U.S. women head to Europe without three stars

Four months ahead of the 2015 Women's World Cup, the USA heads to Europe for friendlies against fellow qualifiers France and England. Coach Jill Ellis' 24-player roster is missing three veterans -- Megan Rapinoe, Christie Rampone and Hope Solo. Alex Morgan, out injured since October, appears ready for a return to action, and one newcomer joins the squad.

The Americans face France on Feb. 8 in Lorient (noon ET on ESPN2) and England in Feb. 13 in Milton Keynes (3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).

Rapinoe and Rampone are out with knee and back injuries, respectively. Both suffered the injuries during January training camp and both injuries are described as minor by U.S. Soccer. Solo is serving a 30-day suspension.

The only player called up who was not in the January camps is uncapped Washington Spirit defensive midfielder Tori Huster.

Morgan, who suffered an ankle injury during a World Cup qualifier against Guatemala. Morgan had injured the same ankle in late 2013 and missed the first half of 2014 action.

Morgan has been training during the last two U.S. camps and Ellis said she’s now “fully integrated back into this training camp.”

The USA met France twice last year at home, a 1-0 U.S. victory and a 2-2 draw. The Americans haven’t played England since they suffered a 2-1 loss in London in 2011.

Both France and England went unbeaten in their Women's World Cup qualifying groups.

"These games are exactly what we need," said Ellis in a press release. "Our goal leading up to the World Cup is to play some of the best teams. These are two opponents that will test us and certainly two teams we could meet in Canada. Both teams are exceptionally well-organized, have a high level of athleticism and will pose some excellent challenges."

U.S. Women’s Roster
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers).
DEFENDERS (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Tori Huster (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City).
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash).

3 comments about "U.S. women head to Europe without three stars".
  1. Carl Hudson, January 31, 2015 at 2:06 p.m.

    Is this team getting old? Why not some
    college players (non-pros)

  2. John Soares, January 31, 2015 at 4:29 p.m.

    No they have plenty of youth....balance.

  3. schultz rockne, January 31, 2015 at 10:01 p.m.

    Age...balance...doesn't really mean that much. It's the same old team--able to dominate less-physically-compelling nations, but struggle with more skilled, quicker competition. Suburban girls--for the most part--cannot compete with urban footballers. Same with the men. This team will struggle as soon as the quarter-finals.

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