The USWNT is embarking on a transformative journey as they gather in South Florida for a pivotal training camp, followed by friendlies against China on December 2 and 5. Notably absent will be familiar faces like Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn, Crystal Dunn, and others, marking a significant shift from the squad that fans have grown accustomed to supporting. Interim coach Twila Kilgore characterized this as a new chapter, with 10 players omitted from the November-December roster, including retirees Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz.
This overhaul offers a platform for fresh talent to rise. While some veterans like Morgan and Alyssa Naeher eye Olympic spots, their absence creates space for emerging stars. Kilgore emphasized the opportunity for new partnerships and ideas to flourish in this blank canvas scenario. The uncertainty around incoming head coach Emma Hayes’ involvement due to her ongoing contract with Chelsea hasn’t dimmed her impact; she influenced roster selection, symbolizing a shift towards change.
The USWNT’s recent camps lacked direction after the 2023 World Cup, but the arrival of Hayes signals a defining shift. With a focus on assessing young prospects like Jenna Nighswonger and Korbin Albert, Kilgore and Hayes aim to expand the player pool. Notable omissions, alongside injured players like Catarina Macario and Mal Swanson, highlight the need for rejuvenation.
While the absence of some veterans might seem puzzling, it underlines the necessity for a broader player base. The narrow focus under the previous coach needs to evolve for the team to ascend under Hayes’ leadership. The return of Abby Dahlkemper and Tierna Davidson adds experience to the mix, hinting at a blend of seasoned players and rising talents.
This phase marks a crucial turning point for the USWNT. The squad’s evolution and the emergence of new talent signal a promising future, aiming to rectify past constraints and reclaim their spot atop the world stage.
USWNT roster for December friendlies vs. China
Goalkeepers (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)
Defenders (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), M.A. Vignola (Angel City)
Midfielders (8): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns), Jenna Nighswonger (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
Forwards (8): Mia Fishel (Chelsea), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)