CHICAGO -- U.S. women's national soccer team head coach Greg Ryan has named 24 players to a training camp prior to the match against Australia on Oct. 16 at Titan Stadium on the campus of Cal State Fullerton (6 p.m. PT live on ESPN2). Ryan will name 18 players to suit up for the match against the Matildas.
Tickets for USA-Australia range in price from $15 to $48 and are on sale on-line at ussoccer.com, at all Southern California Ticketmaster outlets (including Robinson's-May, Wherehouse Music and Tower Records), and by phone (213-480-3232). Groups of 15 or more can call U.S. Soccer at 312-528-1290 or obtain a group order form at ussoccer.com. Prior to the match, the U.S. team will train at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., beginning on Monday, Oct. 10.
The roster features all of the USA's active veteran players, including 2004 Olympic gold medallists Heather Mitts, Cat Reddick, Shannon Boxx, Aly Wagner, Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly, Kate Markgraf and Abby Wambach. In addition, forward Tiffeny Milbrett returns from a six-week stint with Swedish club Sunanna SK while the USA's leading scorer this year, Christie Welsh (seven goals, one assist) and third-leading scorer Danielle Fotopoulos (four goals) were also named.
Rounding out a talented and dynamic group of forwards is two-time Olympian and three-time Women's World Cup participant Shannon MacMillan, the USA's sixth all-time leading scorer with 60 career goals, and high school senior Lauren Cheney, who will have just turned 18 coming into the training camp. Cheney, who has yet to be capped at the senior level, helped lead the U.S. U-21s to the Nordic Cup title this past summer as the youngest member of the roster and figures to play a key role for the U.S. U-20 women's national team as they shoot for a spot in the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship in Russia.
Of the 24 players called in by Ryan, just three have yet to see action with the USA this year in a game or training camp, but one is defender Kylie Bivens, a member of the 2003 U.S. women's World Cup Team (she started three games in the tournament) and a 2004 Olympic Residency Camp participant who grew up about 20 miles from Fullerton in Upland. The other relative newcomers to the roster are midfielder Stacey Tullock and defender Nancy Augustyniak, both impact players in the WUSA and both uncapped. Agustyniak spent some time in Germany playing with Turbine Potsdam (2004) and most recently Wolfsburg, and this past summer won an amateur national title with FC Indiana of the Women's Premier Soccer League.
Other young players called in by Ryan include goalkeeper Jen Branam, who spent the last few months playing in Sweden with Balinge IF, midfielder Carli Lloyd and defenders Amy LePeilbet and Tina Frimpong. Branam, Lloyd and LePeilbet all put in quality showings during the USA's training for the 2004 Olympics while Frimpong, a converted forward, earned her first-ever start in the USA's most recent game on July 24, a 3-0 win over Iceland. Branam hails from Placentia, California, just a few miles from Cal State Fullerton.
Ryan also called in midfielder Marci Miller, the current head women's soccer coach at Northern Illinois, who earned her first-ever cap against Canada on June 26. Rounding out the goalkeeper corps are Hope Solo, who has started five of the seven matches the USA has played this year, and 2004 Olympic back-up Kristin Luckenbill.
The match against Australia, currently ranked 16th in the world, promises to be competitive and combative as the two teams played to a rugged 1-1 tie at the 2004 Olympics. It was the only match the USA did not win in Greece. The U.S. women are undefeated under new head coach Greg Ryan, going 7-0-0 in 2005 and have yet to surrender a goal this year. The USA's eight-game streak of shutouts stretches back to the final game of 2004, a 5-0 win over Mexico at the HDC, and now stands at 748 total minutes (which includes the final 28 minutes of the previous match against Denmark).
Australia is led by head coach Tom Sermanni, in his second stint at the helm of the Matildas after coaching the national team from 1994-97, which included a match against the USA at the 1995 Women's World Cup in Sweden. Sermanni was an assistant coach for the San Jose CyberRays when they won the inaugural WUSA title in 2001 and was head coach of the New York Power in the final season of the WUSA in 2003, coaching U.S. players Tiffeny Milbrett and Shannon Boxx.
"Tommy was a lot of fun to play for, and I knew he has been wanting to get back to the international game so it's fitting that he's back with Australia," said Milbrett. "He is great with the players, knows the game so well, and is also good at putting the fun into the game everyday. The Australians are lucky to have him in charge again and I think he could take them to the next level."
Following the match against Australia, the U.S. WNT will close out their 2005 schedule with a match against Mexico at Blackbaud Stadium in Charleston, S.C., on Oct. 23 (live on ESPN2 at 1 p.m. ET). Ryan will release a roster for that training camp shortly.
U.S. WNT Roster - Carson/Fullerton Training Camp
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jen Branam, Kristin Luckenbill, Hope Solo;
DEFENDERS (7): Nancy Augustyniak, Kylie Bivens, Tina Frimpong, Amy LePeilbet, Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Cat Reddick;
MIDFIELDERS (8): Shannon Boxx, Lorrie Fair, Angela Hucles, Kristine Lilly, Carli Lloyd, Marci Miller, Stacey Tullock, Aly Wagner;
FORWARDS (6): Lauren Cheney, Danielle Fotopoulos, Shannon MacMillan, Tiffeny Milbrett, Abby Wambach, Christie Welsh.