Morgan Brian and Ali Krieger were among the surprise inclusions when Jill Ellis announced the 23 players who will represent the United States at the World Cup
The United States womens national team will not be wanting for experience when they kick off their World Cup title defense in 40 days.
More than half of Jill Elliss 23-player roster for next months tournament in France are holdovers from the squad that lifted the trophy four years ago in Vancouver including a few unexpected choices whose places in the team have been uncertain since then.
Morgan Brian and Ali Krieger were two of the bigger surprise picks when Ellis revealed the roster on Thursday afternoon, three weeks ahead of the official deadline.
Krieger, a 34-year-old right back with 99 international appearances who played on the 2011 and 2015 World Cup teams, was out of the team for two years before earning a call-up for last months games. She will offer depth behind Kelley OHara and Emily Sonnett for a USA defense thats often looked rickety during the final run-up to France.
Brian, 26, was a key cog in the midfield during the 2015 tournament as the youngest member of the side, but has featured sparingly in the years since amid mounting injuries.
The inclusion of midfielder Allie Long, whos also been in and out of the team, led to the omission of Casey Short, who had been earning consistent call-ups as a left back.
The rest of Elliss selections were widely expected, relying on the same blend of youth and experience that flourished last time out.
The most familiar face is Carli Lloyd, the 36-year-old midfielder and two-time Fifa player of the year who becomes the ninth American player to be selected for four or more World Cups. Six others defenders Becky Sauerbrunn, Kelley OHara and Krieger and forwards Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan will be playing in their third.
Selecting a World Cup team is a long process, and I want to thank the players the ones that made the final team and the ones that didnt for all of their hard work over the past two and a half years, Ellis said. They all pushed each other in every training session and every game and challenged the coaches to make some tough decisions. These 23 players have been through adversity and success, and its a group that has the talent, confidence, experience and desire to help us win the World Cup.
Elliss roster averages 80 international caps per player and has a combined total of 94 Womens World Cup appearances.
The top-ranked Americans will open group play against Thailand on 11 June (3pm ET) at Auguste Delaune Stadium in Reims, before meeting Chile on 16 June (12pm ET) at Parc des Princes in Paris and Sweden on 20 June (3pm ET) at Stade Ocane in Le Havre.
United States roster by position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley OHara (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Allie Long (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC)
If you enjoyed our content, we'd really appreciate some "love" with a share or two.
And ... Don't forget to have fun!