*The US Women’s National Team is wrapping up what has been two weeks of training camp in Bradenton, FL. The team has been at IMG Academies since April 18th as Coach Pia Sundhage looks to whittle down her Olympic roster. 27 players were invited, as Sundhage needs to eliminate several before choosing her 18 player Olympic roster. Below is the list of players that were invited to participate in the camp:
GOALKEEPERS (4): Nicole Barnhart, Ashlyn Harris, Jill Loyden, Hope Solo ?DEFENDERS (9): Rachel Buehler, Stephanie Cox, Whitney Engen, Meghan Klingenberg, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O’Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn ?MIDFIELDERS (9): Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd, Kristie Mewis, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Amy Rodriguez, Keelin Winters ?FORWARDS (5): Lauren Cheney, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Abby Wambach
Of those invited to the training camp four of them have yet to appear in an international game. Those include goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, midfielders Kristie Mewis and Keelin Winters and forward Christen Press.
The goal for the training camp was simply fitness, as the team did not have an official match at the end as they often do.
*The USWNT has several games on their schedule prior to the Olympics this summer in London. Their next match will be against China on May 27th at 7pm EST in Chester, Pa. It will take place at PPL Park, which is home to the MLS team the Philadelphia Union. After that the team will travel to Sweden where they will be a part of the Sweden Invitational. They will play the host team on June 16th and then have another opportunity to face the World Cup Champions when they play Japan on June 18th. All three countries represent the top three teams that finished in the 2011 FIFA World Cup.
“All games are important and playing against two of the top teams in the world is the absolute best preparation for the Olympics,” said Sundhage. “We are of course very familiar with both Sweden and Japan, but we are always excited about the different challenges those teams present. Being in Sweden during the summer and playing in a venue that will be used for the European Championships will create a great soccer atmosphere for our team.”
Should be noted that Sundhage is from Sweden and has a storied career playing for the Swedish National Team. For the US women it will be the third time they will face Japan this year. They lost to them 1-0 in the Algarve Cup and then held them to a 1-1 draw at the Kirin Cup. The US bested Sweden 4-0 in the third place match at the Algarve Cup.
The last game before heading across the pond will take place June 30th against their North American rivals. The US will play Canada at Rio Tinto Stadium, which is home to the MLS team Real Salt Lake. The match will at 12pm MT and will be broadcast on NBC.
*The team draws for the summer games were announced last week and the US finds themselves in Group G. Their first match will be July 25th against France in Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland. They will face Columbia three days later at the same venue and then move on to Old Trafford in Manchester when they play Korea DPR on July 31st. (2012 Olympics Schedule)
“It’s always exciting to know who we will be playing,” said Sundhage. “We will start with an excellent opponent that we faced in the World Cup and that is a good thing. Once again, we will be facing teams with different playing styles and that is a challenge our team enjoys. When the draw happens, it energizes our players and brings even more of a focus to our team. We also have the chance to start scouting and preparing for what will be an entertaining and extremely competitive first round.”
*In case you missed Kevin Baxter’s recent feature on goalkeeper Hope Solo, you can find the link to the LA Times article here. Pretty interesting article in which Solo discusses her future and what has pushed her to become one of the best goalkeepers in women’s soccer. Also mentions her upcoming book: “Solo: A Memoir of Hope,” co-written by Ann Killion. The book will be released mid summer.
*And the new uniforms that both the US men and women will be wearing are interesting to say the least. If you haven’t seen them yet then be sure to check them out. The ladies will make their debut with the new jerseys in May. Though much as been made of their current “nurse uniforms”, these are probably going to entertain some “Where’s Waldo” jokes.