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profile U.S. Women's World Cup Team

Friday, July 15, 2011

United States women's national soccer team
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The United States women's national soccer team (sometimes referred to as USWNT) represents the United States in international soccer competition and is controlled by U.S. Soccer. The U.S. has long been a superpower in women's soccer, and is currently ranked first in the world by the FIFA Women's World Rankings.[1] The team has won two Women's World Cups (1991 and 1999); three Olympic Women's Gold Medals (1996, 2004 and 2008) and eight Algarve Cups (2000, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011).

The team played its first match on August 18, 1985, coached by Mike Ryan (not related to 2005–2007 coach Greg Ryan). In March 2004, two of its stars, Mia Hamm (who retired later that year after a post-Olympic team tour of the USA) and Michelle Akers (who had already retired), were the only two women and the only two Americans named to the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living soccer players chosen by Pelé as part of FIFA's centenary observances.

Among its many other honors, the team was selected the U.S. Olympic Committee's Team of the Year in 1997 and 1999. Sports Illustrated chose the entire team as its 1999 Sportspeople of the Year.

Arguably their most influential and memorable victory came in the 1999 World Cup when they beat China 5–4 in a penalty shootout. With this win they emerged onto the world stage and brought significant media attention to women's soccer and athletics. On July 10, 1999, over 90,000 people (the largest ever for a women’s sporting event and one of the largest attendances in the world for a tournament game final) filled the Rose Bowl to watch the United States play China in the Final. After a back and forth game, the score was tied 0–0 at full time, and remained so after extra time, leading to a penalty kick shootout. With Briana Scurry's save of China's third kick, the score was 4–4 with only Brandi Chastain left to shoot. She scored and won the game for the United States. Chastain famously dropped to her knees and took off her shirt, celebrating in her sports bra, which later made the cover of Sports Illustrated and the front pages of newspapers around the country and world.

Perhaps the second most influential victory came on July 10, 2011 in the quarterfinal of the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany, where the US beat Brazil 5–3 on penalty kicks. Abby Wambach tied the game 2–2 in the 2nd minute of extra time in the 2nd period of overtime (the 122nd minute of the match overall). Earlier in the game, Brazil had evened the score 1–1 on a controversial penalty kick. Interestingly, the game was played on the 12th anniversary of the memorable 1999 World Cup Final (described above), which the US also won on penalty kicks.

Pia Sundhage
Coach (Age: 51, Matches: 73)
The first foreigner and second woman to coach the U.S., Sundhage took over after the 2007 World Cup debacle and led the team to Olympic gold in Beijing. As a player, she had 146 caps and 71 goals for Sweden and appeared in the 1991 and '95 World Cups.

Lauren Cheney

Forward (Age: 23, Caps: 42)

The alltime leading scorer at UCLA, Cheney was a last-minute addition to the 2008 Olympic team (for the injured Abby Wambach) and came on as a sub in each of the last three matches. Her wonder strike in stoppage time on June 5 salvaged a 1-0 victory over Mexico in the final tune-up for Germany.

Hope Solo
Goalkeeper (Age: 29, Caps: 95)
Following a public blowup at the 2007 World Cup, when then coach Greg Ryan benched her for the semifinal match (a 4-0 loss), Solo bounced back at the 2008 Olympics, shutting out Brazil 1--0 in the gold medal game. Now considered the preeminent keeper in the world, Solo remains refreshingly -outspoken -- she was fined by WPS last year after she vented about officiating on her Twitter feed.

every games

Tobin Heath

Midfielder (Age: 23, Caps: 27)

The youngest member of the 2008 Olympic team, Heath missed last year while recovering from an illness that doctors never diagnosed and from a broken right ankle. A three-time NCAA champ at North Carolina, she can play right or left back.

Jillian Loyden

Goalkeeper (Age: 26, Caps: 1)

The No. 3 keeper for the U.S., she set school records at Villanova for career wins, shutouts and minutes played. Though Loyden is unlikely to see much time behind Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart, she provides depth at a position the U.S. considers one of its strongest.

Kelley O'Hara

Forward (Age: 22, Caps: 5)

A national-team newbie -- she earned her first cap last year -- O'Hara was a prolific scorer for U.S. youth squads and at Stanford, where she netted 26 goals and became the first Cardinal player to win the Hermann Trophy. Likes water on her cereal.

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Amy Rodriguez

Forward (Age: 24, Caps: 65)

The No. 1 pick in the 2009 WPS draft had just one goal as a rookie but found her scoring touch in '10, leading the Philadelphia Independence with 12 goals. But A-Rod's most important score came last November, when she slotted home a six-yard shot against Italy in the 40th-minute in the second leg of the World Cup playoff, helping the U.S. clinch the final berth. In the '08 Olympic gold medal match, Rodriguez's pass set up Carli Lloyd for the game-winner against Brazil.

Becky Sauerbrunn

Defender (Age: 26, Caps: 11)

Capped just three times before this year, Sauerbrunn has joined the U.S. mix with five starts in 2011. Her trip to Germany ended her WPS iron-woman streak -- she had played every minute of every game for her club team since '09.

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Nicole Barnhart

Goalkeeper (Age: 29, Caps: 39)

Playing for the injured Hope Solo in 2010 and '11, she had a 14-4-2 record, including back-to-back shutouts in the two-game playoff against Italy to determine the final World Cup berth. Barnhart holds the Stanford career record for goals-against average, at .451

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Amy LePeilbet
Defender (Age: 29, Caps: 49)
A versatile backliner who can play centrally or on the wings, the Arizona State alumna missed the 2007 World Cup and all of the '08 U.S. campaign with a torn left ACL. LePeilbet has since rebounded strongly, winning WPS Defender of the Year awards in 2009 and '10.

Ali Krieger
Defender (Age: 26, Caps: 18)
The two-time Penn State All-America has played most of her club soccer in Germany, winning the 2011 German Cup with Frankfurt. After debuting for the U.S. in '08, Krieger was not called up in '09, but coach Pia Sundhage says she has become more aggressive and technically sound over the last year.

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Alex Morgan
Forward (Age: 21, Caps: 19)
The youngest player on the team, Morgan has been worked in slowly since her U.S. debut in March 2010, splitting time between college and the national team until she graduated from Cal last December. She's been compared to Mia Hamm for her speed and nose for the goal.

Heather Mitts
Defender (Age: 33, Caps: 116)
An injury scratch from both the 2003 and '07 World Cups, she earned her spot this year after proving her fitness (over a nagging hamstring) in the June 5 match against Mexico. The wife of Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley, Mitts will be the oldest U.S. woman ever to make her World Cup debut.

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Stephanie Cox
Defender (Age: 25, Caps: 74)
Cox played only once for the national team in 2009 but appeared in nine games and started six in '10. The youngest player on the '07 U.S. World Cup team, she was cut from the '08 Olympic squad but was called back after Cat Whitehill suffered an ACL injury. Now Cox is one of the team's savviest defenders, playing primarily on the left flank.

Abby Wambach

Forward (Age: 31, Caps: 157)

With 118 goals, Wambach is third all time in scoring for the U.S. behind Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly, and she has the best strike rate in team history. She scored the overtime game-winner against Brazil in the 2004 Olympic gold medal match.

Heather O'Reilly
Midfielder (Age: 26, Caps: 144)
She was capped in 2002 at age 17 but missed the '03 World Cup with a broken left fibula. O'Reilly scored in the Olympic semifinals in both 2004 and '08 and started five World Cup games in '07. Speedy and skilled on the ball, she will be out to prove in Germany that she's the best outside midfielder in the world.

Shannon Boxx
Midfielder (Age: 33, Caps: 146)
The Notre Dame grad debuted at the 2003 World Cup, earning a roster spot before she'd even won her first cap. With her attacking skills and ball-winning defense, Boxx has been a mainstay alongside Carli Lloyd in the central midfield ever since. She has led her teams to each of the two WPS title games.

Rachel Buehler

Defender (Age: 25, Caps: 59)

A co-captain (with Christie Rampone), the Buehldozer has started all but one U.S. game over the past two seasons and can play in central defense or on either flank. Buehler is one of 27 members of her family to attend Stanford, where she was a three-year captain.

Christie Rampone

Defender (Age: 36, Caps: 235)

The U.S. co-captain and the only mother on the 2011 squad, Rampone is the last holdover from the World Cup--winning team of 1999 (she played in one match in that tournament) and the most-capped active player in the world. Quick on her feet and leading by example, she's the backbone of the Americans' defense.

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