Lloyd, Rapinoe to lead USWNT at Olympics

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A familiar cast of characters will make up the 18-player roster the United States women’s national soccer team will send to the delayed Tokyo Olympic Games next month.

Carli Lloyd, who at 39 years old will become the U.S.’s oldest-ever women’s soccer Olympian, and Tobin Heath are headed to the competition for the fourth time, while the roster features a total of 11 players who also made the trip to Brazil in 2016. Lloyd, the two-time FIFA Player of the Year, scored the winning goals for the U.S. in the gold medal games at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

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Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Kelley O’Hara are set to become three-time Olympians, while Crystal Dunn, Linsdey Horan, Julie Ertz, Christen Press and Alyssa Naeher are headed to Olympics for the second time.

The team includes 17 players who were part of the 2019 squad that won the FIFA Women’s World Cup and will look to become the first team to ever win Olympic gold immediately after hoisting the World Cup.

“It’s been a long process to get to this point, longer than anyone thought it would be, but we collected a lot of information on the players over the past year and half in trainings, in their club matches and in international games and we’re confident that we’ve selected the team with the best chance for success in Japan,” USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said.

The list of first-time Olympians includes Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett, Samantha Mewis, Rose Lavelle, Adrianna Franch and Kristie Mewis, who doubles as the lone member of the team who didn’t go to the 2019 World Cup.

Both Ertz and Heath were questionable for selection due to injuries, but are expected to be ready to play, according to U.S. Soccer. Should the U.S. need to make any roster changes during the tournament due to injury, four players — forward Lynn Williams, midfielder Catarina Macario, defender Casey Krueger and goalkeeper Jane Campbell — will also make the trip as alternates.

“We know there are some very talented players that won’t be in Japan, but these were the difficult decisions that we had to make,” Andonovski added. “We have a very experienced roster that has been through adversity at the highest levels, so it’s no surprise those players have distinguished themselves. They’ve embraced the challenges and have shown tremendous flexibility and determination over the past 15 months to get us to where we are today.”

Andonovski’s squad selection relied heavily on experience as the team’s average age when play gets under way will be 30.8 years old, with each player averaging 111 international caps.

The U.S. opens against Sweden on July 21, two days prior to the opening ceremony, and will play New Zealand (July 24) and Australia (July 27) in the other group stage matches. Prior to heading to Japan, the team will play Mexico on July 1 and July 5 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

2020 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City/ENG), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

MIDFIELDERS (5): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage)

FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Unattached), Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Unattached), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)

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