As she had stated
, U.S. women's national team head coach Jill Ellis
with the team -- 17 players, all but suspended Hope Solo
and four alternates -- she picked for the Rio Olympics for friendlies against Thailand next Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, and the
Netherlands three days after that at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The Thailand game will be the last international match
-- the 231st appearance in a U.S. career that began in 2002 -- for
retiring Heather O'Reilly
. The squad also includes Megan Rapinoe
, who says she will kneel in silent protest during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" at national team games as she
has done at the last two Seattle Reign NWSL games. Mallory Pugh
, 18, will not be available to play against Thailand as she is training with the U.S. U-20s in Los Angeles. Pugh, who
is delaying her first season at UCLA because of the Under-20 Women's World Cup later in the fall, will be in Atlanta and available for the Netherlands game.
With a veteran team -- 15 of
the 22 players and alternates on the Olympic roster will be 30 in 2019 -- Ellis said one of the goals of the Olympics was to invest "in players that we think will be on that stage in 2019," in
reference to the next Women's World Cup in France.
She said the September friendlies will feature players from the Olympic roster. After that, everything will be done with 2019 in mind.
The USA's next official competition won't be until 2018 when Concacaf qualifying will be held.
"We are really looking forward to both of these matches," Ellis said. "These first two games
will all be players who were at the Olympics and then in October, we'll really start to focus on the new cycle. One of the most important things in this first game against Thailand is to celebrate
Heather O'Reilly's wonderful career and honor her with a send-off befitting her tremendous contribution to our program. I am certain the fans and our players and will make sure it's a very special
-- A natural grass surface will be installed for the Netherlands match at the Georgia Dome, the first indoor game on grass for the women since 1993 at the Pontiac Silverdome that
would be later used as the Detroit venue for the 1994 World Cup. U.S. Roster: GOALKEEPERS (2):
Ashlyn Harris (Orlando
Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars). DEFENDERS (7):
Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 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 (8):
Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland
Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle
Reign). FORWARDS (4):
Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).