Chalupny, Press, Johnston and Boxx to face France and England
CHICAGO, Ill. – U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Jill Ellis has called up the Chicago quartet of Lori Chalupny, Christen Press, Julie Johnston and Shannon Boxx to her 24-player roster that will travel to Europe for matches against France and England. The only team represented by more players than the Red Stars in the pair of World Cup tune-ups will be defending NWSL champion FC Kansas City (5).
The Stars and Stripes’ clash with fellow international giants France in Lorient will be broadcast on ESPN 2 (11 p.m. CT on February 8) and the meeting with up-and-comers England on Fox Sports 1 (2 p.m. CT on February 13).
While defender Johnston received several call-ups over the course of 2014, her club teammate Chalupny appears to be cementing her U.S. roster spot. Following a five-year absence, the Red Stars captain made her celebrated return to the national team in early December and has since been consistently included.
Press and Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd led the Red, White and Blue in appearances in 2014, both seeing action in 23 of the 24 games played. Goal-scoring machine Press had a chance to become the lone leader in the category but missed the final match of the year against Brazil due to a death in the family.
Legendary American midfielder Boxx has been experiencing a resurgence of late, as her inclusion in the January camp marked a first call-up since September 2014 for the three-time Olympic Gold medalist. It appears Boxx’s performances in training have prompted Head Coach Ellis to consider the veteran of three World Cups a serious candidate for a fourth participation on soccer’s biggest stage.
The U.S. has not played in France since 1995 when it was also preparing for a World Cup. The Stars and Stripes played France twice in June of 2014 in two highly competitive matches, a 1-0 victory in Tampa, Florida, and a 2-2 draw in East Hartford, Connecticut.
The last friendly match in England took place on April 2, 2011, and saw the Americans fall 2-1 to their European counterparts.
Both France and England went unbeaten in their respective World Cup qualifying groups. France compiled a 10-0-0 record while scoring 54 goals and allowing just three. England also went 10-0-0, netting 52 goals and allowing just one. France is currently ranked third in the world and England sixth.
“These games are exactly what we need,” offered U.S. Women’s National Team Head Coach Ellis. “Our goal leading up to the World Cup is to play some of the best teams. These are two opponents that will test us and certainly two teams we could meet in Canada. Both teams are exceptionally well-organized, have a high level of athleticism and will pose some excellent challenges.”
Chicago fans can see all of their World Cup stars in action during the 2015 NWSL campaign, which kicks off on April 18 with a home game against mighty Seattle Reign. Season tickets start at $145 and may be purchased by calling 773-697-8699 or by clicking here.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers)
DEFENDERS (9): 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), 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), Tori Huster (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
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)