Amelia Parreira is a journalism junior and Mustang News sports columnist. | Ian Billings/Mustang News

Amelia Parreira

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Last summer, millions of soccer fans watched as the U.S. Men’s National Team (USMNT) ended its journey to the championship of the FIFA World Cup with a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to Belgium. This failure to advance to the quarterfinals left clouds of disappointment hovering in the U.S. atmosphere.

However, this summer could turn frowns upside-down as the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) competes for the FIFA World Cup title in Canada.

The Women’s World Cup has only been around since 1991, and the USWNT earned the championship title two times out of six previous appearances.

Now looking for a third championship, the USWNT is more than ready to score its way to the top.

Head coach Jill Ellis spent almost a year evaluating players and forming her team, according to an article featured on the Chicago Red Stars website.

Ellis announced the final roster for this year’s team in April, which hosts 23 players. This includes three goalkeepers, eight defenders, seven midfielders and five forwards.

Great work from the team today as they opened camp with fitness. #1N1T

— Jillian Ellis (@JillEllis2907) January 7, 2015

With each player packed with talent, a handful of them hold the keys to U.S. success.

One of the most promising, and certainly most experienced, team members is defender and team captain Christie Rampone. While many of the players will make their World Cup debut this year, it will be Rampone’s fifth appearance.

While it is beneficial to keep a younger team, Rampone proves she is the exception. Turning 40 in June, Rampone will be the oldest on the team.

However, she is one of the most physically competent. Even after a sprain this past season that made Ellis a bit skeptical about her recruitment, Rampone rebounded quickly and remains one of the fastest players on the team. Her energetic drive and nonstop passion are just what the U.S. needs.

Another player to watch in this year’s World Cup is 23-year-old defender Julie Johnston. Though this is her first appearance in a professional World Cup, Johnston has loads of high-quality soccer experience. Johnston has been involved with the USWNT since she was a teenager, attending her first national soccer camp in 2006.

Johnston attended Santa Clara University, where she rose as a national star with countless accomplishments. In 2012, she was named the NSCAA First-Team All-American and a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist. She competed in the U-20 World Cup that same year and also received the U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the Year award.

Another strong youngster to make the roster is 22-year-old midfielder Morgan Brian. Since 2010, Brian has received nearly 20 awards and honors, including the 2010 NSCAA Youth Player of the Year, NSCAA First-Team All-American in 2011 and 2012, and the 2013 Soccer America Player of the Year.

Brian helped her national team place third in the 2010 U-17 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and was also a part of the winning 2012 U-20 World Cup team.

One of the most important aspects to having strong defense is first reflected in a strong goalkeeper. Luckily, the USWNT has that covered. With 33-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist Hope Solo as goalkeeper, U.S. fans should be confident their team will go far. Even with personal conflicts that resulted in a short suspension from the team this past year, Solo is still considered one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

Thank you for the incredible turnout yesterday for our game against Mexico! We are so lucky to have such amazing fans! #USWNT #WinItAll

— Hope Solo (@hopesolo) May 18, 2015

Solo has played for the USWNT since the 2000 and currently holds the record for shutouts. She also played in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in both 2007 and 2011 and received the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper.

After taking a grueling loss in 2011, it seems hopeful the USWNT will see much more positive results in the 2015 FIFA World Cup. With the combination of young age and experience in a variety of players, the chemistry is sure to work in favor of the U.S.

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