On Tuesday, U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis named the 18-player roster for the 2016 Olympic Games.
Seven players make a return to the Olympics after helping the USA to the gold medal in 2012 in London while 14 players who were members of the USA’s 2015 Women’s World Cup championship team were named — including Gibsonia’s Meghan Klingeberg.
“When Jill called me that’s what she said, ‘this call is a bit different than 4 years ago,’ and it was one of the best things,” said Klingenberg.
“I was happy and proud in 2012 as alternate but I wanted to be on the team and win a medal with my teammates and win a medal for the USA. So to be able to go to Brazil is special and now that I’m going I’m humbled and honored.”
Klingenberg, who is currently playing professionally with the Portland Thorns of NWSL, has been a regular in the USWNT starting line-up since 2014.
With the USWNT, Klingenberg has now reached 64 appearances with three goals — including her memorable goal last August in Pittsburgh before over 42,000 at Heinz Field.
Midfielders Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath and goalkeeper Hope Solo were named to their third Olympic rosters. Solo was also an alternate in 2004 and will be attending her fourth Games. Midfielder Megan Rapinoe, forward Alex Morgan and defenders Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn will be playing in their second Olympic Games. The remaining 11 players made their first Olympic roster, although forward Christen Press like Klingenberg, was an alternate on the 2012 team.
Having just turned 18 on April 29, forward Mallory Pugh becomes the USA’s second youngest women’s soccer Olympian.
Rapinoe’s selection caps a remarkable recovery from ACL surgery last December. She returned to full play for the first time at the USA’s training camp outside of Chicago last week.
The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 – two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony – against New Zealand (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte.
The USA will stay in Belo Horizonte – which is 270 miles north of Rio de Janeiro – to face France at Mineirão Stadium on Aug. 6 (5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus, the same arena in which the U.S. Men’s National Team tied Portugal 2-2 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the furthest soccer venue from Rio (more than 1,700 miles).
The U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team has advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic women’s soccer tournament that has been contested. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Athens, Ga., won silver in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and will be going for its fourth straight gold medal after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.
Here’s the full U.S. Women’s National Team roster for the Rio Olympics, which begin in August.
2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)