CHICAGO – U.S. women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski Wednesday named the 18-player roster for the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Eleven players who were on the USA’s roster for the 2016 Rio Olympics make a return, while 17 players who were members of the USA’s 2019 Women’s World Cup championship team were selected to the roster.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City/ENG), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage)
FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Unattached), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Unattached), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
“It’s been a long process to get to this point, longer than anyone thought it would be, but we collected a lot of information on the players over the past year and half in trainings, in their club matches and in international games and we’re confident that we’ve selected the team with the best chance for success in Japan,” Andonovski said in a statement.
The team will come together in Connecticut at the end of the month to play its WNT Send-Off Series as the USA takes on Mexico on July 1 (broadcast starts at 7 p.m. ET on FS1 & 7:30 p.m. ET on TUDN) and July 5 (5 p.m. ET on ESPN, TUDN.com and the TUDN App) at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.
Two players – forwards Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath – made their fourth Olympic Team, tying former captain and 2021 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Christie Pearce Rampone for the most in USWNT history. Lloyd, who will turn 39 on July 16, is the oldest U.S. Women’s Soccer Olympian, nearly two years older than Rampone when she played in the 2012 Olympics.
Prior to the naming of this roster, 12 USWNT players had previously made three Olympic Teams. Add to that list defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara as well as forwards Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, who all played in the 2012 and 2016 Games.
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Defender Crystal Dunn, midfielders Lindsey Horan and Julie Ertz, forward Christen Press and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made their second Olympic Teams and will be working for their first Olympic medals.
The first-time Olympians are defenders Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson and Emily Sonnett, midfielders Samantha Mewis, Kristie Mewis and Rose Lavelle and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
Kristie Mewis, the older sister of Samantha by 592 days, is the only player on the roster who was not on the 2019 Women’s World Cup Team. The naming of both Mewis sisters marks the first time that sisters have represented the USA on a world championship roster at the senior level. Samantha and Kristie played for the USA at the 2008 Under-17 Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, in which the USA advanced to the final, and at the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Germany. Together, they have combined for 99 caps (75 for Samantha and 24 for Kristie).
Heath and Ertz are still recovering from injuries but are expected to be fit and ready for selection once the Olympic ournament commences July 21. Unlike the World Cup, when the roster is frozen once the first match is played, during the Olympics teams can make a roster change due to an injury at any time leading up to and during the tournament. There will be five substitutions allowed per team during Olympic matches, plus the possibility of one concussion substitution per new regulations.
Andonovski also named four alternate players that will travel to Japan in goalkeeper Jane Campbell, defender Casey Krueger, midfielder Catarina Macario and forward Lynn Williams. None of them have ever been on a world championship roster at the senior level, but Campbell and Krueger played for the USA in FIFA Youth World Cups. Should a player need to be replaced leading up to or during the tournament, it would come from these four.
“We know there are some very talented players that won’t be in Japan, but these were the difficult decisions that we had to make,” Andonovski said. “We have a very experienced roster that has been through adversity at the highest levels, so it’s no surprise those players have distinguished themselves. They’ve embraced the challenges and have shown tremendous flexibility and determination over the past 15 months to get us to where we are today.”
The U.S. will open Group G play on July 21 – two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony– against Sweden (5:30 p.m. local / 4:30 a.m. ET) at Tokyo Stadium. The Americans will play their second match in Saitama – just about 18 miles north of Tokyo – when they face New Zealand at Saitama Stadium on July 24 (8:30 p.m. local / 7:30 a.m. ET). The USA will finish group play against Australia on July 27 (5 p.m. local / 4 a.m. ET) at the Ibaraki Kashima Stadium in Kashima, on the coast of Japan about 70 miles northeast of Tokyo.