The road for Lynn Williams to get onto the 2023 Women’s World Cup roster for the United States Women’s National Team has been a turbulent one. Despite storming onto the scene in 2016 and scoring the lone goal for the USWNT at the 2017 SheBelieves Cup, she was left off the roster for World Cup qualifying in 2018 and was one of the final omissions from the 2019 World Cup roster.
“Looking back now, obviously 2019 was devastating for me. I wasn’t even on the team all of 2018, I believe, or going into 2019,” she stated on an episode of her Snacks podcast that she co-hosts with Sam Mewis. “And it was obviously devastating because I thought I deserved to be there. I felt like I was good enough.”
On the club level, she was dominating, helping the North Carolina Courage to NWSL titles in 2018 and 2019. But, she didn’t see the field for the USWNT for more than 20 months. When Jill Ellis signed off as USWNT head coach, in stepped Vlatko Andonovski, and Lynn Williams began to thrive under his preferred style of play. She was immediately called into camp by Andonovski in late 2019, and in her first five matches with Andonovski at the helm, Lynn Williams had 5 goals and 5 assists.
Being able to deploy the high press on the wing, Lynn’s job was to torment the opposing back line into making a mistake, and then helping the team capitalize on it. She did that to perfection, dominating as the USWNT qualified for the 2020 Olympics. Then, more adversity hit Williams, as Covid sidelined the team for over eight months. Then, the Olympics, which were moved to Summer 2021, saw Andonovski leave Williams off the initial full roster, opting to select her as an alternate. The Olympics eventually allowed alternates to be named to the full roster, and Williams received a bronze medal for the USWNT’s third-place finish.
2022 was probably Lynn Williams’ most turbulent year yet. She was traded to the Kansas City Current, but the goals she set for herself for the year were shelved almost immediately. In March 2022, Williams suffered a right leg injury that would sideline her for the rest of the year.
She worked hard to return from that injury, and in the process, she changed teams once again when she was traded to NJ/NY Gotham FC. There, she has found her mojo. She has 7 goals so far this season for Gotham, putting her very close to passing Sam Kerr on the NWSL’s all-time goal-scoring list. She also was able to rejoin her teammates on the USWNT and show that she was fully back. Her ability to press opposing defenses and find her teammates to create goals has been vital for the USWNT.
Being named to the USWNT roster for the World Cup is a wonderful moment for a player who has fought adversity and overcome so much. And, she has made herself a critical piece of the USWNT attack. No one can high press like Lynn Williams, and on top of that she’s become a lethal scorer. Her technical ability also allows her to work in traffic, going around her teammates to either set up a scoring chance or take one herself.
Above all, Williams finally has the opportunity she’s deserved for years to go to a World Cup and fight for a title. Snubbed in 2019, she has a chance to lift the trophy in 2023 and receive a winner’s medal. And that’s the biggest motivation for Lynn Williams. She just wanted a shot, and now she’s received one. She plans to take full advantage of it.