March 31, 2008
READY FOR QUALIFYING
Hucles on U.S. women's team
CHICAGO---Former Boston Breaker Angela Hucles was named to the 20-women roster that will be a part of the U.S. Women's National Team as it attempts to qualify for the Beijing Olympics in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
There are two CONCACAF berths open for the Olympic tournament.
All 10 games of the qualifying competition will be held at the Estadio Olímpico Benito Juarez. The U.S. is in Group A and will open the tournament against Jamaica at 10:30 p.m. ET on April 4 before facing Mexico on April 6 at 3:30 p.m. ET on April 6.
The top two teams from Group A will advance to the semifinals, where they will crossover to face the top two teams from Group B, which features Canada, Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago. The winners of the April 9 semifinals will qualify for the Summer Games. Fans can follow all of the U.S.’s matches online with ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker.
U.S. coach Pia Sundhage will be allowed to suit up 18 players for each match, but can rotate her active roster from game to game.
“We’ve had a good week of training in Los Angeles and the team is excited about the challenge of playing important matches that represent our path to the Olympics,” Sundhage said in a statement. “It’s always a good thing for a team to play games that mean so much and that pressure will help us continue to develop the style we want to play. We’ve tried different things in China at the Four Nations Tournament and at the Algarve Cup, so now it’s about finding our best combinations of players for these qualifying matches.”
The Americans seek their fourth consecutive Olympic berth. In 2004, the U.S. won the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying Tournament in Costa Rica, and went on to win gold at the Athens summer Games. The U.S. qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Games as host, and for the 2000 Sydney Games as a top-seven finisher at the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
Nine players named to the U.S. roster for qualifying in Mexico played in the last Olympic qualifying tournament in 2004.
Eight teams have qualified for the 12-team Olympic tournament. Japan, North Korea and China (hosts) from Asia, Argentina from South America, Nigeria from Africa, and Germany, Norway and Sweden from Europe have already booked tickets. In addition to the two teams from CONCACAF, one team from Oceania has yet to qualify. Brazil, who finished second in South American qualifying will face African runner-up Ghana in a one-game playoff for the final Olympic berth on April 19 in Beijing, one day prior to the final draw.
The U.S. roster:
Goalkeepers (2): Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.), Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.). Defenders (6): Rachel Buehler (Del Mar, Calif.), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.), Stephanie Cox (Elk Grove, Calif.), Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.), Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.). Midfielders (7): 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). 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.).