London 2012 - Six newcomers in U.S. women's squad
Six newcomers including high-scoring Sydney Leroux will join a veteran cast as the United States women's team seeks its third consecutive Olympic gold medal, U.S. Soccer said on Sunday.
The 18-member squad returns 11 players from the 2008 gold-medal winning Olympic side plus leading U.S. scorer Abby Wambach, who missed the 2008 Games with a broken leg.
"The team is a mix of very experienced players and several new fresh faces," coach Pia Sundhage said in a statement.
Leroux, the newest of the fresh faces, has appeared in only nine games for the United States but has scored seven goals.
She is the only player on the squad who did not play for the Americans in the 2011 World Cup and at age 22 is the team's youngest.
"All the players are versatile, which is extremely important when you have just 16 field players on a roster." Sundhage said.
Defenders Kelley O'Hara, Amy LePeilbet and Becky Sauerbrunn, midfielder Megan Rapinoe and forward Alex Morgan also will be making their first Olympic appearance.
Goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielders Shannon Boxx, Heather O'Reilly and Carli Lloyd are among the returnees from 2008.
The United States has played in every Olympic women's final, winning gold in 1996, silver in 2000 and gold in the past two Olympics in 2004 and 2008.
The Americans defeated Brazil 1-0 on Lloyd's overtime goal in 2008.
Squad - Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo
Defenders: Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O'Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn
Midfielders: Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe
Forwards: Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach (Reporting By Gene Cherry in Raleigh North Carolina, editing by Ed Osmond)