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Major changes define USWNT’s first 2016 camp

Jaelene Hinkle (left) and Sam Mewis are back in camp with the USWNT, which is decidedly younger than it was six months ago. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Jaelene Hinkle (left) and Sam Mewis are back in camp with the USWNT, which is decidedly younger than it was six months ago. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

With the New Year brings more change for the United States women’s national team. Just 16 of the 23 players who helped the U.S. win the 2015 World Cup will be part of the U.S.’ January training camp ahead of 2016 Rio Olympic qualifying in February.

Of the 26 players in U.S. camp, 14 have 30 or fewer caps. The camp will take place in Carson, Calif., from Jan. 5-21.

Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Lauren Holiday and Abby Wambach all retired. Christie Rampone underwent arthroscopic surgery on her left knee before Christmas and will be sidelined four-six weeks, according to U.S. Soccer, and Megan Rapinoe has begun rehabbing the ACL which she tore in early December. Additionally, forward Amy Rodriguez is pregnant with her second child and will miss “a large part of the year,” according to U.S. Soccer.

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, who just joined Portland Thorns FC after playing last season with Avaldsnes IL in Norway, gets her first call-up since 2013. She played with the Western New York Flash in 2013.

Mallory Pugh, who will turn 18 in April of 2016, earns her first call-up to the senior national team. She is one of the youngest field players called into the full U.S. team in the past 15 years.

The average age of this January training camp roster is 26.1 years old, down from 29.2 years old at the World Cup, where the U.S. was the oldest team. Helping lower that average age are the likes of Jaelene Hinkle, Emily Sonnett, Sam Mewis and Stephanie McCaffrey, all of whom are youngsters who saw action during the U.S. victory tour in the fall. Wisconsin junior Rose Lavelle and 2015 NWSL Rookie of the Year Danielle Colaprico are also back in camp with the United States.

Pugh, the most recent captain of the U.S. U-20 team, joins some elite company as a teenager in camp with the senior U.S. team. Heather O’Reilly debuted for the U.S. a few months after her 17th birthday in 2002 at the Algarve Cup. Rodriguez debuted at the 2005 Algarve Cup just a few months after her 18th birthday, and Lauren Holiday first trained with the senior team a few months before her 18th birthday in 2005. Goalkeeper Jane Campbell, who will be a senior at Stanford next fall, was a member of the United States’ January 2013 training camp as a 17-year-old.

The U.S. women play Ireland on Jan. 23 in San Diego. Twenty players will make the roster for Olympic qualifying, which takes place in Texas from Feb. 10-21.

GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS (8): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), 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), Emily Sonnett (Univ. of Virginia)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (PSG), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Sydney Leroux (Western New York Flash), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

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