United States Women’s National Team manager Vlatko Andonovski named a 23-player roster for the upcoming SheBelieves Cup. The annual round-robin tournament takes place from February 17th through the 23rd, split between Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and Frisco, Texas’ Toyota Stadium. Iceland, New Zealand, and the Czech Republic complete the field.
The roster is “almost entirely” composed of players from the recent January training camp in Austin, Texas. Catarina Macario and Becky Sauerbrunn were added to the group, the latter of whom is set to make her 200th senior international appearance. The National Women’s Soccer League provided 21 of the call-ups. U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year Trinity Rodman will be included “during the lead-up to the tournament.” Notable names such as Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, and Alex Morgan were left out of the squad “in favor of up-and-comers.”
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS (5): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current)
“We had a great camp in Austin and now we need to see this group of players in game environments against highly-motivated opponents,” Andonovski told USSoccer.com. “Every player in the pool is focused on making the roster for World Cup and Olympic qualifying this summer, and every training session and especially every match is a means to that end for them, and for the coaching staff. The SheBelieves Cup is also a great opportunity to help prepare for rhythm of group play at the Concacaf W Championship as we have to face three different opponents and different styles of play over a short period of time.”
Inaugurated in 2016, the USWNT has won the SheBelieves Cup four times. In last year’s edition, Andonovski reeled off three consecutive victories over Brazil, Canada, and Argentina. This year’s slate is a little weaker than usual, with none of the opponents ranked in the top ten by FIFA.
This is an “off year” for the USWNT, featuring neither of the major international competitions. The Olympics were contested last summer, and the next World Cup is scheduled for 2023 in Australia and New Zealand. The upcoming CONCACAF W Championship is the big prize, which the Stars and Stripes have claimed eight times.