Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old captain of the 2015 U.S. Women’s World Cup team, has yet to return to full fitness after December knee surgery and pulled out of a U.S. camp ahead of two pre-Olympic friendlies in June.
Her bid for a fifth Olympics, and to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player of all time, is in danger.
The camp begins Friday. The friendlies against rival Japan (which failed to qualify for Rio) are June 2 and June 5.
“I don’t feel 100 percent healthy enough to train and compete at that level,” Rampone said in a press release Tuesday. “I’ve been able to manage myself and contribute to Sky Blue [her club team] this season, which I will continue to do, but I also have an understanding of the level of fitness and health needed to push for an Olympic roster spot, and I know I’m not there right now. It’s not the right choice for myself or the team to put myself in that environment.”
Rampone, a defender, hasn’t played for the U.S. since her December arthroscopic knee surgery. At the 2015 Women’s World Cup, she played a total of 14 minutes.
The U.S. national team is currently without nine players from the 23-player World Cup team, though some are expected back for the Olympics, but only one of the missing other than Rampone is a defender (the retired Lori Chalupny).
The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer team for London was named in May 2012, but the Rio roster of 18 players is expected to be announced by early July.
VIDEO: Hope Solo ‘begrudgingly’ going to Rio Olympics
Real Madrid playmaker James Rodríguez will not be part of Colombia’s Olympic soccer team, according to Spanish media quoting the president of the Colombia soccer federation.
Rodríguez, the leading scorer with six goals at the 2014 World Cup, is expected to play June’s Copa América Centenario, which his club team must release him for if Colombia so chooses.
Real Madrid does not have to release Rodríguez for the Olympics.
The situation is similar to that of Brazilian star Neymar, who is playing the Olympics but not Copa América Centenario after consultation with his club team, FC Barcelona.
Colombia’s men’s soccer team qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 1992 by winning a home-and-home playoff against the U.S.
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U.S. goalie Hope Solo‘s decision to make herself available for the Rio Olympics did not come easy.
“Begrudgingly, I think, is a good way to put it,” Solo, who has voiced concern about the Zika virus in Brazil for months, said on CNBC on Tuesday. “I’m very excited for the Olympics. It’s never been done, where we’ve won the World Cup and then backed it with an Olympic championship. So, I’m always a competitor first. I want to set a new standard. I want to break records.
“But at the same time, I am very worried about my health. … I’m going to take every precaution necessary. I’m not even sure I’m going to be leaving the hotel room outside of practice.”
Solo, who played every minute in goal at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and 2011 and 2015 World Cups, said in February that she would not go to the Olympics if she had to choose at that time, citing being uncomfortable with the current situation in Brazil, including Zika.
In April, Solo said she would go to the Olympics but still had concerns about the Zika virus.
On Tuesday, Solo was asked if she could change her mind again. She said she’s committed to going, having talked to her teammates and coach.
“I’m doing everything I can to be fully aware of any situation that may come,” Solo said. “Ultimately, you never know what’s going to happen.”
The U.S. Olympic women’s soccer roster of 18 players — versus 23 for the World Cup — is still to be announced.
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