U.S. Soccer releases ‘One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories’ video series on U.S. Women’s World Cup squad
CHICAGO (Via U.S. Soccer) – The U.S. Women’s National Team has three matches left before traveling to Canada for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in June, but as the excitement for the tournament ramps up, U.S. Soccer has released its “One Nation. One Team. 23 Stories.” series.
The video profiles feature each member on the U.S. WNT roster and provides fans the opportunity to get to know the players and their stories from outside the soccer field before they cheer them on this summer in Canada during the world’s biggest sporting event for women.
The videos give fans insight into the players’ personalities, families, motivations, and some of the challenges they’ve experienced on the different roads they’ve traveled to earn the right to represent the United States in the ultimate competition for a soccer player.
Prior to departing for the World Cup in Canada, the U.S. WNT will embark on a three-game Send-Off Series across the United States in May. Tickets for the Send-Off Series matches are now on sale. The U.S. will play the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, May 10, at11:30 a.m. PT, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California; Mexico on Sunday, May 17, at 6 p.m. PT, at StubHub Center in Carson, California; and Korea Republic on Saturday, May 30, at 4:30 p.m. ET, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
This summer, the U.S. Women’s National Team will face Australia, Sweden and Nigeria in Group D at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA opens against Australia on June 8 at Winnipeg Stadium, followed by Sweden on June 12 in Winnipeg and Nigeria on June 16 at BC Place in Vancouver.
2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup Team Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (8): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash),Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars),Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash),Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit),Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC),Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash),Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC),Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City),Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash),Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Western NY Flash), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC),Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars),Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (unattached)
ONE NATION. ONE TEAM. 23 STORIES.
At 38, Shannon Boxx will be playing in her fourth and final Women’s World Cup. To get there, she had to overcome significant health challenges as well as return to the field after the birth of her daughter, tests she has managed with tremendous perseverance, dedication and the support of her friends, family and especially her teammates.
At 22, Morgan Brian is the youngest player on the USA’s 2015 Women’s World Cup Team and has starred at the youth National Teams level for some time, helping the USA win the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. But it wasn’t always that way. As an under-sized youth player in Georgia and Florida, she earned the nickname “Plankton” and was cut from the Olympic Development Program team. Despite hitting some obstacles along the way, with hard work, self-belief, ambitious goal-setting and inspirational guidance from a coach, she made herself into one of the best young players in the world.
While Lori Chalupny may admittedly still be a bit shy, she credits her U.S. youth National Team experience with helping her come out of her shell and find her voice. Now the St. Louis native is a college coach and a veteran player who, after five years away from the team, has a heightened appreciation for the opportunity to compete for a Women’s World Cup title.
Whitney Engen grew up in what you might call a “fun household” where her parents were always encouraging her and her brother through games and activities. Today, she knows those experiences helped mold not only her competitive nature, but also her ability to thrive in such an environment. She now feels comfortable dealing with the good days and the bad ones, whether it be while competing for and earning a spot on the USA’s Women’s World Cup Team, or catching a tossed ice cube in a cup after a full 360-degree spin.
During her childhood in Satellite Beach, Fla., Ashlyn Harris was a wild child, a grom and a skater who hit both the surf and the concrete ramps with abandon. She played sports with and against the boys and had to earn their respect. Somewhere along the way she realized that soccer might be her way out of the small town. It was, as she won the FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup in 2002, went on to a stellar career at North Carolina, was a standout for her pro clubs and now has earned a place on her first Women’s World Cup Team. Having found her voice, she wants to use it to help others through their struggles while blazing her own path and living life freely.
Tobin Heath is a free spirit. It’s a distinct part of her personality that informs her style of play on the field and her life off of it. The joy she feels with the ball at her feet and her pursuit of new experiences have carried her around the country and the globe. This soccer vagabond has bounced from place to place, embracing a warm community of family and friends in between soccer trips, but she knows that one day she will settle down. Even after she does, Heath will cling to that sense of adventure and continue to seek out different situations, people and cultures that challenge her and help her grow.
Open-heart surgery at the age of three didn’t slow down Lauren Holiday, who enjoyed a childhood replete with competition against her siblings, which led her to a first call-up for the U.S. Women’s National Team at the tender age of 17. Now 27, the central midfielder has grown up on the U.S. team and into one of the team’s most important players.
Julie Johnston has played soccer for as long as she can remember, and fueled by competition with her sister, she became one of the best young players in the country, and then the world, when she captained the USA to the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup title. Still, she struggled with self-confidence trying to make the huge jump to the full National Team, and without the constant support of her friends and family, she says she might not have made it to her first Women’s World Cup.
The only thing small about Meghan Klingenberg – just call her Kling — is her height. Her personality, toughness, competitive desire and talent on the soccer field certainly loom large, so much so that the third-degree black belt in taekwondo has molded herself into one of the best attacking outside backs in the world. Who would have known that a girl from Pittsburgh, who did a demo with Nunchucks to NSYNC’s “Here We Go” in her fifth grade talent show, would one day rise to the U.S. Women’s National Team? Kling would — that’s who.
Ali Krieger had a near-death experience while in college and at the time, didn’t know if she would be able to follow her dreams of playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team, or even continue playing soccer at all. With the support of her family and teammates, and armed with a new perspective, she was able to recover and offer support to her brother who was going through his own struggles at the time. Now, the siblings are each other’s role models and confidents, lending each other perspective while helping each other achieve success and happiness.
Sydney Leroux played all sorts of sports with boys while growing up and always left everything on the field. She eventually grew out of her tomboy stage, but the aggressive style she honed as a youth is the same one fans see from her on the field today. While her road to the U.S. National Team was certainly untraditional, the daughter of a single mom gives all the credit to Sandi Leroux for providing her with the love, opportunity and support to help her follow her dreams.
Carli Lloyd has used a tremendous work ethic, honed on the fields of New Jersey, often times by herself, to become one of the best and most clutch midfielders in the world. She cherishes the most important games and relishes the chance to put her training into action on the grandest of stages. Lloyd embraces the pressure of her own high expectations and looks forward to having her teammates count on her in the biggest of moments.
Alex Morgan’s childhood in Diamond Bar, Calif. involved a lot of sports. She decided only in her early teenage years to concentrate on soccer, but that focus paid off eight years later, when as the youngest player on the USA’s 2011 Women’s World Cup roster she played a major role off the bench. Now, as she heads to her second World Cup, Morgan is incorporating lessons she’s learned from her teammates with a new set of responsibilities on the field, along with her status as a role model.
Alyssa Naeher and her twin sister were drawn to opposite ends of the soccer field: Amanda would become a high scoring forward in college while Alyssa gravitated to the goal. After an early mishap, the duo rebounded, learning to complement each other and hone each other’s competitive edge. Today, each Naeher sister calls herself the other’s biggest fan.
Georgia native Kelley O’Hara is a southern girl at heart, and as she grew up playing all sorts of sports in Peachtree City, she never thought she would want to leave home. But her soccer travels for the USA’s youth and senior national teams, as well as a brilliant collegiate career at Stanford, have led her to live on both coasts and have taken her around the globe, opening up her eyes to a world she embraces while living life to the fullest.
Heather O’Reilly grew up with three older brothers who loved including her in their sporting exploits and watched with pride as her athleticism grew…even when she started beating their friends. Later, O’Reilly would discover that she shares something else with one of her brothers: the game face.
Christen Press’ journey took her from a highly successful but often stressful college career in California, to a folded pro league in Florida, to a fresh start in Sweden, and then to a spot as an alternate on the 2012 Olympic Team in England. Along the way she found peace with herself, and in her game, while scoring nearly a goal for every two games she has played for the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Growing up in a small town in northern California with her twin sister Rachael helped shape Megan Rapinoe into the person and player she is today. While her childhood pursuits were not good for the crawdads in the pond by her house, it positively impacted her outlook on life and strengthened a family bond that has propelled her to great success on the soccer field.
Through eighteen years on the U.S. Women’s National Team, defender Christie Rampone has grown from a tremendously shy dual-sport athlete out of a small New Jersey school to the long-time captain of her country. Along the way she has learned from the many players and coaches who have graced the U.S. team over the past two decades. Rampone earned the monikers of Captain America and America’s #1 Soccer Mom while raising two daughters who have grown up around the team. She feels incredibly fortunate to have had so many great role models for Rylie and Reece, who are anything but shy.
Amy Rodriguez knew that returning to the field after having her son following the 2012 Olympics was not going to be easy. After a trade to a new club, she found new motivation, helped lead FC Kansas City to a NWSL title and earned a spot on the Women’s World Cup Team. After giving birth to her son Ryan, she realized she was not nearly ready to hang up her cleats and underwent a shift in perspective. Fueled by her desire to make Ryan proud when he came of age to understand her accomplishments, Rodriguez sought to pursue her goals to the fullest. Mission accomplished.
At times, growing up with two older brothers wasn’t easy, but it certainly helped mold Becky Sauerbrunn into the tremendous competitor she is today. While her brothers did in fact dress her in make-shift goalie gear and shot hockey pucks at her, they also helped her learn to read, which opened up a new universe of literature and in turn nurtured her passion for knowledge. Now Sauerbrunn makes a point to learn about new cultures in all the places she’s been able to travel with the U.S. Women’s National Team while always looking to expand her education.
From an early age, Hope Solo wanted to be a professional soccer player. She just didn’t think it would be in goal. A highly-decorated scorer as a forward in high school in Richland, Wash., she didn’t come to terms with being a goalkeeper until her later years in college. With the support of her coaches at the University of Washington, she was told she could be the best in the world. They were right. Since then, she had been dedicated to her craft, and while she says that no one can perfect the art of goalkeeping, she loves that challenge it brings, and that’s what continues to motivate her.
One of the greatest competitors and winners in the history of women’s soccer grew up as the youngest of seven kids in Rochester, New York. Her competitive fire was partly fueled by a loss during her senior year of high school and stoked by another crushing defeat on the biggest stage four years ago. As she pursues an elusive Women’s World Cup title in her last go-around, no one realizes more than Abby Wambach that you are defined not by falling down but by how you respond when you get up.