Veteran makes much celebrated return following five-year absence
CHICAGO, Illinois – Red Stars midfielder Lori Chalupny has been called up by U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis for the December tournament in Brazil, along with fellow Chicago standouts Christen Press and Julie Johnston. The inclusion of Chalupny marks a major milestone in the 30-year-old’s career, as she boasts nearly 100 caps with the Stars and Stripes but has not made an appearance since 2009, the year after she helped lead Team USA to an Olympic gold medal in Beijing, China.
The upcoming four-team tournament, which will take place in the city of Brasilia, features China, Brazil and Argentina, whom the Americans will face on December 10, 14 and 17, respectively. All matches will be played at National Stadium Mane Garrincha, which hosted seven matches of the men’s 2014 World Cup.
“I am beyond excited,” a smiling Chalupny said when asked about her reaction to the news. “Having to sit and watch from the sidelines for the past few years has been tough, but it also makes this even more rewarding and makes me even more grateful for the opportunity. Of course there are also some nerves because I know this is not an easy roster to break into and that there’s a lot of hard work ahead. So it’s just the beginning and I hope that I can leave a good impression.”
The former North Carolina Tar Heel started in all of her country’s seven matches in the 2007 Women’s World Cup, scoring two goals, and was a key contributor during the gold-medal-winning Olympic run of 2008.
Since her February 2013 switch to Chicago from Denmark’s AIK Fotboll Dam, Chalupny has donned the captain’s armband for the Red Stars and has served as her NWSL side’s undisputed leader on and off the field. She ranked first on the team this past season in minutes logged (2,003), games played (23; tied with Vanessa DiBernardo) and games started (22), as well as second in goals scored (5) behind U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year nominee Press.
In light of Chalupny’s performance over the past campaign, she has been suggested as a viable candidate for inclusion in the 2015 World Cup squad. Should it come to fruition, the Chicago captain’s participation on the world’s biggest stage would no doubt rank as one of the most enticing comeback stories of the past decade.
Chalupny herself steered clear of any pre-drawn conclusions.
“In the short term, it’s just about making a roster and then the next roster after that, as it is for every player,” the Missouri native offered. “For me, getting reintegrated into the team will be important during this first trip. It’s tough to look too far ahead because there’s too much of the unknown. It’s really just about competing and playing my best ever camp.
“Of course I would love to be on the roster for the World Cup, but there are a lot of steps that need to be checked off before that happens. So I’m just thinking about performing at my best and finding a way to contribute.”
Red Stars fans can watch U.S. internationals Lori Chalupny, Julie Johnston and Christen Press in action throughout the 2015 NWSL campaign. Early-bird season tickets start at $125 and may be purchased by calling 773-697-8699 or by clicking here.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (WNY 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): Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (UCLA), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)