Six members of the Thorns have been named to CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying rosters the United States Soccer Federation and the Canadian Soccer Association announced Tuesday.
Christine Sinclair and Rhian Wilkinson have been named to Canada's roster for the qualifiers, which take place from February 10-21 in Houston and Frisco Texas, with both finalists qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, taking place in August, while Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Meghan Klingenberg, and Emily Sonnett have all been named to the United States' roster. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch was also in the USWNT's January Training Camp, but was named by U.S. head coach Jill Ellis.
In the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers, the United States defeated Canada 4-0 at BC Place in Vancouver.
Sinclair (232) and Wilkinson (168) are two of the most capped players in Canadian Women's National Team history, ranking first and fourth respectively. Sinclair recently tied Mia Hamm for second all-time in international goals, behind Abby Wambach.
Health and Klingenberg are mainstays with the USWNT, while Horan and Sonnett have worked their way into the national team picture with recent performances. Sonnett was the #1 Overall Pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft.
U.S. Soccer Press Release
Ellis Names 20-Player Roster for 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying
Three days removed from a 5-0 victory against the Republic of Ireland after the completion of January Camp, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis has selected 20 players for the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship to be held from Feb. 10-21 in Frisco and Houston, Texas.
"This was an exceptionally challenging roster to select," said Ellis. "The players all worked and competed very hard in the January Camp and that made the final decisions extremely difficult."
The roster consists of three goalkeepers, seven defenders, five midfielders and five forwards, although many of the selected players can play multiple positions.
"With only 17 field players allowed on the roster, and minimal time in between matches, I think we have one of the most versatile rosters ever for a qualifying tournament," said Ellis. "Most of the field players are capable of playing at least two positions and as CONCACAF competitions generally present teams that will sit low and get numbers behind the ball, it is important to have players that can individually and collectively break teams down to create chances."
The team includes 13 members of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup championship team and seven Olympic qualifying veterans, three of whom (Hope Solo, Tobin Heath and Carli Lloyd) took part in qualifying for the 2008 Olympics.
Lloyd leads the group with a combined nine Olympic qualifying appearances between 2008 and 2012, followed by Solo with eight games played over the same span. Lloyd and Solo also lead the team in caps with 212 and 186, respectively.
At the other end of the spectrum, 17-year-old Mallory Pugh is the youngest player to be named to a U.S. WNT Olympic qualifying roster and scored in her international debut over the weekend. Pugh is joined by seven other players with eight or fewer overall caps.
The U.S. WNT has qualified for five consecutive Olympic games and won each of the past three CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying tournaments. The USA has never lost a match in Olympic qualifying, but tied Canada 1-1 in the title game of the 2008 tournament before winning in penalty kicks.
With a top-two finish in the tournament, the U.S. WNT would join Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, South Africa, Zimbabwe and New Zealand, who have already qualified, in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August. The USA hopes to win gold at a fourth consecutive Olympiad and the fifth time in team history. Should the USA qualify and then come out victorious in Rio, the U.S. WNT would be the first team in international women's soccer history to win a World Cup and Olympic gold in back-to-back years.
The USA is set to begin Olympic Qualifying group play against Costa Rica on Wednesday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 p.m. CT. Follow the U.S. WNT on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat for coverage leading up to and throughout the tournament.
Canada Soccer Press Release
Canada Soccer names roster for CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship Texas 2016
With just over two weeks until Canada's opening match of the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, Canada Soccer Women's National Team Head Coach John Herdman has named the 20 players who will represent Canada in Texas. Canada will be looking to secure its spot at this summer's Olympic Games through a victory in the semi-final knockout round, but the team's goal for this competition is to take home CONCACAF's top spot.
The roster, which features three goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders, and six forwards, has come together after Canada regrouped following its sixth place finish at the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 this past summer. In selecting the 20 players, down from the FIFA Women's World Cup roster of 23, Herdman has chosen a blend of experience and youthful vigour that he believes is the key to putting Canada atop the podium in Texas next month.
"We are really excited about this squad and the confidence, determination and skill they bring to the pitch," said Herdman. "We had a strong group of players to select from, which made final selection extremely challenging, but we have put together a team that will go out there and get the job done, which is simply to make this country proud by qualifying for RIO 2016."
Herdman selected 13 players who were part of the FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015TM squad, 7 from the 2012 London Olympic bronze medal winning squad, and a total of 7 players 20 years old and under.
"We've been evaluating players, in and out of the Women's National Team camp, and have had a lot of good opportunities to see players in high pressure environments, including the FIFA Women's World Cup and Pan Am Games, but also through the EXCEL development program," said Herdman. "The team we have selected today represents the best of Canadian soccer, consisting of a subtle blend of youth and experience. Right now, we are in a position to focus on the upcoming qualification tournament and hopefully position ourselves to defend our Olympic bronze medal this summer in Rio."
Canada, currently ranked 11th in the world, will compete in Group B of the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, opening its Olympic qualification campaign against 89th ranked Guyana on 11 February, before taking on 48th ranked Trinidad and Tobago on 14 February, and 76th ranked Guatemala on 16 February. Group A includes #1 ranked USA, Mexico (26th), and Costa Rica (34th) and Puerto Rico (108th).
Canada will play its entire tournament at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, which will also host Group B, the knockout round and final match.
Canada's CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship 2016 roster by position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Erin McLeod, Stephanie Labbé, Sabrina D'Angelo.
DEFENDERS (6): Shelina Zadorsky, Kadeisha Buchannan, Rebecca Quinn, Rhian Wilkinson, Allysha Chapman, and Josée Bélanger.
MIDFIELDERS (5): Diana Matheson, Sophie Schmidt, Desiree Scott, Ashley Lawrence, and Jessie Fleming.
FORWARDS (6): Janine Beckie, Christine Sinclair (Captain), Nichelle Prince, Deanne Rose, Gabrielle Carle, and Melissa Tancredi.
- Canada captain Christine Sinclair, Canada's most capped international player, all-time Canadian top goal scorer and second in the world for international goals, will once again lead Canada through Olympic qualification. Sinclair is currently tied with Mia Hamm for second all-time in international goals and will be looking to surpass her at the competition.
- Five of Canada's top ten most capped international women's players are on the squad, including Sinclair (232), midfielders Diana Matheson (178) and Sophie Schmidt (137), full back Rhian Wilkinson (168) and goalkeeper Erin McLeod (112).
- All four of the active top ten Canadian women's goal scorers will be present, including Sinclair (158), Schmidt (16), Matheson (16) and Melissa Tancredi (22).
- The average age of the roster is 25 years old.
- Deanne Rose is the youngest player on the team at 16 years old.
- Melissa Tancredi is the oldest player at 34 years old.
Canada has twice qualified for the Olympics through the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, each timing defeating Mexico in the semi-final to earn their Olympic berth, before being defeated by the USA in the final match. Canada went on to place eighth in 2008 Beijing Olympics and won bronze at the London 2012 Games.
In 2008, Canada won a silver medal at the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship in Mexico. After winning all three group matches, Canada beat home team Mexico 1-0 (Tancredi 25') to earn a spot at the Beijing Olympics. In the final, Canada held the USA to a 0-0 tie in regulation time before each team scored in overtime (Lloyd 108' and Tancredi 116'). The USA finally won the match 6-5 on penalty kicks.
As the host country, Canada won a silver medal at the 2012 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Vancouver. After winning all three group matches, Canada won the semi-final 3:1 over Mexico (Sinclair 15' and 76', Tancredi 23') to qualify for the London 2012 Women's Olympic Football Tournament. Two nights later, Canada fell 0-4 to USA in the final.
Detailed Canada Soccer CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship 2016 roster
GK - Erin McLeod, February 26, 1983 (age 32). From: St. Albert, AB
GK - Stephanie Labbé, October 10, 1986 (age 29). From: Edmonton, AB
GK - Sabrina D'Angelo, August 24, 1992 (age 23). From: Welland, ON
D - Kadeisha Buchanan, November 5, 1995 (age 20). From: Brampton, ON
D - Rebecca Quinn, August 11, 1995 (age 20). From: Toronto, ON
D - Shelina Zadorsky, October 24, 1992 (age 23). From: London, ON
D - Josée Bélanger, May 14, 1986 (age 29). From: Coaticook, QC
D - Allysha Chapman, January 25, 1989 (age 27). From: Courtice, ON
D - Rhian Wilkinson, May 12, 1982 (age 33). From: Baie-d'Urfé, QC
M - Jessie Fleming, March 11, 1998 (age 17). From: London, ON
M - Ashley Lawrence, June 11, 1995 (age 20). From: Caledon, ON
M - Diana Matheson, April 6, 1984 (age 31). From: Oakville, ON
M - Deanne Rose, March 3, 1999 (age 16). From Alliston, ON
M - Sophie Schmidt, June 28, 1988 (age 27). From: Abbotsford, BC
M - Desiree Scott, July 31, 1987 (age 28). From: Winnipeg, MB
F - Janine Beckie, August 20, 1994 (age 21). From: Highlands Ranch, CO
F - Gabrielle Carle, October 12, 1998 (17). From: Lévis, QC
F - Nichelle Prince, February 19, 1995 (age 20). From: Ajax, ON
F - Christine Sinclair, June 12, 1983 (age 32). From: Burnaby, BC
F - Melissa Tancredi, December 27, 1981 (age 34). From: Ancaster, ON