The United States Women’s National Team has made its final roster for the year, with interim coach Twila Kilgore naming 26 players for the 2023 final camp. The team will play two friendly matches against China PR. First in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 2, before moving to Frisco, Texas, on Dec. 5.
December’s roster is a big shakeup compared to the rest of the year, with Kilgore opting to give some veterans time and bring in more new names for consideration. The team includes Rookie of the Year Jenna Niggswonger from Gotham FC and Corbin Albert from PSG, as well as the return of some players who have been absent for a while, such as center back Abby Dahlkemper and NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year Jane Campbell.
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naher, defenders Krystal Dunn and Becky Sauerbrunn, midfielders Andy Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez and forward Alex Morgan are all among the players getting a little extra rest now that the NWSL season has ended – perhaps not a bad time considering some of them. Check the market in NWSL free agency. Kilgore’s quote in the news release is a reminder not to make any assumptions about these veterans losing their spot in the overall player pool.
Midfielder Lindsay Horan is the only player on the roster with more than 100 caps (137) and she and Rose Lavelle (91 caps) will be the USWNT’s leading veterans for this camp. Despite the relative youth, there’s still plenty of tournament experience: 13 players on this roster played in last summer’s World Cup and thanks to the return of Dahlkemper, center back Tierna Davidson will be five. So are players who were on the 2019 roster.
Hopefully, revamping the roster for these last two games should allow for a broader review of the player pool and some new combinations on the field – and perhaps even more USWNT debuts – before next summer’s Olympics. With Emma Hayes not taking over as head coach until May, and thanks to a transition plan for Kligore to continue in her former assistant coaching role, the work ahead of the Olympics is finally underway.
Full USWNT roster with China PR
Goalies (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage).
Defenders (7): Alanna Cook (OL Region), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Glory (San Diego Wave FC), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red). Stars), MA Vignola (Angel City FC)
Midfielders (8): Corbin Albert (PSG), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Lindsay Horan (Olympic Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (OL Region), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC). , Jenna Nightswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
Forwards (8): Mia Fischel (Chelsea FC), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Midge Perce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jadyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns) ) FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
Is limbo over?
For all the things I’ve written about this fall’s roster releases, this December roster is where you’ll finally see the way forward. You can see the logic behind how this roster was chosen, especially based on club form and also how players who have shown their case after recovering from injury, like Dahlkemper, were selected.
It’s impossible to tell from the outside how much competition this camp will bring for starting or depth roles, but the key difference is that we’ll know how this plays out over the next few months until Hayes begins her time with the USWNT. Players will have a better understanding of how they are evaluated, and how such a camp could affect their chances of making a strong 18-player Olympic roster.
It’s still not a perfect process, but the added clarity is that these games are a big step up from October’s friendlies.
This should be fun
Honestly, it’s been a while until we really know what to expect with the USWNT team. In December we can see new players and new combinations on the pitch. One of the highlights of the September and October friendlies came in the second half of the second match against Colombia, when Jadyn Shaw and Mia Fischel showed little. These two games against China promise many of those moments for many players.
This camp demonstrates the program’s belief in excellence. Dahlkemper and Davidson are returning, but if anyone leads the pack of defenders, it’s awesome. That generational transition seems to be already complete and it’s a move everyone should feel.
These two games will be interesting because, after all, it looks like we’ll really be learning something new about the USWNT — and not a minute soon.
What are they saying?
As we move forward with the next steps, we will be looking for more opportunities to see players from our pool, both in training and in games. Kilgore said. “We respect these players who have recently been in camp or played in the World Cup and were not selected for this list, and of course they are still part of our pool, but we know what they bring on and off the field. At the same time, we must continue to evaluate and bring in players to give the team the best chance of success.”
Kilgore and athletic director Matt Crocker will speak to the media Monday afternoon, and this story will be updated.
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(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)