They're Kicking It!
Who's who on the U.S. women's soccer team
Shannon Boxx (Photo: Steven Governo/AP Images)
So, who are some of the key players for the U.S. in the Women's World Cup in China this September? Here's a quick look at seven players who are expected to make an impact or have some of the more interesting story lines.
(Forward Kristine Lilly has been profiled in another story on this website.)
In alphabetical order (all statistics are prior to the World Cup):
Boxx was the big surprise of the 2003 Women’s World Cup (WWC) for the U.S. as she was voted to the tournament's all-star team. A native of Redondo Beach, California, Boxx made her international debut for the U.S. barely a month before that tournament. She was given the opportunity to show former U.S. national coach April Heinrichs her stuff as a top defensive midfielder during the Women's United Soccer Association season.
Boxx wound up sitting out several months with a knee injury. She has bounced back to become an important midfield cog. She has scored 15 goals in 68 international appearances.
Jobson just might be the feel-good story of the tournament for the Americans. As a 29-year-old, she became the second oldest player to play internationally for the U.S. As a 31-year-old, she is now the oldest WWC selection by the U.S. Due to her WWC commitments, the midfielder from St. Charles, Illinois, had to put her job as women's soccer coach at Northern Illinois University on hold until she returns at the end of September.
|Carli Lloyd (Photo: Bill Kostroun/AP Images)|
At 25, Lloyd came into her own this year. The Rutgers University product connected for a goal in each of her matches at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. The team won each match and Lloyd earned MVP honors. That was something coach Greg Ryan was looking for—a midfielder who could find the back of the net to compliment the top-flight forward line.
Although she was too young to turn pro then, Lloyd trained with the Philadelphia Charge of the Women's United Soccer Association in the summer of 2003. Lloyd has found the back of the net eight times in 36 international games.
First there was Joy Fawcett as the literal Soccer Mom. Now there are the likes of Markgraf and Christie Rampone taking over the mantle. A central defender in the backline, the 31-year-old Markgraf took most of 2006 off to have a baby boy. She returned this season and didn't miss a beat, anchoring the American backline.
One of the veterans of the team, the Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, native started in the 1999 and 2003 WWC and at the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympic Games.
|Hope Solo (Photo: Steven Governo/AP Images)|
You do get second chances in life. Just ask Heather O'Reilly, who missed the 2003 WWC with a broken leg she suffered only months prior to the tournament. That could have been the reason why an aging U.S. side had problems on attack at times.
The 22-year-old O'Reilly's numbers might not be impressive (10 goals in 63 internationals), but she has a knack of scoring key goals for the U.S. The East Brunswick, New Jersey, native’s best-known strike was coming off the bench to score the game-winner in the 2004 Olympic semifinal triumph over Germany.
Solo did something that hasn't been accomplished very many times—she displaced Briana Scurry as the No. 1 goalkeeper. Solo wasn't handed that role, she earned it. The U.S. has a 40-game unbeaten streak with the Richland, Washington, native between the posts.
This is Solo’s first major tournament as the No. 1 keeper. The 25-year-old Solo is the second most capped goalkeeper in U.S. history with 48 appearances. She has played professionally in Sweden and France.
|Abby Wambach (Photo: Bill Kostroun/AP Images)|
It might be simple and stating the obvious, but Wambach is the most important player on the team. She strikes fear into the heart of the opposition and can put goals away at a dizzying pace (77 in 97 international appearances).
A native of Rochester, New York, Wambach has proven equally dangerous with her head and feet. She reached 50 goals faster than any other player besides Michelle Akers. Wambach scored four goals at the 2004 Olympics, including the game-winner in the 2–1 victory over Brazil in the gold-medal match. Now 27, she finished fourth in voting for FIFA women's player of the year in 2006.