June 7, 2012
CHICAGO, ILL. - U.S. Women's National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named the 18-player roster for the 2012 Olympic Games, a squad which includes former Tar Heels Heather O'Reilly and Tobin Heath. O'Reilly will be making her third Olympic appearance (2004, 2008 & 2012) and Heath will compete in her second Games (2008 & 2012).
In addition, 2011 alumnus Meghan Klingenberg, a midfielder, has been named one of the four replacement players for the squad as it begins its preparations for the London Games.
Eleven players make a return to the Olympics after helping the USA to the gold medal in 2008 in Beijing, China. Midfielders Shannon Boxx and Heather O'Reilly and defender Heather Mitts make their third Olympic Team while U.S. captain Christie Rampone will be playing in a U.S. record fourth Olympic Games.
The U.S. will open Group G play at the Olympics with two matches at the famed Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. The U.S. will first face France (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET) on July 25 - two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies - and then take on Colombia on July 28 (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET). The USA will finish group play against Korea DPR on July 31 (5:15 p.m. local / 12:15 p.m. ET) at the legendary Old Trafford in Manchester, home to Manchester United.
The U.S. Women's National Team has advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic women's soccer tournament that has been contested. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Athens, Ga., won silver in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and will be going for its third straight gold medal after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece, in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team Roster by Position - Detailed Roster
GOALKEEPERS (2): Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo
DEFENDERS (6): Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O'Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn
MIDFIELDERS (6): Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe
FORWARDS (4): Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach
"As always, these players make it very difficult to select rosters, and for this Olympic team it was a long, productive and interesting process to cut the pool down to these 18," said Sundhage. "The team is a mix of very experienced players and several new fresh faces. All the players are versatile, which is extremely important when you have just 16 field players on a roster. This is a group that is focused on some very high goals and it will be a pleasure to coach them in the Olympics."
Sundhage also named four replacement players in midfielder Lori Lindsey and goalkeeper Jill Loyden - both members of the USA's 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup team - twice-capped midfielder Meghan Klingenberg, a 2011 University of North Carolina alumna, and forward Christen Press, who is uncapped but currently one of the top scorers in the Swedish First Division.
Sundhage will take the Olympic team plus the four alternates to Sweden for a two-week training camp that features matches against Sweden on June 16 and against Japan on June 18 as three of the world's top women's soccer nations continue their Olympic preparations. Both U.S. matches will be played in Halmstad, Sweden, about 90 miles south of Gothenburg.
The U.S. team will play its Olympic send-off match on June 30 against Canada at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. MT and almost 10,000 tickets have already been sold. The match will be broadcast live on NBC. Fans will also be able to follow the match on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
Tickets starting at $22 are on sale to the public through ussoccer.com, by phone at 801-727-2700 (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a customized official U.S. National Team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available now exclusively through ussoccer.com.
U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team Roster Notes:
•Six players make their first Olympic team - defenders Kelley O'Hara, Amy LePeilbet and Becky Sauerbrunn, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and forwards Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux.
•Leroux is the only player on the 2012 Olympic team who was not a member of the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup team.
•Leroux, at age 22, is the youngest player on the roster. Rampone, at 36, is the oldest. Morgan is also 22, but will turn 23 in July.
•Leroux is by far the least-capped player on the team, having appeared in just nine games for the USA, but has scored seven goals in those matches.
•The average age of the U.S. Olympic team is just under 28 years old.
•U.S. leading scorer Abby Wambach returns to the Olympics after missing 2008 with a broken leg. She scored the winning goal in the 2004 Olympic gold medal game in overtime against Brazil. Wambach has 134 career goals, second only in U.S. history to Mia Hamm.
•Christie Rampone becomes the first U.S. player to be named to four Olympic teams.
•Rampone is tied with four other U.S. players with 16 career Olympic matches played and should become the USA's all-time leader in Olympic appearances this summer.
•California leads all states with five members of the U.S. Olympic team calling the Golden State their home. Four players from New Jersey hail from the Garden State, meaning half the players on the team are from California or New Jersey.
•Six players on the roster have been capped more than 100 times, led by Rampone who has played 256 times for the USA.
•The average number of caps on the roster is an amazing 91.
•Of the 16 field players on the roster, only defenders Sauerbrunn, O'Hara and LePeilbet have yet to score a full international goal.
•All nominations for the U.S. Olympic Team are subject to USOC approval with the entire U.S. Olympic Team encompassing all sports to be officially named on July 9.