The Lionesses will have 15 players in action at this summer's Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, following the announcement of the Team GB Football squad.
The British Olympic Association (BOA) confirmed the selection of the 18 player squad on Thursday morning, with Hege Riise coaching the group who will represent Team GB Football in Japan.
This is only the second time that Team GB have entered a women’s football team since the introduction of the sport to the Olympic programme in 1996.
And there's no shortage of Olympic experience in the group, with previous Olympic champion Riise at the helm. The Norwegian won gold with Norway at the Sydney Games in 2000 during her illustrious career.
Among the squad are also five Olympians who competed for Team GB at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the shape of England’s Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Ellen White and Scotland’s Kim Little.
A further 13 players will make their Olympic debuts in Tokyo, as Welsh international Sophie Ingle and Scotland midfielder Caroline Weir are joined by our own Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Rachel Daly, Lauren Hemp, Fran Kirby, Nikita Parris, Ellie Roebuck, Georgia Stanway, Demi Stokes, Keira Walsh and Leah Williamson.
Team GB have also named four reserve players who will travel with the team to Tokyo in Sandy MacIver, Lotte Wubben-Moy, Niamh Charles and Ella Toone.
The squad boasts a wealth of exceptional talent, as Ingle, Kirby and Bright were instrumental in helping Chelsea claim the Women’s Super League title and reach the UEFA Champions League final this season, while Manchester City’s Bronze was awarded The Best FIFA Women’s Player of the Year.
Team GB fielded a football squad for the first time in the 2012 Olympic Games when the team reached the quarter-finals, with the United States the eventual winners after beating this summer’s hosts Japan by 2-1 to win gold for a third consecutive time.
The inclusion of a Great Britain women’s football team for Tokyo could result in there being more female athletes than male representing Team GB for the first time in history.
Team GB, who have been drawn in Group E, will face Chile in the opening game of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Sapporo on 21 July, followed by hosts Japan on 24 July before travelling to Kashima to take on Canada on 27 July.
“I know first-hand as a former player just how proud my players will feel today at having been selected to represent Great Britain," said Riise, following the announcement.
"There's no greater sporting occasion in the world and I am honoured to lead this hugely talented team into the Games. We will go there aiming to win and we will give everything we have to achieve success. I hope that Great Britain’s inclusion once more in the Olympic Football Tournament can inspire the next generation of young girls to play the sport we love.”
Mark England, Team GB Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, added: “Having an opportunity to field a women’s football team in Tokyo, for only the second time in our Olympic history, is incredibly exciting.
“I'm delighted to welcome the players selected today to Team GB for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. It is fantastic to see five returning Olympians named and I'm sure they, along with the 13 debutants, will relish the opportunity to represent Team GB this summer.
“Team GB is on the cusp of making history this summer as we are on track to qualify more female than male athletes for the Games for the very first time and I'm sure that as we saw at London 2012, the team selected today will help to inspire a new generation of girls and young women wanting to play the sport.”
Selected Team GB footballers for Tokyo 2020:
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (OL Reign and England), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City and England)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea and England), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City and England), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash and England), Steph Houghton (Manchester City and England), Demi Stokes (Manchester City and England), Leah Williamson (Arsenal and England),
Midfielders: Sophie Ingle (Chelsea and Wales), Kim Little (Manchester City and Scotland), Jill Scott (Manchester City and England), Keira Walsh (Manchester City and England), Caroline Weir (Manchester City and Scotland)
Forwards: Lauren Hemp (Manchester City and England), Fran Kirby (Chelsea and England), Nikita Parris (Olympique Lyonnais and England), Georgia Stanway (Manchester City and England), Ellen White (Manchester City and England)
Sandy MacIver (Goalkeeper - Everton and England), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Defender - Arsenal and England), Niamh Charles (Midfielder - Chelsea and England), Ella Toone (Forward - Manchester United and England)