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Jill Ellis Names USWNT Olympic Roster Which Includes Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara, and Carli Lloyd

Kelley O'Hara (left). (Photo by Jeff Auger - Double G Media)

Kelley O’Hara (left). (Photo by Jeff Auger – Double G Media)

 

Jill Ellis has named the 18 players and four alternates she will be taking to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer. The USWNT head coach is bringing a group of players that is a mix between veterans and players with less experience, with ten members of the team being first-time Olympians.

Ellis is bringing a group that relies heavily on the experience of winning the Women’s World Cup last summer, as 14 members of the team will return for the Olympics, though several of her players are relatively new to the fold. In a conference call on Tuesday afternoon, Ellis said “building for the future definitely came into play,” and that she looked for players that would still be in the picture come the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.

Five of the players on Ellis’ roster have ties to the New York/New Jersey area, including Tobin Heath, first time Olympians Crystal Dunn and Allie Long, and FIFA World Player of the Year and team co-captain, Carli Lloyd. Defender Kelley O’Hara, who plays for Sky Blue FC, will make her second trip to the Olympics. New Jersey native Heather O’Reilly, a three-time Olympian, was selected as an alternate.

Noting that she has a smaller roster than she did last year, as the Olympics allow for an 18-person squad as opposed to the 23 a coach is allowed to bring to the World Cup, Ellis called in a host of players who are versatile. Speaking to US Soccer, she said “down (in Brazil) with limited numbers, you also have to make sure players can cover spots if necessary; so a little bit of flexibility. I think in terms of our front three and our two attacking midfielders, it’s as deep as we’ve ever been. It’s a really interchangeable group.” Ellis then cited Christen Press, Mallory Pugh, and Dunn as players who can excel in multiple roles in the attack.

During her conference call, she also discussed O’Hara’s capabilities in multiple positions, saying, “Kelley’s our starting right back, but I know I can play her anywhere and she can do a good job.”

The USWNT will begin their quest to become the first team to do the Women’s World Cup and Olympic double against New Zealand on August 3, then play France on August 6, and wrap up the group stage against Colombia on August 9.

2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2):
Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6):
Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 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)
MIDFIELDERS (6):
Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (4):
Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

 

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Pardeep is the New York Red Bulls Beat Writer for DoubleGSports.com while also covering other soccer teams and events.
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