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Sundhage starts investing in 2011
by Paul Kennedy, May 7th, 2009 7AM
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[U.S. WOMEN] U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage has named 17 WPS players and four collegians to face Japan in friendly matches on May 20 at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco, Texas and on May 23 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

The matches will mark the return of Washington Freedom striker Abby Wambach to international action for the first time since she suffered a broken leg against Brazil on July 16, 2008, in the USA's final pre-Olympic match. Wambach, whose nasty tackle on the Saint Louis Athletica's Daniela Sunday resulted in a crack in her tibia and damaged two knee ligaments, has 99 career international goals and with one more would join four other U.S. players -- Mia Hamm (158), Kristine Lilly (129), Michelle Akers (105) and Tiffeny Milbrett (100) -- in the exclusive 100 goal club.

Thirteen of the players won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing last August, but Sundhage has also named several young players who have performed well in WPS.

WPS players called in included a trio of defenders -- the Los Angeles Sol's Brittany Bock, Boston Breakers' Amy LePeilbet and Chicago Red Stars' Marian Dalmy -- trying to earn or regain regular spots on the national team.

Sundhage called up at least one player from each of the WPS clubs, including four from both the Breakers and Red Stars.

The four collegiate players included Penn State's Christine Nairn, who was a member of the 2008 U-20 Women's World Cup championship team last fall in Chile and red-shirted as a freshman. She has trained with the full national team during the last year and will be looking for her first career senior team cap.

The other collegians are UCLA's Lauren Cheney, a member of the 2008 Olympic team who replaced Wambach on the roster after her injury, North Carolina's Casey Nogueira and Portland goalkeeper Kelsey Davis.

"Now is the time to start investing in 2011," Sundhage said. "We are bringing in an interesting mix of some newer players and players with experience, as well as some college players. The WPS has given us the chance to look at some new players, and it's fantastic that Abby is back in business."

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Nicole Barnhart (FC Gold Pride), Kelsey Davis (Univ. of Portland), Hope Solo (St. Louis Athletica).
DEFENDERS: Brittany Bock (Los Angeles Sol), Rachel Buehler (FC Gold Pride), Lori Chalupny (St. Louis Athletica), Marian Dalmy (Chicago Red Stars), Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers), Heather Mitts (Boston Breakers), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC).
MIDFIELDERS: Shannon Boxx (Los Angeles Sol), Angela Hucles (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Chicago Red Stars), Christine Nairn (Penn State Univ.), Heather O'Reilly (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsay Tarpley (Chicago Red Stars).
FORWARDS: Lauren Cheney (UCLA), Casey Nogueira (Univ. of North Carolina), Amy Rodriguez (Boston Breakers), Abby Wambach (Washington Freedom)


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