Coach Jill Ellis has called up a veteran U.S. team for next month’s CONCACAF Championship, with more than half the 20 women selected having made at least 56 international appearances.
Leading the way is two-time world soccer player of the year Carli Lloyd, who has played in 259 games for the national team. She is one of 11 holdovers from the 2015 U.S. team that won the World Cup. The eight-team CONCACAF Championship, which begins Oct. 4 in Cary, N.C., serves as the regional qualifying for next summer’s World Cup in France.
“We feel really good about the process that has gotten us to this point,” said Ellis, whose team will open the tournament against Mexico, in a statement.
The U.S. is 11-0-2 this year and is unbeaten in its last 21 games dating to July 2017.
In addition to Lloyd, Ellis’ team includes forwards Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan. Rapinoe made the shortlist for the FIFA women’s best player award for 2018 while Morgan is having one of her best seasons, leading the U.S. with 10 goals in 13 games.
UCLA defender Hailie Mace is the only college player on the team. Mace, a senior, is on the watch list for this season’s Hermann Trophy, college soccer’s version of the Heisman.
In addition to Mexico, the U.S. will also meet Panama and Trinidad and Tobago in pool play in North Carolina. Group B, which will play in Edinburg, Texas, consists of Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Cuba.
The top two teams from each pool move to Frisco, Texas, for the final four beginning Oct. 14. The two semifinalists and the winner of the third-place game advance to the World Cup while the fourth-place team will take on Argentina in a playoff with another ticket to France at stake.
The U.S. is 27-1-0 in World Cup qualifying, with the loss coming to Mexico in 2010.
Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage), Hailie Mace (UCLA), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage)
Forwards: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)