Nearly a year to the day since Chioma Ubogagu was originally called into camp for the United States women’s national team, she has once again been called to NT duty - but this time for England. Ubogagu will be a part of the roster facing Austria and Sweden on November 8 and 11 respectively.
Meet the #Lionesses who'll take on & this November.— Lionesses (@Lionesses) October 30, 2018
See them for the last time this year at @OfficialRUFC. Tixx are going fast! https://t.co/3MljeGuUsO pic.twitter.com/F3USjnMbKC
Ubogagu was called up for the United States last October ahead of the US’ pair of friendlies against Canada and was listed as a defender. Had she gotten capped for the US, she probably would have done so as a converted fullback. However, Ubogagu did not get capped, and will now join England, for whom she qualifies as a dual national. It’ll be interesting to see if England ends up playing her, considering they also have a decent bit of forward depth. But Ubogagu probably has a better chance with England than with the United States, given Jill Ellis’ current preferences in her forward pool and the only room in her roster for Ubogagu being at defense.
What does this say about the US program? Mostly it confirms the depth of our attacking roster and also adds a little shine to the reputation of NWSL. Surely England manager Phil Neville decided to give Ubogagu a chance based on studying footage of her from her most recent club performances in Orlando, given she has no WNT minutes. At Orlando, Ubogagu was primarily a left forward who was in and out of the starting XI and occasionally dropped to midfield. That’s a crowded space for the United States right now; the other option for Ubogagu appeared to be turning into as good as or a better fullback than Casey Short, Kelley O’Hara, and Crystal Dunn.
Perhaps USWNT fans will see Ubogagu again - but in a Lionesses jersey, facing off against the United States.