(Reuters) – The U.S. women’s national soccer team revealed its 20-strong Olympic qualifying tournament roster on Friday, as the four-time World Cup winners aim to reach their seventh consecutive Olympic Games.
FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Women’s World Cup – Group F – United States v Thailand – Stade Auguste-Delaune, Reims, France – June 11, 2019 Carli Lloyd of the U.S. celebrates scoring their thirteenth goal with Megan Rapinoe REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Team co-captain Carli Lloyd will feature in her fourth consecutive Olympic qualifying tournament, alongside national team mainstays Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath and Becky Sauerbrunn.
Absent from the list is Alex Morgan, who is pregnant. The striker, who scored six goals in last year’s World Cup, has previously said she hopes to play at the Tokyo Olympics even though the Games will take place just three months after she is due to give birth to her first child in April.
“We have a balanced roster with versatile players and of course they have a lot of experience in important games,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
“This is a team that understands that you have to be aggressive and unpredictable in how you create scoring chances but also knows how to be smart on defense at the same time.”
Two of the players named to the roster, forward Lynn Williams and midfielder Andi Sullivan, had not been on the team’s 2019 World Cup roster.
Williams, who plays for the North Carolina Courage club team, scored 12 goals last season, making her the second-top scorer in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2019.
While 20 players were named to the qualifying tournament squad, only 18 will be allowed to compete in Tokyo, should the United States qualify for the Olympics.
Hosts Japan and World Cup finalists Netherlands have already booked a spot at the Summer Games, with Great Britain, Sweden, Brazil and New Zealand also qualifying.
The U.S. team will play its first match in the 2020 Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament against Haiti on Jan. 28.
Reporting By Amy Tennery; Editing by Pravin Char