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Sundhage goes for variety with World Cup squad
by Ridge Mahoney, May 9th, 2011 1:31PM

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TAGS:  women's national team, women's world cup

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[U.S. WOMEN] Twelve of the 21 players named to the U.S. Women's World Cup will be playing in the competition for the first time, yet while picking her squad head coach Pia Sundhage says she valued balance as much as experience.

“You have all kinds of players that have different qualities on this roster, but all in all, they make up a good team,” says Sundhage, who also retained 14 veterans from the 2008 Olympic team that won the gold medal. “We have people that organize defensively, people that can step up when it really matters, people that are good in the air, people that are fighters, and tricky ones as well.”

Defender and captain Christie Rampone is the only holdover from the 1999 competition and will play in her fourth WWC. Midfielder Shannon Boxx and forward Abby Wambach are veterans of the 2003 and 2007 competitions. The second-timers are the two most experienced goalkeepers, Nicole Barnhart and Hope Solo; a midfield core of Carli Lloyd, Lindsay Tarpley and Heather O’Reilly; and outside back Stephanie Cox.

The nine World Cup debutants are goalie Jill Loyden; defenders Rachel Buehler, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts and Becky Sauerbrunn; midfielders Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey and Megan Rapinoe, and forwards Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan and Amy Rodriguez. Knee injuries knocked LePeilbet and Mitts off the 2007 Women’s World Cup squad. All of the players, except out-of-contract defender Krieger, play for WPS teams.

The 21 players will gather in Columbus, Ohio, Monday to prepare for a pair of games against Japan Saturday at Crew Stadium and a week from Wednesday at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. Its final preparation match is scheduled against Mexico June 5 at Red Bull Arena.

After a short break, the players will re-assemble for a final training camp in Austria prior to the Women’s World Cup (June 26-July 17). After their opener against North Korea in Dresden June 28, the Americans also play Colombia and Sweden in Group C.

“We need to continue to work on fitness and other things so we sharpen up a little bit and make sure everyone is healthy,” said Sundhage. “But the biggest thing for these days in front of us will be balancing how much we should work on defending and how much we work on the attack.

“If I look back in 2008, we did a great job in our preparation for the Olympics, and while it’s important to give them a little bit of everything, we also must stick with the game plan as we move toward our group games.”

U.S. ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS
Player Club (GP/G)
Nicole Barnhart (Philadelphia Independence) 39/0
Jill Loyden (magicJack) 1/0
Hope Solo (magicJack) 92/0
DEFENDERS
Player Club (GP/G)
Rachel Buehler (Boston Breakers) 56/1
Stephanie Cox (Boston Breakers) 71/0
Ali Krieger (out of contract) 15/0
Amy LePeilbet (Boston Breakers) 47/0
Heather Mitts (Atlanta Beat) 115/2
Christie Rampone (magicJack) 234/4
Becky Sauerbrunn (magicJack) 8/0
MIDFIELDERS
Player Club (GP/G)
Shannon Boxx (magicJack) 143/22
Tobin Heath (Sky Blue FC) 25/2
Lori Lindsey (Philadelphia Independence) 19/0
Carli Lloyd (Atlanta Beat) 108/27
Heather O’Reilly (Sky Blue FC) 141/28
Megan Rapinoe (Philadelphia Independence) 28/0
Lindsay Tarpley (magicJack) 134/32
FORWARDS
Player Club (GP/G)
Lauren Cheney (Boston Breakers) 39/13
Alex Morgan (Western New York Flash) 16/7
Amy Rodriguez (Philadelphia Independence) 62/15
Abby Wambach (magicJack) 154/117



0 comments
  1. Robert Lanza
    commented on: May 10, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.
    Any word yet on whether magicJack's owner/coach/PR rep/beer vendor will be sitting next to Pia on the US bench?


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