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U.S. names roster for 2011 Women's World Cup

Coach Pia Sundhage announces the 21 players who will make up the U.S. team at the World Cup on June 26-July 17 in Germany. Defender Christie Rampone will act as captain.

May 09, 2011|By Grahame L. Jones
  • U.S. defender Christie Rampone beats Japan's Yuki Nagasato to the ball during an Algarve Cup match.
U.S. defender Christie Rampone beats Japan's Yuki Nagasato to the… (Francisco Leong / AFP / Getty…)

Almost 20 years have passed since the likes of Michelle Akers, Carin Jennings, Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm forever etched their names into soccer's history book by winning the inaugural Women's World Cup in China in 1991.

Now, two decades later, another U.S. team will set out on a similar quest, and on Monday, Coach Pia Sundhage named the 21 players she will take to Europe next month to compete in the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany.

Had Kristine Lilly not decided to retire earlier this year, there would have been a direct link between "the '91ers" and the 2011 side, and Lilly would have become the first player in soccer history — men's or women's — to play in six World Cups.

Instead, it will be up to several other veterans of previous campaigns to lead the charge for the Americans.

Chief among them are Christie Rampone, the 35-year-old defender and team captain who will be taking part in her fourth World Cup, as well as midfielder Shannon Boxx and forward Abby Wambach, who will each be playing in their third.

"We went to China for the Olympics in 2008 with Christie Rampone as our captain, and the way she is stepping up and the way she handles herself on and off the field, she is the best captain I've ever … played with," said Sundhage, herself a veteran of the 1991 tournament when she played for Sweden.

Rampone is one of 14 players on the roster who were on the U.S. squad that won the gold medal at the Beijing Olympics. Eight of those 14 were starters, including Carli Lloyd, who scored the winning goal in extra time in the gold-medal match against Brazil.

The 2011 U.S. team consists entirely of professional players and the average age of the team is 27, with forward Alex Morgan the youngest at 21.

Despite the veterans on the team, the U.S. squad is short of actual World Cup experience. Only nine of the players have previously taken part in the quadrennial world championship, and only Rampone was on the U.S. team that won it all in 1999.

Still, Sundhage said she was more than satisfied with the roster she has put together for the 16-team event. "We have people that organize defensively, people that can step up when it really matters, people that are good in the air, people that are fighters, and tricky ones as well," she said.

The U.S. has not won the Women's World Cup since 1999, when it defeated China on penalty kicks in front of 90,185 at the Rose Bowl. It lost to Germany in the semifinals in 2003 and to Brazil in the semifinals in 2007.

Nevertheless, it is ranked No. 1 in the world and is among the favorites for the June 26-July 17 tournament, along with host and defending champion Germany, and Brazil.

The U.S. will play North Korea, Colombia and Sweden in the first round, starting with the Koreans on June 28 in Dresden.

The full U.S. roster, by position:

Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart, Jill Loyden, Hope Solo.

Defenders: Rachel Buehler, Stephanie Cox, Ali Krieger, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn.

Midfielders: Shannon Boxx, Tobin Heath, Lori Lindsey, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, Lindsay Tarpley.

Forwards: Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach.

grahame.jones@latimes.com

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