ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN Sports) – Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan has been named to the U.S. Women’s National Team’s 18-player roster that will compete for its fourth-consecutive goal medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. In addition, Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has been named one of four alternates for the team.
The U.S. will open Group G play on Aug. 3 – two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremony – against New Zealand (7 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte. The USA will stay in Belo Horizonte – which is 270 miles north of Rio de Janeiro – to face France at Mineirão Stadium on Aug. 6 (5 p.m. local / 4 p.m. ET) and finish group play against Colombia on Aug. 9 (6 p.m. local / 6 p.m. ET) at the Amazônia Stadium in Manaus, the same arena in which the U.S. Men’s National Team tied Portugal 2-2 during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the furthest soccer venue from Rio (more than 1,700 miles).
Morgan, 27, has made 111 appearances for the USA, totaling 67 goals over her career thus far. After a breakout season in 2011, the California native helped lead the team to the 2012 gold medal and was part of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning side. Captain of the Pride, Morgan has totaled two goals and one assist in her 10 matches with Orlando.
Harris, 30, has eight caps with the U.S. WNT including two shutouts. The Satellite Beach native has had a highlight reel season for the Pride so far, totaling four clean sheets and earning seven NWSL Save of the Week honors. Through her 10 matches with the expansion side, Harris holds a 5-5-0 record and 41 saves, second most in the NWSL.
The U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team has advanced to the gold medal game of every Olympic women’s soccer tournament that has been contested. The USA won the inaugural gold medal in 1996 in Athens, Ga., won silver in 2000 in Sydney, Australia, and will be going for its fourth straight gold medal after standing atop the podium in Athens, Greece in 2004, in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012.
“The last few camps capped a nine-month evaluation process and the players certainly made it a real challenge to narrow the roster down to 18,” said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis. “We’ve got a great blend of players with experience at the Olympic Games and in major events along with the youthful energy of some players who did not play in the Women’s World Cup last summer. As a coach in the Olympic Games, you want to put together a group capable of reaching the top of the podium while also being mindful of getting players prepared for the next World Cup, and I think we’ve done that.”
In addition to Harris, Ellis named three more alternate replacement players that will travel to Brazil in midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who is a three-time gold medalist (2004, 2008 and 2012), defender Emily Sonnett and midfielder Samantha Mewis.
Ellis will bring the Olympic team plus the four alternates to Kansas City, Kansas, for a final Olympic send-off match on July 22 against Costa Rica at Children’s Mercy Park (8 p.m. CT on ESPN).
“We’ve got excellent balance in the squad, and with some injuries lately to some major players, it has allowed us to get experience for a few newer players which helped them in their cases to make the team,” said Ellis. “Now the task is getting our team 100% healthy and finalizing our preparations during the next camp.”
All nominations to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team are pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.
2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Soccer Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)