Sky Blue FC teammates Kelley O’Hara and Sam Kerr have been named to their respective national teams for the U.S.-hosted Tournament of Nations. The friendly tournament is a round-robin format that includes the U.S., Australia, Brazil and Japan, four of the top 10 teams in the world.
Australia coach Alen Stajcic named Kerr to his 21-player tournament squad on Monday, with Jill Ellis naming O’Hara to the U.S. squad this afternoon. The two will immediately take the field against each other, as the United States women’s national team (USWNT) and Matildas play the second in a doubleheader on July 27, the tournament’s opening day. It will be the two teams’ first meeting since the opening match of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“With the many NWSL players in this tournament from all four teams, it speaks to the quality of the league and it will be exciting for fans that watch these players compete for their clubs to see them play intense matches for their countries,” Ellis said in a statement released by the USWNT. “For the fans, it’s going to be a chance to see World Cup veterans and rising stars on all four teams. Every game of the six should be extremely entertaining.”
O’Hara has been with the senior USWNT since being capped in 2010 and has since made 96 appearances for the team. With the extensive 2017 schedule the team has, she is on pace to break the century mark before year’s end. O’Hara was Ellis’s go-to choice at right back during the USWNT’s June Scandinavian Tour, but with the USWNT squad with more right back depth than in previous camps, there will likely be more competition for the starting spot. However, O’Hara’s versatility means she could be shifted to play left back or up into the U.S. attack as needed.
As for Kerr, it’s no question whether she’ll be a regular in the Matildas lineups. She is quickly establishing herself as one of the best strikers in the world. She won the Julie Dolan Award, the award for the most valuable player in the 2016/2017 Australian W-League season, for her performance with Perth Glory, during which she led the team to an appearance in the Grand Final. Her performance this year with Sky Blue—during which she has broken Sky Blue’s single-season scoring record, taken the lead in the NWSL Golden Boot race and has set a new NWSL all-time goals record—has garnered her even more attention and praise from Stajcic.
“We monitor the overseas-based players daily and have contact with them weekly, so we keep tabs on them pretty closely and make sure the communication lines are always open between us and them,” Stajcic said in the team’s official release. “Sam’s exploits over in the NWSL this season are a great confidence booster for the team.”
Both O’Hara and Kerr should be available for Sky Blue’s July 22 road match against the Seattle Reign. However, the Tournament of Nations concludes on Thursday, August 3, so fans shouldn’t expect to see either on the field during Sky Blue’s home match against the Washington Spirit on the 4th.
The Tournament of Nations begins on July 27 at CenturyLink Field (10 p.m. ET on ESPN). Brazil and Japan will play the first game of the doubleheader at 7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN3), with the U.S. and Australia playing at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN). The four teams will then travel to down to San Diego, where Japan will face Australia on Sunday, July 30 (5:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3) followed by the USA taking on Brazil (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2) at Qualcomm Stadium. The tournament will finish on Thursday, August 3, at StubHub Center in Carson, California, as Australia takes on Brazil (7:15 p.m. ET on ESPN3) and the USA faces Japan (10 p.m. ET on ESPN2).
AUSTRALIA ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (2): Lydia Williams (Houston Dash), Mackenzie Arnold
Defenders (7): Gema Simon, Caitlin Cooper, Clare Polkinghorne, Laura Alleway, Steph Catley (Orlando Pride), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Ellie Carpenter
Midfielders (8): Chloe Logarzo, Elise Kellond-Knight, Caitlin Foord, Emily van Egmond, Tameka Butt, Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Katrina Gorry, Alex Chidiac
Forwards (4): Lisa De Vanna, Emily Gielnik, Princess Ibini, Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
UNITED STATES ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Abby Smith (Boston Breakers)
Defenders (7): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Taylor Smith (North Carolina Courage)
Midfielders (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Margaret Purce (Boston Breakers), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
Forwards (7): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Sydney Leroux (FC Kansas City), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)