Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Megan Rapinoe are heading to their fourth Women’s World Cup after being selected for this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
The trio were members of the team who won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019. Also included in head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s squad are Alyssa Naeher, Crystal Dunn, Emily Sonnett, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle, who have a chance to win another World Cup title after playing at the tournament in 2019.
“The task of selecting a World Cup Team is never easy, but I’m proud of the players for their work ethic and focus during the process and of our coaching staff for doing the work to put together the best team possible,” said Andonovski. “It’s the players that make the biggest impact on our environment, they push each other to be better and I know as a group they are extremely motivated to make our country proud at the World Cup. Every player has a different journey to get to this point so our roster has some amazing stories and we have a really good mix of veterans and younger players.”
The roster was announced in a social media video that included names such as musicians Lil Wayne and Taylor Swift, actors Issa Rae and John Cena, WNBA star Brenna Stewart, NFL quarterback Jalen Hurts and Joe Biden. “From lifting trophies to fighting for gender equity, these women have been a source of inspiration for Americans of all ages,” said the US President.
The USWNT’s captain, Becky Sauerbrunn, will miss this year’s tournament through injury along with another star from France 2019, Mallory Swanson, who has been the team’s most potent attacking threat in recent times. Two other important midfielders, Sam Mewis and Catarina Macario, will also miss the tournament after injury struggles.
Ashley Hatch, who had been Morgan’s back-up in the US squad for some time, was not selected after disappointing performances for the national team. Instead Sophia Smith, who is heading to her first World Cup, is most likely to step in for Morgan in Australia and New Zealand.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is Andonovski’s inclusion of Savannah DeMelo, who is just the third uncapped USWNT player to make a World Cup squad since Debbie Keller in 1995 and Shannon Boxx in 2003. Boxx went on to win three Olympic gold medals and a World Cup with the US, along with 195 caps. Another notable selection is Alyssa Thompson who, at 18, is the second-youngest player to make a USWNT World Cup squad. Thompson is named alongside other young stars such as 21-year-old Trinity Rodman and the 22-year-old Smith as Andonovski continues to bring in new talent: 14 of the 23-woman squad will be at their first World Cup. Rapinoe, who will turn 38 next month, is the oldest player in the squad.
The US are looking to win their fifth World Cup after their victories in 1991, 1999, 2015 and 2019. They start their campaign against Vietnam on 22 July (21 July in the US) in Auckland. They then face a tough test against the Netherlands, the world’s No 9 ranked side, before rounding out the group stage against Portugal.
“Our players understand the challenges and the competitive environment we are heading into, and they love it. We have a roster with depth and versatility and that will help us take on all the challenges that will be coming our way,” said Andonovski.
The roster will not become official until it is submitted to Fifa on 9 July.
USA squad for Women’s World Cup (club; caps/goals)
Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury* (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy* (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher*** (Chicago Red Stars; 90)
Defenders: Alana Cook* (OL Reign; 24/1), Crystal Dunn** (Portland Thorns FC; 131/24), Emily Fox* (North Carolina Courage; 28/1), Naomi Girma* (San Diego Wave FC; 15/0), Sofia Huerta* (OL Reign; 29/0), Kelley O’Hara**** (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 157/3), Emily Sonnett** (OL Reign; 74/1)
Midfielders: Savannah DeMelo* (Racing Louisville FC; 0/0), Julie Ertz*** (Angel City FC; 118/20), Lindsey Horan** (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 128/27), Rose Lavelle** (OL Reign; 88/24), Kristie Mewis* (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 51/7), Ashley Sanchez* (Washington Spirit; 24/3), Andi Sullivan* (Washington Spirit; 44/3)
Forwards: Alex Morgan**** (San Diego Wave FC; 206/121), Megan Rapinoe**** (OL Reign; 199/63), Trinity Rodman* (Washington Spirit; 17/2), Sophia Smith* (Portland Thorns FC; 29/12), Alyssa Thompson* (Angel City FC; 3/0), Lynn Williams* (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 52/15)
* First World Cup
** Second World Cup
*** Third World Cup
**** Fourth World Cup