The U.S. Women’s National Team may not be playing any meaningful matches anytime soon, but it won’t stop them from continuing its preparation for 2021.
Lindsey Horan, Lynn Williams, and Crystal Dunn headlined a 27-player training camp roster announced by USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski on Thursday. The USWNT will hold its 11-day camp from Oct. 18-28 in Commerce City, Colorado, with only domestic-based players being used due to COVID-19.
“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.”
The roster consists of nine players who saw action during the highly successful runs in Olympic Qualifying and/or at the SheBelieves Cup 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 USWNT not having an official match during this FIFA window, FIFA has exempted European clubs from having to release their players. USWNT veterans Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, and Christen Press are just a few European players who see its league campaign in England resume this weekend.
Several 2019 Women’s World Cup veterans were also not available as they are recovering from injuries. Forwards Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh as well as goalkeeper Adrianna Franch are dealing with respective injuries. Midfielder Julie Ertz will not attend camp due to a family commitment and forward Megan Rapinoe opted out to due injury concerns.
“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.”
Here’s a closer look at the 27-player training camp roster:
GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Bledsoe, Jane Campbell, Ashlyn Harris, Alyssa Naeher.
DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Naomi Girma, Sarah Gorden, Ali Krieger, Kelley O’Hara, Margaret Purce, Becky Sauerbrunn, Casey Short.
MIDFIELDERS: Shea Groom, Lindsey Horan, Morgan Gautrat, Jaelin Howell, Catarina Macario, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez.
FORWARDS: Bethany Balcer, Mia Fishel, Ashley Hatch, Sophia Smith, Kealia Watt, Lynn Williams.