Young USWNT roster announced for upcoming trip to Australia
CHICAGO – U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski has named 22 players for the trip to Australia that will feature two matches against the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-hosts to end the 2021 schedule.
The roster features 10 members of the 2020 Olympic Team and 12 players with 10 caps or less – including five uncapped players – and has an average age of 26.3 years. Andonovski will choose 18 players to suit up for each of the two matches.
The first match will take place at Stadium Australia in Sydney on Saturday, Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. local time (Friday, Nov. 26 at 11 p.m. ET on FS2) and the second will be at the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Tuesday, November 30 at 8:05 p.m. local time (4:05 a.m. ET on ESPN).
“We still have a few players out with injuries, so this roster is a mixture of players with a lot of experience in World Cups and Olympics, some who have been a part of the program for a while but who are looking to make their mark in international soccer and a few who are getting a first chance with the National Team in an event like this,” said Andonovski. “We’ve turned the page towards 2023 World Cup qualifying and rarely do we get the chance to test young players in environments filled with adversity, so we need to take advantage of what these two games will offer us. It’s exciting to get a chance to see all these players together in our environment and give them a chance to play against one of the best teams in the world.”
Twenty-one of the 22 players on the roster play in the National Women’s Soccer League with 17 on teams that made the NWSL playoffs. Midfielder Catarina Macario, who has scored eight goals in her past nine games with Olympique Lyon in France, is the only player on the roster not playing domestically.
The U.S. Women’s National Team has not played in Australia for 21 years. The most recent visits were in 2000, a year in which the USA played in three different competitions in Australia, the final one being the Sydney Olympics where the USA earned a silver medal. Football Australia expects large crowds for both matches.
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CAPS/GOALS) – NOVEMBER MATCHES VS. AUSTRALIA:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 7), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0)
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Houston Dash; 77/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 43/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 6/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 7/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 197/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 61/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 106/24), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 66/17), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 12/3), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 31/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 20/2)
FORWARDS (6): Bethany Balcer (OL Reign; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 7/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 10/1), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 43/13), Morgan Weaver (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0)
- The roster features 10 players who won bronze medals at the 2020 Olympics and six who were on the team that won the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- After 36-year-old veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn, followed by 30-year-old midfielder Kristie Mewis. The youngest is 21-year-old forward Sophia Smith.
- There are only two players on the roster age 30 or older — Sauerbrunn and Mewis. The average age of the remaining 20 players will be 25.6 years on the first match day in Australia.
- The average caps per player on the 22-player roster is 32.
- Andonovski called up two uncapped goalkeepers in six-foot Bella Bixby of Portland Thorns FC and six-foot-one Casey Murphy of the North Carolina Courage. Both have had quality seasons with their respective clubs and Murphy made a playoff record 13 saves in 1-0 quarterfinal playoff loss to the Washington Spirit on Nov. 7.
- This is the first time the USWNT has ever had two goalkeepers six-foot or over on one roster.
- While Murphy has yet to earn a cap, this will be her sixth event training with the full USWNT. Most recently, she was in with the USA for the trip to Sweden and France last April and she was the starting goalkeeper for the USA at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. This is Bixby’s first full WNT call-up, although she does have experience with the Under-23 USWNT in 2017 and 2018 when she was known as Bella Geist, prior to her marriage.
- Both goalkeepers join 2020 Olympian Jane Campbell, who has seven caps and who earned a shutout against South Korea on Oct. 26 in Minnesota.
- Sauerbrunn is by far the most experienced player on the roster with 197 caps, and she is joined by 2020 Olympic Team center back partners Dahlkemper (77) and Tierna Davidson (43) as well as outside back Emily Sonnett (61), who played in two matches in Japan. The other three defenders have a combined 15 caps.
- Seven of those caps belong to Sofia Huerta, who has been playing outside back of late for OL Reign and is the only player in women’s soccer history to have played for the USA and Mexico at the senior level. Huerta switched associations in 2017 and earned her caps over 2017 and 2018 but has not been back with the WNT until this trip.
- Huerta was tied for the NWSL lead in regular season assists this year with six.
- Alana Cook, also of OL Reign, earned one of her two career caps in 2021, playing the full 90 against Colombia on Jan. 22.
- The other defender is Emily Fox of Racing Louisville, who played well in both of the USA’s most recent matches, against South Korea in October, in which she earned her fifth and six caps.
- The midfielders are perhaps the most experienced position group. Andi Sullivan (20 caps) and Ashley Sanchez (0 caps) of the Washington Spirit are the only two of the six midfielders who were not at the 2020 Olympic Games.
- Sullivan’s experience with the senior National Team dates back to 2016, when she was a junior in college at Stanford. Sullivan started at defensive midfield in the USA’s most recent match against South Korea on Oct. 26.
- This will be the third full WNT camp for Sanchez, who made history by being the first American to play in both the FIFA Under-17 and Under-20 Women’s World Cups in the same cycle, something she did in 2016. She also attended the October 2020 training camp in Denver and was called into one training camp under Jill Ellis in March of 2016. She also attended the U.S. WNT Identification Training Camp in December of 2019.
- The group of forwards features just one Olympian in Lynn Williams, who had a goal and an assist in the quarterfinal victory over the Netherlands in Japan and who has 13 goals in her 43 career caps.
- The other five forwards have a combined 19 caps and three international goals, two for Margaret Purce and one for Smith.
- Of the six forwards, four of them – Bethany Balcer, Ashley Hatch, Smith and Morgan Weaver – were at the U.S. WNT Identification Training Camp in December of 2019. Aside from the ID camp, this will be the second full USWNT event for Balcer and the first for Weaver.
- Hatch was awarded the Golden Boot this season as the top scorer in the NWSL with 10 goals while also scoring the game-winner in the 1-0 quarterfinal playoff victory over the North Carolina Courage on Nov. 7. Balcer and Margaret Purce finished the regular season with nine each while Williams and Smith had seven scores each. Smith led the league in shots with 72 and shots on goal with 36.
- Hatch earned her first cap in 2016 in Sandy, Utah in a 16-minute performance against Switzerland when she was still playing at BYU. She earned her second in 2018 vs. Mexico.
- Eight of the 10 NWSL clubs have players on the roster with Portland Thorns FC having five. OL Reign and the Washington Spirit have four each and the Houston Dash has three.
- Eleven players on the roster have represented the USA in a FIFA Women’s World Cup at the youth level.
- Three players on the roster were named to the NWSL Team of the Month for October: Huerta, Hatch and Purce.
- Five players on the roster are up for end-of-the season 2021 NWSL Awards.
- MVP: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit) and Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
- Defender of the Year: Alana Cook (OL Reign)
Goalkeeper of the Year: Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns FC)
- Rookie of the Year: Emily Fox (Racing Louisville)
- Fox is one of just two players who are up for post-season awards from NWSL teams that didn’t make the playoffs.