(Jan. 30, 2015) – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named 24 players for a 13-day trip to Europe that will feature matches against France on Feb. 8 in Lorient (12 p.m. ET on ESPN2) and against England on Feb. 13 in Milton Keynes (3 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1). Included in Ellis' roster is Boston Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
The USA has not played in France since 1995 when it was also preparing for a World Cup and played matches against Italy, Canada and France over a span of five days. The USA last played a friendly match in England on April 2, 2011, falling to England, 2-1. The USA played four of its six 2012 Olympic matches in England with the first two being played in Glasgow, Scotland.
Alyssa Naeher makes a save on Alex Morgan in action last season (Photo by Mike Gridley)
Both France and England went unbeaten in their UEFA Women's World Cup qualifying groups. France compiled a 10-0-0 record while scoring 54 goals and allowing just three. England also went 10-0-0, while netting 52 goals against just one allowed. France is currently ranked third in the world and England is sixth.
"These games are exactly what we need," said Ellis when the matches were announced. "Our goal leading up to the World Cup is to play some of the best teams. These are two opponents that will test us and certainly two teams we could meet in Canada. Both teams are exceptionally well-organized, have a high level of athleticism and will pose some excellent challenges."
Twenty-three of the 24 players named participated in the USA’s three-week January camp, with the only addition being first-time call-up Tori Huster, a midfielder with the Washington Spirit.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster By Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): Nicole Barnhart (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Washington Spirit), Alyssa Naeher (Boston Breakers)
DEFENDERS (9): Lori Chalupny (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Whitney Engen (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Houston Dash), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Rachel Van Hollebeke (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shannon Boxx (Chicago Red Stars), Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lauren Holiday (FC Kansas City), Tori Huster (Washington Spirit), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (5): Sydney Leroux (Seattle Reign FC), Alex Morgan (Portland Thorns FC), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Abby Wambach (Western NY Flash)