Colaprico, Gilliland and Short look for first cap in friendlies in Utah and Minnesota
CHICAGO – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 24 players to the training camp roster ahead of two matches against Switzerland, on Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (7 p.m. MT on ESPN2) and Oct. 23 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (12:45 p.m. MT on FS1). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each match.
The roster for the USA’s first two matches following the 2016 Olympics – wins against Thailand and the Netherlands in September – featured only players that were in Brazil, but as the U.S. team begins the new cycle leading up to qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Ellis chose not to call up several veterans, making space in camp for 11 uncapped players, eight from the NWSL and three from the college ranks.
“Right now, we are in a phase where we want to try to expand the player pool, look at a number of players and start the long process to qualifying for the next World Cup,” said Ellis. “That means several of our more experienced players won’t be in for this camp while we get to evaluate some different personnel. In order to see if these players can contribute, we need to get them into a National Team training environment and in games.”
All of the new players called up have previous U.S. Youth National Team experience at the Under-23 level or younger. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, a senior at Stanford, started for the USA in the 2012 FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup, was a member of the 2014 U-20 Women’s World Cup Team and previously trained with the senior team for one camp February of 2013 when she was 17-years-old. Campbell joins veterans Alyssa Naeher and 2016 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year Ashlyn Harris as one of three ‘keepers on the roster.
Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico also spent time in WNT camps at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016.
The ninth-overall draft pick in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft, New Jersey native Colaprico made a name for herself in the holding midfielder position, leading the team in minutes in 2015 and fell a mere 24 minutes short of going the distance in all 20 regular season games. She finished the season as NWSL’s Rookie of the Year and was named to the Second Best XI, being the only rookie midfielder. In 2016, Colaprico became the fastest Red Stars player to reach 3,500 minutes of play, doing so in just under two season. With 41 appearances for Chicago, Colaprico has earned two goals and two assists, averaging 50% of her shots on goal.
For nine other players, including Red Stars Arin Gilliland and Casey Short, this is their first full WNT call-up.
Picked up by Chicago as the eighth-overall draft pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft, Gilliland has grown to be a force to reckon with as Chicago’s primary right back. The Kentucky native played 19 of 20 matches (17 starts) her rookie season for a total of 1533 minutes. Gilliland was also named to NWSL 2015 Second XI with Colaprico and was the only rookie in the four defender spots. Gilliland was on her way to becoming the only Red Stars player to play every minute in 2016, but was subbed out during the second to last regular season match on September 11, 2016, due to injury. Gilliland and the Chicago defense maintained just a 1.00 GAA and led the league with eight total shutouts.
The outside back duo of the Red Stars will stick together at the international level as Short will join Gilliland in camp. Chicago acquired Short during the 2013 NWSL season after an injury left her unable to play for Boston in her first season after being drafted fifth overall. Bad luck struck again as Short suffered another season-ending knee injury before the start of the 2014 NWSL season. In 2015, Short played abroad for Avaldsnes IL in the Norwegian Toppserien league, where she helped guide the team to second place and was named to the Top XI Team. After signing with Chicago for the 2016 season, Short immediately was thrown into the Chicago backline and would became a mainstay on the left side and a nightmare for the opposing teams. Short, 26, finished the 2016 season with 2 goals during regular season and assisted in the semifinal match to Christen Press against Washington Spirit.
“Our staff has been watching NWSL games this season and these are the ones that stood out,” said Ellis. “The league is vitally important to create a tremendous competitive environment for these players to show their talents as professionals and we are excited to give them a chance with the National Team.”
Familiar faces on the United States roster from the Chicago Red Stars are captain Christen Press and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
Press led Chicago with 8 goals in the regular season after appearing in 14 games and posted the best goals-per-game average in the NWSL at 0.57. She posted 39 shots on goal, becoming the biggest threat for every defensive back line the NWSL this season. A steady presence on the United States roster, Press has tallied 35 goals for her country in just 76 appearances.
Naeher, acquired by Chicago in November 2015 from Boston, led the league for a tie in most shutouts (6), earning just 1.00 goal against per game after showcasing 13 times for the Red Stars. With eight caps in her career, she has posted four clean sheets.
Tickets for the match in Utah are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 801-727-2700 (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
Tickets for the match in Minnesota are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 and at all Ticketmaster ticket centers throughout the Twin Cities area (including many Walmart locations), as well as the U.S. Bank Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday at 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended hours on Wednesday until 7 p.m.).
For both matches, groups of 20 or more can order at ussoccer.com.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Western New York Flash), Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Andi Sullivan (Stanford)
FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City), Ashley Hatch (BYU), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (Western New York Flash)
• Ten of the 18 players that were on the 2016 Olympic Team were named to this roster, plus three of the four alternates.
• S. captain Carli Lloyd heads into the matches with 94 career goals and needs just six more to become the sixth player in U.S. history to score 100 times.
• First-time call-up Shea Groom from FC Kansas City was far and away her club’s leading scorer this year with eight goals.
• Among the four new defenders Ellis called up are two players from the Chicago Red Stars back line in Casey Short and Arin Gilliland, who both helped CRS limit opponents to 20 goals this year, tied for second fewest in the league behind the Portland Thorns (19). Ellis also called up defender Merritt Mathias, the first player from Alabama to be called in since World Cup and Olympic veteran Cat Whitehill retired. Mathias played in 19 of the 20 games for the Seattle Reign this year, starting 17.
• Former U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team captain Abby Dahlkemper played every minute of every game this season at center back for the Western New York Flash and gets her first senior team call-up.
• The matches against Switzerland will only be the third and fourth meetings between the two countries, with the USA winning both previous contents. The Americans triumphed 4-1 on Aug. 20, 2014 in Cary, N.C. and 3-0 on March 6, 2015 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.
• Switzerland has qualified for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro, taking the full 24 points from its eight games while scoring 34 goals and allowing just three.
• The USA is 18-0-3 in 2016.
• The match in Utah will mark the USA’s fourth visit to Rio Tinto Stadium – home to Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer — after having played there in 2010, 2012 and 2014, all wins.
• The USA also played at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City back in 2003, a 5-0 win vs. Ireland.
• The match at U.S. Bank Stadium will be the first for a U.S. National Team at the brand new facility built for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL. The fixed-roof stadium officially opened on July 22, 2016.
• The U.S. WNT has a long history in Minnesota as the team played many of its earliest home matches in Blaine, Minn., in 1986 and 1987.
• The U.S. Women have played 14 total matches in Blaine, tied with Portland, Ore., for the city that has hosted the most U.S. WNT matches, but the USA has not played there since 2006.
• Switzerland failed to make it out of Group C at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, but had a solid tournament, losing to eventual runners-up Japan 1-0 and defeating Ecuador 10-1 before suffering a fatal setback to Cameroon, 2-1.