U.S. Women: Ellis recalls Olympians for friendlies

As she had stated, U.S. women's national team head coach Jill Ellis will stick 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 day."

-- 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).
6 comments about "U.S. Women: Ellis recalls Olympians for friendlies".
  1. Melvin Howard, September 9, 2016 at 8:24 a.m.

    If the USWNT allows Rapinoe to kneel during "our" National Anthem, I will not go to (they are in Atlanta next week) nor will I watch another game while she is on the roster. It is one thing for these overpaid prima donna pros that are on club teams to do this but to represent your country is entirely another and should be respected.

  2. Walter Giraldi, September 9, 2016 at 10:29 a.m.

    The tradition of playing the National Anthem began during WWII as a way of showing respect for the war effort and the troops. In case these players have forgotten, there is still a war going on. When the flag draped coffins of troops who have died in combat are returned to Dover AFB, which coffin should have the flag removed because that person was "disrespected" by his/her country? As the employer of national team players, US Soccer should take a stand, as well as Coach Ellis. If they don't, it shows they are "in it" for the money success brings, not for producing a team representing the country. There are better ways to bring about needed social change than taking a knee during the playing of the anthem. I have attended both men and women Olympic and World Cup national team games. If US Soccer doesn't take a stand, I will, with my wallet, by no longer supporting both the men and women teams: no attending games, recording games, US Soccer sponsored activities, camps, clinics, etc. BTW, the same goes for the SF 49ers!

  3. Kevin Leahy, September 9, 2016 at 10:56 a.m.

    As a veteran it, does not offend me but, I can understand how it would offend many others. These public people have enough access to find another forum to express themselves. Their influence could go along way to dealing with America's social ills. Like the rest of the world, there are many with many variations. I am more impressed by people who work under the radar.

  4. Steven Hulland, September 9, 2016 at 12:11 p.m.

    As a veteran and a Marine. It bothers me. If allowed to take a knee or not stand, I will also protest by not watching the USA games with Megan playing and/or not attend. Megan is a representative of our country. She can protest by not attending/playing US WNT games. US .....key word here is "US" Soccer needs to take a stand.

  5. John Soares, September 9, 2016 at 1:25 p.m.

    As a Vietnam veteran it does not offend me. (I know repeat) Some say they will "protest" with their wallet...you have the right to do so. I applaud you. Others say that these athletes, and others should be punished. How is your right to free speech and protest, somehow greater than theirs? YES, it's controversial... but aren't all protest? At least to those that do not agree? This protest is not against the USA. It's against "some" issues within the country... nothing new here.

  6. Leonardo Perez, September 10, 2016 at 1:12 a.m.

    Well stated John Soares. I'm a Vietnam
    veteran too, and I think that Ms Rapinoe has the right to express herself anyway she wants to. If David Dukes can express his racial hatred and the Donald can express his polarizing rhetoric, why can't Ms Rapinoe express her digust with SOME police treatment of people of color. That's why American men and women fight in wars---for your rights. Rights for everyone not just a few. So, again thank you Mr Soares for stating it so clearly.

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