The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup begins June 7 in France, where the United States Women’s National Team will aim to defend its title.
The U.S. has been one of the most successful women’s teams on the international level, winning four Olympic gold medals and three World Cup titles (1991, 1999, 2015).
They are the Vegas betting favorites to win it again this year at 2-1 odds, and there is good reason for that. The U.S., ranked No. 1 in the world, returns the core of the 2015 championship team mixed with some rising stars.
Here is a look at the USWNT roster for the 2019 World Cup:
Ashlyn Harris (GK), Alyssa Naeher (GK), Kelley O’Hara (D), Ali Krieger (D), Becky Sauerbrunn (D), Morgan Brian (MF), Julie Ertz (MF), Tobin Heath (F), Carli Lloyd (F), Alex Morgan (F), Christen Press (F), Megan Rapinoe (F)
Twelve players from the 2015 World Cup-winning team are back. Lloyd, the oldest member of the squad at 36, returns for her fourth World Cup. She was the hero in 2015 with a hat trick in the final against Japan.
Lloyd is one of three captains, along with Rapinoe and Morgan -- who, along with Sauerbrunn and Heath, will play in their third World Cup.
Morgan has 101 career goals for the national team — the second-most on the active roster behind Lloyd — and 40 career assists. Rapinoe, an inspired passer, has 44 international goals, and Heath has emerged as a complete attacker with 10 of her 27 national team goals coming since the start of 2018. That trio likely will start up front, with Lloyd and Press as options off the bench.
Ertz, the breakout player from the last World Cup who is married to Philadelphia Eagles star Zach Ertz, is the defensive linchpin in the midfield. Sauerbrunn is a stalwart at center back, and O'Hara is the team's first choice at right back.
Naeher will compete in her second World Cup but her first as the starting goalkeeper. She backed up Hope Solo in 2015. The 31-year-old has produced 24 shutouts in 45 national appearances for the USWNT.
Adrianna Franch (GK), Abby Dahlkemper (D), Tierna Davidson (D), Crystal Dunn (D), Emily Sonnett (D), Lindsey Horan (MF), Rose Lavelle (MF), Allie Long (MF), Samantha Mewis (MF), Jessica McDonald (F), Mallory Pugh (F)
Eleven players on the 23-woman roster will be making their World Cup debuts. Horan, a 25-year-old midfielder, is poised to become the team's next star. She is coming off an MVP season in the National Women’s Soccer League in 2018, and already has eight goals and 22 assists in 67 national team appearances.
Dunn is a talented goal scorer who has 24 goals in 84 appearances and a NWSL MVP to her name, but head coach Jill Ellis plans to use Dunn at left back to plug a hole on defense.
Lavelle, a creative midfielder who has struggled with injuries, is a candidate for the starting 11. Dahlkemper is likely to start alongside Sauerbrunn at center back.
Pugh, a speedy 21-year-old winger, and Davidson, a 20-year-old defender, are the team's youngest players.
By John Healy