Distribution of the American women’s football roster at the Tokyo Olympics
Vlatko Andonovski’s roster for next month’s Olympic football tournament holds few surprises, with the American coach selecting 18 women who combined for 26 Women’s World Cup medals, eight Olympic gold medals and nearly 2,000 matches of international experience.
Topping that list in all three categories is Carli Lloyd, two-time world and Olympic champion and only the third player in US history to win more than 300 international caps.
“Obviously my goal is to help the team win gold,” said Lloyd, two-time world player of the year and the only person to score the winning goal in two Olympic finals. “I have never felt so good in my career. I never felt that explosive. My game has evolved over the years and I have also become smarter tactically.
The Olympic selection is the fourth for Lloyd, who turns 39 a week before the United States kicks off in Tokyo, making her the oldest soccer Olympian in United States history. Tobin Heath will also compete in a fourth Olympic tournament, although her selection has been in doubt due to ankle and knee injuries that have kept her from making the national team since November.
Andonovski also picked midfielder Julie Ertz, a world and Olympic champion who suffered an MCL strain in her right knee last month. Perhaps the biggest surprise was midfielder Kristie Mewis, the older sister of World Cup winner Samantha Mewis, who secured last place on the roster against fast forward Lynn Williams. Kristie Mewis is the only player in the roster who is not part of the 2019 Women’s World Cup squad.
With Ertz questionable and the United States facing a schedule that will see him play six times in 17 days if he reaches the final, Andonovski took the depth of midfield on an additional striker. The 18 players selected by Andonovski are on average 30.8 years old and 111 international caps. Five players are from California (Tierna Davidson, Abby Dahlkemper, Alex Morgan, Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe)
The United States will start the group match at Tokyo Stadium on July 21, two days before the opening ceremony, when they face Sweden, the team that eliminated the Americans from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in quarter-finals. This marked the only Olympic tournament in which the four-time champion United States did not reach the final.
The United States will also face New Zealand and Australia in the group stage.
The team are 20-0-1 in 21 games under Andonovski and undefeated in their last 42 games (38-0-4) overall, which includes a perfect run through the 2019 Women’s World Cup under Jill Ellis. But Andonovski, a successful NWSL manager who took over the national team in fall 2019, has never played or coached in a major international league.
The press say the list chosen by Andonovsky has enough experience to make up for that.
“Our system is a well-oiled machine. And there is a culture of victory, ”she said. “Because we have this history and this culture, we have such experienced players. And we also have the past to look at and study and Vlatko is definitely a student and a learner.
“That’s what continues to give us the advantage.
The United States will take four substitutes to Tokyo: Williams, goalkeeper Jane Campbell, defender Casey Krueger and midfielder Catarina Macario. None of the four were part of a roster for the world championships at the senior level. During the Olympics, teams can change their roster due to injury at any time.
The United States will face Mexico in East Hartford, Connecticut, in a pair of farewell matches July 1-5 before leaving for Japan.