Meet the women of Team USA, who this month will carry the Stars and Stripes into Germany intent on winning their first Cup final since their 1999 victory at the Rose Bowl
DEFENDER / Age: 33 Caps: 116
An injury scratch from both the 2003 and '07 World Cups, she earned her spot this year after proving her fitness (over a nagging hamstring) in the June 5 match against Mexico. The wife of Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley, Mitts will be the oldest U.S. woman ever to make her World Cup debut.
MIDFIELDER / Age: 25 Caps: 31
With her twin sister, Rachael, Rapinoe helped Portland win an NCAA title as a freshman in 2005, when she was a first-team All-America. Sidelined from U.S. duty for all of '07 and '08 with ACL injuries, she has since emerged as a scoring threat from midfield, starting eight of 10 games in 2011. Twitter@mPinoe
DEFENDER / Age: 26 Caps: 18
The two-time Penn State All-America has played most of her club soccer in Germany, winning the 2011 German Cup with Frankfurt. After debuting for the U.S. in '08, Krieger was not called up in '09, but coach Pia Sundhage says she has become more aggressive and technically sound over the last year.
MIDFIELDER / Age: 33 Caps: 146
The Notre Dame grad debuted at the 2003 World Cup, earning a roster spot before she'd even won her first cap. With her attacking skills and ball-winning defense, Boxx has been a mainstay alongside Carli Lloyd in the central midfield ever since. She has led her teams to each of the two WPS title games.
FORWARD / Age: 21 Caps: 19
The youngest player on the team, Morgan has been worked in slowly since her U.S. debut in March 2010, splitting time between college and the national team until she graduated from Cal last December. She's been compared to Mia Hamm for her speed and nose for the goal. Twitter @alexmorgan13
GOALKEEPER / Age: 26 Caps: 1
The No. 3 keeper for the U.S., she set school records at Villanova for career wins, shutouts and minutes played. Though Loyden is unlikely to see much time behind Hope Solo and Nicole Barnhart, she provides depth at a position the U.S. considers one of its strongest. Twitter @jloyden
DEFENDER / Age: 29 Caps: 49
A versatile backliner who can play centrally or on the wings, the Arizona State alumna missed the 2007 World Cup and all of the '08 U.S. campaign with a torn left ACL. LePeilbet has since rebounded strongly, winning WPS Defender of the Year awards in 2009 and '10.
FORWARD / Age: 23 Caps: 42
The alltime leading scorer at UCLA, Cheney was a last-minute addition to the 2008 Olympic team (for the injured Abby Wambach) and came on as a sub in each of the last three matches. Her wonder strike in stoppage time on June 5 salvaged a 1--0 victory over Mexico in the final tune-up for Germany.
MIDFIELDER / Age: 31 Caps: 22
Valued for her passing game, L-Squared earned her first cap in 2005 but waited five years to make her next appearance for the U.S. In 13 games in 2010, including six starts, Lindsey led the team in assists, and she could be a key contributor off the bench in Germany.
GOALKEEPER / Age: 29 Caps: 39
Playing for the injured Hope Solo in 2010 and '11, she had a 14-4-2 record, including back-to-back shutouts in the two-game playoff against Italy to determine the final World Cup berth. Barnhart holds the Stanford career record for goals-against average, at .451.
GOALKEEPER / Age: 29 Caps: 95
Following a public blowup at the 2007 World Cup, when then coach Greg Ryan benched her for the semifinal match (a 4--0 loss), Solo bounced back at the 2008 Olympics, shutting out Brazil 1--0 in the gold medal game. Now considered the preeminent keeper in the world, Solo remains refreshingly outspoken—she was fined by WPS last year after she vented about officiating on her Twitter feed. Twitter @hopesolo
MIDFIELDER / Age: 28 Caps: 111
The self-described quarterback of the U.S. was responsible for one of the most memorable moments in American soccer history—a left-footed blast from the top of the area in the 96th minute that provided a 1--0 victory over Brazil in the 2008 Olympic gold medal match. Her cerebral approach is vital to the U.S. midfield. Twitter @CarliLloyd
DEFENDER / Age: 36 Caps: 235
The U.S. co-captain and the only mother on the 2011 squad, Rampone is the last holdover from the World Cup--winning team of 1999 (she played in one match in that tournament) and the most-capped active player in the world. Quick on her feet and leading by example, she's the backbone of the Americans' defense. Twitter @christierampone
FORWARD / Age: 24 Caps: 65
The No. 1 pick in the 2009 WPS draft had just one goal as a rookie but found her scoring touch in '10, leading the Philadelphia Independence with 12 goals. But A-Rod's most important score came last November, when she slotted home a six-yard shot against Italy in the 40th minute in the second leg of the World Cup playoff, helping the U.S. clinch the final berth. In the '08 Olympic gold medal match, Rodriguez's pass set up Carli Lloyd for the game-winner against Brazil.
MIDFIELDER / Age: 26 Caps: 144
She was capped in 2002 at age 17 but missed the '03 World Cup with a broken left fibula. O'Reilly scored in the Olympic semifinals in both 2004 and '08 and started five World Cup games in '07. Speedy and skilled on the ball, she will be out to prove in Germany that she's the best outside midfielder in the world. Twitter @Heather_SBFC
MIDFIELDER / Age: 23 Caps: 27
The youngest member of the 2008 Olympic team, Heath missed last year while recovering from an illness that doctors never diagnosed and from a broken right ankle. A three-time NCAA champ at North Carolina, she can play right or left back. Twitter @TobinHeath
DEFENDER / Age: 26 Caps: 11
Capped just three times before this year, Sauerbrunn has joined the U.S. mix with five starts in 2011. Her trip to Germany ended her WPS iron-woman streak—she had played every minute of every game for her club team since '09. Twitter @beckysauerbrunn
FORWARD / Age: 22 Caps: 5
A national-team newbie—she earned her first cap last year—O'Hara was a prolific scorer for U.S. youth squads and at Stanford, where she netted 26 goals and became the first Cardinal player to win the Hermann Trophy. Likes water on her cereal. Twitter @kohara19
DEFENDER / Age: 25 Caps: 59
A co-captain (with Christie Rampone), the Buehldozer has started all but one U.S. game over the past two seasons and can play in central defense or on either flank. Buehler is one of 27 members of her family to attend Stanford, where she was a three-year captain.
FORWARD / Age: 31 Caps: 157
With 118 goals, Wambach is third all time in scoring for the U.S. behind Mia Hamm and Kristine Lilly, and she has the best strike rate in team history. She scored the overtime game-winner against Brazil in the 2004 Olympic gold medal match. Twitter @awambach_dc
COACH / Age: 51 Matches: 73
The first foreigner and second woman to coach the U.S., Sundhage took over after the 2007 World Cup debacle and led the team to Olympic gold in Beijing. As a player, she had 146 caps and 71 goals for Sweden and appeared in the 1991 and '95 World Cups.
DEFENDER / Age: 25 Caps: 74
Cox played only once for the national team in 2009 but appeared in nine games and started six in '10. The youngest player on the '07 U.S. World Cup team, she was cut from the '08 Olympic squad but was called back after Cat Whitehill suffered an ACL injury. Now Cox is one of the team's savviest defenders, playing primarily on the left flank.
TWENTY TWO PHOTOS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY SIMON BRUTY