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In the air and on the bubble: How Andonovski, USWNT players are navigating World Cup roster process

Cross-country flights, long meetings, meticulous video review and, for players, nerves and excitement: Inside what it’s like the World Cup roster tension, from coach and player perspectives

© Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

It’s Friday, and United States women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski is at his home in Kansas City, catching up on calls ahead of another long weekend.

This weekend was a doozy: a flight to Seattle to watch OL Reign host Portland Thorns on Saturday night, followed by a coast-to-coast crisscross for games in New Jersey and Los Angeles on Sunday and Monday, respectively, before returning home.

Three National Women’s Soccer League games, three days, close to 8,000 miles in the air by the time he lands back home. This is the extreme version of what life has looked like over the past few months as Andonovski narrows down his list to name a 23-player World Cup roster later this summer. He and his staff travel to games in person to watch prospective players in detail and meet with them around their club matches.

“The number of players that we feel good with is getting closer to the end,” Andonovski told The Equalizer last week. “Now, the last ones, we’ve got to make sure we have thorough information on each player before we make the final decision.”

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