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Who will Jill Ellis name to the USWNT World Cup roster?

JillEllisUSWNT2-England2015 (Getty)


U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis doesn’t need to finalize her Women’s World Cup roster until the end of May. But it appears she doesn’t need anymore time — her 23-player roster will be announced Tuesday, U.S. Soccer has confirmed.

With her last two 25-player rosters being the same, that means two cuts lay ahead for field players. With goalkeeper jostling over the past few months, in large part due to Hope Solo’s suspension, there’s another possible cut there.

The U.S. women will open their World Cup in Canada on June 8 against Australia, but before that, the Americans will play three stateside friendlies as tune-up matches. They next play May 10 against Ireland in San Jose.

Here is SBI’s prediction for who Ellis will name to her World Cup roster:

In: Hope Solo, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher
Out: Nicole Barnhart

Per FIFA rules, three of the players in Ellis’ 23 must be goalkeepers. Solo and Harris are locks, with the only question being whether or not Naeher, the youngest and least experienced of the group, will make the cut.

Given Nicole Barnhart’s extensive experience on the international stage and Naeher’s club struggles with the Boston Breakers, Barnhart appears to be the more conservative choice. But for whatever reason, which may include nagging injuries and Barnhart approaching the higher end of the age spectrum, she has fallen out of favor with the USWNT in a big way. She hasn’t seen minutes since late 2013, and when Ellis came on board last spring, it seemed Barnhart’s days with the national team were behind her.

In: Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn, Whitney Engen, Ali Krieger, Meghan Klingenberg, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Johnston, Lori Chalupny, Rachel Van Hollebeke
Out: Crystal Dunn

The biggest question appears to revolve around Crystal Dunn. She’s fast and versatile, but has seen her role dwindle from breakout rookie under Tom Sermanni into bench warmer under Ellis. In a limited-roster event like the World Cup, Dunn’s ability to play as an outside back or midfielder should make her a good choice, but if her recent playing time or lack thereof is any indication, Dunn will only be in Canada if she is selected as an alternate player.

Van Hollebeke is another tricky one. She has seen a grand total of 90 minutes of playing time this year, starting against Iceland in the Algarve Cup. The reason Ellis may opt to include her is her vast experience in big tournaments. Van Hollebeke has played in World Cups and Olympics, and she is a capable backup for conditions of a World Cup.

In: Lauren Holiday, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Heather O’Reilly, Morgan Brian
Out: Shannon Boxx

It looked like Boxx may have been waging her comeback. When Boxx debuted under Ellis last month, it was a surprise — it was Boxx’s first appearance for the USWNT in almost two years to the day. Boxx had been sidelined for injury and pregnancy back-to-back, but it seemed like, at age 37, she was out of the USWNT picture.

Boxx has played three times under Ellis, all last month during the Algarve Cup; but each of those times, she was a substitute starting in the 76th minute or later. It was hardly enough time to gauge whether she is ready to become a mainstay of the USWNT again. If Ellis doesn’t feel confident counting on Boxx to start matches, it seems unlikely she will give her a roster spot over other midfielders.

In: Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Sydney Leroux, Amy Rodriguez
Out: None

There was a time when it was a question of whether Ellis would ever take notice of Rodriguez. But given the playing time and strong form we’ve seen from Rodriguez lately, she looks to be a virtual lock.

Instead, the forward who may have become more of a question mark is Leroux. Simply put, Leroux has been struggling with finishing and hasn’t been playing up to her potential. She hasn’t scored since October, her only goal of the very easy CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament. The club level hasn’t gone much better for her — she finished last season with just five goals and no assists in 22 games played. Still, Leroux’s potential is worth a roster spot and Ellis will want her on-hand to terrorize defenses with her aggressive, physical style.


Who do you think Ellis will name to her 23-woman roster? Who do you think she should cut?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Looks like you were almost perfect, Ives. Only misses:

    Rachel Van Hollebeke actually not going, Shannon Boxx actually is going.

  2. It really doesn’t matter who gets cut. The fact is that almost everybody in the pool is ancient and our midfield is paper thin. If we don’t win heads need to roll. Either from the staff that picked this team or from the people in charge of player development.

  3. Press has been coming on strong and Morgan is going to garner a lot of attention from defenses but don’t sleep on Leroux. Her and Dom may be a cute cuddle couple but some boos from Canadian fans will bring out the beast in her.

  4. I’m headed north of the border to see some of this tournament so hopefully whoever is in the squad can bring home the world cup!

  5. Hope solo, harris, naeher

    Rampone,. Sauerbrunn, johnston,engen, o’hara , chalupny, krieger, kilngenberg

    Shannon boxx, lloyd, holiday, brian, heath, rapinoe, o’reily

    Wambach, morgan,leroux, press, a-rod.

  6. Cant see keeping 5 CBs so no RVH. That leaves Dunn vs Boxx. I think the extra outside back who really have to work hard in this system beats a veteran DM. I ‘ll be very disappointed if Dunn doesnt make it.

  7. I know boxx is older and hasn’t seen minutes but she is an awesome defensive mid and without her the us just doesn’t have one. You need a holding mid imo and not an attacking mid pretending to be one.

    • If I thought Boxx could start…maybe, but if all she is is an end of match sub, I cant see using one of three subs on a DM or CB. More likely the subs will be outside backs and forwards who do all the running in this system.

  8. I hope you are wrong about Van Hollebeke vs. Dunn. A 5th CB (not even including Krieger) vs.a multi-position player who can be very dangerous on the ball. To me, if Ellis keeps Van H, that means that Rampone’s condition is dicier than we have been told.
    Other than that, we agree.


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