Jan, 8, 2008
MAKING THE CUT
WNT features youngsters and vets
CARSON, Calif--- After five days of training camp that featured seven on-field practice sessions, including a full-field scrimmage on Monday, Pia Sundhage has named her first tournament roster as head coach of the U.S. Women’s National Team. Sundhage chose 20 players who will travel to Foshan, China, on Tuesday in preparation for the 2008 Four Nations Tournament, being held Jan. 16-20 at the Foshan Sports Center.
These matches will be the first of 2008 for the U.S. women and first under former Bost Breakers coach Sundhage, who was hired in November.
This will be the seventh time the USA has participated in the Four Nations Tournament in China, a four-team round-robin competition that annually features some of the world’s top teams. While many of the U.S. players have been to China on multiple occasions, the trip will provide some valuable experience for the numerous young players on the roster who are trying to solidify themselves in the player pool in hopes of earning a spot on the USA’s Olympic qualifying roster, and ultimately, the Olympic Games from Aug. 6-21 in Beijing (and four other Chinese cities). Should the USA qualify for the Olympics, this Four Nations Tournament will be the only time the team will travel to China this year before heading back to Beijing in August.
With the controversy of the 2007 Women’s World Cup apparently behind them, both Briana Scurry and Hope Solo have been selected to backstop the team. Solo passed 50 caps at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and is the second-most capped GK in U.S. history, behind Scurry, who has 167 games on her resume.
The six defenders named are split down the middle between veterans and rookies, combining three starters from the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup with three uncapped players, meaning Cat Whitehill, Christie Rampone and Stephanie (Lopez) Cox will have to do a lot of mentoring for Tobin Heath, Becky Sauerbrunn and Ali Krieger. Cox is the second youngest of the defenders at 21 years old, but has 30 caps to her credit. With 177 career games played, Rampone is the most capped player on the. Heath is the youngest player on the roster at 19, but was a starter for the USA at the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championship in Russia. In her third training camp with the senior side, she makes her first tournament roster. Both Sauerbrunn, who co-captained the USA at the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship in Thailand, and Krieger have spent time with the U.S. U-21s over the past few years, but this was the first call-up to the National Team and the first time they have made a game roster. Sauerbrunn played her senior season at Virginia last fall while Krieger finished up at Penn State in 2006. Heath will be a junior next season at UNC.
Five of the USA’s seven midfielders named to the Four Nations roster were at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup, led by Lori Chalupny, who had a breakout tournament in her first senior world championship. Rounding out the midfield corps are two of the country’s finest collegiate attacking midfielders in Tina DiMartino from UCLA and Angie Woznuk from Portland. Both DiMartino and Woznuk have extensive experience with the USA’s youth national teams, but DiMartino is uncapped and Woznuk has just one cap, earned back in 2005. Woznuk was a member of the U.S. team that won the 2002 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Championship and won the Silver Ball as the second best player in the tournament at the 2004 U-19 tournament in Thailand (behind current FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta). Woznuk finished her college career at Portland this past fall while DiMartino will be a senior next season for UCLA.
With Kristine Lilly stepping away from the National Team while expecting her first child, and Natasha Kai not in training camp due to illness, all five forwards in camp were selected to the roster. Abby Wambach, who scored six goals at the Women’s World Cup, leads the way along with Heather O’Reilly, scorer of two goals in China, as well as Lindsay Tarpley. Joining that experienced trio are perhaps the two best forwards in college soccer in 2007 in Amy Rodriguez from NCAA champion USC and U.S. Soccer’s Young Female Athlete of the Year Lauren Cheney from UCLA. Rodriguez will be a senior at USC next fall and Cheney will be a junior. Rodriguez has five caps for the USA while Cheney has just two, both earned last year, when she also scored her first goal for the senior team in a Women’s World Cup warm-up vs. Mexico.
2008 Four Nations Tournament Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.);
DEFENDERS (6): Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Ali Krieger (Dumfries, Va.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Becky Sauerbrunn (St. Louis, Mo.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Tina DiMartino (Massapequa Park, N.Y.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.);
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).