The era of this version of the U.S. Women's National Team is coming to a close. The final four games of the victory tour are in December, gainst Trinidad and Tobago on the 6th and 10th, and against China on the 13th and 16th, and many of the players we saw at the 2015 World Cup have announced their retirement. With that in mind, I wondered how the team might look at the Summer Olympics in Brazil (starting in August 2016), and the 2019 World Cup in France (assuming that the U.S. qualifies.) The rosters are based on the roster constraints imposed by the tournament, and orange-tinted players are new to the roster by comparison to the previous roster. Ages are based on the start date of the competition. This is also presuming that Jill Ellis remains the coach and keeps with the 4-2-3-1 formation that brought the U.S. success at the World Cup.
2016 Summer Olympics
Gone by way of retirement are Lori Chalupny, Shannon Boxx, Lauren Holiday, and Abby Wambach. Christie Rampone has said that she would like to play at the Olympics, but I have her out as well. This is a numbers game because the rosters at the Olympics are made up of just 18 players. For that reason, I also have left out backup goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, Heather O'Reilly, and Amy Rodriguez. So who are the new players?
Allie Long (Portland Thorns)
Despite having played on youth national teams, Allie Long hasn't seen much in the way of senior national team games. She's a central midfielder that offers a bit more going forward than she does defending, and Jill Ellis had her in camp at the start of the year, so at the very least she's in consideration.
Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit)
This is probably the easiest prediction to make. Dunn won the NWSL MVP award after scoring 15 goals in 20 games, leading the Spirit to the playoffs. She has already been included as a supplemental player during the victory tour, and she's previously played with the national team in defense and on the wing. I think she will primarily play on the right side of the attacking midfield three, and I'm excited about her running at and past international defenders on the world's stage.
Sam Mewis (Western New York Flash)
Mewis is another player that has been called in as a supplemental victory tour player, so I'd be surprised if she didn't see the Olympics. She's a holding midfielder, and would be a perfect fit for that position in the 4-2-3-1.
2019 World Cup
There are many more new players here, as the roster size returns to 23 players. Gone from the 2016 Olympic roster are Hope Solo, Ashlyn Harris, Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, Carli Lloyd, and Megan Rapinoe. That's a scary thought, but each of those players will be almost 34, or older than that at the start of the World Cup. That doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be out, since Rampone played at age 40, and I could especially see Becky Sauerbrunn playing at 34, but I'm just going with my gut. Four years is a long time. Who's new?
Jami Kranich (Boston Breakers)
She's only made a handful of appearances for the Breakers, but that's because she's behind Alyssa Naeher. Kranich was part of the U-20 team that won the World Cup in 2012.
Katelyn Rowland (FC Kansas City)
Rowland was a teammate of Kranich on that 2012 team. Right now she's behind Nicole Barnhart on the Kansas City depth chart.
Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars)
Gilliland is a fullback, and that's a position that the U.S. has had trouble creating in the past. Ali Krieger is a natural fullback, but most of the other fullbacks that have played for the U.S. in that spot in recent history are positional conversions (O'Hara, Klingenberg, Chalupny, Dunn.) There should be a place for her in four years.
Abby Dahlkemper (Western New York Flash)
She's played on multiple youth national teams, most recently on the U-23s in 2014. Now she's an NWSL fixture at center back.
Cari Roccaro (Notre Dame)
Roccaro has climed the youth ladder, starting with the U-15s through U-20s. She was a regular on the 2012 U-20 World Cup winning team as an 18 year old, and captained the 2014 U-20 World Cup team. I feel good about her playing in four years.
Christina Gibbons (Duke)
She played with the U-23s at the Four Nations Tournament in May of this year, and she was on the 2014 U-20 World Cup team. She's a college junior, so she won't be seen in the NWSL until 2017.
Erika Tymrak (FC Kansas City)
She's on the fringe of the national team picture. She's been in camps and has represented the U.S. in friendlies, but it's not been easy to break into the team for her. She's a fearless attacker that excels when running at defenders, and 2019 could be her time.
Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars)
Colaprico was voted the 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year, holding down the starting holding midfielder role for the Red Stars. She was a collegiate teammate of Morgan Brian at the University of Virginia, and she's a U-23 player.
Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers)
A supplemental victory tour roster addition, McCaffrey would have a shot at the Olympics if Ellis didn't favor Sydney Leroux for reasons untold. She's got a national team future though, even if we might not see it for a couple of years.
Shea Groom (FC Kansas City)
Despite losing a big chunk of her season to a foot injury, Groom scored four goals for FCKC as a rookie. She's played with the U-23s as recently as this past March, and I'm looking forward to seeing what she can do with a full NWSL season.
Even the Olympics seem far off, though they're less than 10 months away. Time will tell how accurate this is. Who do you think deserves a look at the Olympics or four years from now in France?