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U.S. women’s soccer roster named for 2024 Paris Olympics marks new era

The U.S. women’s soccer roster for the Paris Olympics was named Wednesday, marking a new era for the program under new head coach Emma Hayes.

The team:

Goalkeepers: Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher
Defenders: Tierna Davidson, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Casey Krueger, Jenna Nighswonger, Emily Sonnett
Midfielders: Korbin Albert, Sam Coffey, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Catarina Macario
Forwards: Crystal Dunn, Trinity Rodman, Jaedyn Shaw, Sophia Smith, Mallory Swanson

The traveling alternates are goalkeeper Jane Campbell, midfielders Hal Hershfelt and Croix Bethune and forward Lynn Williams.

TEAM USA: Full list of athletes on Olympic team across all sports

The roster’s average age is 26.8 years old, which is four years younger than the Tokyo Olympic team.

“One of the biggest things for me ever since I got the job was I want to provide opportunities for less-experienced players,” said Hayes, who was named head coach in November and took over the job in May after her club season leading Chelsea. “There was such a big gap between the top experience and the rest and that we really have to bring that up. The volume of players that haven’t played more than 30 caps was really, really noticeable for me. So the last eight months has been about giving experiences to bridge that gap.”

The U.S. won four of the first five Olympic women’s soccer titles from 1996 through 2012. The Americans lost in the quarterfinals in Rio in 2016 and took bronze in Tokyo three years ago.

The U.S. then lost in the round of 16 at last summer’s World Cup after winning the previous two World Cups. Combining the Tokyo Olympics and the 2023 World Cup, the team went back-to-back major tournaments without reaching the final for the first time.

“There’s no denying the history of this program has been hugely successful, but the reality is it’s going to take a lot of work for us to get to that top level again,” Hayes said.

The team is led by Horan, who has been the primary captain for the last year, and Girma, who played every minute of the 2023 World Cup.

Dunn also started all four World Cup matches and has the versatility to play in the attack or defense.

Naeher, 36, is in line to become the oldest U.S. goalkeeper to play at an Olympics. Hope Solo was 35 in 2016.

Naeher starred in the Tokyo Olympic quarterfinal win over the Netherlands. She saved an 81st-minute penalty in a 2-2 match, then saved two of the four Dutch shots in a shootout.

With forward Alex Morgan not making the cut, the roster includes zero players from the last Olympic champion team in 2012. Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe were among the stalwarts who retired since the Tokyo Games.

The Olympic roster is 18 players compared to 23 for the World Cup.

“First off, I want to talk about what an amazing player and human Alex Morgan has been,” Hayes said. “I’ve only had one opportunity to work with her in the last camp. I saw firsthand not just her qualities, but her professionalism. Her record speaks for itself.

“Second of all, it’s not easy making a decision that is only 16 outfield players and two goalkeepers on a roster of 18. So it was a tough decision, of course, especially considering Alex’s history and record with this team, but I felt that I wanted to go in another direction and selected other players.”

The U.S. opens the Paris Olympic tournament against Zambia in Nice on July 25, one day before the Opening Ceremony. It finishes group play against Germany (July 28) and Australia (July 31).

The top two teams from each of the three groups of four teams advance to the quarterfinals, plus the two highest-ranked third-place teams.

The U.S. men’s soccer team qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 2008. The U.S. men’s roster for Paris, which will be mostly U23 players, has yet to be named.

With the 2024 Olympics in Paris fast approaching, now is the perfect time to get ready for the men’s and women’s soccer tournaments by looking back at the top moments in history.