CHICAGO — Sydney Leroux’s spectacular start earned her a trip to London.
Leroux, who has seven goals in just nine appearances with the U.S., was one of six newcomers on the 18-woman roster for the London Olympics announced Sunday. Leroux is the only player on the squad who wasn’t on the U.S. team at last summer’s Women’s World Cup, where the Americans lost to Japan on penalties in the title game. She also is the youngest player on the team at 22.
“These players make it very difficult to select rosters, and for this Olympic team it was a long, productive and interesting process to cut the pool down to these 18,” Sundhage said. “The team is a mix of very experienced players and several new fresh faces.”
Joining Leroux as first-time Olympians are Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, key members of that World Cup team, and Kelley O’Hara, Amy LePeilbet and Becky Sauerbrunn. Rapinoe had the assist on Abby Wambach’s thunderous header that forced overtime in the quarterfinals against Brazil. After scoring two goals in Germany as a second-half substitute, Morgan has forced her way into Sundhage’s starting lineup with 12 goals in her first 11 games of this year, along with seven assists.
Wambach returns to the Olympic squad after missing the Beijing Games with a broken leg. Eight years ago, she scored the winning goal in the final against Brazil.
Captain Christie Rampone is the first U.S. player to be named to four Olympic teams, and needs to play in one more game to set an American record for Olympic appearances. She shares the record of 16 appearances with four other players.
Sundhage will take her 18-woman team, along with alternates Lori Lindsey, Jill Loyden, Meghan Klingenberg and forward Christen Press, to Sweden for a two-week training camp next month. The Americans will then return home for a June 30 send-off match in Sandy, Utah.
The Americans are two-time defending Olympic champions, beating Brazil in the final each time. Eleven players from the 2008 squad return, including Hope Solo, whose point-blank save of a Marta shot in the 72nd minute was the play of the tournament, and Carli Lloyd, whose goal in extra time gave the United States the gold.
“We want nothing more than a gold medal,” Lloyd said earlier this month. “And we’re going to do everything we possibly can to be on podium at the end and receive gold medals around our necks.”