Today, U.S. Women's National Team head coach Jill Ellis announced her roster for their July 9 match against South Africa. As expected, Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe were included in the call-up as Ellis uses this match, as well as the July 22 match against Costa Rica, to determine who she will take to the Rio Olympics.
Rapinoe is in camp for training and evaluation only, and she will not play in the match.
We've known for the longest time that Rapinoe has been determined to recover from a torn ACL suffered back in December during the World Cup Victory Tour in Hawaii. Jill Ellis repeatedly stated that a spot on the Olympics roster would be there for Rapinoe if she made a full recovery. From the Reign's point of view, head coach Laura Harvey never said she would return by a certain date before the Olympics, but was confident Rapinoe would be back in time for the summer tournament.
How much playing time Rapinoe gets at the Olympics is anyone's guess, but barring any last minute setback on her rehab, it's very likely a well-rested and fully recovered Megan Rapinoe will be back in a Reign shirt after the Olympics. That has to sound very good to the ears of fans as the NWSL enters its playoff push when they return from the Olympic break in August.
Like how awesome summer in Seattle is each year, Hope Solo being called into the U.S. national team is now a guarantee. The July 9 match could include another milestone in her illustrious career. With a clean sheet, Solo will have 100 career shutouts, something no other goalkeeper can lay claim to.
From the Reign's perspective, these call-ups don't carry a drastic impact for how much roster shakeup there will be for league play through July. Seattle's situation is not like that of the Portland Thorns. Haley Kopmeyer has proven the title "backup keeper" is in name only and internationals Jess Fishlock (Wales), Rachel Corsie (Scotland), Kim Little (Scotland), and the arriving Nahomi Kawasumi (Japan) and Rumi Utsugi (Japan) are not Olympics-bound, as their national teams did not qualify. Manon Melis' Netherlands also didn't qualify, although she announced her retirement from international play this year.
It's the fact that Seattle's core is staying well intact that has many believing the Reign will start to make up ground on the league table in July and be in solid position for the playoff push.
The United States/South Africa friendly takes place at Chicago's Soldier Field on Saturday, July 9 and will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1.