Rapinoe, Lloyd Named to USWNT Roster for Rio Olympics
United States Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis – seen above – has named her squad for the 2016 Rio Olympics next month. Midfielders Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, key members of last year’s World Cup winning team, have both made the team, despite doubts over injuries.
While Ellis has also included some promising up and coming talent in the team, the coach has gone with a core of experienced players that in addition to Lloyd and Rapinoe, includes goalkeeper Hope Solo, midfielder Tobin Heath, defenders Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn, and striker Alex Morgan.
The team’s solid backbone of experienced players, which includes three-time Olympians; Solo, Rapinoe, and Heath, is complimented by a crop of promising young players who remain Olympic debutantes heading into the games.
World Cup winning defenders Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Whitney Engen, and Meghan Klingenberg will be making their Olympic debuts, along with backup keeper Alyssa Naeher, midfielder Morgan Brian and striker Christen Press.
Meanwhile the likes of Mallory Pugh, Crystal Dunn and Allie Long will be making their major tournament debuts for the U.S.
But it is the inclusions of Lloyd and Rapinoe that are particularly notable, with both players having been in doubt due to injuries. Rapinoe has been racing to recover from knee surgery after tearing her ACL during training for an exhibition match in Hawaii last year.
“It’s very surreal, mostly because I have a lot of work to do now, and where I am at now is not where I am going to be in a few weeks,” said Rapinoe in a statement. “Going to the Olympics and representing your country is incredible, but this one is that much better. After everything I went through and the uncertainty, this one is very special.
Lloyd, who was the leading scorer in last summer’s World Cup, had been recovering from an ankle injury sustained in April but is now fully recovered and expected to lead the team.
Pugh, who at 18 is the only amateur to be named to the squad, is a UCLA forward who made seven assists in Olympic qualifying and set up the only goal in the U.S.’s 1-0 win over South Africa on Saturday.
Joining Pugh in the attack will be another newcomer, 24-year-old Dunn, a striker who after narrowly missed being part of the World Cup team last year went on to score 15 goals with her club side and win the NWSL Golden Boot.
Long, another newcomer, is a versatile Portland Thorns midfielder who is capable of playing both sides of the ball, which will come in handy as Ellis looks to make due with a scaled-down roster of just 18 players, as opposed to the 23-player roster the U.S. fielded at the World Cup.
U.S. Olympics Roster (Club teams in parenthesis):
Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC).
Defenders: Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City).
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC).
Forwards: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit, Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).