[USA WOMEN]New U.S. women's national team head coach Tom Sermanni named the 29 players for his first training camp leading into the USA's first two matches of 2013 against Scotland. The squad includes 17 of the 18 members of the 2012 Olympic gold-medal team. The nucleus of the squad comes from players recently signed to play in the new NWSL, but it includes five players based abroad, two college underclassmen and the first high school player called into camp in eight years. For a look at the team ...
"I'm excited to get out on the field and work with the team for the first time," said Sermanni, who was appointed the new head coach of the USA at the end of October, in a statement. "For this particular part of the cycle, it's important to look at the established players in the squad but also the up-and-coming players and the ones who we think have the potential to really fight for positions on the team. For me, this period is really about observation and evaluation of some players who I know very well, some I've seen play only a bit and some who I will be seeing in a competitive environment for the first time."
-- Forwards Abby Wambach, the 2012 FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, and Alex Morgan, the 2012 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, will lead the team. The only 2012 Olympic team member not named to the camp was defenders Amy LePeilbet, who has a lingering knee injury.
-- The camp marks the return of defender Ali Krieger to the U.S. team for the first time since she suffered a serious knee injury during Olympic qualifying just over a year ago. Krieger played the past five years in Germany and has returned to the USA to play for the NWSL's Washington Spirit.
-- Olympic champions Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath are playing in France for champion Lyon and Paris SG, respectively, before joining WPSL. Rapinoe was picked by Seattle, and Heath was selected by Portland.
-- Several players who have been battling to make the team are based abroad: midfielder Yael Averbuch and Christen Press in Germany and defender Whitney Engen, who signed with Liverpool FC in England.
-- Sermanni named two of the stars of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup in Japan last summer. University of North Carolina defender Crystal Dunn, the 2012 Soccer America Player of the Year, and Santa Clara University defender Julie Johnston, the U.S. captain and winner of the Bronze Ball as the third-best player in the tournament, earned their first call-ups.
-- Boston College midfielder Kristie Mewis, who was picked third overall in the NWSL college draft by FC Kansas City, is the lone college senior in the team. She has logged extensive training time with the U.S. team but has yet to earn a cap.
-- The youngest player called up is 17-year-old goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who was the starter for the USA at the 2012 Under-17 Women's World Cup in Azerbaijan. She becomes the youngest goalkeeper called into the full national team since an 18-year-old Hope Solo participated in her first training camp in 1999.
GOALKEEPERS (5):Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire South), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9):Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), Crystal Dunn (Univ. of North Carolina), Whitney Engen (Liverpool FC/ENG), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara Univ.), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Heather Mitts (Boston Breakers), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (10):Yael Averbuch (Gothenburg FC/SWE), Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), Tobin Heath (Paris SG/FRA), Lori Lindsey (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), Kristie Mewis (FC Kansas City), Heather O'Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Lyon/FRA), Keelin Winters (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (5):Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Tyreso FF/SWE), Amy Rodriguez (Seattle Reign FC), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)