Chalupny, Press, Johnston and Boxx to travel to Portugal for Algarve Cup
CHICAGO, Ill. – U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis has called up Red Stars standouts Lori Chalupny, Christen Press, Julie Johnston and Shannon Boxx to the 25-player roster that will travel to the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Before the tournament kicks off, Ellis will name 23 players to the official roster for the matches against Group B opponents Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. Most games involving the USA will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.
The quartet of Chicago internationals add to their streak of call-ups in recent months. While striker Christen Press is coming fresh off a Budweiser Player of the Match performance in the Americans’ clash with England, Chicago captain Lori Chalupny hopes to return to the starting lineup after watching the 1-0 away win from the bench. Both legendary midfielder Shannon Boxx and 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year Julie Johnston look to pounce on any opportunity to prove themselves as valuable squad members.
“I’m always excited to get called in and get to play with these fantastic players,” said Johnston. “It’s the kind of environment every soccer player tries to be in. For me personally, it’s just about learning what I need to do at that level. Every time I go in, I like to take in as much as I can and work to keep improving my game. I just want to help the team as much as I can. If there’s something I can do to be of use, I’m always happy to do it.”
Red Stars defender-midfielder Chalupny and Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe head into the tournament with 96 USA caps each and could reach 100 if they play in all four matches.
This roster includes 22 of the 24 players that were in Europe for the matches against France and England, with midfielder Rapinoe, defender Christie Rampone and goalkeeper Hope Solo added to the mix. After a formal review by U.S. Soccer, Solo was reinstated to the side after serving a 30-day suspension last month.
This year’s tournament in Portugal will run from March 4-11, and the U.S. team will depart for Europe on February 22. The majority of the games will be played at small venues across the Algarve region on the southern coast of the country, with several matches taking place at the 30,000-seat Algarve Stadium. The placement matches are scheduled for March 11.
The Stars and Stripes face 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup participant Norway on March 4 (1 p.m. CT) at the Municipal Stadium in Vila Real de San Antonio, which sits on the border with Spain. Next, the Americans take on Switzerland, which will play in its first Women’s World Cup this summer, on March 6 (11 a.m. CT) at the same venue. The final group game for Jill Ellis’ side comes on March 9 against Iceland at Municipal Stadium Lagos (11.30 a.m. CT), which is in the western part of the Algarve region.
The first two USA fixtures and the placement match on March 11 (time TBD) will be shown live on FOX Sports 1. Fans will be able to follow the team’s games on Twitter via @ussoccer_wnt and @ussoccer_esp, with Red-Stars-specific commentary provided via @ChicagoRedStars. For the complete tournament schedule, please click here.
Six of the world’s top-ten-ranked teams compete in this year’s Algarve Cup, including the top five. Brazil, which is currently ranked eighth, will be participating for the first time. Eleven of the twelve participating countries are ranked in the top 20 in the world.
“The value of the Algarve Cup is of course great games against top teams in a tournament format without much rest,” said USA Head Coach Ellis. “In any year this tournament presents great challenges, but as we continue to progress towards the World Cup, we want to get tested at the highest possible levels. Our opponents at this tournament give us another opportunity to gauge our depth and fitness.”
While Group A features Germany, Brazil, Sweden and China PR, Group C is made up of host Portugal, Japan, France and Denmark.
When the Algarve Cup expanded from eight to twelve teams in 2001, a Group C was created that generally consisted of lower-tier teams that were eligible to compete only for spots in the placement matches for seventh, ninth and eleventh place. This year, for the first time, all twelve teams will compete for the title, with the final featuring the two group winners with the most points (tiebreakers apply). The third-place match will be played between the third-best group winner and the best second-place team.
In addition, the Algarve Cup will feature a fifth-place match between the two remaining second-place teams, a seventh-place match between the two best third-place teams, a ninth-place match between the remaining third-place team and the best fourth-place team, and an eleventh-place match between the remaining two teams that finish fourth in their respective groups.
The U.S. Women have won the Algarve Cup a record nine times, including an unprecedented three straight championships from 2003-05. The Red, White and Blue made the final in nine consecutive years from 2003-11 and most recently won the tournament in 2013, defeating Germany 2-0 in the championship match behind an Alex Morgan brace. Last year, the Americans recorded their worst ever finish, taking seventh place with a 3-0 win against Korea DPR.
A total of 18 players from the 2014 Algarve Cup roster return, many of whom have played in numerous editions of the tournament.
Chicago Red Stars fans 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 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 (Western NY Flash)