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March 18, 2008
U.S. women will get ready for qualifying

CHICAGO – After a victorious run at the 2008 Algarve Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team return to training camp on Friday, March 21, at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., to begin final preparations for the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament being held April 2-12 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The U.S. will compete in Group A and will open the tournament on April 4 against Jamaica before facing Mexico on April 6. Both games will be played in the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez, which will host all 10 games during the qualifying tournament. The stadium holds just over 22,000 fans.

U.S. head coach Pia Sundhage has called in 26 players to the training camp and will choose a 20-player roster for the qualifying tournament, although just 18 players will suit up for each game. Sundhage can use any of the 20 players during any game of the competition, but must name 18 for each match.

The 26 players in camp include all 20 players who helped the USA win the 2008 Algarve Cup, plus an additional six who have trained regularly with the U.S. team this year.

The U.S. team will train until Sunday, March 30, before leaving for Mexico on the last day of the month. That will give the team three days in Ciudad Juarez, which is located in the central time zone, before opening its tournament against Jamaica.

Amazingly, the match against Mexico during qualifying will mark the first time the USA has ever played Mexico in Mexico. It will be the 23rd meeting between the two neighboring countries.

The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will cross over to face the top two teams from Group B, which includes Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the 2008 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing.

The USA qualified for the 1996 Olympics as host. The U.S. women qualified for the 2000 Olympics by finishing in the top seven at the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. For the 2004 Olympics, the USA won the first-ever CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament, held that year in Costa Rica, defeating the hosts in the semifinals and Mexico in the championship game.

GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Kristin Luckenbill (Paoli, Pa.), Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.)
DEFENDERS (9): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Keeley Dowling (Carmel, Ind.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Heather Mitts (Cincinnati, Ohio), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), India Trotter (Plantation, Fla.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.);
MIDFIELDERS (8): Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.), Tobin Heath (Basking Ridge, N.J.), Angela Hucles (Virginia Beach, Va.), Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.), Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.), Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.), Kacey White (Arlington, Texas), Angie Woznuk (El Cajon, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney (Indianapolis, Ind.), Natasha Kai (Kahuku, Hawaii), Heather O’Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.), Amy Rodriguez (Lake Forest, Calif.), Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.).

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