Mallory Pugh (pictured), who won the Golden Boot and Golden Ball awards at the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Women's Championship, was named to the USA senior squad roster for a January 2016 camp. (Photo: Mexsport)
CHICAGO – The United States women’s national team will enter into a new era on January 5, when it starts a training camp without several of the stars that paved the way for an unprecedented level success over the last four years.
The Americans won the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the 2012 Olympic Football Tournament, 2014 CONCACAF Women’s Championship and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with forward Abby Wambach, defender Lori Chalupny, as well as midfielders Lauren Holiday and Shannon Boxx, playing significant roles throughout that period and even earlier.
That quartet has since retired, but as evidenced by the quality in the 26-player roster named Thursday by head coach Jill Ellis for the first gathering of 2016, the cupboard is by no means bare.
The U.S. will train through January 21 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California, before hosting Ireland in an international friendly two days later at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.
“This camp begins the next chapter of this program,” said Ellis. “We’ll have just over two weeks together to begin to build cohesion and integrate the younger players into our processes, and then we will regroup for Olympic qualifying. The leadership and experience of our returning World Cup players will give us a solid starting point on which to build, and we are looking forward to the next challenge.”
Among the younger players is 17-year-old Mallory Pugh, who captained the U.S. to the 2015 CONCACAF Under-20 Championship title in December. The forward scored a tournament-best seven goals en route to capturing Golden Boot and Golden Ball honors.
Of the 23 players on the 2015 Women’s World Cup squad, 16 will attend the camp, including 2015 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, goalkeeper Hope Solo and forward Hop Solo.
The U.S. is preparing for the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying, which it will host February 10-21, in the Texas cities of Houston and Frisco.
UNITED STATES WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER
(Training camp: January 5-21, 2016)
GOALKEEPERS: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS: Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (University of Virginia)
MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Paris Saint-Germain/France), Rose Lavelle (University of Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Sydney Leroux (Western New York Flash), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)