Natasha Kai of Kahuku will be the first player from Hawaii to represent the United States in Olympic soccer.
U.S. Soccer takes Solo over Scurry
Former Hawaii and Kahuku great Natasha Kai is named to the elite team as a striker
CHICAGO » Goalkeeper Hope Solo was among 18 players picked yesterday for the U.S. Olympic women's soccer roster, nine months after she was kicked off the team at the World Cup.
The former Kahuku and Hawaii soccer great was named to the U.S. Olympic team for women's soccer. She will have four chances to fine-tune her game before heading to Beijing:
» July 2: At Norway
» July 5: At Sweden
» July 13: vs. Brazil at Commerce City, Colo.
» July 16: vs. Brazil at San Diego
Olympic first round
» August 6: vs. Norway
» August 9: vs. Japan
» August 12: vs. New Zealand
Briana Scurry, who took over from Solo for last year's World Cup semifinal loss to Brazil, was left off the roster by coach Pia Sundhage, who replaced Greg Ryan following the World Cup debacle.
Solo was the starter for most of 2007, but Ryan surprisingly replaced her with Scurry for the semifinal, which the Americans lost 4-0. Solo criticized Ryan, saying she would have made the saves, and was dropped from the team.
Sundage, who has led the team to an 18-0 record, said the events of last year's didn't play into her decision. Nicole Barnhart, who also was on the Peace Cup roster, will be Solo's Olympic backup.
"Both Hope and Nicole, they're very good with their feet, and that's necessary the way we're playing right now," Sundhage said.
Kahuku's Natasha Kai was named to the squad for the first time.
Solo, Scurry and Barnhart were on the roster for the Peace Queen Cup tournament in South Korea. Solo played as the Americans beat Canada 1-0 to win the title Saturday.
Sundhage said the 36-year-old Scurry, who had been on the roster for every major tournament since 1991, was "very professional" when told of the decision and that it didn't necessarily mark the end of Scurry's time with the national team.
"If she continues to play in the league next year, she has a chance to come back and play," Sundhage said.
Half the roster was part of the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Defenders Christie Rampone and Kate Markgraf, the co-captains, will be in their third Olympics. Also returning from the 2004 team are defender Heather Mitts; midfielders Shannon Boxx, Angela Hucles, Heather O'Reilly, Lindsay Tarpley and Aly Wagner; and forward Abby Wambach.
Midfielder Tobin Heath, who turned 20 last month, is the youngest player.
"I can see the new generation blend with the old generation, and that's a little bit tricky," Sundhage said.