US Olympic Women's Soccer Team 2021: Roster, Starting XI, Top Subs and Jerseys

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJuly 19, 2021

EAST HARTFORD, CT - JULY 5: Carli Lloyd #10 of the United States celebrates her goal during Send Off Series match between Mexico and USWNT at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on July 5, 2021 in East Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The United States women's soccer team enters the Tokyo Olympics as the favorite to win the gold medal.

The USWNT won four of the five gold medals handed out from 1996 to 2012, but it came up short in 2016 with a quarterfinal loss to Sweden.

Vlatko Andonovski's side is one of the most experienced rosters to grace an Olympic soccer tournament, and it comes in with plenty of motivation to erase the poor result by its standards from 2016.

The USWNT's Olympic slate kicks off Wednesday with a chance to avenge its loss in the most recent Games against Sweden, one of the team's biggest rivals over the past decade.

Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd and Co. are also aligned with Australia and New Zealand in Group G. Japan, Canada, Great Britain and Chile reside in Group E. China, Brazil, Zambia and the Netherlands sit in Group F.


USWNT Olympic Roster

Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher, Adrianna Franch, Jane Campbell

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Casey Krueger, Kelley O'Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Emily Sonnett

Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Catarina Macario, Kristie Mewis, Samantha Mewis

Forwards: Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, Lynn Williams


The USWNT starting XI is easy for Andonovski to put together because of the high-quality players in the squad.

Alyssa Naeher is the first-choice goalkeeper. Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper started five of the last six friendly games at center back. Crystal Dunn is the left back and Kelley O'Hara will start at right back.

Julie Ertz has been the top selection in defensive midfield when she is healthy, but she is working back from an injury that prevented her from playing in the buildup games on home soil. If she is unable to go Wednesday, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle and Samantha Mewis should start in midfield.

The toughest selection decision for Andonovski comes up top, where he has to choose three forwards from a collection of five players all with at least 149 international appearances and 35 goals.

Christen Press was the only member of the quintet to start the final two warmup games against Mexico. She has five goals in 2021, including two in one of the final send-off games.

Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan have all scored plenty of goals at the highest international level. Whichever member of the trio comes off the bench could be viewed as the most dangerous substitute in the tournament.

The same title could be applied to Tobin Heath, who can be a game-changer on the wing as either a starter or a reserve. Heath has the fewest amount of international goals of the five potential forward starters, but she still comes with 171 caps and 35 tallies.

Expect Andonovski to rotate the players to find the right combination throughout the group stage.

The USWNT has to play three group games in six days at three venues, so there should be plenty of chances for different players to shine.

Even though its group-stage opener is tough, the USWNT's overall competition is lighter than it could have been in the 12-team tournament.

Germany and France did not make the Olympics because UEFA uses FIFA Women's World Cup finishing places as its qualifying procedure. That means two of the top three teams in the FIFA women's world rankings will not participate in Japan.

Sweden could be viewed as the biggest threat to the USWNT's gold-medal push. Sweden is the only team to draw with the U.S. in 2021. The USWNT defeated all of its other opponents this calendar year.

If the USWNT beat Sweden in the group-stage opener, the path should be clear to win Group G and set up a quarterfinal match with a third-place team from either Group E or F.

Other contenders could emerge throughout the tournament, but it is hard to pick against a team that has not lost in 2021 and enters Tokyo with extra motivation to right the early exit from five years ago.