USWNT Roster (alphabetical listing, Players Brian to Lloyd)
Morgan Brian is ready to shine at her first Olympics this year following a successful year on the Women’s National Team. Born on February 26, 1993 in St. Simons Island, Georgia, Morgan quickly learned how to play with the big kids. Living in such a small community the number of children who played soccer was low allowing her the opportunity to play with kids who were four to five years older than her. Due to her small size at the time, she was nicknamed Plankton after the character on Spongebob SquarePants. Nonetheless, she proved herself to be a competitor on the soccer arena. The first year she tried out for club she didn’t make the cut. But rejection only fueled her more and the following year she not only made club, she made the A roster team as well. Today, standing tall at 5’7", Morgan is not only ready to test her skills as a Midfielder; she’s also ready to help take the USWNT to victory.
Crystal Dunn, height 5’1”, born July 3, 1992; and yet another member of the Women’s National Team is competing in her first Olympics this summer. Raised in Rockville Center, New York, Dunn attended South Side High School. Her impressive abilities shined through as a starting forward and midfielder all four years, in addition to being team captain for two. She lost a total of only three games all four years and lead her team to the New York State championships three times. Her success continued at the University of North Carolina where she majored in sociology and scored her first hat trick her senior year and finished out the soccer season strong. And now, after two years playing for Washington Spirit, Dunn finds herself also on the senior national team.
Whitney Engen has lived and breathed soccer since childhood. Born on November 28, 1987 in Rolling Hills Estates, California her sights had originally been set on gymnastics. But she continues to get taller and taller and decided she would be better at soccer, and today at 5'8" she is. In her family everything is an Olympic game. Whether it is training for her first Olympics as a starting defender this summer or rushing to get her seat belt clicked before her brothers so she could win the "gold medal," Engen is ready for competition. Growing up playing with former USWNT player Christen Press, Engen is ready to play on the big stage as a starting defender with the Women's National Team.
Competing in the 2012 London Olympics, Tobin Heath is back this summer as one of the National Teams Midfielder’s. From Basking Ridge, New Jersey and born on May 29, 1988, Heath is 5’6” and is not only free flowing on the field but also with the world. She keeps a couple of her personal belongings at her sister's and mother's house, and travels around anytime she wants. Whether that is for a personal vacation or to visit a friend, she’ll go anywhere. To her, her home is her friends and family and anywhere she can skateboard. Starting her advanced career in college at UNC, she played for three years and then spent her senior year training with the boys. And today she is playing in the big leagues for her second Olympics.
Lindsey Horan was born on May 26, 1994 and was raised in Golden, Colorado. This is her first time competing in the Olympics, but not without plenty of previous accolades. At 5’9”, Horan got a scholarship to UNC but passed it up and went on to play at Paris Saint-Germain right after high school. In 2012 she was the top ranked college prospect according to ESPN due to her years of club soccer playing for Colorado Rush and was named to the Parade Magazine High School All-American Team. At such a young age, she is prepared to bring her skills as a Forward to the National Team in Rio.
Julie Johnston, a Defender on the National team born on April 6, 1992, grew up in Mesa, Arizona and fought hard to get to where she is today. While deciding what college she wanted to attend she fell in love with Santa Clara University. Without a scholarship to attend she wouldn’t be able to compete for years there so she worked hard to stay. After her first year at the university she proved to the school, her coaches, and herself that she had the talent to not only play soccer but also get a full ride for school. And now she finds herself on the best team in the world. She attributes a lot of who she is to where she grew up and how she was raised. Her comfort spot in Arizona she nicknamed “The Mountains” and runs there in order to detox. And she will be doing a lot of running as she competes for gold in Rio.
Meghan Klingenberg is from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania and was born on August 2, 1988. Today you wouldn’t know that this 5’2” Defender was a very shy when she was a kid. When she was young her father enrolled her in taekwondo and as a result she built up confidence and the drive to compete. Today she isn’t only a third degree black belt but she also played for UNC in college and is competing on the National level. Starting as an alternate in the 2012 London Olympics, Rio is her time to shine and show the world why Klingenberg means “The Blade Mountain” in German.
Ali Krieger is called “The Warrior Princess” and for good reason. Growing up in Dumfries, Virginia and born on July 28, 1984, this 5’6” Defender has had a rocky road to success. During her senior year at Penn State she broke her leg and suffered from multiple blood clots, which resulted in pulmonary embolism and a series of mini heart attacks. All of which she battled in order to continue her soccer career. After graduating from Penn State, she wasn’t done playing soccer. So she packed up her bags and moved to Germany so she could continue to play. She didn’t know the language and struggled to connect with her teammates. So three days a week she would take German classes in order to begin connecting with her fellow teammates and it paid off. Not only did she improve her skills and qualify for the USWNT, she also made plenty of friends. Following an ACL injury in the 2012 London Olympics, Rio is going to be her first time stepping out onto the world stage.
Hailing from Delran, New Jersey and born on July 16, 1982, Carli Lloyd has earned her title as Midfielder for the USWNT. Rio 2016 is going to be her third Olympics having previously competing in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London. She jokes about how she used to not be able to run 15 minutes straight but with a strict training regimen she can now run 90 minutes without a problem. She goes in with the mentality of Muhammed Ali; to train on Christmas Day because no one else is and that can only put you a notch above the competition. She has come a long way from playing pickup games with the Turkish boys in her neighborhood and collecting balls from the woods after competitions to work on her shooting game. And today, she is ready to bring home another Olympic medal.
(Continue reading about the USWNT players who will be competing in Rio in the next blog)