The 18-player U.S. Women’s Olympic Soccer Team includes three players who played on the high school level in Los Angeles County — forwards Alex Morgan and Christen Press and defender Whitney Engen.
Morgan, a graduate of Diamond Bar High School, was also a member of the gold medal-winning 2012 team. Press, a Chadwick School alumnus, and Engen, a former Peninsula High School standout will be playing in their first Olympics, although Press was an alternate in 2012.
“Just to be able to continue on this journey with this team is incredible,” Morgan said.
“Even though the players have changed over the last year especially, the heart of this team always stays the same. For big tournaments this team always performs well and shows up for big moments so I’m excited to continue this and help the younger players as we move close to Rio.”
Engen called being selected for the Olympic team “a huge honor.”
“Winning the World Cup last year was amazing, but then the process started again and I’m happy that the hard work has paid off,” Engen said.
Engen, Morgan and Press are among 14 players on the Olympic team who were members of the U.S. team that won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
All but one of the U.S players play in the National Women’s Soccer League, now in its fourth season. The one exception is 18-year-old forward Mallory Pugh, who plays the club team Real Colorado.
“The last few camps capped a nine-month evaluation process and the players certainly made it a real challenge to narrow the roster down to 18,” said U.S. coach Jill Ellis.
“We’ve got a great blend of players with experience at the Olympic Games and in major events along with the youthful energy of some players who did not play in the Women’s World Cup last summer.
“As a coach in the Olympic Games, you want to put together a group capable of reaching the top of the podium while also being mindful of getting players prepared for the next World Cup, and I think we’ve done that.”
—City News Service