The 2016 Olympics are almost here, and the USWNT has named their roster that will go for their fourth straight gold medal. It's a very strong squad that includes all the players you would have expected to see -- plus one very welcome return.
Megan Rapinoe is making her long-awaited return from injury, having finally worked her way back to health after tearing her ACL during a practice session that was part of their Women's World Cup victory tour last year. Exactly how big a role she can play in the team this summer is still unknown, but just having her back in the team will be excellent for her leadership and experience.
As far as the rest of the squad goes, 14 of the 18 players named were part of last summer's Women's World Cup title win, and seven of them were on the 2012 Olympic gold-winning roster in London. Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath and Hope Solo will be playing in their third Olympics -- though Solo was also an unused alternate in 2004 -- while Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Kelley O'Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn will be at their second Olympics. The rest of the squad are first-timers, though their experience winning the World Cup last summer will be a big help.
Among the newcomers, Mallory Pugh is perhaps the most notable. The 18-year-old Real Colorado star has taken the USWNT by storm over the last year, including scoring in two friendlies earlier this year. She's the second-youngest Olympian in USWNT history, and there's a very good chance that we see her play a big role in the tournament.
The U.S. will kick off their Olympics action on Aug. 3 in Group G action against New Zealand at 6 p.m. ET.
Defenders (6): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City)
Midfielders (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
Forwards (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)
Injury Alternates: Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns), Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash)