U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis has named the 20-player roster for the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship — the qualifying tournament for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup — that runs from October 15-26. The tournament will be held in the United States. The USWNT opens against Trinidad and Tobago on October 15 in Kansas City.
During Monday afternoon’s conference call with the media, Ellis had this to say about the selection of her 20-player roster selection ahead of the tournament.
“The last camp was one of the longest camps that I have been together with the group and the games against Mexico and the training allowed me to see the players form and it was a really challenging decision but I feel very confident in the group that we have picked as far as players are in form and will get us through the qualifying process.”
One of the main focuses in the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship will be the short turnaround between the games. All teams will be playing their three group stage games in six days in three different venues, with the winners moving on to play the semifinals and Championship/Consolation round in a three-day period. Ellis stated that “There will be a high focus on recovery. I think that the way we play there will be a high volume workload at certain positions so I will be sensitive to that.”
Another main factor that Ellis looked into for selection of her roster was player versatility. “It was a big part of the decision process. Especially because I want us to be flexible, not just positionally but if we wanted to change a system. Most of our players, when I went through the list, versatility was one of the determining factors, especially when it came down to some of the last spots.”
Ellis was also questioned during the conference call about bringing goalkeeper Hope Solo in for the tournament. Solo was charged with two misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree domestic violence assault from a June 21st incident in the state of Washington. Solo has pleaded not-guilty to the charges with a court date on November 4th and faces up to six-months in prison if found guilty. Ellis had this to say about the situation and adding Solo to the roster:
“I have had a lot of thought and a lot of discussions within US Soccer and we certainly acknowledge that these are very serious issues but after careful thought and consideration, we determined to stand by our decision to let this legal process to play out and to have Hope remain with the team.”
The top three teams in the tournament qualify for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. The fourth-place team will play the third-place team from South America in a one-and-one playoff series for the final spot in next year’s tournament.
Rosters for qualifying are limited to 20 players. (However, World Cup rosters spots have been increased to 23, up from 21.)
Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit)
Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Western New York Flash), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Heather O’Reilly (Boston Breakers), Morgan Brian (University of Virginia)
Abby Wambach (Western New York Flash), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC),Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City)
Also of note, Alyssa Naeher will serve as the third goalkeeper and will train with the team during the tournament but will not be a part of the roster. Julie Johnston and Kristie Mewis will train with the team while in Kansas City for a week but will be departing camp before the tournament begins.
Group play will be played in four U.S. cities: Kansas City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The semifinals, third-place match, and final will be played in Philadelphia. The round-robin format will see the top two teams from each group advance to the semifinals.