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Heath, Press, Rapinoe out of NWSL Challenge Cup; most of USWNT to participate

Photo Copyright Lewis Gettier for The Equalizer

Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press confirmed on Tuesday that they would be sitting out the National Women’s Soccer League’s 2020 Challenge Cup, which begins on Saturday.

Tobin Heath, who had been dealing with a lingering foot injury throughout some of the NWSL’s hiatus this spring, also said she was choosing not to play for Portland Thorns FC in the tournament “because of the uncertainties and risks created by COVID-19.”

Sky Blue FC’s Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh will also miss the Challenge Cup due to injury. Lloyd picked up a knee injury and Pugh a hip injury during the league’s spring hiatus, when players were largely training individually.

The rest of the United States women’s national team, except for players from the Orlando Pride, is represented on NWSL Challenge Cup rosters despite Monday’s news that Orlando Pride had withdrawn from the tournament due to a spike in COVID-19 cases on the team, which is a testament to their faith in the NWSL’s protocols — and their teammates’ ability to behave safely outside of training.

“It is deeply painful not to be able to play the game I love, and to watch the broader effects of the global pandemic on our league, sports, and our world,” Press said in a statement released by her club, Utah Royals FC. “Regrettably, given the uncertainty created by COVID-19, I must elect not to participate in this tournament. I know how fortunate I am to be able to make this choice. I have enormous respect and gratitude for those who do not have the luxury to choose whether to report to work, including our selfless and heroic first responders. I look forward to supporting my teammates during the tournament in Utah.”

What about the refs? How NWSL officials will make the Challenge Cup work

OL Reign confirmed weeks-old news, reported by a French news outlet quoting OL Reign head coach Farid Benstiti, that Rapinoe would not play.

“Megan let us know that she has decided not play in the tournament. Like all NWSL players, she was given the option to participate. Farid and I would love to have her with the club for the tournament, but we understand and respect her decision,” OL Reign CEO Bill Predmore said. “We have had to find ways to win without Megan in the past and are ready to do so again at the Challenge Cup. Megan is the only OL Reign player that has elected not to participate in the tournament, so despite her absence, Farid and I are confident the team has all the depth and quality it needs to succeed.”

Other than those injuries and withdrawals — and the absence of the entire Orlando Pride team, which features five federation players — all U.S. and Canadian federation players are on Challenge Cup rosters which were confirmed on Tuesday. Maximum roster sizes were increased to 28 players for the tournament, although not all teams will carry that many players. The minimum roster size for the tournament is 22 players.

NWSL releases new, 8-team Challenge Cup schedule

Team-by-team NWSL Challenge Cup rosters

The roster key is as followed:

  • FED (Federation Player): Players who have their salaries paid by the U.S. Soccer Federation or the Canadian Soccer Association.
  • INT (International Player): Any player using an international roster spot.
  • CDP (College Draft Pick): Any player chosen in the 2020 NWSL College Draft.


Goalkeepers (3): Emily Boyd, Cassie Miller, Alyssa Naeher (FED-USA)

Defenders (11): Camryn Biegalski (CDP), Julia Bingham (CDP), Tierna Davidson (FED-USA), Hannah Davison, Julie Ertz (FED-USA), Zoey Goralski, Sarah Gorden, Zoe Morse (CDP), Kayla Sharples, Casey Short (FED-USA), Bianca St. Georges

Midfielders (7): Morgan Brian (FED-USA), Danielle Colaprico, Vanessa DiBernardo, , Savannah McCaskill, Yuki Nagasato (INT-JPN), Cassie Rohan, Ella Stevens (CDP)

Forwards (7): Makenzy Doniak, Rachel Hill, Katie Johnson, Sarah Luebbert, Zoe Redei, Michele Vasconcelos, Kealia Watt*

*Kealia Watt (formerly Ohai)


Goalkeepers (3): Jane Campbell, Amanda Dennis, Lindsey Harris

Defenders (5): Allysha Chapman (FED-CAN), Katie Naughton, Megan Oyster, Ally Prisock, Erin Simon

Midfielders (8): Shea Groom, Haley Hanson, Cece Kizer, Kristie Mewis, Christine Nairn, Cami Privett, Sophie Schmidt (FED-CAN), Bri Visalli

Forward (8): Bridgette Andrzejewski (CDP), Rachel Daly (INT-ENG), Jamia FieldsVeronica Latsko, Maegan Kelly, Kayla McCoy, Nichelle Prince (FED-CAN), Katie Stengel


Goalkeepers (3): Stephanie Labbé (FED-CAN), Samantha Murphy, Katelyn Rowland

Defenders (11): Lindsay Agnew, Abby Dahlkemper (FED-USA), Jaelene Daniels, Abby Erceg, Hailey Harbison, Kaleigh Kurtz, Hailie Mace, Merritt Mathias, Addisyn Merrick (CDP), Sinclaire Miramontez (CDP), Ryan Williams

Midfielders (7): Debinha (INT-BRA), Crystal Dunn (FED-USA), Samantha Mewis (FED-USA), Lauren Milliet, Denise O’Sullivan (INT-IRE), Cari Roccaro, Meredith Speck

Forwards (5): Kristen Hamilton, Jessica McDonald, McKenzie Meehan, Ally Watt (CDP), Lynn Williams

* Jaelene Daniels (formerly Hinkle) and Samantha Murphy (formerly Leshnak)


Goalkeepers (3): Michelle Betos, Casey Murphy, Carly Nelson

Defenders (10): Lauren Barnes, Amber Brooks, Alana Cook, Steph Cox, Machaela George, Madison Hammond, Celia Jiménez Delgado (INT-ESP), Adrienne Jordan, Kristen McNabb, Taylor Smith

Midfielders (8): Morgan Andrews, Shirley Cruz (INT-CRC), Jess Fishlock, Kelcie Hedge (CDP), Allie Long (FED-USA), Rebecca Quinn (INT-CAN), Dani Weatherholt, Rosie White (INT-NZ)

Forwards (7): Bethany Balcer, Sofia Huerta, Darian Jenkins, Mariah Lee, Nicole Momiki, Jasmyne Spencer, Jodie Taylor


Goalkeepers (3): Bella Bixby, Britt Eckerstrom, Adrianna Franch (FED-USA)

Defenders (9): Kelli Hubly, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Menges, Meaghan Nally (CDP), Madison Pogarch, Katherine Reynolds, Becky Sauerbrunn (FED-USA), Autumn Smithers, Christen Westphal

Midfielders (6): Celeste Boureille, Lindsey Horan (FED-USA), Emily Ogle, Rocky Rodríguez Rodriguez (INT-CRC), Angela Salem, Gabby Seiler

Forwards (7): Simone Charley, Marissa Everett, Tyler Lussi, Anika Rodriguez, Christine Sinclair (FED-CAN), Sophia Smith (CDP), Morgan Weaver (CDP)


Goalkeepers (4): Didi Haracic, Megan Hinz, Amanda “Mandy” McGlynn (CDP), Kailen Sheridan (FED-CAN)

Defenders (9): Jennifer Cudjoe (INT-GHA), Sabrina Flores, Mandy Freeman, Estelle Johnson, Gina Lewandowski, Kaleigh Riehl (CDP), Domi Richardson, Erica Skroski, Chantelle Swaby (CDP)

Midfielders (9): Cassidy Benintente, Nicole Baxter, Elizabeth Eddy, Naho Kawasumi (INT-JPN), Margaret “Midge” Purce, Madison Tiernan, Sarah Woldmoe, Kenie Wright, McCall Zerboni

Forwards (5): Imani Dorsey, Paige Monaghan, Ifeoma Onumonu, Domi Richardson, Evelyne Viens (INT-CAN/CDP)


Goalkeepers (3): Nicole Barnhart, Abby Smith, Melissa Lowder

Defenders (10): Elizabeth Ball, Rachel Corsie, Taylor Leach, Gaby Vincent, Katie Bowen, Kelley O’Hara (FED-USA), Mallory Weber, Marissa Sheva, Michelle Maemone, Maddie Nolf

Midfielders (8): Vero Boquete, Diana Matheson (FED-CAN), Desiree Scott (FED-CAN), Chestley Strother, Lo’eau Labonta, Aminata Diallo (INT-FRA), Gunny Jonsdottir, Kate Del Fava (CDP)

Forwards (7): Brittany Ratcliffe, Amy Rodriguez, Arielle Ship, Tziarra King (CDP), Taylor Lytle, Holly Daugirda, Raisa Strom-Okimoto


Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Bledsoe, Devon Kerr, Katie Lund

Defenders (8): Tegan McGrady, Sam Staab, Paige Nielsen, Jenna Hellstrom (INT-CAN), Brooke Hendrix, Tori Huster, Kaiya McCullough (CDP), Natalie Jacobs (CDP)

Midfielders (8): Dorian Bailey, Jaye Boisierre, Jordan DiBiasi, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Rose Lavelle (FED-USA), Meghan McCool, Jessie Scarpa, Andi Sullivan

Forwards (7): Averie Collins (CDP), Bayley Feist, Ashley Hatch, Katie McClure (CDP), Ashley Sanchez (CDP), Crystal Thomas, Kumi Yokoyama (INT-JPN)


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