U.S. national team goalkeepers

August 20, 2007

Hope Solo

A self-described unpolished player when she first debuted with the national team as a wide-eyed 18-year-old during residency camps leading up to the 2000 Olympics, Solo persevered and seized her opportunity when former No. 1 keeper Brianna Scurry briefly left the international scene for the second time in 2005. Coming off a college career in which she was a three-time All-American at the University of Washington, Solo took over for Scurry and started seven of the national team's nine games during a light 2005 schedule, recording seven shutouts. She then cemented her status as the favorite for China with strong performances in last year's Four Nations and Algarve Cup.

A superior athlete with a great leg -- she was a prolific goal scorer playing in the field in high school -- Solo has a combination of size and agility that allows her to make more reaction saves and challenge in the air with greater success than most keepers in the women's game. Her biggest weaknesses in the past have been lapses in concentration or miscommunication with her back line.

Solo also goes to China with a moving personal story, having lost her father in June.

Briana Scurry

A familiar name to even causal fans thanks to a memorable performance in the shootout against China during the final of the 1999 World Cup, the longtime No. 1 keeper for the national team hasn't lost much on the field.

Even if she is a quarter-step slower than at her peak, Scurry remains a tactician in net who anticipates action well and is always in charge of the defense. Opponents, including World Cup qualifiers England, China and Brazil, managed just one goal in the four games Scurry started through the end of July this year. It's safe to assume Ryan would feel comfortable going to Scurry as a change of pace or spark if events warranted, as opposed to simply as an emergency injury replacement.

Nicole Barnhart

A regular in residency camps over the last few years, Barnhart rarely made rosters as the team's third goalie (a luxury rarely employed in international friendlies or smaller tournaments) and hasn't played in a game since 2005.

An All-American at Stanford as a senior in 2004, Barnhart got her first start in goal for the national team in 2005 -- although she actually made her debut for the senior national team in 2004 as a forward when the team ran out of substitutes in a friendly against Mexico. As that suggests, even given the odd circumstances, she's an outstanding athlete who was also a high school All-American in lacrosse.

Graham Hays is a regular contributor to ESPN.com's soccer coverage. E-mail him at Graham.Hays@espn3.com.