Six Cascadian based players have been selected by new US Womens coach Tom Sermanni into his first training camp in preparation for two matches which will be against his native Scotland on February 9 in Jacksonville, Fla., and another four days later in Nashville, Tennessee.
He will whittle the squad down to 18 by game time.
The Portland Thorns’ Alex Morgan, Rachel Buehler and Tobin Heath will be joined by three women who play for their new rival Seattle Reign. There is little surprise to see goalkeeper Hope Solo, Megan Rapinoe and Amy Rodriguez in the 29 woman squad.
However, the Scotsman has also created one piece of less expected news for Seattle fans with the inclusion of Keelin Winters potentially for her first recognition at this level. She has been named to camps before but the 24-year-old now with Chicago Red Stars awaits her first cap.
Sermanni has named 17 of the 18 players who helped the USA to the Olympic gold medal in London last summer, as well as numerous players with previous National Team experience and a handful of young talented players.
“I’m excited to get out on the field and work with the team for the first time,” said Sermanni in a US Soccer release.
“For this particular part of the cycle, it’s important to look at the established players in the squad but also the up-and-coming players and the ones who we think have the potential to really fight for positions on the team.
For me, this period is really about observation and evaluation of some players who I know very well, some I’ve seen play only a bit and some who I will be seeing in a competitive environment for the first time.”
More on Womens Football from Prost Amerika:
More from Today’s US Soccer Release:
Forwards Abby Wambach, the 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, and Alex Morgan, the 2012 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year, are coming off a stellar year in which they combined for 55 goals, tying a 21-year-old U.S. record for most goals by two players in a calendar year.
The training camp also marks the return of defender Ali Krieger to the U.S. team for the first time since she suffered a serious knee injury during the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Canada just over a year ago. Krieger, one of the heroes of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Team, played the past five years in Germany and has returned to the USA to play in the NWSL for the Washington Spirit.
Several players who have been battling to make WNT rosters over the past few years and who have recently been playing in Europe were called up for the start of 2013: midfielder Yael Averbuch, who is playing for FC Göteborg in Sweden; defender Whitney Engen, who signed with Liverpool FC in England; goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who was playing for FCR Duisburg in Germany and has been allocated to the Washington Spirit; midfielder Keelin Winters who was playing for FCC Turbine Potsdam in Germany and has been allocated to the Chicago Red Stars; and forward Christen Press, the 2010 MAC Hermann Trophy winner at Stanford, who was second in scoring in Sweden’s First Division last season, scoring 17 league goals and 25 in all 2012 competitions for FC Göteborg. She recently transferred to Tyresö FF.
Press was an alternate on the 2012 Olympic Team along with midfielder Lori Lindsey and goalkeeper Jill Loyden, who were also called up for the camp.
Looking to the next generation, Sermanni named two of the stars of the U.S. team that won the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan last summer. Sermanni has given first full National Team call-ups to University of North Carolina defender Crystal Dunn, who played a dominating tournament at right back and assisted on the winning goal in the 1-0 World Cup Final victory against Germany, and to Santa Clara University defender Julie Johnston, the U.S. captain and winner of the Bronze Ball as the third-best player in the tournament, a rare achievement for a defender. Dunn recently won the MAC Hermann Trophy as the best player in college soccer. Dunn and Johnston are both 20 years old and have one year of college eligibility remaining.
Sermanni also called up 21-year-old midfielder Kristie Mewis, who was picked third overall in the NWSL College Draft by FC Kansas City. She has logged extensive training time with the U.S. team but has yet to earn a cap. She was the 2008 U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year.
The youngest player called up is 17-year-old goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who was the starter for the USA at the 2012 Under-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan. Campbell, who allowed just one goal in three matches at the World Cup and shut out eventual champion France, becomes the youngest goalkeeper called into the full National Team since an 18-year-old Hope Solo participated in her first training camp in 1999. The 5-foot-9 Campbell will not turn 18 until Feb. 17. Campbell is the first high school-aged player to be called into the full U.S. Women’s National Team since forward Amy Rodriguez, who debuted at the Algarve Cup in Portugal in 2005. Midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who currently has 179 career caps, was called up at the age of 17 in 2002.
- From the 29-player training camp roster, Sermanni will name 18 players to suit up for each of the two matches against Scotland.
- The only 2012 Olympic Team member and 2012 Olympic Team alternate who were not named to the camp are defenders Amy LePeilbet and Meghan Klingenberg, respectively. LePeilbet has a lingering knee injury and Klingenberg is still recovering from shoulder surgery.
- Midfielder Tobin Heath, who recently signed with Paris Saint-Germain in France; midfielder Megan Rapinoe, who is playing for Olympique Lyonnais in France; goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, who still has commitments with her German club; and midfielder Christen Press, who is playing in Sweden, will not attend the entire training camp. All four should be available for selection for both matches.
- Goalkeeper Jane Campbell will attend training camp for only the first week leading up to the first match against Scotland on Feb. 9.
- Abby Wambach currently has 198 caps and defender Rachel Buehler has 98. Should both play in both games against Scotland, they would hit 200 and 100, respectively, in the match in Nashville, Tenn., on Feb. 13.
- Wambach, who has 152 career goals, is six goals away from tying Mia Hamm as the world’s all-time leading international scorer.
- This will be the first U.S. WNT event since the players were allocated to their NWSL clubs.
- The training camp will also take on added significance as U.S. head coach Tom Sermanni will be evaluating players to choose his roster for the 2013 Algarve Cup in Portugal that will run from March 6-13.
- Six players on the roster are uncapped: GK Jane Campbell, D Crystal Dunn, GK Ashlyn Harris, M Kristie Mewis, F Christen Press and M Keelin Winters.
U.S. Women’s National Team Training Camp Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (5): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Jane Campbell (Concorde Fire South), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Jill Loyden (Sky Blue FC), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Rachel Buehler (Portland Thorns FC), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina), Whitney Engen (Liverpool FC), Julie Johnston (Santa Clara), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Heather Mitts (Boston Breakers), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Yael Averbuch (Göteborg FC), Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Lauren Cheney (FC Kansas City), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lori Lindsey (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Western NY Flash), Kristie Mewis (FC Kansas City), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Keelin Winters (Chicago Red Stars)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Tyresö FF), Amy Rodriguez (Seattle Reign FC), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)