Chalupny, Press, Johnston, Boxx and Erceg all looking to feature in April 4 clash
CHICAGO, Ill. – U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis has called up Red Stars players Lori Chalupny, Christen Press, Julie Johnston and Shannon Boxx to the 25-player roster that will prepare in Carson, California, ahead of the Stars and Stripes’ big April 4 clash with New Zealand in St. Louis. Earlier this week, it was announced Chicago defender and New Zealand captain Abby Erceg has been included in her side’s 20-player roster as expected.
USA Head Coach Ellis will finalize an official 18-player roster for the match between the two World-Cup-bound teams, for which over 31,000 tickets have already been sold and which will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.
The four Chicago standouts hoping to make the cut on the American side continue their streak of call-ups in recent months. Both striker Press and reigning NWSL Rookie of the Year Johnston look to build on their standout performances in the recent Algarve Cup final. While defender Johnston opened the scoring on an early header and was key in keeping mighty France scoreless, Press exploded past four defenders in the second half and slotted inside the right post for a stunning tally that sealed the deal.
Red Stars captain and St. Louis native Chalupny, who played a vital role for the USA throughout the Algarve Cup tournament, will get within one cap of reaching 100 if she features against New Zealand. Legendary midfielder Boxx has her sights set firmly on making her fourth consecutive appearance after not playing for her country for nearly two years.
On the other side of the pitch, defender Erceg aspires to help continue the recent defensive improvements in New Zealand’s scoreless draw with Spain, which broke a previous trend of conceding multiple goals in the first half of games. Erceg’s inclusion in the Football Ferns roster does not come as a surprise, as the 25-year-old is her national team’s long-time captain and has well over 100 caps.
The USA roster includes the same players who won the senior program’s 10th Algarve Cup earlier this month. The U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson will serve as the site for the upcoming training camp, which is scheduled to run from March 23-30. The team will then depart for St. Louis, where it will train for three days before the April 4 match.
“Having the initial training period in LA, when we can go a bit harder, and then tapering into the match in St. Louis will be excellent preparation for a New Zealand team that always gives us a highly competitive game,” said Ellis. “This will be an excellent test for us. They are aggressive, athletic and like to press. We’ll see some similar tendencies that we could see in our first group match at the World Cup and certainly the crowd will be tremendous. It will be nice to be back at home.”
The meeting with New Zealand begins a four-game run-up to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup that includes three send-off series games in May.
The U.S. Women will begin the series against the Republic of Ireland on Sunday, May 10, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, the new home of MLS outfit San Jose Earthquakes. From there, the team travels down the coast to face fellow CONCACAF side Mexico on Sunday, May 17, at StubHub Center in Carson. Both California matches will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1, with the Mexico fixture also available on Univision Deportes.
After a short break, the USA will head to the East Coast to conclude the send-off series against Korea Republic on Saturday, May 30, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. The match will be broadcast on ESPN, WatchESPN and Univision Deportes. Fans can follow all of the upcoming matches on Twitter via @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp. Red-Stars-specific commentary will be available via @ChicagoRedStars.
Chicago Red Stars supporters can see all of their international stars in action during the team’s 2015 NWSL season, which kicks off on April 18 with the big home opener against Hope Solo, Sydney Leroux, Megan Rapinoe and current Shield holders Seattle Reign FC. Single-game and season tickets ($145) may be purchased by calling 773-698-6001 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 (10): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY 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), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), 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 (Unattached)