as well as additional changes) were approved to the Laws of the Game for 2019/20:

  • A player being substituted must leave the field of play at the nearest point on the boundary line.
  • Yellow and red cards for misconduct can be issued to team officials.
  • On a goal kick and a free kick for the defending team in their own penalty area, the ball is in play as soon as the kick is taken so a player – or opponent as long as they started outside the penalty or were not given the proper time to exit the penalty – can play the ball before it leaves the penalty area.

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