Jill Ellis has named her roster for next week’s SheBelieves Cup and there are some surprises. The most eye-catching inclusion is 16-year-old Brianna Pinto, who only four months ago was lining out in the U17 World Cup for the Americans.
If Pinto sees the field in the SheBelieves Cup, she will break new ground as the first player born in the new millennium to earn a cap with the full national team.
On the other end of the spectrum, defender Meghan Klingenberg goes down as the most unexpected exclusion from this group, while Amy Rodriguez was unable to do enough to earn back her spot in the forward ranks after missing time to have a baby.
Ellis has been trying to expand the player pool and these moves are certainly consistent with that philosophy. Klingenberg has been recovering from an injury and may also have been hurt by Ellis’ recent flirtation with the three-back set.
ARod’s exclusion was no doubt made possible by the rising fortunes of the Carolina Courage (formerly Western NY Flash) strike force of Jessica McDonald and Lynn Williams.
This is the second edition of the SheBelieves Cup, an event that was the brainchild of the U.S. WNT players, and one that brings together four of the top five ranked women’s teams in the world. The U.S. (1), Germany (2), France (3), and England (5), will play a series of doubleheaders in Chester, Pa. Harrison, N.J. and Washington, D.C. over seven days beginning March 1st.
Fourth-rated Canada misses out.
U.S. Women’s National Team 2017 SheBelieves Cup Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (6): Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Manchester City), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), Brianna Pinto (CASL)
FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea Ladies FC), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage), Alex Morgan (Olympique Lyonnais), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (UCLA), Lynn Williams (NC Courage)
Mar. 1 England vs. France. Talen Energy Stadium: Chester, Pa. 4 p.m. ET
Mar. 1 USA vs. Germany. Talen Energy Stadium Chester, Pa. 7 p.m. ET on FS1
Mar. 4 France vs. Germany. Red Bull Arena: Harrison, N.J. 2:15 p.m. ET
Mar. 4 USA vs. England. Red Bull Arena: Harrison, N.J. 5 p.m. ET on FOX
Mar. 7 Germany vs. England. RFK Stadium: Washington, D.C. 4 p.m. ET
Mar. 7 USA vs. France. RFK Stadium: Washington, D.C. 7 p.m. ET FS1