Monday, May 9, 2011
Hope Solo back for Women's World Cup
ESPN.com news services
CHICAGO -- Goalkeeper Hope Solo, who missed Women's World Cup qualifying with a shoulder injury, is on the U.S. roster for this summer's tournament in Germany.
Abby Wambach, who scored nine goals at the last two World Cups, and Christie Rampone, the only player left from the U.S. team that won the 1999 title, also made the 21-person team announced Monday. U.S. coach Pia Sundhage took four forwards, seven midfielders, seven defenders and three goalkeepers.
Wambach and Heather O'Reilly, appearing on "ESPN First Take", said they were looking forward to improving on the team's third-place finishes in 2007 and 2003.
"We haven't won since 1999 and we're hungry, we're very hungry," O'Reilly said.
Wambach, who is among the nine players on the roster with World Cup experience, said she is expecting a high level of competition as women's soccer programs have grown into full-time teams that allow players time to focus on improving their games.
"That's the greatest difference between 1999 and now," she said. "There's so much parity."
The Americans, defending Olympic champions, will be trying to win their third World Cup title and first since '99 when they begin play June 28 against North Korea. The U.S. also faces Colombia on July 2 and Sweden on July 6 in group play.
The U.S. had its difficulties in qualifying for the World Cup, losing to Mexico in the CONCACAF qualifying tournament and having to win a two-game aggregate series with Italy to play their way in. But Wambach and O'Reilly told ESPN's "SportsCenter" that the experience made them a better team.
"We weren't clicking, we weren't in synch," O'Reilly said of the team's upset loss to Mexico last fall. "Now we've got a nice rhythm as a team."
"People can take this qualifying hiccup that we had and look negatively upon it, but it's the World Cup experience that we gain," Wambach added.
The roster features 12 players participating in their first Women's World Cup. But 14 players on the squad were part of the U.S. team that won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.
Forwards: Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Cheney, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach.
Midfielders: Lindsay Tarpley, Shannon Boxx, Heather O'Reilly, Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, Tobin Heath.
Defenders: Heather Mitts, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy LePeilbet, Ali Krieger, Stephanie Cox, Rachel Buehler.
Goalkeepers: Hope Solo, Nicole Barnhart, Jill Loyden.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.