U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis’ roster for a pair of November friendlies against Portugal and Scotland includes a handful of intriguing names, including that of Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico.
While Colaprico has been in the U.S. national team picture before, earning a call-up at the beginning of this World Cup cycle for a camp in October 2016, she hasn’t been with the team since and hasn’t appeared to be in Ellis’ plans, now seven months from the start of the team’s title defense in France.
Now the question is: Does Colaprico really have a shot at earning one of the 23 roster spots for the United States at the 2019 World Cup?
At best, the situation is complicated. Assuming that Ellis will choose to bring six players to use in the team’s three-player midfield, the first three spots on the World Cup roster would currently belong to Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle. It’s difficult to believe that Sam Mewis is anything but a lock for the trip to France, and even with Carli Lloyd now counted as a forward, Colaprico is still left in a crowded field, fighting for one of two remaining midfield spots alongside Allie Long, Morgan Brian, Andi Sullivan and McCall Zerboni.
Anyone who regularly watches the Red Stars knows that Colaprico isn’t the flashiest player, nor is she someone who immediately impresses with her physical gifts — or lack thereof. Still, there is a subtle beauty in Colaprico’s play, evident to those who appreciate the intricacies of the No. 6 position and the understated importance of the role. When a holding midfielder makes a mistake, it’s obvious to even the most casual observer. Yet, in a brutal twist of irony, perfection in the holding role can often be nearly invisible.
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