The United States women’s national team has announced it’s 27-person roster for the September friendlies against South Africa, the team’s first matches since its historic, Round-of-16 exit at the 2023 World Cup and the subsequent resignation of head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
The U.S. roster includes 21 out of the 23 players who represented the team at the World Cup; Kristie Mewis has been out with a lower leg injury and Sophia Smith sprained her MCL a few weeks ago. The remaining six players are previously-capped Sam Coffey, Casey Krueger, Ashley Hatch, and Tierna Davidson as well as uncapped forwards Mia Fishel and Jaedyn Shaw.
“As we continue the search for our new head coach, we felt it was best to call up all of World Cup players who are fit to play, while also bringing in some players that we believe can help us moving forward as we start our preparations for the Olympics next year,” U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker said. “We’re looking forward to having the opportunity to honor the players who have decided to retire but also know these games are valuable as the first steps towards Paris. Once the new head coach comes in, that individual will assess the player pool and make roster decisions that will be focused on building a team for the future.”
Midfielder Julie Ertz will only play in the Sept. 21 match in Cincinnati. Forward Megan Rapinoe will only play in the Sept. 24 game in Chicago, giving each two-time World Cup champion their own sendoff match. Ertz will not play another competitive match after Sept. 21. Rapinoe will play the rest of the season with the National Women’s Soccer League’s OL Reign.
Twila Kilgore, who was an assistant coach during Andonovski’s tenure, will serve as interim coach for the two matches.
Last year, Shaw was named the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, and this year, she already has scored five goals with the San Diego Wave during the regular season. This is Shaw’s first senior call-up. Her play in the spring made a case for last-minute inclusion on the World Cup roster, but she was not ultimately selected.
In her first professional season, forward Mia Fishel scored 17 goals in 17 appearances during the 2022 Liga MX Apertura for Tigres UANL, winning the golden boot. Fishel recently signed a three-year contract with Chelsea FC of England’s Women’s Super League, and joins Lindsey Horan as the only other player playing outside of the NWSL on this U.S. roster. Fishel’s first call-up was the October 2020 training camp, but there were no games scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hatch, Krueger, Coffey, and Davidson were all on the bubble when it came to making the World Cup squad this summer but ultimately missed out. Their play while the U.S. team went to Australia and New Zealand made it impossible to ignore them with the larger roster that is beginning to prepare for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“The Olympics may seem like they are far away, but the amount of time that the players get with the national team between now and Paris is not a lot, so we need to start that journey now,” Kilgore said. “No matter who the coach is, or which players get to wear the crest, the standards remain the same and everyone wants to excel, so we’ll be looking forward to putting together two good performances against a South Africa team that showed well at the World Cup.”
U.S. roster for September vs. South Africa
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (9): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Julie Ertz (Unattached), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS (8): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
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