July 11, 2007
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Former Honda Award winners and Santa Clara women's soccer standouts Leslie Osborne ('05) and Aly Wagner ('03) were among the first 18 players named to the U.S. national team roster for the 2007 Women's World Cup, U.S. head coach Greg Ryan announced Wednesday morning. The 2007 Women's World Cup will be held in China from Sept. 10-30, with matches being held in five cities.
All 16 teams in the tournament are allotted 21 roster spots, and U.S. Soccer announced that Ryan will make the final three selections later this month.
"We named the 18 now because we've been in Residency Camp two years in a row, we've spent two years together and we know these players inside out," said Ryan, who will coach in his first FIFA Women's World Cup. "These 18 have earned the right to be on this World Cup Team. We want to remove the stress from trying out and just say, `you guys are the ones, you're in, let's get after it.'"
For Wagner, the selection marks the second time that she will compete on women's soccer's grandest stage, having previously seen action in four matches at the 2003 Women's World Cup held in the United States. Wagner was also a member of the 2004 Olympic squad that claimed the gold medal in Athens. She put together a fine collegiate career at Santa Clara, claiming the Honda Award as the nation's top women's soccer player after leading the Broncos to their only national title in 2001, and capturing the M.A.C. Hermann Trophy in 2002 after leading Santa Clara back to the national title game and finishing as national runner-up. She was also a three-time All-American as well as the West Coast Player of the Year and College Cup MVP in 2001.
Osborne will make her Women's World Cup debut this September, where she will help hold down the U.S. midfield. The Brookfield, Wis. native has been a mainstay on the national team since her senior-team debut in 2003. As an undergrad at Santa Clara, Osborne was a two-time All-American and recipient of the Honda Award in 2004. She is also a two-time WCC Player of the Year, and in 2004 was named the WCC Defender of the year as well.
With Osborne's selection, she becomes the sixth former Santa Clara player to represent the United States in World Cup play and the eighth to participate overall. Brandi Chastain and Wagner are the only Broncos to appear in multiple World Cups, as Chastain was a member of the 1991 and '99 championship squads and the 2003 squad that took third. Kylie Bivens (2003), Jennifer Lalor (1995), and Danielle Slaton (2003) all represented the United States in previous competitions, while Mikka Hansen represented Denmark and Lisa Nañez played for Mexico in the 1999 World Cup.
In all, 10 of the players named to the roster Wednesday will be participating in their first World Cup. The United States will open up World Cup play Sept. 11 against North Korea in Chengdu, then play other group members Sweden on Sept. 14 in Chengdu, and Nigeria Sept. 18 in Shanghai.