By DAN KARELL
U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has decided to continue preparing for the 2015 World Cup with the same team that just won the Algarve Cup.
All 25 players from the Algarve Cup-winning USWNT squad will reconvene in Carson, Calif., for a week-long training camp at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center before departing for St. Louis, where the USWNT will face New Zealand in a friendly match on April 4 at Busch Stadium. U.S. Soccer announced that it has sold more than 31,000 tickets for the match.
“Having the initial training period in L.A., when we can go a bit harder and then tapering into the match in St. Louis will be excellent preparation for a New Zealand team that always gives us a highly competitive game,” Ellis said in a statement.
“This will be an excellent test for us,” Ellis said. “They are aggressive, athletic and like to press. We’ll see some similar tendencies that we could see in our first group match at the World Cup and certainly the crowd will be tremendous. It will be nice to be back at home.”
The injury-free USWNT squad features the likes of veterans Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone, Shannon Boxx, and Hope Solo, as well as rising youngsters such as Morgan Brian, Crystal Dunn, and Julie Johnston.
Ellis will reduce the squad to 18 ahead of the St. Louis friendly. The match against the Kiwis is the first of four “send-off” games for the USWNT prior to opening the World Cup in Canada on June 8.
The USWNT will take on the Republic of Ireland, Mexico, and South Korea in three friendly matches in May.
Here’s a look at the latest USWNT squad:
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TRAINING CAMP SQUAD
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (10): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Unattached)
What do you think of this squad? Glad to see the USWNT injury free? Surprised to see the same 25-player squad recalled?
Share your thoughts below.