Alex Morgan won’t be in camp because she is playing for Tottenham in England. (Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
The old band might be getting together, but not every high-profile member of the U.S. women’s national team will be in the squad’s first training camp in seven months.
Head coach Vlatko Andonovski Thursday named a 27-player roster for an 11-day training camp in Commerce City, Colo. from Oct. 18-28.
Among the names missing from the roster are five players from the 2019 Women’s World Cup championship team who are playing in England – Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, Christen Press and Sam Mewis.
Other WWC champion players not attending the camp include forwards Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh and goalkeeper Adrianna Franch. Midfielder Julie Ertz will not attend due to a family commitment and forward Megan Rapinoe opted out to because of injury concerns. Veteran midfielder Allie Long of Northport, N.Y. was not on the roster.
No other details were available.
The roster features all domestic-based players, 23 who play in the National Women’s Soccer League and four collegiate players.
“We’re looking forward to getting this group together in Colorado and we really like the mix of players as far as age, experience level and positions,” Andonovski said in a statement. “We are very aware that the players also have had different levels of activity over the past few months, so we’ll definitely take that into account as we run this camp. As we finally get back on the field, I know our players and staff are really looking forward to training together again.”
North Carolina Courage defender Crystal Dunn (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) and Sky Blue FC defender Margaret Purce were the two players of local interest who were called into camp.
The roster has nine players who saw action for the USA in Olympic qualifying and/or at the SheBelieves Cup. It also includes several players who have some USWNT experience or extensive time with the U.S. youth national teams. It should come as no surprise that many players performed well during the NWSL Challenge Cup and the NWSL Fall Series also were included.
“We want to reward players who have done well for their clubs and give them a chance to step up and perform in our environment,” Andonovski said. “We have a lot of uncapped players and a few who have had the chance to earn a few caps, but we know that deepening our player pool is important as we head into 2021.”
The 10 uncapped players on the roster are OL Reign forward Bethany Balcer (23 years old), Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe (28), UCLA forward Mia Fishel (19), Stanford defender Naomi Girma (20), Chicago Red Stars defender Sarah Gorden (28), Houston Dash midfielder Shea Groom (27), Florida State midfielder Jaelin Howell (20), Stanford attacker Catarina Macario (21), Washington Spirit midfielder Ashley Sanchez (21) and Portland Thorns forward Sophia Smith (20).
“For this camp, it just did not make sense for the players in Europe to leave their club environments, where they are getting quality training games, as they are just starting to get settled,” Andonovski said. “But this opens up the important opportunity for other players to step up and show if they can contribute to the national team during our run to the Olympics.”
USWNT October training camp roster (Club/College; Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (4): Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit; 0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 3), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 25), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 63)
DEFENDERS (10): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 61/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 26/1), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 104/24), Naomi Girma (Stanford; 0/0), Sarah Gorden (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0) Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 107/1), Kelley O’Hara (Utah Royals FC; 131/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 1/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 177/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 32/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Shea Groom (Houston Dash; 0/0), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 86/19), Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars; 87/8), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 0/0), Catarina Macario (Stanford; 0/0), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 15/1), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 0/0)
FORWARDS (6): Bethany Balcer (OL Reign; 0/0), Mia Fishel (UCLA; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Kealia Watt (Chicago Red Stars; 3/1), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 28/9)