CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 24 players for a 13-day trip to Europe that will feature matches against France on Feb. 8 in Lorient (12 p.m. ET on ESPN2) and against England on Feb. 13 in Milton Keynes (3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1).
The USA has not played in France since 1995 when it was also preparing for a World Cup and played three matches against Italy, Canada and France over a span of five days. The USA last played a friendly match in England on April 2, 2011, falling to England, 2-1. The USA played four of its six 2012 Olympic matches in England with the first two being played in Glasgow, Scotland.
Both France and England went unbeaten in their UEFA Women’s World Cup qualifying groups. France compiled a 10-0-0 record while scoring 54 goals and allowing just three. England also went 10-0-0, while netting 52 goals against just one allowed. France is currently ranked third in the world and England is sixth.
“These games are exactly what we need,” said Jill Ellis when the matches were announced. “Our goal leading up to the World Cup is to play some of the best teams. These are two opponents that will test us and certainly two teams we could meet in Canada. Both teams are exceptionally well-organized, have a high level of athleticism and will pose some excellent challenges.”
Twenty-three of the 24 players named participated in the USA’s three-week January camp, with the only addition being first-time call-up Tori Huster, a midfielder with the Washington Spirit.
- The USA will be without three regulars for this tour as Megan Rapinoe (knee) and Christie Rampone (back) picked up minor injuries during the USA’s January training camp and will not be ready for action, and goalkeeper Hope Solo is serving a suspension.
- The U.S. Women played France twice in June of 2014 in two highly competitive matches: a 1-0 U.S. victory in Tampa, Florida, on a score from Sydney Leroux and a 2-2 draw in East Hartford, Connecticut, in which Alex Morgan scored both goals.
- The USA’s group for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup features Australia, Sweden and Nigeria. England and France are in Group F with Colombia and Mexico.
- The USA is 14-0-2 all-time against France. The teams met in the semifinal of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and during group play at the 2012 Olympics.
- The USA is 7-3-1 all-time against England. The teams haven’t met since the match in London in 2011.
- The U.S. WNT includes players who have played professional club soccer in both France and England. Tobin Heath played with Paris Saint-Germain from 2013-14 while Whitney Engen helped the Liverpool Ladies to a league title in 2013.
- Carli Lloyd and Christen Press led the USA in games played in 2014, both seeing action in 23 out of the 24 total games. Lloyd started all 23 of her matches to lead the team.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers)
DEFENDERS (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Tori Huster (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)