Pia Sundhage, head coach of the United States Women's National Team, announced earlier today the 20-player roster that she will be bringing with her to Vancouver, B.C. for the CONCACAF Women's Qualifying Tournament. The two teams that make it to the final of the tournament, set to begin on January 19th, will qualify for the 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Many familiar faces from the 2011 World Cup will take to the pitch for the tournament, as Coach Sundhage picked 19 of the 20 women who helped take the team to the heartbreaking final match last year. Stars like forward Abby Wambach, keeper Hope Solo and team captain Christie Rampone are all returning for the tournament as the USWNT hopes to qualify for the fifth consecutive time as well as reach the final of this qualifier for the third consecutive time. Abby Wambach is going into the tournament with a stunning 125 career goals for the US while Christie Rampone goes in with 244 career national team appearances.
It should also be noted that every player who scored in the World Cup will be returning for the qualifying tournament. This includes forward Alex Morgan, who shined as the youngest player on the squad in Germany, scoring her first ever World Cup goal. Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Rachel Buehler and Lauren Cheney also all scored goals during their time in Germany, and are hoping to add to their tally.
The First round of the tournament will begin for the USA on Friday, January 20th as they take on the Dominican Republic. They will then play again that Sunday against Guatemala, finally finishing group play on the 24th against rival Mexico. Should the USWMNT make it to the final (fingers crossed), that game will be played on Sunday, January 29th. A look at the entire squad for the tournament is listed below.
US Women's National Team 20-Player Roster:
Goalkeepers: Hope Solo, Nicole Barnhart.
Defenders: Rachel Buehler, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelly O'Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn.
Midfielders: Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez.
Forwards: Lauren Cheney, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach.