Sky Blue’s O’Hara Included on U.S. Tournament Roster

Cary, North Carolina  - Saturday July 01, 2017: Samantha Kerr celebrates her goal with Kelley OíHara and Maya Hayes during a regular season National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) match between the North Carolina Courage and the Sky Blue FC at Sahlenís Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park.

By JACK BELL

US logoSky Blue defender Kelley O’Hara will have an opportunity to move closer to her 100th international cap after being named to the 23-player roster of Coach Jill Ellis for the 2017 Tournament of Nations.

O’Hara (96) and Ali Krieger (98) are nearing the century mark for the United States women’s national team, a club that currently number s35 in the history of the national team.

The United States is hosting the tournament, which also includes Japan, Australia and Brazil playing in three doubleheaders in three cities over eight days. All three nations are ranked among the top 10 in the world by FIFA: the U.S. is No. 1, Japan No. 6, Australia No. 7 and Brazil No. 8.

The schedule for the tournament: Thursday, July 27, Brazil vs. Japan (7:15 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3) and then the U.S. vs. Australia (10 p.m. Eastern, ESPN) at CenturyLink Field in Seattle; Sunday, July 30, Japan vs. Australia (5:15 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3) and the U.S. vs. Brazil (8 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego; Thursday, Aug 3, Australia vs. Brazil (7:15 p.m. Eastern, ESPN3) and the U.S. vs. Japan (10 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2) at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif.

The winner of the tournament will be based on total points, the first tie-breaker is goal differential, then total goals scored, then head-to-head result and finally, FIFA ranking.

Twenty-two of the 23 players selected by Ellis are playing in the National Women’s Soccer League and all 10 league clubs are represented on the roster.

“As a staff, we’ve watched a lot of league games in the first half of the season and that certainly played a role in our selection for this roster,” Ellis said. “With three games against such high caliber opponents in eight days, and considering where our players are in their league seasons, we always have to factor in coverage and depth in player selection. I think this roster checks a lot of boxes with respect to where we are in our cycle; we have the capacity to look at new players, gain experience for others, and it gives us versatility within the team to have coverage and competition in positions.”

In addition to the 23 players summoned to prepare for the tournament, Chicago Red Stars forward Sofia Huerta will train with the U.S. during the tournament. Huerta played for Mexico at the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup and has five caps for Mexico’s senior team. Though she is not now eligible to play for the U.S., Huerta, who was born in Boise, Idaho, and played in college at Santa Clara University, is seeking a one-time change of association.

The roster (all play in NWSL, unless noted otherwise):

Goalkeepers Alyssa Naeher (Chicago), Jane Campbell (Houston), Abby Smith (Boston)

Defenders Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina), Julie Ertz (Chicago), Ali Krieger (Orlando), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue), Becky Sauerbrunn ( Kansas Cit), Casey Short (Chicago), Taylor Smith (North Carolina)

Midfielders Morgan Brian (Houston), Carli Lloyd (Houston), Allie Long (Portland), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina), Margaret Purce (Boston), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle)

Forwards Crystal Dunn (Chelsea/England), Lindsey Horan (Portland), Sydney Leroux (Kansas City), Alex Morgan (Orlando), Christen Press (Chicago), Mallory Pugh (Washington), Lynn Williams (North Carolina)