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USSF releases 2016 USWNT Olympic roster

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At long last, the final 18

Japan v United States Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Here are the 18 players and four alternates who will be going to Brazil to represent the United States in women’s soccer:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (6): Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), 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)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC)
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)

ALTERNATES (4): Heather O'Reilly, Ashlyn Harris, Emily Sonnett, Samantha Mewis

"The last few camps capped a nine-month evaluation process and the players certainly made it a real challenge to narrow the roster down to 18," said U.S. head coach Jill Ellis via USSF press release.

Ellis has answered the most pressing questions about the roster: Alyssa Naeher will be the backup keeper and Ashlyn Harris will be the alternate; Whitney Engen is the third center back; and Heather O'Reilly was sent to the alternate's list after being rostered for every major USWNT tournament since the 2004 Olympics.

Additionally, Megan Rapinoe has made it back in time from her ACL tear, or at least to a sufficient fitness level to get Jill Ellis' approval. She wasn't available for selection for the USWNT's friendly against South Africa earlier this month, but Ellis has expressed that she has seen what she needs to of Rapinoe's readiness in training camp. If Rapinoe is available for the WNT's Olympic farewell game against Costa Rica on July 22, that may serve to silence many doubters on her actual fitness level. If not - well, then let the debates continue about taking a player who is still recovering and may not be available for group stages in the hopes she'll be a difference maker in knockout rounds.

Many of these players are making their Olympic debut: Alyssa Naeher, Whitney Engen, Julie Johnston, Ali Krieger, Morgan Brian, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long, Crystal Dunn, and Mallory Pugh are all new to the Olympic scene. Meghan Klingenberg and Christen Press were both alternates in 2012.

It may be strange to think this is long-time right back Krieger's first Olympics, but fans will remember she injured her ACL in qualifying before the 2012 London Olympics, leaving her off the roster. Mallory Pugh is the youngest of the new players, having turned 18 in April. Pugh may have been questionable on this roster when she debuted for the WNT, but her consistently excellent play put an end to most speculation several friendlies ago.

On the other end of the spectrum is Allie Long, 28 years old and just now having really worked her way into the national team after long toil in the National Women's Soccer League.

Roster rules and details

Average age of the roster: 27.8

Average caps: 77

Alternates may replace an injured or ill player at any time during the tournament starting 24 hours before the team's first match, but those who remain on the alternate list will not receive medals should their team place in the top three.

Jerseys are also limited to numbers 1-18 for the main roster and 19-22 for the alternates, which sometimes forces temporary number changes, such as when Abby Wambach switched to 14 from her usual 20 in 2012. 1, 18, and 22 are reserved for the three goalkeepers.

What do you think of this roster? Did anyone get snubbed? Let us know in the comments.