USWNT training camp roster highlighted by talented young players
CHICAGO – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski has named a 27-player roster for an 11-day training camp, the USA’s first event in seven months. The camp will run from Oct. 18-28 in Commerce City, Colorado.
The U.S. roster features all domestic-based players, 23 who play in the NWSL and four current collegiate players.
“We’re looking forward to getting this group together in Colorado and we really like the mix of players as far as age, experience level and positions,” said Andonovski. “We are very aware that the players also have had different levels of activity over the past few months, so we’ll definitely take that into account as we run this camp. As we finally get back on the field, I know our players and staff are really looking forward to training together again.”
USWNT OCTOBER TRAINING CAMP ROSTER (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (4): Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 3), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 25), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 63)
DEFENDERS (10): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 61/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 26/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 104/24), Naomi Girma (Stanford; 0/0), Sarah Gorden (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0) Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 107/1), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 131/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 1/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 177/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 32/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shea Groom (Houston Dash; 0/0), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 86/19), Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars; 87/8), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 0/0), Catarina Macario (Stanford; 0/0), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 15/1), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 0/0)
FORWARDS (6): Bethany Balcer (OL Reign; 0/0), Mia Fishel (UCLA; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Kealia Watt (Chicago Red Stars; 3/1), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 28/9)
The roster consists of nine players who saw action during the highly successful runs in Olympic Qualifying and/or at the SheBelieves Cup before the sporting world was shut down last spring. It also includes quite a few players who have some National Team experience and/or extensive time with the U.S. Youth National Teams. Many of players called up performed well during the NWSL Challenge Cup and the NWSL Fall Series.
“We want to reward players who have done well for their clubs and give them a chance to step up and perform in our environment,” said Andonovski. “We have a lot of uncapped players and a few who have had the chance to earn a few caps, but we know that deepening our player pool is important as we head into 2021.”
With the USA not having an official match during this FIFA competition window, FIFA has exempted European clubs from having to release their players.
“For this camp, it just did not make sense for the players in Europe to leave their club environments, where they are getting quality training games, as they are just starting to get settled,” said Andonovski. “But this opens up the important opportunity for other players to step up and show if they can contribute to the National Team during our run to the Olympics.”
Several 2019 Women’s World Cup veterans were not available as they are recovering from injuries in forwards Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. Midfielder Julie Ertz will not attend camp due to a family commitment and forward Megan Rapinoe opted out to due injury concerns.
- Defender Becky Sauerbrunn is the most experienced player on the roster with 177 caps. The only other players on the roster with over 100 caps are defenders Kelley O’Hara (131), Ali Krieger (107) and Crystal Dunn (104).
- Twenty of the players on the roster competed in the NWSL Challenge Cup and 20 have seen action in the NWSL Fall Series.
- The roster features 10 players from the 2019 World Cup champions and six players who have Olympic Games experience.
- The roster includes nine players who saw action at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup last spring and nine who saw action during Olympic qualifying in January.
- Lindsey Horan is the USA’s leading scorer so far this year with seven goals and three assists.
- The 10 uncapped players on the roster are OL Reign forward Bethany Balcer (23 years old), Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe (28), UCLA forward Mia Fishel (19), Stanford defender Naomi Girma (20), Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden (28), Houston Dash midfielder Shea Groom (27), Florida State midfielder Jaelin Howell (20), Stanford attacker Catarina Macario (21), Washington Spirit midfielder Ashley Sanchez (21) and Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith (20).
- The roster features nine players who attended the USWNT Identification Camp last December in 2019 NWSL Rookie of the Year Balcer, goalkeeper Jane Campbell, Gorden, forward Ashley Hatch, Howell, midfielder Kristie Mewis, defender Margaret Purce, Sanchez and Smith, plus one player who was called into that ID camp – Girma – but couldn’t attend due to injury.
- Girma, Howell, Sanchez, Smith, Mewis, and Purce have all represented the USA at one or more FIFA Youth World Cup. Seventeen total players in camp have appeared at a FIFA Youth World Cup.
- Smith, the top pick in the 2020 NWSL Draft by Portland Thorns FC, made her long-awaited NWSL debut on Sept. 20 during the Fall Series and scored her first goal just minutes after coming into the game against Utah Royals FC.
- There are four college players on the roster: Fishel, Girma, Howell and Macario. With the Pac-12 Conference potentially pushing women’s soccer to the spring due to the pandemic, the two Stanford players and UCLA’s Fishel have not played any matches this fall.
- Three players on the roster – Smith, Fishel and Girma – are still age-eligible for the U-20 USWNT and all helped the USA qualify for the next FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup, which has been moved to early 2021, by winning the Concacaf Women’s U-20 Championship last February/March.
- Fishel lit up that tournament with 13 goals in six games, including two in the 4-1 championship game victory over Mexico. Girma played 495 of the 630 minutes in that tournament and started all six games while Smith saw limited action due to an injury.
- Fishel’s 13 goals were a record for a U.S. player at a Concacaf Youth Qualifying tournament, although they came during an expanded format this year.
- Mewis, the older sister of U.S. World Cup star Samantha Mewis, has 15 career caps and one goal but has not played for the USWNT since March of 2015.
- Kealia Watt (formerly Ohai) earned her three USWNT caps in 2016, the first of which saw her break the record for fastest goal in a debut when she scored 48 seconds after entering the match against Switzerland on Oct. 23 in Minneapolis, Minn.
- This is the first senior team call-up for Macario, a star at Stanford and a two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner. She has previously attended training camps and played in non-international matches with the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team. She is not yet eligible to play in an official match for the USA but is currently pursuing her U.S. citizenship.
- Macario, who was born in Brazil but played her youth soccer in San Diego, has scored 63 goals with 47 assists for Stanford in 68 career college games so far. She had a remarkable 32 goals and 23 assists in 2019 in helping Stanford to the NCAA title.
- Veteran Morgan Gautrat (formerly Brian), a 2015 and 2019 World Cup champion who has 87 caps and eight goals, makes her return to camp after not being named to rosters for Olympic Qualifying or the 2020 SheBelieves Cup.
- The roster features four players born after the conclusion of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USWNT has yet to cap a player born after that historic tournament or a player born in the aughts.
- Not counting the USWNT Identification Camp last December, this is the first full National Team call-up for five players: Balcer, Girma, Gorden, Macario and Fishel.
- Gorden is the only player on the roster who never attended a U.S. Youth National Team camp.
When not at training, for the entirety of the camp the U.S. team and staff will operate inside a controlled environment at a Denver-area hotel. Everyone entering the controlled environment will undergo multiple COVID-19 tests before traveling and then will be tested upon arrival and every two days during camp. There will be no full team training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed.
The training camp will be conducted under strict protocols — available here — which were established by the U.S. Soccer Medical team, with contributions from the Sports Science, Communications, Administrative and Events staffs, and led by U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Chiampas, who was also part of the NWSL Medical Task Force that established the protocols for the NWSL Challenge Cup and NWSL Fall Series.