USWNT XI: A look at Jill Ellis’ depth chart, position by position, as the World Cup nears
The United States women’s national team is widely lauded as the deepest team in the world. Coach Jill Ellis can only take 23 players to the 2019 World Cup, and that means there will be plenty of talented Americans watching from home.
Sometimes, picking the 23 is as much about need and depth as it is talent. A player perceived to be more talented might be left off the World Cup roster for that 23rd player who is brought to fulfill a very specific role — often one which never sees match competition.
So, instead of ranking the best American players in linear format, we decided to create a depth chart for each position, to portray how Ellis views her team — and her needs — right now. Below, you’ll find a depth chart for each position in the U.S.’ 4-3-3 setup. The versatility of players means there is plenty of overlap. Julie Ertz, for example, is the starting No. 6 (defensive midfielder), and also one of the first replacements at center back. Those secondary positions are indicated by yellow boxes.
If, for example, Megan Rapinoe were unavailable, Tobin Heath would slot in on the left and Mallory Pugh would assume the starting role on the right. The charts are based on a mixture of our collective knowledge of Ellis’ preferences, along with educated guesses as to how she might be thinking about the lower limits of her World Cup roster. Her starting XI is pretty obvious right now. The guessing largely begins after that.
Click on a player’s name to expand the box for further detail and related story links.