First 11? Well, that depends on the day—and the opponent and the weather.... The squad that Jill Ellis takes into her first major tournament as U.S. coach has as many as 18 women who could get starts. Such is the team's talent and its need for rest over a possible seven games in 28 days. Meet the 23 contenders
Her off-field disciplinary issues have been well publicized, but she remains the best netminder in the world, even at 33, primarily due to her supreme shot-stopping ability. A starter for the U.S. since 2005, she set a team record for career shutouts in '14 (she now has 84) and has been in goal for half of the 10 Algarve Cups that the U.S. has won, including the latest, in March, when she reassumed starting duties following a one-month suspension. (She was in the passenger seat when her husband was arrested for suspicion of driving a U.S. team van under the influence.) She's also been a WPS and NWSL stalwart: In '14 she led the league with 13 wins and finished third with five clean sheets.
June 8, 2015
Ashlyn Harris, 29, played the friendlies against France and England during Solo's suspension. She won the '02 U-19 world championship, three NCAA titles at North Carolina and the '11 WPS championship with the Western New York Flash....
Alyssa Naeher, 27, earned her only senior cap in '14. She won the Golden Glove at the '08 U-20 World Cup; last year, with the Boston Breakers, she stopped six of nine penalty kicks and was NWSL's Goalkeeper of the Year.
Appearing in her fifth Cup (tied for the most in U.S. history), Rampone, 39, captained the women to Olympic gold in '08. She missed the Algarve Cup and the first friendlies of '15 with back and knee injuries but returned to the NWSL with Sky Blue FC.
Johnston, 23, captained the U.S. to the U-20 World Cup title in '12, winning the Bronze Ball as the tourney's third-best player. She combines distribution and organizational skills in central defense, and has seized her opportunity with Rampone out injured.
Klingenberg, 26, has left back locked down. She scored with a rocket from distance in qualifying against Haiti and again in a friendly with New Zealand. She played 69 minutes of the '14 Champions League final for Sweden's Tyres‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√á before joining the NWSL's Houston Dash.
Her leadership and experience make her an indispensable part of the central defense. Sauerbrunn, 30, has played all but 20 minutes of the U.S.'s '15 matches. She has won two NWSL Defender of the Year awards and helped FC Kansas City win the title in '14.
A speedy fullback who whips crosses from all angles, Krieger, 30, played all 600 minutes for the '11 World Cup runner-up, then regained her position on the right after a '12 ACL tear. She won the '08 Women's Champions League with FFC Frankfurt and now plays for the NWSL's Washington Spirit.
Lori Chalupny returned to the team after a five-year absence due to concussion-related issues. She had continued to play for her club, captaining the Chicago Red Stars. Chalupny, 31, plays primarily wide, either in defense or midfield, causing trouble for opponents with her service.... Whitney Engen, 27, provides depth at center back. She had frequent call-ups in '14, when she started for Tyres‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√á and then joined the NWSL.... Despite playing every minute of the '12 Olympics, Kelley O'Hara has been replaced at left back under coach Jill Ellis, who took over for Tom Sermanni last May. Ankle surgery in '13 limited O'Hara, 26, to seven matches for the U.S. She played forward at Stanford, winning the '09 MAC Hermann Trophy, awarded to the top college player, and scored 24 goals in 35 matches for the U.S. U-20 team.
She has been slow in recovering from two serious left-ankle injuries—she missed all three send-off games—but before that, Morgan had one of the most productive years in national team history: 28 goals and 21 assists as she was named '12 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year and finished third in FIFA Player of the Year voting. Morgan, 25, came off the bench in all five of her appearances at the '11 World Cup, scoring in the semifinal and final. She became a starter during '12 Olympic qualifying and had three goals and four assists at the London Games.
Leroux's scoring slowed after she netted 14 in '12, all off the bench, but it picked up again with two goals in a May friendly against Mexico. A speedy forward who is best running behind D's, the Canadian-born 25-year-old was booed after scoring in a '13 friendly in Toronto. She celebrated that goal by pointing to the U.S. crest on her shirt.
A forward in the mold of Morgan, Rodriguez, 28, has reasserted herself since returning to the NWSL in '14 after the birth of her first child. She led FC Kansas City to the title, scoring both goals in its 2--1 title win. She started five games at the '11 World Cup.
Wambach has played 18 matches over three World Cups and scored 13 goals, both records for the U.S. She holds the world record for international goals, with 182. Lately the 35-year-old has been a late sub, vexing tired defenses with her size and speed.
The team's most dynamic winger, Rapinoe, 29, can provide service from the flanks or cut inside to score. She combined those qualities to nail an Olímpico (straight off a corner kick) in the run to gold at the '12 Games, during which she led the U.S. in assists. Rapinoe reached the '13 Champions League final with Lyon before joining the NWSL's Seattle Reign.
Brian, 22, the team's youngest player, started for the victorious U.S. squad in the '12 U-20 World Cup, and at Virginia she won the MAC Hermann Trophy in '13 and '14. Lauded for her vision and passing, Brian, now with the Houston Dash, will most likely be the first midfielder off the bench.
Holiday, 27, is a deep-lying playmaker under Ellis, who prefers technical distributors in the number 6 role. She assisted on both of FC Kansas City's tallies in its 2--1 victory in the '14 NWSL title game and is the league's career leader in goals, with 20. Her husband, Jrue, plays for the NBA's Pelicans.
Lloyd, 32, is the U.S.'s alltime leading scorer from the midfield. She is the only player, male or female, to have scored the winning goal in two Olympic finals ('08, '12). Last year she led the U.S. in goals (15) and assists (eight). In Canada, Lloyd will likely be the higher of the U.S.'s two central midfielders.
From '12 to '14 she scored 12 Champions League goals for Sweden's G‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√áteborg FC and Tyres‚Äö√†√∂‚Äö√†√á FF. Press, 26, then joined the Chicago Red Stars and led the NWSL with four goals this year before joining the U.S. camp. She will likely start in Canada, attacking from wide.
SI's Cup coverage is only beginning. Online at SI.com/soccer you'll find video interviews with every U.S. player, plus features on the stars. And once the games get going, Grant Wahl will report daily on the U.S.'s progress. Meanwhile, check out outtakes from this issue's cover on Instagram, at @SI_soccer
The most surprising inclusion on the roster, Shannon Boxx, will be playing in her fourth World Cup. She returned to the game in '14 after giving birth to her first child. Her first cap since then was in the '15 Algarve Cup. Boxx, 37, could come in to close out matches as a holding midfielder....
Tobin Heath is the only true winger besides Rapinoe, but she usually comes off the bench. She was the youngest player on the '08 Olympic gold medal team and made three assists at the '12 Games. Heath, 27, has the technical ability to pull off stunning moves and provide service from the flank....
Heather O'Reilly, 30, has played for the U.S. since '02. She broke her left fibula in a friendly in '03 but returned to score the game-winning goal in the '04 Olympic semifinal against Germany. She was also a key member at the '08 and '12 Games and in the '07 and '11 World Cups.