Jill Ellis has named 26 players to the preliminary roster for this year’s SheBelieves tournament. The final roster will get cut down to 23 before they play their first game in Columbus.
DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 14/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 1/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 0/0), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 105/2), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 19/0), Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit; 8/0), Emily Sonnett (Sydney FC, AUS/Portland Thorns FC; 13/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 69/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 58/15), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 44/4), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 7/2), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 247/98), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 33/6), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 8/0)
FORWARDS (8): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea FC, ENG/NC Courage; 58/23), Ashley Hatch (Melbourne City FC, AUS/Washington Spirit; 1/0), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 1/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 135/81), Christen Press (Houston Dash; 97/44), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 30/8), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 130/34), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 16/4)
There are a couple of young players in the bunch with Hailie Mace and Tierna Davidson still in college. This is Mace’s first full senior team callup and she might not make the final 23, but it’s not a given Davidson will be cut. She’s already been capped once and looks like someone Ellis is considering as a serious depth option at center back. Other candidates for cuts could be Jane Campbell, simply because Ellis will only want to carry two goalkeepers through the tournament, and Rose Lavelle, who is still rehabbing an injury from last year. Dropping Lavelle into a tournament like SheBelieves as her first action after a serious and lengthy rehab doesn’t seem prudent, although considering a lack of prudence from USSF is what got her in this situation in the first place, who knows. But Lavelle wasn’t even on the list for January WNT camp, only in for “light training and rehab,” so this is a sign of improvement.
Unavailable for this game due to injury are Becky Sauerbrunn, Sam Mewis, and Tobin Heath. Once again this is a great opportunity for Ellis to build a backline without Sauerbrunn, who won’t be available to lock down defenses forever. Hopefully this time around Emily Sonnett will also get some playing time after being dragged all the way back from Australia, although she does have the W-League grand final with Sydney FC on February 18.
There’s also not a ton of true width in this midfield as it’s listed, although Ellis will undoubtedly be using her forwards in that role and Megan Rapinoe will still be on the field. What the midfield does have is a ton of central depth and players to configure into several options, allowing Ellis to be more defensive or offensive as needed. We’ll see how she adapts to various pressures from Germany, France, and England.
USA vs Germany
7 PM ET, March 1
MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
USA vs France
12 PM ET, March 4
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
USA vs England
7 PM ET, March 7
Orlando City Stadium, Orlando, FL