A few figures you need to know about the U.S. women heading to France. Twelve: the number of World Cup winners on the roster. Six: their Olympic gold medalists. And 2 to 1: their betting odds, making them the favorites to hoist the 2019 trophy. Less quantifiable? The power these players have to inspire the next generation of soccer stars
For 12 years Hope Solo, perhaps the best goalkeeper in women's history, has been the U.S.'s final line of defense. Before that: mostly 12 years of Briana Scurry. It's been almost a quarter century since anyone else started a World Cup game in net. Naeher, 31, can't match Solo in drama (or gamesmanship), but she is composed, soft-spoken and a skilled shot stopper.
June 3, 2019
As reserve goalkeepers, neither HARRIS, 33, nor FRANCH, 28, is likely to play unless something awful happens—in which case either would come in with plenty of confidence. Harris, the No. 2, overcame an Adderall addiction as a teen to become the NWSL's 2016 Goalkeeper of the Year. Broadcasters are bound to mention her engagement to U.S. teammate Ali Krieger. Franch set an NWSL record in '17 with 11 clean sheets and was GOY in '17 and '18.
From 2015 roster snub to '19 roster lock, Dunn, 26, will be one of coach Jill Ellis's most valuable players. The only national teamer to start every meaningful game this year, the 5' 1" Dunn will begin at left back but is abundantly versatile. Don't be surprised if she plays, too, in the midfield or up top; as a forward she helped the North Carolina Courage win the NWSL in '18.
A "glue" player, SONNETT, 25, serves different roles for club (Portland Thorns) and country. Her work as a centerback landed her on the NWSL's 2018 Best XI, but her opportunity in France will be on the right.... DAVIDSON—at 20, the youngest member of the USWNT—adds depth and versatility along the back. The No. 1 pick of the '19 NWSL draft after three years at Stanford, she proved herself with two 90-minute outings for the injured Becky Sauerbrunn at the SheBelieves Cup in February and March.... KRIEGER, 34, had not been on the U.S. roster for two years until an April call-up. She could be used as stay-at-home sub for Kelley O'Hara, a converted winger who loves to get involved in the attack.
She is a fixture in the middle, a calming presence who led the stingy D in 2015, when the U.S. ceded only three goals. At 33, Sauerbrunn brings the leadership of three World Cups and nearly 160 caps. Her positioning and distribution will be pivotal, but not her scoring. In all her international matches she has never bagged a goal.
Ellis wants her fullbacks to bomb forward (while protecting the back, natch), and O'Hara, 30, will excel at both from the right side—if she has overcome injuries to her left hamstring and right ankle.
The 26-year-old centerback is skilled and powerful, and she can distribute over long distances. Dahlkemper led UCLA to its only NCAA title, in 2013, then overcame sepsis in her right leg that had her bedridden for six weeks.
Four years ago, as Julie Johnston, she was one half of the U.S.'s dominant centerback duo, with Sauerbrunn. Now, at 27, the wife of Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is one of the world's most dominant central mids. Dropping back to cover, bounding forward in attack, converting set-piece service—Ertz's myriad contributions earned her U.S. Female POY in 2017.
Whenever she's on the field—whether with the USWNT or the Washington Spirit, where she was the No. 1 pick in 2017—this 24-year-old star is one of the most exciting players to watch, dribbling through traffic at full speed while displaying technical skill and trickery. Lavelle will be key to this team far past '19.
Known by teammates as "six feet of fun," Mewis plays with the agility of a much smaller player while posing a constant threat on set pieces and long-range shots. She'll back up Ertz as a defensive midfielder in Ellis's 4-3-3 and sub in to help preserve a win or draw.
Up, still, goes Horan's star. The first American women's player to bypass college for Europe, she got her start at PSG—there would be plenty of personal symmetry if she were to lift the Cup trophy in Lyon—and was the NWSL MVP after helping the Thorns to the 2018 final. At 25, the central midfielder is already one of the U.S.'s most-well-rounded players.
At 31 she's the oldest of the newcomers, prized for her prowess as a defensive mid and for her vast experience. A starter at the 2016 Olympics, she's a fixture in the men's futsal scene and a technical adviser for Barcelona's New York City academy.
A surprise inclusion in Ellis's roster, Brian, 26, made just one USWNT appearance in 2019 while dealing with nagging knee, groin, back and hamstring injuries. As the youngest member of the '15 squad she played a key role in central midfield.
A two-time World Cup vet and one of the sport's best players, Heath, 30, dazzles with Brazilian-like flair, pace and finishing. Recovered from ankle injuries, Tobinha is a sure starter at right wing and, as a scorer and passer, the fulcrum of the U.S. attack.
At 33, a few years removed from a torn right ACL, she's still playing some of her best soccer as she enters World Cup number 3. Rapinoe takes the bulk of the U.S. free kicks and is a threat anywhere in the attacking third—but her leadership may matter the most.
The two-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year still has an unparalleled work ethic, as she showed abroad recently with Man City and back home with Sky Blue FC. But the hero and centerpiece of the 2015 U.S. team is 36, making her the oldest player on the roster. Lloyd will be used as the 35-year-old Abby Wambach was four years ago, as an energy injection off the bench.
By the time she was 19, Pugh had already been named the top recruit in her college class, bailed on UCLA to go pro (now with the Spirit), played in three world championship events and, in 2015, earned the title of U.S. Soccer Young Female POY. At 21 she's heading into her first World Cup, where she's poised to be a breakout star, rotating in on the front line.
When opposing defenses have been dealing with Morgan, Rapinoe and Heath all game, the last player they'll want to see come on is a well-rested PRESS—at 30 a constant threat to sneak behind the back line with her pace.... MCDONALD, 30, shuttled around the NWSL and contemplated retirement before finding a home with the Courage. Her energy alone could get her some run in France.
For someone who has already scored over 100 goals, a feat matched by only six other Americans, it's surprising to think: This might be the World Cup where Morgan, 29, really shines. Four years ago she was coming off a left-knee injury heading into the tournament and began each of the first two games on the bench. The Orlando Pride striker will be hoping to top the one goal she scored in Canada.