The USWNT revealed the 20-women squad to play in the USA’s Olympic qualifiers starting at the end of this month.
18 of those selected by coach Vlatko Andonovski featured in the title-winning team that dominated the Women’s World Cup last summer in France.
Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd are among some of the team’s stalwarts heading to the eight-nation CONCACAF (North, Central America and the Caribbean) qualifying competition ahead of the women’s football event at Tokyo 2020.
This will be Andonovski’s first major tournament as the USWNT’s head coach after Jill Ellis’ departure from the role this summer. Following the announcement, the former Reign FC head coach Andonovski explained he was sticking by his senior players and the experience they bring to the side.
- Coco Gauff once again defeats Venus Williams in Australian Open first round
- Football star Megan Rapinoe fronts luxury fashion brand Loewe's new campaign
- Vitality Netball Nations Cup: New Zealand, England, Jamaica and South Africa ambitions
"We have a balanced roster with versatile players and of course they have a lot of experience in important games. This is a team that understands that you have to be aggressive and unpredictable in how you create scoring chances but also knows how to be smart on defence at the same time. They are mature and savvy players who can adjust on the fly if needed," he said.
The squads for both the Olympics and the qualifiers are limited to 18 players and so cuts to the World Cup squad who impressed in Frances were inevitable. Alex Morgan was immediately out of the running after announcing her pregnancy late last year. Other omissions include Mallory Pugh, Allie Long, Morgan Brian and Tierna Davidson.
Carli Lloyd, who will turn 38 the week before the Olympics begin, has been named in the squad and will be hoping to reach her fourth Olympics with the chance of winning her third gold medal. Consequently, Lloyd will be the USA’s oldest player to feature at an Olympics if her side qualifies for the competition.
Andonovski has made it clear, however, that for Lloyd age is really just a number and her quality has made her position certain.
"When it comes down to any player, not just Carli Lloyd, in constructing this roster I didn't want to look at the age, whether they're old or young. It's whether they could do it or not, whether they were good enough or not. Carli Lloyd certainly proved she was good enough."
USWNT Olympic Qualifiers Squad
Goalkeepers: Adrianna French, Portland Thorns; Ashlyn Harris, Orlando Pride; Alyssa Naeher, Chicago Red Stars
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage; Crystal Dunn, North Carolina Courage; Ali Krieger, Orlando Pride; Kelley O’Hara, Utah Royals; Becky Sauerbrunn, Utah Royals; Emily Sonnett, Orlando Pride
Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars; Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns; Rose Lavelle, Washington Spirit; Samantha Mewis, North Carolina Courage; Andi Sullivan, Washington Spirit
Forwards: Tobi Heath, Portland Thorns; Carli Lloyd, Sky Blue FC; Jessica McDonald, North Carolina Courage; Christen Press, Utah Royals; Megan Rapinoe, Reign FC; Lynn Williams, North Carolina CourageNews Now - Sport News