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U.S. names 20-woman roster for World Cup qualifying

U.S. names 20-woman roster for World Cup qualifying
Coach Jill Ellis of the U.S. women's national soccer team. (Grant Halverson / Getty Images)

A number of familiar names are on the 20-player roster U.S. women's soccer Coach Jill Ellis has called up for this month's CONCACAF World Cup qualifying tournament.

Fourteen of the 20 women named participated in qualifying for the 2012 Olympics while 11 have previous World Cup qualifying experience. That list is topped by forward Abby Wambach and midfielder Heather O'Reilly, each of whom played in the last three pre-World Cup events.

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"This is one of the most competitive rosters to make in our recent history," said Ellis, a former UCLA coach. "The way the players performed during our recent camp and two games against Mexico certainly made it difficult on the coaching staff."

The U.S., ranked No. 1 in the world, opens qualifying in the two-group, eight-nation tournament against Trinidad & Tobago on Oct. 15 in Kansas City, Kan. The Americans will then face Guatemala on Oct 17 at Toyota Park in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Ill., before concluding group play against Haiti three days later in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. outscored those teams 99-2 combined in 12 previous matches, all wins.

The top two teams from that group and from the other group, which features Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Martinique, will advance to the Oct. 24 semifinals in Chester, Pa., followed by the championship and third-place games on Oct. 26 in the same location. The winners of the semifinal matches and the third-place game all qualify for next summer's World Cup in Canada while the fourth-place finisher will play Ecuador, which finished third in South American qualifying, in a two-leg playoff for an invitation to Canada.

Also included on the U.S. roster was former UCLA star Sydney Leroux, Diamond Bar High graduate Alex Morgan and Palos Verdes' Christien Press at forward, midfielder Megan Rapinoe, longtime captain Christie Rampone on defense and Hope Solo in goal.

The Americans are 22-1-0 all-time in previous CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers, the lone loss coming in 2010 to Mexico.

The roster (with club teams in parentheses):

Goalkeepers: Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
Defenders: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Houston Dash), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
Midfielders: Morgan Brian (Virginia), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Carli Lloyd (WNY Flash), Heather O'Reilly (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
Forwards: Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (WNY Flash)

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