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U.S. Women's Soccer Team Punches Ticket To Tokyo For Summer Olympics

The United States Women's National Soccer Team celebrates after clinching the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament with a 3-0 win against Canada on Sunday. The team is heading to its seventh-straight Olympic games.
Chris Carlson

Updated at 1:39 p.m. ET on Feb. 10.

The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team is heading to the 2020 Olympics this summer with a chance to make history.

They'll try to become the first women's team to follow a World Cup victory with an Olympic gold medal. The Tokyo Games will mark the Americans' seventh-straight appearance at the Olympics.

The players punched their ticket with a 4-0 win over Mexico on Friday at the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament. Two days later, they added an exclamation point with a 3-0 win over Canada in the final game — a stalemate until Lynn Williams scored in the 61st minute, followed by goals from Lindsey Horan in the 71st and Megan Rapinoe in the 87th.

"Proud of this group," squad veteran Carli Lloyd tweeted. "First box (checked), but all eyes on #Tokyo2020. That's the ultimate goal!"

The 12-team Olympic tournament begins July 22. So far, Brazil, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada and the U.S. have qualified.

The U.S. has been an Olympic powerhouse, racking up four gold medals (in 1996, 2004, 2008, 2012) and a silver (in 2000). Four years ago, however, the team finished fifth — its worst result in any Summer Games.

The team appears poised for redemption, having won 28 straight matches and dominating the CONCACAF tournament. The squad scored 25 goals and didn't allow a single opposing goal.

Forward Christen Press won the Golden Ball trophy for best performance during the tournament. Midfielder Lindsey Horan led the U.S. team in scoring, with six goals.

The U.S. returned 18 of 20 players from the team that came away victorious at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France.

Olympic rosters are capped at 18 players, and Lloyd, who has been with the team since 2005, recently told The New York Times that competition for a spot would be cutthroat.

Alex Morgan, who tied for most goals scored at last summer's World Cup, didn't play in the CONCACAF tournament. She is seven-months pregnant with her first child, and says she wants to play in the Olympics.

The USWNT next take the pitch for the SheBelieves Cup, when England, Spain and Japan visit three U.S. cities for matches starting March 5.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Jordan Pascale