|Four North Carolina Courage players named to US national team|
|First-timers join 23-woman team for World Cup|
|Published Thursday, May 2, 2019 3:25 pm|
|North Carolina Courage defender Crystal Dunn is one of four players from the NWSL side to earn a spot on the U.S. national team that'll play in the Women's World Cup tournament in France.|
Four players from the North Carolina Courage are on the U.S. Women’s National Team for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
For defenders Crystal Dunn and Abby Dahlkemper, midfielder Samantha Mewis and forward Jessica McDonald, it is their first World Cup assignment. Coach Jill Ellis selected 11 first-timers to compete in France, which begins on June 7. May 24 is the deadline for roster submissions.
The entire roster consists of players from the National Women’s Soccer League. The Courage, who won the 2018 NWSL championship, is one of three clubs with four players on the roster, which has at least one player from eight of the nine league clubs. From Portland Thorns FC: goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, defender Emily Sonnett, midfielder Lindsey Horan and forward Tobin Heath.
Chicago Red Stars: goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defender Tierna Davidson and midfielders Julie Ertz and Morgan Brian.
Utah Royals: Defenders Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn and forward Christen Press.
Orlando Pride: Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris, defender Ali Krieger and forward Alex Morgan.
Reign FC: Midfielder Allie Long and forward Megan Rapinoe.
Washington Spirit: Midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Pugh.
Sky Blue FC: Forward Carli Lloyd, who will compete in her fourth World Cup and is one of nine players in history to earn a spot for four or more tournaments.
“Selecting a World Cup team is a long process, and I want to thank the players - the ones that made the final team and the ones that didn’t – for all of their hard work over the past two and a half years,” Ellis said in a statement. "They all pushed each other in every training session and every game and challenged the coaches to make some tough decisions. These 23 players have been through adversity and success, and it's a group that has the talent, confidence, experience and desire to help us win the World Cup."
The U.S., which opens against Thailand on June 11 at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France, will compete in Group F along with Sweden and Chile. The USWNT faces Chile on June 16 in Paris at the Parc des Princes. They conclude group stage play on June 20 in Le Havre at Stade Oceane against Sweden.
They will play a Send-Off Series, consisting of three stateside matches this month. First up is South Africa on May 12 in Santa Clara, California, followed by New Zealand on May 16 in St. Louis, Missouri and concluding with Mexico on May 26 in Harrison, New Jersey.
“The growth of the women’s game around the world is not something that’s taken us by surprise. We’ve seen it first hand, especially over the past five years,” Ellis said. "Our players have been steeled in this highly competitive environment and that's helped develop an entire roster that has the depth and versatility we need to navigate what will be a tremendously difficult and exciting tournament.”
The Women’s World Cup has doubled in size from 12 teams in 1991 to 24 in 2019. At most, a team will play seven matches to win the entire tournament. The U.S. is one of seven nations to appear in each tournament. Other original participants include Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden.
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