Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd lead a 20-player U.S. Olympic soccer qualifying roster, which could be a peek at what the team could look like in Tokyo.
The U.S. women, reigning World Cup champions after being upset in the Rio Olympic quarterfinals, will clinch an Olympic spot by placing top two at a CONCACAF qualifier in the United States from Jan. 28-Feb. 9.
The Americans played in every Olympic soccer tournament since women debuted at the 1996 Atlanta Games. Given they are ranked No. 1 in the world, and only one other CONCACAF nation is in the top 25 (No. 8 Canada), they will be heavy favorites to reach the Olympic qualifier final.
The qualifying team of 20:
The eight players who were named in December to this month’s camp who didn’t make the team: goalie Jane Campbell and field players Tierna Davidson, Midge Purce, Casey Short, Morgan Brian, Allie Long, Mallory Pugh and Sophia Smith.
Brian, Long and Pugh made the Rio Olympic team. The Tokyo Olympic team will be 18 players, two fewer than qualifying, with the roster likely to include two goalies.
Competition to make the final 18 will intensify in the spring, in part due to the expected return of forward Alex Morgan from pregnancy. The last two Olympic teams each had four forwards, but new coach Vlatko Andonovski may be signaling a different makeup by putting six on the qualifying team.
Williams and Sullivan are the only two players on the qualifying roster who were not on the 23-player 2019 World Cup champion team.
In 2016, Rapinoe was not on the Olympic qualifying roster due to an ACL tear but came back to make the Olympic team.
Lloyd, who turns 38 a week before the Tokyo Games, is bidding to become the oldest U.S. Olympic soccer player in history, breaking Christie Rampone‘s record. Lloyd and Heath are trying to tie Rampone’s U.S. record of playing in four Olympic tournaments.
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