The U.S. women’s national team roster for the upcoming friendlies against China will have a very different look to it.
Ten players from this summer’s World Cup team – including starters Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn, Andi Sullivan and Alyssa Naeher — were not called into this December’s training camp. However, their absence is “simply to give newer players a chance to perform in training and hopefully the games,” according to a U.S. Soccer spokesperson. With only 26 spots available, U.S. Soccer wants to bring in fresh faces to deepen the player pool.
This is especially true with the 2024 Paris Olympics just around the corner, as well as U.S. Soccer recently naming longtime Chelsea manager Emma Hayes as the USWNT’s next head coach. The Americans will face Chine on Dec. 2 in Fort Lauderdale and again on Dec. 5 in Frisco, Texas.
“As we move forward with the next steps, we need more opportunities to see players from our pool in our unique national team environment, in both training and games, so we can evaluate if and how they might contribute moving forward to the Olympics,” Twila Kilgore said in a statement. Kilgore continues to fill in as the squad’s interim head coach until Hayes fully takes over in May once the 2023-24 Women’s Super League season concludes.
U.S. Soccer said that Kilgore chose this roster “as part of the overall strategy and plan that sporting director Matt Crocker has put together with Kilgore and Hayes” to ensure a smooth transition.
“We value these players who have recently been in camps or played in the World Cup and were not chosen for this roster, and they are of course still part of our pool, but we know what they bring on and off the field,” Kilgore continued. “At the same time, we also need to continue to evaluate and bring along players in the right ways to give the team the best chance for success.”
This roster includes two midfielders — Jenna Nighswonger and Korbin Albert — who were selected for their first full national team training camp. Nighswonger plays for recently crowned NWSL champions Gotham FC and was the 2023 league rookie of the year, while Albert plays for Paris Saint-Germain.
This camp also marks the return of veteran defender Abby Dahlkemper, who was a starter during the USWNT’s run to the 2019 World Cup title, but hasn’t been called up since April 2022 because she needed to have major back surgery. Defender Tierna Davidson is also back after recovering from a facial injury she sustained during a NWSL match that kept her out of the previous camp. And midfielder Rose Lavelle, who hasn’t been 100% healthy in quite some time, will compete in her first camp since the World Cup.
Here is the full roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 7), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 16)
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 29/1), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC; 79/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 50/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 37/1), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 24/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 41/0), M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC; 1/0)
FORWARDS (8): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG; 2/1), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 21/5), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 24/4), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 26/6), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; 2/1), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 36/14), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 8/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 58/17)
Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.
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