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Rampone returns to USWNT ahead of friendlies vs. Japan

The 40-year-old former captain returns for the first time since September.
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U.S. women's national team manager Jill Ellis has named her 25-player roster for June friendlies against Japan, which serve as further preparation for this summer's Olympic tournament in Brazil. 

Christie Rampone, the 40-year-old longtime former captain of the squad, returns to the fold, while injured co-captain Carli Lloyd misses out as she recovers from a knee injury. Rampone hasn't featured for the USA since September, as she was recovering from a knee injury. She's played in all of Sky Blue FC's five matches in NWSL this season.

Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, Morgan Brian, Tobin Heath and Becky Sauerbrunn headline the squad, which boasts 15 players from the 2015 World Cup championship roster.

The U.S. will play Japan on June 2 and 5 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, and FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, respectively. Only 18 players will suit up for each match. 

“We are going with a slightly larger roster for this camp than the last few, so internally we can play in more 11v11 training scenarios," Ellis said in a statement. "My staff and I have been watching the league play, and now we get to evaluate them back together. Both environments are important."

The USA and Japan have played in three consecutive major finals: the 2011 World Cup final, 2012 Olympic gold medal match and 2015 World Cup final, with the U.S. winning the latter pair. Japan did not qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Here is the USA squad in full.

GOALKEEPERS: Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)

DEFENDERS: Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Gina Lewandowski (FC Bayern Munich), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Christie Rampone (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O’Reilly (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS: Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)