Rapinoe, Morgan miss out on USWNT roster

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U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski has called up a squad that mixes youth and experience for this month’s SheBelieves Cup, leaving out big names like Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan in favor of up-and-comers like Sophia Smith and Ashley Sanchez.

The 23-player squad announced on Thursday will compete in the USWNT’s first games of 2022 when they face the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Iceland in the SheBelieves Cup from Feb. 17- 20.

The games will be played at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. and Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

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The SheBelieve Cup roster is comprised mostly of players who had joined the USWNT in Texas for its annual January camp, which traditionally features more bubble players and up-and-comers.

The exceptions are midfielder Catarina Macario, who missed the camp to stay with Lyon as it faced rival Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn, who missed the January camp due to a minor injury.

“We had a great camp in Austin and now we need to see this group of players in game environments against highly-motivated opponents,” Andonovski said in a statement.

“Every player in the pool is focused on making the roster for World Cup and Olympic qualifying this summer, and every training session and especially every match is a means to that end for them, and for the coaching staff.”

Of the 23 players on the roster, 11 are players who have been on the fringes of the USWNT and have just 25 or fewer caps. Six players are in the single digits of caps.

Veterans left out include some of the USWNT’s biggest attacking names, such as Rapinoe, Morgan, Tobin Heath and Christen Press.

Rookie Trinity Rodman, the 19-year-old who accepted her first call-up in January, did not make the final roster but joins the team as “a training player during the lead-up to the tournament,” according to U.S. Soccer.

On Wednesday, Rodman signed a contract extension with the Washington Spirit that her agency said would make her the highest-paid player in the NWSL.

In the midfield, the likes of veterans Julie Ertz and Samantha Mewis are also left out in favor of less established USWNT players, like Macario and Sanchez.

After Morgan Gautrat (nee Brian) was a late addition for the USWNT’s January camp, she joins the SheBelieves Cup roster, marking her return to the national team.

She won two World Cups with the USWNT in 2015 and 2019, and had been last called up for the USWNT’s January 2020 camp.

The only uncapped player to join is Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury (nee Bledsoe). She was named the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2019.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who suffered a right knee injury during the Tokyo Olympics, could see her first minutes since she was sidelined in August.

USWNT SheBelieves Cup roster

GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 0), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 2), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 78)

DEFENDERS: Alana Cook (OL Reign; 4/0), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC; 77/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 45/1), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 8/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 9/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 148/2), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 63/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 199/0)

MIDFIELDERS: Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars; 87/8), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais; 108/25), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 68/18), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais; 12/3), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 33/4), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 2/0), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 22/2)

FORWARDS: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 4/2), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 67/18), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 9/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 10/1), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current; 45/14)

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