U.S. Women: Rampone returns for Denver camp

In the last camp before she is expected to name her 18-player roster for the Olympics, U.S. women's national team head coach Jill Ellis has called in 25 players, all but three playing in the NWSL. The training camp begins May 27 in Denver ahead of two June matches against Japan, their first meetings since the 2015 Women's World Cup final.

Back with the team for the first time in 2016 are longtime captain Christie Rampone and Gina Lewandowski, who recently helped Bayern Munich defend its Frauen-Bundesliga. Portland Thorns keeper Adrianna Franch and University of Wisconsin midfielder Rose Lavelle were last in camp in January.

Rampone, whose 311 caps are second all-time behind Kristine Lilly's 354, has not played for the USA since September during the Victory Tour. Since recovering from knee surgery, she has played in all five NWSL matches for Sky Blue FC but would be considered a longshot to make the Olympic 18.

Ellis said the extra players will give the team a chance to scrimmage during the camp that begins before the first game against Japan at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.

"We are going with a slightly larger roster for this camp than the last few, so internally we can play in more 11v11 training scenarios," she said. "My staff and I have been watching the league play, and now we get to evaluate them back together. Both environments are important."

Missing from the camp are two 2015 Women's World Cup starters recovering from knee injuries: Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe. Lloyd's injury is less serious than Rapinoe's, and the U.S. co-captain is expected to be ready for the Olympics.

If Rapinoe doesn't return, the other 17 spots on the Olympic roster will then in all likelihood come from the 21 players on the Denver camp roster who have been with the USA for all or most of the year. Of those 21 players, 13 would be considered locks to go to Rio.

SCHEDULE. The June 2 match at Dick's Sporting Goods Park is sold out -- three U.S players (Lindsey Horan, Mallory Pugh and Jaelene Hinkle) hail from the Denver area -- and almost 19,000 tickets have been sold for the game on June 5 at Cleveland's FirstEnergy Stadium.

U.S. Women's Roster:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign).
DEFENDERS (10): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Gina Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Univ. of Wisconsin), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City).
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).
4 comments about "U.S. Women: Rampone returns for Denver camp".
  1. R2 Dad, May 18, 2016 at 5:40 p.m.

    Fair-enough, Ellis needs scrimmage players. But Rampone is FORTY YEARS OLD and has won everything already. She is taking the spot of a younger player who needs these reps and caps ahead of the next world cup. Being the reigning world cup manager means Ellis gets to make the hard decisions from a position of strength. Time to kick grandma to the curb, Jill. We should never see another 300-caps player again.

  2. John Munnell, May 19, 2016 at 9:56 a.m.

    Wow, really? I generally agree with your point. There is a time to develop new talent and leadership in the team. (To that end,I'm one of those folks who would like to see the Olympics be a pure U-23 tournament.)But "grandma"?!? That grandma could kick your ass and mine. More to the point, she can provide an example of professionalism and a point of evaluation to assess the others. If her league form is good, I'll even support a courtesy call-in for a veteran of this stature.

  3. R2 Dad replied, May 19, 2016 at 12:32 p.m.

    Ok, a tad disrespectful but come on, are the French(oldest player-31) and & Germans(oldest player-33) playing 40 year olds? That is something countries do that have no options. This looks like charity, and you don't stay on top with that attitude in the ranks. There are 20 players out there that have better touch, better skills on the ball, and a decent IQ for their lack of international play, all between 18 and 23 YO. Jill gets a hall pass on this one, but what is the message to women who want to play for the USWNT? That message is, if you have dual citizenship, go somewhere else because you'll never get a chance on a team that holds on to retirees for sentimental reasons.

  4. Wooden Ships, May 20, 2016 at 12:29 p.m.

    This is probably the opportunity for the USWNT swan song for Rampone. An on-field farewell. A nice and traditional touch.

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