U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 24 players to travel to Brazil for the International Tournament of Brasilia, a four-team competition being held from Dec. 10-21 at the National Stadium Mane Garrincha.
Ellis named all 20 players who helped the USA win the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship in October to qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. In addition, she named Washington Spirit defender Crystal Dunn, who was initially on the qualifying roster before suffering an injury in the lead-up, Boston Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, former UCLA midfielder and 2014 MAC Hermann Trophy candidate Samantha Mewis and Chicago Red Stars defender Lori Chalupny.
“It’s a chance to travel to a new environment and play international matches in unfamiliar territory, which is always valuable when getting ready for a World Cup,” said Ellis. “It’s pretty exciting to get to play in a World Cup stadium, and many of our players have never played or even been to Brazil before. It’s a unique opportunity to go to a fantastic soccer country, have a great cultural experience and get four competitive games to end the year on a high note.”
The USA will open the tournament Dec. 10 against China PR (4:20 p.m. ET), face Brazil on Dec. 14 (3:45 p.m.) and finish group play on Dec. 17 against Argentina (4:20 p.m.). The final match day on Dec. 21 will feature the top two teams after round-robin play squaring off for the tournament championship while the two countries that finished third and fourth will battle for third place. The USA, Brazil and China PR will be participating in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer in Canada.
The U.S. Women have not played in Brazil since 1997 when they played two matches against the host, a 2-1 win in Taubaté and a 1-0 loss in São Paulo.
The matches mark the end of the USA’s 2014 campaign, which will feature 24 games, the most of any year in which the U.S. players have competed in a domestic league. The current high came in 2003, the third year of the WUSA and also a World Cup year, when the U.S. WNT played 23 games.
- Midfielder Morgan Brian is still involved in the NCAA Tournament with the University of Virginia and will travel to Brazil to join the team following the completion of this weekend’s NCAA College Cup.
- The International Tournament of Brasilia will be staged entirely at National Stadium Mane Garrincha, which hosted seven matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
- The National Stadium Mane Garrincha cost $900 million to build, making it the second-most expensive soccer stadium in the world after England’s Wembley Stadium. It opened during the summer of 2013.
- In its history, the U.S. WNT has played six matches in Brazil, four at a tournament in 1996 in Campinas (two against Brazil and matches against Ukraine and Russia) and two against Brazil in 1997.
- The USA won the championship of the 1996 event in penalty kicks after drawing Brazil 1-1 in regulation.
- The U.S. Women have never played anywhere in South America outside of those six games in Brazil.
- Christie Rampone is the only player on the roster to have previously played in Brazil with the full National Team.
- The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team did participate in the Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2007 getting to the final of a tournament that featured full Women’s National Teams before losing 5-0 to Brazil. That U-20 team featured current U.S. WNT players Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath, Alyssa Naeher and Kelley O’Hara.
- The USA has not played Argentina since 1998 when the countries played twice in three days in Southern California. The USA earned 8-1 and 7-0 victories on April 24 and 26, respectively. Those were the only matches between the two teams.
- China PR is one of the most frequent opponents in U.S. history with 52 previous meetings, most recently in April – a 2-0 U.S. victory in Colorado and a 3-0 win in San Diego.
- The USA most recently faced Brazil on Nov. 10, 2013, at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, a 4-1 U.S. victory.
- The USA is currently ranked No. 1 in the world. Brazil is sixth, China PR is 14th and Argentina is 37th.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (WNY 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)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), 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 (WNY Flash)