Twenty one of the 23 players on the 2023 World Cup roster were called in by interim head coach Twila Kilgore, who named a 27-player training camp roster for a pair of home friendly matches against South Africa later this month.

CHICAGO – Twenty one of the 23 players on the 2023 World Cup roster were called in by interim head coach Twila Kilgore, who named a 27-player training camp roster for a pair of home friendly matches against South Africa later this month.

The Americans failed to reach the WWC semifinals for the first time in nine tries in New Zealand/August last month. They were eliminated in the Round of 16.

The USA will play its first matches since the Women’s World Cup on Sept. 21 in Cincinnati at TQL Stadium (7:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Universo & Peacock) and in Chicago at Soldier Field on Sept. 24 (5:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Universo & Peacock). Pre-game shows on TNT will begin at 7 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. ET respectively.

The match in Cincinnati marks a return home for midfielder Rose Lavelle, who attended Mount Notre Dame High School and is one of Cincinnati’s most popular athletes, and goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury, who attended St. Ursula Academy.

The match in Cincinnati will be the final international match for midfielder Julie Ertz and the match Chicago will be the final international game for forward Megan Rapinoe.

“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 in a statement. “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 Kristie Mewis and forward Sophia Smith are the only members of the 2023 World Cup roster who were not called in for the games against South Africa as they recover from injuries.

“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,” said Kilgore. “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.”

South Africa is just one of two African teams the USWNT has faced in its history (with Nigeria being the other) and the September meetings will be just the third and fourth matchups all-time between the two countries. The USA most recently played the South Africa in May of 2019, a 2-0 win in Santa Clara, Calif.

South Africa is coming off a fine performance at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in which it advanced out of Group G behind Sweden on the strength of a 2-2 draw with Argentina and a dramatic 3-2 win over Italy in its final group game with the winning goal coming in 90+2 from Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana. The Banyana Banyana lost 2-1 to Sweden to open the World Cup and then fell 2-0 to the Netherlands in the Round of 16.

The roster

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)

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Guardian.com. Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of BigAppleSoccer.com. He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at Amazon.com.