The USWNT roster is here! The USWNT roster is here!

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie M. Peterson, June 26, 2023

The roster dropped last week and we now know who will be representing the United States at the World Cup.

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I’m heading to media day in Los Angeles on Tuesday to speak to all the players, and will be gathering a bunch of stuff for upcoming Soccer Monday posts. So stay tuned.

But here you go, if you haven’t already seen the list:

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Gotham), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign).

Midfielders: Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Julie Ertz (Angel City), Lindsey Horan (Lyon), Rose Lavelle, (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Gotham), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).

Forwards: Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City), Lynn Williams (Gotham FC).

I took a stab at predicting the starting XI:

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher

Defenders: Crystal Dunn, Naomi Girma, Alana Cook, Emily Fox

Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Lindsay Horan, Rose Lavelle

Forwards: Sophia Smith, Alex Morgan, Trinity Rodman.

Although, in all honesty, I could swap Lynn Williams for Rodman.

I’m sure there will be tons of speculation about starters, and the roster. I see Rapinoe as more of a player-coach. Every U.S. roster has seemed to have one of those. Ali Krieger in 2019, Shannon Boxx before her.

Vlatko all but said as much in a conference call after the roster was unveiled.

“Pinoe is probably going to have a different role than the last World Cup, or the previous two World Cups. She certainly is going to have different types of minutes. But her role, first from the from the leadership standpoint is so important, but also her performance on the field is very valuable for us.”

The roster announcement also always means disappointment for some players. My heart goes out to Tierna Davidson, Ashley Hatch and Sam Coffey, all World Cup worthy players in my opinion. Had the roster been 26 players, like the men, I’m guessing those three would have made the cut.

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The other thing that happened last week was Sophia Smith’s hat trick in the Thorns’ victory over the Washington Spirit.

Afterward Smith and Christine Sinclair took the podium together, because it was the last chance for the local reporters to speak to them before they left for the World Cup.

I had to split this into two YouTube posts because my son called in the middle of the press conference and cut off my recording. Thanks Fast Eddie!

These two are so funny together. (Sophia’s locker is next to the bathroom!)

Part 2!

But you’ll also see that there was a bit of news. My question was cut off while I fumbled with my phone. (Amateur move, I know). But I asked Sinclair about the report by Neil Davidson for the Canadian Press that they wanted a labor agreement — at least for pay — deal before boarding the plane for Canada. Sinclair clarified that the team was going to board the plane, but also said she was confident that at least a temporary agreement could be reached.

I wrote about it here, with comment from Canada Soccer.

Of course, it is going to be my luck that it will be announced when I’m in the air flying to Los Angeles.

We’re all going to be innundated with women’s soccer coverage for the next two months. Yay! The Associated Press will have a World Cup hub, tenatively set to launch on July 1.

In the meantime, a few outlets already have their World Cup hubs in action.

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The Athletic hub is here.

Here’s ESPN’s Women’s World Cup Page.

Here’s the Fox Sports page — with a handy countdown clock!

The Equalizer’s national team page is here. Nice story on Kristie Mewis is there.

Jenna Tonelli reports that Mana Shim has been signed by Gotham as an injury replacement.

My AP colleague Mauricio Savarese spoke to Pia Sundhage about the approaching World Cup.

FIFA will vote on the site of the next Womens’ World Cup next May.

My story on the roster. on Sophia Smith’s hat trick.

The Boston Globe spoke to Jessica Berman about expansion.

Alex Simon at Bay Area News Group has more on Bay FC and all three major cities — San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose — wanting the team’s desired permanent stadium.

Just Women’s Sports has a handy guide on all the players from the NWSL headed to the World Cup.

Susie Rantz’s AP roundup of Saturday’s NWSL matches.

Fox Sports on the Top 25 players to watch at the World Cup.

The Guardian with a look at Lieke Martens and the Netherlands.

The New York Times says the U.S. roster shows a team in transition.

USA Today’s Lindsay Schnell wrote a wonderful story on Sophia Smith. BABY PICTURES!

Speaking of Lindsay, she also had my favorite post this week:

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FIVE AT THE IX: Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan spoke following her inclusion on the U.S. roster. It will be her fourth World Cup.

Question: The call for this world cup wasn’t unexpected but can you tel us about the moment you got the call from Vlatko Andonovski?

Morgan: Yeah, we knew that we were expecting to receive calls for information on who’s coming in and who’s not, and to get that call from Vlatko was a great moment. I was actually expecting a phone call but he FaceTimed me and I was like, Oh, wow, I need to get myself together now. So that was a little surprise. But it’s always a special moment to hear a coach say that you made a roster for a major tournament and to be going to my fourth World Cup, I’m just as excited and anxious as my first one. So I’m really looking forward to it.

Question: Just curious your reaction when you heard about Becky Sauerbrunn’s status, wondering if you’ve talked to her? And of course, you’re obviously a huge leader on this team. But how does your role as a leader may be changed if at all without Becky and then just a quick follow up curious about your reaction to Taylor Swift announcing your roster spot on the video

Morgan: We’ll start with the good news. Yeah, I was really surprised to see Taylor announced me but to see all the other amazing celebrities, influencers and people so influential in the soccer world announce the roster was pretty cool, give US Soccer props for that. And I think they nailed it with Taylor announcing me, I was very happy about that. And she had some really nice things to say and I feel like we’ve supported each other a lot. So it was really great to see that.

And as far as hearing about Becky’s injury and not being able to come to the World Cup due to her timeline for recovery. I actually did speak with Becky and had no idea that she wouldn’t be coming to the World Cup. And she told me that I was the second person to know and that she was still processing everything and I was just already immediately heartbroken for her. Becky is not only just a huge presence on the field, and leader on the field, but she’s a person who holds people accountable, she raises the level of standards on every team she’s on and having played with her now for over 12-13 years. I just have immense respect for her and so when I got that news, I had to sit down for a little bit because I was honestly shocked and so heartbroken for her, but also for me and for the team. Because she’s just had a huge impact on me and so many players. I don’t think that there’s a bad thing that has come out of a teammate’s mouth about Becky ever in her career. And that’s a testament to her as a leader, a person, a player and it’s just terrible news to have read for World Cup. I know she’s going to be our biggest supporter as we go to the World Cup and and try to bring back home the trophy like we did the last few times. But yeah, I’m sure that she’s still processing everything as as some of us are that have been with her for this many years.

Question: Do you consider this team the favorite again in this World Cup? If so, why? If not, why not?

Morgan: I think that’s for you guys to decide. I think it’s tough for us to put even more of a target on our backs by saying we’re favorite or not. So, I mean, I think that at the end of the day, we already have a target on our backs coming in as reigning World Cup champs. But there’s some teams that have done incredibly well over the last four years, have have made a name for themselves to compete for this trophy. I’m very optimistic with our chances with this roster. And I think that you guys can probably write a story from there decide whether or not that you think we’re favorites or not.

Question How is this World Cup different because you’ve made the transition from wonderkind to starter to main player and now one of the leaders of the team.

Morgan: Yeah, I mean, going into each of the last three, and now my fourth World Cup, is incredibly special in its own way. Definitely my leadership on this team has changed based on my experience and my comfortability within the environment and in the big moments like this World Cup coming up. I’m just hoping to make the biggest impact for the team on and off the field. I want to be on the field as much as possible, but I also want to be able to show the younger players who have not been in a major tournament, what to expect, where the pressure is going to come from, why we need to stick together really have this mentality of making it to August 20. And lifting that trophy at the end is means that it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster physically it’s going to be more demanding than you’ve ever experienced in your life. And so having been through that a couple of times I want to be able to, to share that. I’ve already talked to some of the other experienced players, Pinoe being one of them, about how we rally this group of players from ages 18 through through Pinoe. Just how we can all come together and be incredibly fluid and go through this World Cup.”

Question: Women’s soccer has changed a lot since the 2019 World Cup from your equal pay fight to other teams speaking out about what needs to change. I’m curious what you think this World Cup can do for the continued growth of women’s soccer?

Morgan: Personally, our team is in a way different space than we were going into the 2019 World Cup, having achieved equal pay and equal prize money, equal working conditions, but it’s not just us that we’re fighting for. There’s still a lot of teams fighting for it. I mean, look at Spain, and there’s some players who should absolutely be in this World Cup that are not going to the World Cup due to due to the inequalities of their team and standing up for themselves and the future generations of their sport. I think that this World Cup is going to be the most watched, it’s going to be the most attended, It’s going to bring in the most revenue that we’ve ever seen. I think you’re starting to see FIFA respect that and value women’s soccer way more than we’ve seen before. And so I think that that puts a lot of pressure on sponsors on federations, on everybody in the soccer world to recognize and embrace that. I think that this World Cup is just going to be another testament to the growth of women’s soccer and I believe Australia and New Zealand are going to put on a great show.

Question: You look over the last several seasons. You know, countries like Australia, Spain, Ireland have narrowed the gap a bit with the US. What do you think may be accounting for that becoming more competitive?

Morgan: I think I think the increasing competition of the leagues around the world is creating more parity in the international game. You look at England, France, even the league in Mexico, the NWSL, Sweden.

There’s so many leagues around the world that are paying players more, that are playing more often throughout the season, and that are premium players in a professional way that we’ve been fighting for a long time, so I think that that has a lot to do with it. I think just the growth of the women’s game in terms of — soccer is the most played sport in the world and for so many decades women were not allowed to play sport or soccer in so many countries. And so we have a lot of catching up to do and I think that that’s happening at such an accelerated rate. I think the NWSL has really, really helped with that. And I think the national team and our fight for equal pay has also really brought to attention where the sport is right now where it needs to be and how we can get there. And so I’m really proud of being on this national team for the last 12-13 years and and fighting for that not only ourselves for the future of this sport, both in the US and globally. And as much as we can support other athletes as well in their fight, we will but I think that all of that combined is going to create just an incredibly special World Cup that that people will be talking about for a long time.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Annie Peterson