With the U.S. women’s national team set to take on Vietnam in their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup opener exactly one month from today, coach Vlatko Andonovski announced the team’s 23-player roster this morning.
On the plane to the tournament in Australia and New Zealand is 18-year-old forward Alyssa Thompson, who has just three caps with the national team but has turned heads this National Women’s Soccer League season for Angel City FC, and in turn, has moved up the U.S. depth chart. Thompson is the youngest player named to the team, and is the second youngest player ever to be named to a U.S. World Cup roster. Only Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak — who is currently an assistant coach with the U.S. — was younger during the 1995 World Cup.
Savannah DeMelo has the distinction of being the third ever uncapped player to make a U.S. World Cup roster. Similar to Thompson, DeMelo has had a standout 2023 with Racing Louisville, having recorded five goals and two assists so far this season. The box-to-box midfielder was most recently called into the national team for camp in the Fall of 2022, but will get the chance to make her debut for the stars and stripes on July 9, in San Jose, California, at the team’s send-off match against Wales.
Midfielder Julue Ertz made the cut as well. After not playing a competitive match in 611 days, Ertz returned to the field on April 8, in the United States’ 2-0 win over Ireland. She featured again for the national team on April 11, in a 1-0 win over Ireland, and has made six appearances for club side Angel City since signing in mid-April.
As expected, veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn does not feature on the roster, due to a foot injury.
In total, Andonovski named three goalkeepers, seven defenders, seven midfielders and six forwards to the team. The full list is below:
Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
Midfielders (7): Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC, Julie Ertz (Angel City FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
Forwards (6): Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
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The biggest omission from the roster seems to be forward Ashley Hatch, who has made 19 total appearances for the national team and has recorded six goals so far this NWSL season for the Washington Spirit. Other notable absences include defenders Tierna Davidson and Casey Kreuger, who were both named to the team’s most recent roster in April for friendlies against Ireland. Davidson spent most of 2022 rehabbing a torn ACL, while Kreuger gave birth to her first child in July 2022.
This will be the fourth World Cup for Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Megan Rapinoe, while Ertz and Alyssa Naeher make it three World Cups in a row. Four players – Crystal Dunn, Emily Sonnett, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle – were named to their second World Cup roster, while there are 14 players on the roster that are new to the senior World Cup stage.
This year’s edition of the FIFA World Cup will be the first to feature 32 teams, up from 24 teams in 2019. The Americans will play all three of their group games in New Zealand, starting with the opener against Vietnam (1 p.m. local on July 22 / 9 p.m. ET on July 21). Their second group match takes place against 2019 runners-up Netherlands (1 p.m. local on July 27 / 9 p.m. ET on July 26), while the U.S. finishes off the group with a match against Portugal on August 1 (7 p.m. local / 3 a.m. ET).
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