Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Jill Ellis has named her first roster as the full-time U.S. Women’s National Team head coach and there are plenty of surprises.
Twenty-six players have been called in by Ellis for a training camp prior to two friendly matches this month against France and returning are two players who have missed considerable time recently: Forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Shannon Boxx.
Morgan is still at the end of her recovery from a serious ankle injury and it will be a game-time decision by the USWNT medical staff as to whether she plays in either game. She hasn’t played in a competitive match since November.
Boxx, who hasn’t played with the USWNT since March 2013 and is returning to fitness after giving birth last February, but isn’t expected to play in either match.
Another interesting note is that Kelley O’Hara is listed as a forward on the roster, despite having spent the last two years playing as a defender, including every minute of the 2012 Olympics as left back when the team won gold.
Ellis also recalled Portland Thorns midfielder Allie Long after she received her first cap in May against Canada. Ellis also decided not to recall Jill Loyden, a longtime backup to Hope Solo, and has picked Nicole Barnhart and Ashlyn Harris to serve as backup goalkeepers.
The USWNT officially hired Ellis to be the team’s next head coach on May 16, though she had served as interim manager for the U.S. in a 3-0 victory against China and a 1-1 draw at Canada.
The first match takes place on June 14 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. and the second match follows on June 19 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. Both games will be broadcasted on USSoccer.com
Here’s a look at the USWNT roster for the France friendlies:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (7): Stephanie Cox (Seattle Reign FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Kristie Mewis (Boston Breakers), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers)
FORWARDS (7): Sarah Hagen (FC Kansas City), Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)