Just 13 of the 23 members of the USA's 2015 Women's World Cup championship team were named to the roster for Olympic qualifying, signaling big changes on the national team.
, Lauren Holiday
, Lori Chalupny
and Shannon Boxx
), injuries (Christie Rampone
and Megan Rapinoe
) and pregnancies (Amy Rodriguez
) account for eight of the world champions who are missing, but Coach Jill Ellis
also did not select veterans Whitney Engen
and Heather O'Reilly
Ellis has made room for a talented group of young players, none older than 23, who won roster spots. Indeed, two of the new guard, Crystal Dunn
and Lindsey Horan
could start in Olympic qualifying, which will take place Feb. 10-21 in Frisco and Houston, Texas.
Here's a look at the seven newcomers ... CRYSTAL DUNN (23).
Dunn was the last cut on the 2015 Women's World Cup team and used that as motivation. There was no keeping her off the national team for long as she led the
NWSL with 15 goals and was named in the league MVP in her second season with the Washington Spirit. She scored four goals and added three assists on the fall Victory Tour and looks to have won a
starting spot on the wing in place of the injured Rapinoe. Dunn is the latest in a long line of North Carolina products to star on the national team. (She joins backup keeper Ashlyn Harris
and Tobin Heath
-- all Tar Heels -- on the qualifying roster. Both Engen and O'Reilly, who missed out, played at Carolina.) JAELENE HINKLE (22).
What is it about Colorado girls soccer? Mallory Pugh
, Horan and
Hinkle all hail from Colorado -- Horan from Rush and
Pugh and Hinkle from Real Colorado. Hinkle starred at Texas Tech and was taken with the No. 7 pick by the Western New York Flash in the 2015 NWSL College Draft and started all 20 games. She's probably
the least heralded of the newcomers on the national team, but she impressed during the Victory Tour with her play at outside back, where she will be No. 4 on the depth chart behind Ali Krieger
Klingenberg and Kelley O'Hara
. LINDSEY HORAN (21).
Horan made history when she signed with French club Paris St. Germain out of
high school in Colorado, spurning a full ride from North Carolina. Injuries slowed her down in 2014-15 and she decided to leave PSG after the fall campaign for the Portland Thorns of the NWSL. A move
back home to play regularly on the national team was likely going to be the only way she'd nail down a spot. Horan, only 21, mostly played up front in France but has settled in as a starter for the
national team in midfield, in the role Holiday played at the 2015 Women's World Cup.
STEPHANIE McCAFFREY (22).
The Boston College product is a beneficiary of the under-23 national team, getting international experience she lacked
during her youth days. She was born and raised in Winchester, Massachusetts, and played for the Stars of Massachusetts. A trade in the middle of the 2015 NWSL College Draft kept her close to home as
she joined the Boston Breakers. Despite the Breakers' last-place season, McCaffrey earned a call-up to the national team in the fall and scored in her debut against Brazil in October. She was
considered a long shot to make the qualifying roster but probably benefited from Leroux's surprise announcement that she was pregnant. SAM
Mewis got her first chance to train with the national team in January 2014. Among her teammates was older sister Kristie
, who plays for the Boston Breakers. They grew up in
nearby Hanson, Massachusetts, and starred for local youth club Scorpions FC. While Kristie stayed close to home, attending Boston College, Sam went to UCLA and was part of the great Bruin team that
won the national title in 2013. A year before, she had played on the U.S. U-20 Women's World Cup championship team with current U.S. teammates Morgan Brian
, Julie Johnston
Mewis was the third of three UCLA players taken 2-3-4 in the 2015 NWSL College Draft behind Brian and signed with the Flash. MALLORY PUGH
Pugh scored in her debut for the USA on Saturday in the 5-0 win over Ireland and showed why she has been tipped by coaches as the best player to come along since Mia Hamm
stuff for a 17-year-old who is a senior at Mountain Vista High School. U.S. Soccer's 2015 Young Player of the Year was attending her first senior national team camp after leading the USA to the
Concacaf U-20 women's title in December. (She's still eligible for the 2016 and 2018 U-20 Women's World Cups.) Her father recently debunked rumors
that she would forego a scholarship to UCLA to turn pro with the Thorns.
EMILY SONNETT (22).
Like Brian, her former Cavalier teammate, Sonnett split time in her senior season at Virginia between college and
the national team. She earned her first start during the Victory Tour and started alongside Engen in place of injured Julie Johnson
and Becky Sauerbrunn
against Ireland. She'll be the
backup to Johnston and Sauerbrunn in Olympic qualifying, then join the Thorns, who took her with No. 1 pick in the NWSL College Draft.
More cuts will follow. If the USA qualifies for Rio
2016, it will only be able to take 18 players.
The average age of the team is 25.7, down from 29.4 for the Women's World Cup.
U.S. Women's Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign).
DEFENDERS (7): Jaelene
Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas
City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha
Mewis (Western New York Flash).
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars),
Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).