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Sundhage's talent search continues
January 29th, 2008 6:30AM

TAGS:  women's national team


[U.S. WOMEN] Pia Sundhage is organizing a mega-camp beginning Friday at the Home Depot Center, the last chance for players to impress the new U.S. women's national team coach before she gets down to the task of picking a squad to prepare for Olympic qualifying in the CONCACAF region to be held April 2-13 in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

The players will be split into two groups -- veterans who will work with new fitness coach Helena Andersson on fitness and strength training -- and young players. Players from the latter group who have impressed Sundhage will remain with the team for a week of training beginning on Feb. 9 to begin preparations for the 2008 Algarve Cup, which will be held from March 5-12 in Portugal.

Sundhage is bringing in 10 players for the first time since she took over as U.S. women's coach.

Among the more experienced players getting a look are 2004 Olympic gold medalist Kristin Luckenbill, who was the back-up keeper to Briana Scurry in Athens, and forward Christie Welsh, who has played 39 times for the USA. Defender Heather Mitts, a 2004 Olympian with 71 caps, returns after recovering from an ACL injury suffered last May.

Sundhage arrived in the USA at the end of the 2007 college season, so she has seen most of the top college talent. Several stars from the W-League -- including Welsh, the 2007 W-League Championship MVP with the Washington Freedom -- and WPSL were called up.

Defender Kate Markgraf and forward Natasha Kai, members of the USA's 2007 Women's World Cup team, return after missing the last camp with injury and illness, respectively.

Of the 20 players who helped the USA win the Four Nations Tournament in China, only defender Ali Krieger will not be in camp. She returned to Germany to play for her club team, FFC Frankfurt.

Cori Alexander (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Kristen Luckenbill (FC Indiana)
Briana Scurry (U.S. Soccer residency)
Hope Solo (U.S. Soccer residency);
Stephanie Cox (Univ. of Portland)
Marian Dalmy (U.S. Soccer residency)
Keeley Dowling (Orebro, Sweden)
Tobin Heath (Univ. of North Carolina)
Amy LePeilbet (U.S. Soccer residency)
Kate Markgraf (U.S. Soccer residency)
Heather Mitts (U.S. Soccer residency)
Christie Rampone (U.S. Soccer residency)
Becky Sauerbrunn (Univ. of Virginia)
Brittany Taylor (Univ. of Connecticut)
India Trotter (U.S. Soccer residency)
Cat Whitehill (U.S. Soccer residency)
Shannon Boxx (U.S. Soccer residency)
Jen Buczkowski (Chicago Gaels)
Lori Chalupny (U.S. Soccer residency)
Tina DiMartino (UCLA)
Angela Hucles (U.S. Soccer residency)
Lindsay Huie (no team)
Sarah Huffman (Washington Freedom)
Noelle Keselica (Richmond Kickers Destiny)
Carli Lloyd (U.S. Soccer residency)
Joanna Lohman (Washington Freedom)
Manya Makoski (Jersey Sky Blue)
Leslie Osborne (U.S. Soccer residency)
Angie Woznuk (Univ. of Portland)
Lauren Cheney (UCLA)
Natasha Kai (U.S. Soccer residency)
Heather O'Reilly (U.S. Soccer residency)
Amy Rodriguez (USC)
Lindsay Tarpley (U.S. Soccer residency)
Abby Wambach (U.S. Soccer residency)
Tiffany Weimer (SoccerPlus Connecticut)
Christie Welsh (Washington Freedom)

At the annual tournament staged in March for the past 14 years in the south of Portugal, the USA will face China (March 5), Norway (March 7) and Italy (March 10) in Group B play. Group A is made up of Women's World Cup champion Germany, Sweden, and Finland. The placement matches will be held on March 12. Venues and kickoff times have yet to be confirmed.

For the first week, Sundhage will split the 37 players into two groups, a larger one consisting of younger players and the other made up of veterans, who will focus primarily on fitness and strength training with new fitness coach Helena Andersson. On Feb. 9, the remaining players from the first group will come together with the veterans for a week of training before Sundhage chooses the Algarve Cup roster.


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