Olympic roster predictions — Interview with Sophia Smith

The IX: Soccer Monday with Annie Peterson, June 10, 2024

With the Olympics looming, let the debate begin about who should make the final 18-player roster for France.

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Keep in mind there will no doubt be players named to the “official” positional roster in certain positions that are wildly versatile and will also play elsewhere. Hello, Crystal Dunn.

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The main guideline: teams take two goalkeepers and 16 outfield players. Four alternates are also named. For the Tokyo Games, the USWNT went with six defenders, five midfielders and five forwards. At the Brazil Games, Jill Ellis went with six defenders, six midfielders and four forwards. Tobin Heath was listed on that roster as a midfielder rather than forward.

So let’s start at the back first, because that’s easiest for me: Defenders (6): Naomi Girma, Tierna Davidson, Emily Fox, Emily Sonnett, Jenna Nighswonger and Casey Krueger. Krueger is the biggest bubble player in this group. I think she’ll make it.

Goalkeepers (2): Alyssa Naeher and Casey Krueger. Jane Campbell, obviously, if Naeher isn’t back from injury.

Midfielders (6): Sam Coffey, Lindsey Horan, Catarina Macario, Rose Lavelle, Jaedyn Shaw, Crystal Dunn.

And that leads me to forward, because that’s the position everyone’s been looking at!

Forwards (4): Trinity Rodman, Mallory Swanson, Sophia Smith and Alex Morgan.

Of course you could list Dunn at forward and go 6-5-5, either way works. Same with Jaedyn Shaw and Catarina Macario. The gist is that these are the 18 who will play in France.

I don’t think Korbin Albert will be included on the roster, but she’ll be an alternate. I think Alex Morgan gets the nod because of leadership and experience. Lily Yohannes, while dynamic, has plenty of time and I’m not sure we’ve seen enough of her in a national team setting to make her a lock.

Here are some other publications that have weighed in:

News from around the women’s soccer world

Sandra Herrera write for CBS Sports about the expectations on Emma Hayes

Laken Litman’s story for Fox on Lily Yonhannes’ dream debut

Her debut over, Emma Hayes has bigger tests ahead of her, from Meg Linehan from The Athletic

ESPN’s Jeff Kassouf looks at the difficult decisions for Hayes

Steph Yang’s nice profile of Tierna Davidson

Courtney Hill’s story for the Olympics channel on Mallory Swanson

Goal’s power rankings for the Olympic teams

Steph Catley will lead Australia to the Olympics in Sam Kerr’s absence

I wrote about how rising global transfer fees reflect growing options in the women’s game

Nice story from Shireen Ahmed on Bev Priestman

Red Stars set NWSL attendance record in Wrigley Field match

Jenna Tonelli wrote about Sinead Farrell’s retirement for The Equalizer

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We spoke to Sophia Smith on Friday ahead of the team’s 1-0 victory over North Carolina.

Smith received a red card in the waning moments of the match for this, basically time wasting for allegedly trying to hide the ball. Here are the videos. I’ll let you be the judge. But she won’t be playing in the rivalry match against Seattle on Sunday.

Here’s my poor video on what she said before the game. In retrospect I can’t believe I said “I’m not dissing on the Gold Cup.”:

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Written by Annie Peterson