Updated: Catarina Macario was invited to camp, but had other commitments.
With his second training camp, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has called up a roster of 24 players for an identification camp in Bradenton, Florida. According to USSF’s press release, this camp is for “deepening the player pool and positioning players for possible future call-ups.” There are no World Cup players on this roster. Of note: due to the short length of the camp (five days), Andonovski did not call up players who are currently abroad.
DEFENDERS (9): Maycee Bell (UNC; 0/0), Malia Berkely (Florida State; 0/0), Imani Dorsey (Sky Blue FC; 0/0), Emily Fox (UNC; 3/0), Naomi Girma (Stanford; 0/0), Sarah Gorden (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0), Hailie Mace (Rosengård FC, SWE; 3/0), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; 0/0), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; 2/0), Vanessa DiBernardo (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0), Jordan DiBiasi (Washington Spirit; 0/0), Sarah Killion (Sky Blue FC; 0/0), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 15/1), Brianna Pinto (UNC; 0/0), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; 0/0)
FORWARDS (6): Bethany Balcer (Reign FC; 0/0), Madison Haley (Stanford; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Paige Monaghan (Sky Blue FC; 0;0), Sophia Smith (Stanford; 0/0), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; 0/0)
“It’s important to reward players who have done well for their college teams and for their professional teams in the NWSL or overseas,” Andonovski said in the press release, “And it’s also important for talented young players to get a taste of the National Team environment as breaking into the full team can often be a marathon and not a sprint.”
First and foremost, that Andonovski is doing this at all is fantastic. Obviously he wants to familiarize himself more with college and fringe NT players, and this is perfectly in line with his Ultimate Soccer Nerd approach of accumulating more and more data. Second, there are some really fun and exciting names in this list, like Sophia Smith, Ally Watt, Paige Monaghan, and Naomi Girma. Honestly, the entire list is fun and exciting, even the return of Kristie Mewis, whether it’s because Andonovski wants to re-evaluate her or he wants someone slightly senior in camp to help guide players or both. And the inclusion of NWSL players who have or are becoming critical to their club teams is an important validation of the league as a place where top WNT talent can develop.
This is a peek at what Andonovski’s MO will be after the Olympics, when he has a two-year period of downtime to really do things his way. But in the short time he’s been head coach, the improvement to the team’s on-field structure and now this first step towards truly evaluating the player have combined to make a rosy picture that creates a lot of hope for the next cycle.