Three Former Pac-10 Standouts Named To U.S. Women's Soccer 2007 FIFA World Cup Roster
July 12, 2007
CHICAGO - With 61 days remaining until the USA's opening match of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Greg Ryan has named the first 18 players who will represent the United States on women's soccer's grandest stage. Ryan's selections include three former Pac-10 standouts: Hope Solo and Tina Ellertson from Washington and Nicole Barnhart of Stanford.
With all 16 participating teams allotted final rosters of 21 players, Ryan will make his final three selections in the coming weeks. The 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup will be held in five Chinese cities from Sept. 10-30. The USA opens the tournament against North Korea on Sept. 11 in Chengdu.
'We named the 18 now because we've been in Residency Camp two years in a row, we've spent two years together and we know these players inside out,' said Ryan, who will coach in his first FIFA Women's World Cup. 'These 18 have earned the right to be on this World Cup Team. We want to remove the stress from trying out and just say, `you guys are the ones, you're in, let's get after it.''
The roster is a product of about two-and-a-half years of player evaluation by Ryan and his staff that has included 42 international matches. Since taking over as head coach of the U.S. Women's National Team in March of 2005, Ryan has looked at 43 players in full international matches and more than 60 total including training camps.
Leading the way is team captain Kristine Lilly, 35, who was named to her record fifth Women's World Cup Team. Lilly, who played in her first Women's World Cup in China in 1991, is the only player still active from that U.S. team that won the inaugural Women's World Cup. Lilly has played in all 24 matches the USA has contested in Women's World Cup competition, starting 23 of them.
The first 18 players named include goalkeeper Briana Scurry, who will be participating in her fourth Women's World Cup after making her tournament debut in 1995 in Sweden. Two other players - defenders Kate Markgraf and Christie Rampone (known as Sobrero and Pearce, respectively, in the historic 1999 Women's World Cup) were named to their third Women's World Cup Team.
Lilly, Scurry, Markgraf and Rampone are also the only four players on the 2007 WWC roster who were on the USA's 1999 WWC team.
Of the other 14 players, four were named to their second Women's World Cup Team, but 10 players will be participating in a Women's World Cup for the first time, the most first-timers ever for any U.S. Women's World Cup Team (not counting, of course, the first Women's World Cup in 1991).
Ellertson (formerly Tina Frimpong as she was married last year) completed her collegiate career in 2004 as Washington's all-time leader in goals (42) and points (97). From her forward position, she led the Pac-10 in goals as a junior (13) and senior (15) and was named the Conference Player of the Year twice, in 2003 and 2004. Ellertson garnered All-America acclaim in 2003 and 2004.
Since being converted to a defender for the U.S. squad, she has earned 22 caps for international appearances. Ryan chose Ellertson, stating that she is perhaps the fastest player in U.S. history and one of the best marking backs ever to play for the national team.
Along with Scurry, Ryan finalized his goalkeeper corps with Solo and Barnhart. Solo has played 32 of the 42 matches Ryan has coached and is on the brink of becoming the second most-capped goalkeeper in U.S. history behind Scurry. Barnhart has just three caps, but at 5-10 and with tremendous athleticism, has a bright future.
A four-time all-conference honoree, Solo received the 2001 Pac-10 Player of the Year award. She surrendered only 12 goals in 17 games in 2001 en route to a school single-season record 0.68 goals against average. In 2000, Solo led Washington's to its only Pac-10 women's soccer championship. In each of her final two seasons (2001, 2002), she was one of 15 nominees for the Hermann Trophy that honors the national player of the year.
Solo also ranks second among National Team goalkeepers with 28 career wins. She was the USA's top goalkeeper in 2005 and 2006. She did not surrender a goal during seven international games in 2005, covering a span of 630 minutes.
Barnhart, a three-time All-American at Stanford, is now a volunteer assistant coach for the Cardinal. Barnhart finished her Stanford career ranked No. 1 in school history with a 0.451 goals-against average in 71 games. She also holds the No. 2 ranking in the Stanford record books with 39 career shutouts and is No. 3 in career saves with 210 in four seasons.
Barnhart earned her first cap with the National Team two years ago when she played as a forward against Mexico, marking the first time a U.S. goalie has seen minutes as a field player. The following March she became the first Stanford goalie to ever start in net for the U.S. National Team, posting the first shutout of her post-collegiate career as she led the United States to a 1-0 victory over France at the Algarve Cup.
Despite the number of players entering their first Women's World Cup, the first 18 players chosen for the 2007 U.S. Women's World Cup Team have an average age of 27 years.
The USA continues its Send-Off Series with a match against Norway on July 14 at Rentschler Field in East Hartford. Kickoff is 6 p.m. ET with the match broadcast live on ESPN2.
Following the Norway match, the USA will have a week off before traveling to Northern California to face Japan on July 28 in San Jose, Calif. The team hits the stretch run with a game on Aug. 12 against New Zealand at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill., before playing the Send-Off match in Carson, Calif., at The Home Depot Center against Finland on Aug. 25.
'The players now have that sense that `hey, this is our team' and let's start focusing on our team, on team building,' said Ryan. 'We are going to focus on two great opponents in our next two games, Norway and Japan, both who will be in the World Cup, and then really start looking at our first-round matches with North Korea, Sweden and Japan. We'll start focusing on those opponents so we can be set and ready when we get to China.'
FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP - ROSTER BY POSITION
Nicole Barnhart (Gilbertsville, Pa.)
Briana Scurry (Dayton, Minn.)
Hope Solo (Richland, Wash.)
Tina Ellertson (Vancouver, Wash.)
Stephanie Lopez (Elk Grove, Calif.)
Kate Markgraf (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.)
Christie Rampone (Point Pleasant, N.J.)
Cat Whitehill (Birmingham, Ala.)
Shannon Boxx (Redondo Beach, Calif.)
Lori Chalupny (St. Louis, Mo.)
Marci Jobson (St. Charles, Ill.)
Carli Lloyd (Delran, N.J.)
Leslie Osborne (Brookfield, Wis.)
Aly Wagner (San Jose, Calif.)
Kristine Lilly (Wilton, Conn.)
Heather O'Reilly (East Brunswick, N.J.)
Lindsay Tarpley (Kalamazoo, Mich.)
Abby Wambach (Rochester, N.Y.)