6 U.S. Women's Soccer Storylines No One Is Talking About
There's a lot more to the United States Women's National Soccer team than just being appointed as favorite to win the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
The defeat at the FIFA Women's World Cup was one of the toughest moments in the USWNT history, but it also gave the squad strength and experience, which has helped them prepare for the Olympic tournament.
Hope Solo, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd and the rest of the team have succeeded both on and off the course, so here's a list of six storylines that no one is talking about.
14 Players out of Contract
The London 2012 roster was announced a month ago, and different from the two previous Summer Olympics, there are a lot of players who are out of contract.
For starters, Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Carli Lloyd and captain Christie Rampone are all out of contract, and a total of 14 footballers are unattached.
In 2004 and 2008, all of the team members had ties with either a club or a college.
The USWNT has a strong midfield, with players like Megan Rapinoe who can play on the left or right sideline and, most importantly, unbalance the rival and add up to the attacking zone.
Rapinoe was one of the brightest players in the latest FIFA Women’s World Cup, as she scored once against Colombia in the group stage and helped the United States advance to the semifinals by completing her penalty kick in front of Brazil.
The same speed and strength can be found in Amy Rodriguez, who can play as a winger and support the strikers.
Meanwhile, Shannon Boxx and Carli Lloyd will be responsible for creating plays and distributing the ball to the attacking footballers.
Balance Between Youngsters and Veterans
This is one of the best balanced teams in women’s football. The squad’s average age is 27.8 years old, and only eight players are over 30.
A clear example of the successful mix between young blood and crackerjacks can bee seen in the attacking zone.
Abby Wambach is 32 years old and has appeared 181 times with the national team; this season she has scored 13 times in 15 games.
Meanwhile, 22-year-old Alex Morgan records 41 games since her debut in 2010, but in 2012, she has played in 14 games and has 17 goals on her account.
Current Momentum Is a Huge Advantage
Since March, the squad has been undefeated with five wins over Sweden (2), Brazil, China and Japan.
Japan defeated the Stars and Stripes in the group stage of the Algarve Cup. It was the second loss with the Asian squad in two matches.
The next month, the United States faced Japan again and managed to rescue a draw at the Kirin Challenge Cup. Finally in June, they faced each other for the fourth time in eight months, and the United States defeated the team that has become the toughest to beat lately; they did so at the Sweden Invitational.
Their next match in front of Canada will be their last test before playing in the Olympics.
Lowest Winning Percentage in 10 Years
Back in 2001, when April Heinrichs served as coach, USWNT had a .400 winning percentage. It was the lowest since 1992.
After that, the team improved significantly, having won two gold medals in Olympic Games and two CONCACAF Gold Cups.
Furthermore, their winning percentage wasn't lower than .826 (2003) until last season, when they recorded .750, which includes four defeats against Sweden (2), England and Japan.
Top Class Captain
Christie Rampone is the most capped active player in the world, with 258 games. She’s the backbone of the USWNT defense, a player who inspires and supports her teammates and one of the four players of the squad who could grab a gold medal for the third consecutive time.
Rampone is a 37-year-old veteran who debuted with the national team in 1997. She has represented the Stars and Stripes at the FIFA Women's World Cup (1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011) and at the Olympics (2000, 2004 and 2008).
If this isn't impressive, you should know that she’s a mother of two and has Lyme disease.
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