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Thursday Roundup: U23s to Train Alongside USWNT

Also in today’s Roundup, McFarlane moves to Sweden, Floyd heads to England, and FCKC has a new training tool

Casey Murphy (Rutgers) among two goalkeepers named to U.S. U-23 squad ahead of Thorns Spring Invitational (photo: Rutgers)

Casey Murphy (Rutgers) makes a return to the U-23s (photo: Rutgers)

U-23 USWNT head coach BJ Snow has called in 24 players for a training camp in Seattle from July 21-28. They will train alongside the senior WNT, who arrives on July 23, giving Jill Ellis an opportunity to observe those players as well and pull some into training with the senior team. Six players on the roster – Casey Murphy, Savannah McCaskill, Jaelin Howell, Brianna Pinto, Ashley Sanchez, and Sophia Smith – have already trained with the senior WNT.

As the camp takes place in the middle of the NWSL season, no professional players are included on the roster. 20 are in college, while four – Howell, Pinto, Sanchez, and Smith – are from youth clubs. The team will play the Seattle Sounders Women of the WPSL on July 24.

GOALKEEPERS: Casey Murphy (Rutgers), Annabella Geist (Oregon State)

DEFENDERS: Brooke Denesik (Texas Tech), Indigo Gibson (California), Zoey Goralski (UCLA), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame), Ellie Jean (Penn State), Kimberly Keever (Washington), Tegan McGrady (Stanford), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State), Gabrielle Seiler (Florida)

MIDFIELDERS: Kristina Fisher (Miami), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), Brianna Pinto (CASL), Ashley Sanchez (So Cal Blues), Shannon Simon (Washington), Charlotte Williams (Penn State)

FORWARDS: Grace Hagan (Kansas), Sarah Luebbert (Missouri), Hailie Mace (UCLA), Savannah McCaskill (South Carolina), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado), Frances Crouse (Penn State), Marissa Everett (Oregon)


Former UNC midfielder Darcy McFarlane has signed with Östersunds DFF, which plays in the Elitettan, Sweden’s second tier soccer league. Östersunds won promotion to the league in 2014 but currently sits in 12th place, in danger of relegation to Division 1.

McFarlane played for North Carolina from 2013 through 2016, making it to the NCAA tournament every year and leading the team to the College Cup as co-captain in 2016. She previously signed with Celtic FC in Scotland’s SWPL.


Christina Gibbons is one of four NWSL players nominated for the 2017 NCAA Woman of the Year. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

FCKC has a new training tool. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

FC Kansas City has announced a partnership with TOCA Football, Inc. TOCA’s training platform is designed around the TOCA Touch Trainer, a ball delivery device controlled by a mobile app that enables players to get up to 10 times the amount of touches in an hour of training that they would in a 90-minute soccer game. The device launches a smaller, specially designed ball in a large variety of speed, range, and trajectories. TOCA was founded by former USMNT player Eddie Lewis, who represented the US in two World Cups.

FCKC is the first NWSL club to utilize TOCA. MLS sides LA Galaxy and NYCFC are also partners, and Chicago Red Stars forward Christen Press has trained with TOCA since 2014.

“I’m excited about using the TOCA Touch Trainer in our practices,” said FCKC head coach Vlatko Andonovski. “Our players will be able to get quality touches in each training session and improve their game from week to week.”


The latest young player to skip (or delay) college for a professional league is Marti Floyd out of Battle Creek Lakeview High School in Battle Creek, Michigan. The 2017 graduate has signed to play with the Doncaster Rovers Belles in England’s FA WSL 2. Floyd is likely to join the developmental squad, with the opportunity to be called up to the club team, and forgo pay in order to maintain her NCAA amateur status. She is currently committed to Ferris State University, a Division II school, but will attend Leeds Beckett University in England, where she will also play soccer. She hopes to return and play in the NCAA in two years.

Mallory Pugh famously left UCLA this summer before ever suiting up for a competitive match in order to sign a lucrative US Soccer contract and play with the Washington Spirit in the NWSL. Lindsey Horan gave up a full scholarship to UNC to sign with Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, where she remained until an opportunity to cement a spot on the USWNT opened up in late 2015, and she began playing for the Portland Thorns in 2016. Earlier this year, Tennessee midfielder Carlyn Baldwin skipped her senior season in order to play professionally in Switzerland. While it is common for young, talented soccer players to turn professional at early ages in other countries, such as Australia and Germany, it’s still rare in the U.S., with the university system offering a different route to the pros.

{Read More: Q&A with Megan Oyster | 23 Called in to USWNT}




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