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Seven Olympic Hopefuls on Beat Roster

January 17, 2012 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Atlanta Beat News Release

KENNESAW, GA (Jan. 17, 2012) - The Atlanta Beat of Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) today announced seven players, including their No. 1 overall draft pick, are headed to the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Women's Qualifying Tournament from Jan. 19-29 in Vancouver, B.C. The top two of eight teams will qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Atlanta Beat defender Lauren Sesselmann is the team's only player to join the Canadian Women's National Team (CWNT). "I'm looking forward to see how well Lauren (Sesselmann) plays with the Canadian team," said Beat head coach James Galanis. "I am just so excited for her because I know how hard she works, and she totally deserves to play at this level. I think we are all interested in seeing her play in the actual Olympics because that will be a huge accomplishment."

Meanwhile, The U.S. Women's National Team (USWNT) includes six other Beat players and remains virtually identical to last year's World Cup squad. The only change is newcomer and No. 1 WPS Draft pick, The Atlanta Beat's Sydney Leroux.

"I'm excited that we have a new player in the mix who wasn't in the World Cup (Sydney Leroux) and that will change the environment a bit in a positive way," said USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage. "As always, we are excited to play the next game and we will be prepared."

In addition to Leroux, The U.S. roster includes Beat defenders Rachel Buehler, Stephanie Cox, Amy LePeilbet and midfielders Carli Lloyd and Kelley O'Hara. O'Hara, a versatile player from Fayetteville, Ga., is listed as a defender for the tournament.

"It's exciting for our team in general," said Galanis, "and it's even more of a reason to be excited about the future of the Atlanta Beat since five of our players are representing this country. It speaks a lot about our organization and our goals as a club that we are able to attract players of such a high caliber."

The U.S. team arrived in Canada on Monday, Jan. 16 and will train for three days before opening its Group B competition against the Dominican Republic on Friday, Jan. 20 at 7:30 p.m. PT. All the U.S. games will be televised live on the Universal Sports Network. The USA continues first round action against Guatemala on Sunday, Jan. 22 (4:30 p.m. PT) and finishes group play against Mexico on Tuesday, Jan. 24 (7:30 p.m. PT).

Canada's group stage matches are Jan. 19 against Haiti, Jan. 21 against Cuba, and Jan. 23 against Costa Rica in Group A.

The top two teams from the four-team group advance to the semi-final stage where the two winners will qualify for the London Olympics.

"I wish all the Atlanta Beat players all the best in qualifying, and I have full faith that all of them are going to shine and that all of them are going to be in the Olympics come July."

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