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Ellis invites five U-23 players to train with senior USWNT camp


Jill Ellis called five players from the U-23 team into the senior USWNT camp. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

Jill Ellis called five players from the U-23 team into the senior USWNT camp. (Photo Copyright Patricia Giobetti for The Equalizer)

United States women’s national team (USWNT) head coach Jill Ellis invited five players from the U-23 training camp, which concluded today, to stay and train with the senior USWNT for its January camp. Mandy Freeman, Casey Murphy, Savannah McCaskill, Tierna Davidson and Brianna Pinto were the players who impressed Ellis enough to earn a look with the senior national team.

“These players showed very well during the U-23 training camp, and this is a great opportunity to see how they perform in the highly competitive environment of January Camp,” Ellis said in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. “Having a few more players in camp helps us in our 11v11 competition, and as I’ve said on many occasions, the majority of this year is about looking at new players so we can continue to expand our pool.”

Freeman was drafted by Sky Blue FC as the No. 10 overall pick in yesterday’s NWSL College Draft. As a senior, Freeman helped the University of Southern California back line hold West Virginia University to just one goal to win the College Cup final for the Trojans’ second national championship title. Freeman also played holding midfielder for USC, scoring two goals her junior season. She has extensive experience with the youth national teams, first playing with the U-14s and starting at center back on the U.S. team that competed in the 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Azerbaijan.

Murphy is a rising senior at Rutgers University and recently played every minute of the U.S. U-20 team’s six matches in the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papau New Guinea. At 6’1”, Murphy is the tallest goalkeeper ever called into senior USWNT camp.

University of South Carolina forward McCaskill helped the Gamecocks finish the 2016 regular season undefeated, losing their first match of the season in the SEC tournament. She led the Gamecocks in scoring with 17 goals and 11 assists this season and was named both a First-Team All-American and the SEC Player of the Year.

Midfielder Davidson, 18, started as a forward for Stanford in all 21 matches this past season, scoring two goals and two assists for the Cardinal. She currently has six caps and a goal at the U-20 level, as well as extensive experience with youth national teams under her belt.

Sixteen-year-old Pinto became one of the youngest call-ups of the senior USWNT when Ellis held her over from this week’s U-23 camp. Pinto was a starter for the U.S. U-17 team in the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan this year and ended her U-17 international career with 20 appearances and a goal.

The senior USWNT camp kicked off today at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, CA today and concludes on January 23. Since the camp is not ending with an international friendly as it has in the past, it will serve as an evaluation period for Ellis in preparation for the second SheBelieves Cup, scheduled for March 2017.


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