From the U.S. Soccer Communications Center:
CHICAGO (March 8, 2010) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Pia Sundhage has named 24 players to a training camp surrounding two matches against Mexico taking place on March 28 at Torero Stadium on the campus of the University of San Diego and March 31 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
The match in San Diego will kick off at 2 p.m. PT and will be televised live on Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports en Español. The match in Utah will kick off at 7 p.m. MT and be televised live on ESPN2. Fans can follow both matches online via ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker and at twitter.com/ussoccer.
For the game in San Diego tickets are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, and at all Ticketmaster outlets (tickets will be sold at Torero Stadium only on the day of the game). For the match in Utah, tickets are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 888-477-5849 (Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and at the Rio Tinto Stadium ticket office (open Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). For both games, groups of 20 or more can obtain a discount order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290. Ultimate Fan Tickets (special VIP packages that include a premium ticket, a customized official U.S. national team jersey with name and number, VIP access to the field before and after the game, and other unique benefits) are also available now for both events exclusively through ussoccer.com.
The U.S. Women are coming off an emphatic championship run at the 2010 Algarve Cup in Portugal where, led by four goals from Lauren Cheney and three goals from Abby Wambach, the USA defeated the seventh, fourth and second ranked teams in the world, including an exciting 3-2 victory over Germany in the title game.
The matches against Mexico will mark the first two domestic games of the year for the U.S. team and will come just days before the opening of the second season of Women’s Professional Soccer on the weekend of April 10 and 11. The U.S. call-ups will leave WPS pre-season camps to start training in San Diego on March 24. Sundhage will suit up 18 of the 24 players in camp for each match.
Sundhage named all 19 players from the 2010 Algarve Cup squad, including San Diego product Rachel Buehler, who was an All-American at Torrey Pines High School. Buehler, along with Amy LePeilbet, played key roles in anchoring the center of the U.S. defense during the Algarve Cup. Buehler and Wambach were the only two players on the Algarve roster who played every minute of all four matches.
The naming of the roster also marks the return of Kristine Lilly to the national team. Lilly, the most capped player in the history of international soccer, men or women, with 342 games played, returns to the team for the first time since December of 2008 when she came off the bench in two matches against China following the 2008 Olympics. Lilly, 38, had a daughter in July of 2008, but came back strong and earned WPS All-Star honors while playing every minute of every match for the Boston Breakers during the inaugural season last year. Lilly is also the world’s second all-time leading scorer for international soccer, having scored 129 goals for the USA, behind only Mia Hamm. If Lilly makes the game roster and gets into one of the Mexico matches, she will have represented the USA in four different decades.
In addition to Lilly, Sundhage added four uncapped players, three of whom were first round picks in the 2010 WPS Draft. Defender Brittany Taylor (sixth overall to Sky Blue FC) and forward Kelley O’Hara (third overall to FC Gold Pride) will attend their third training camps with the full team while defender Whitney Engen (fourth overall to the Chicago Red Stars) gets her first call-up to the senior side. Rising senior Alex Morgan from the University of California, who was one of the stars of the U.S. team that won the 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, also gets her third call-up. Morgan was in the USA’s January training camp, but suffered a hamstring injury after just three days and returned to Berkeley for rehab.
The Mexico matches will mark the 24th and 25th meetings all time between the two neighboring countries, but the first since the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in April of 2008. During that tournament, the USA defeated Mexico, 3-1, in front of a huge crowd during the group finale. The match featured a wild first half in which all four goals were scored.
Like the USA, Mexico is preparing for CONCACAF qualifying for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Germany. Qualifying is tentatively scheduled for the fall of this year, but the host country and dates have yet to be finalized.
The U.S. Women will be making their fourth appearance at Torero Stadium, one of the best small soccer venues in the country. The most recent match at Torero was quite eventful as Wambach suffered a broken leg in a 1-0 win against Brazil on July 16, 2008, in the final match before the USA left for the Beijing Olympics. The U.S. team has never played at Rio Tinto although this will be the second match for the American women in Utah following a 5-0 victory against Ireland at Rice-Eccles Stadium on the University of Utah campus in 2002.
The match in San Diego will mark the 30th appearance in California for the U.S. Women, by far the most of any state, even though the U.S. team did not play a match in California for the first 11 years of the program before facing the Netherlands at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, Calif. in 1996. Even more remarkable is that the U.S. Women have never lost in California, going 26-0-3.