USWNT Olympics list: which 18 players made the USA squad for Tokyo 2020?
Head coach Vlatko Andonovsky has narrowed down a collection of world-class talent for this summer’s tournament
Vlatko Andonovsky has now made the biggest call of her tenure as the United States Women’s National Team coach.
After replacing Jill Ellis in 2019, Andonovski’s major tournament debut was delayed for a year, but finally arrived in the form of the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After the conclusion of the USWNT’s three friendlies in June, Andonovski has now named his 18-man Olympic roster.
Here are the 18 USWNT players on their way to the Olympics.
MAKE THE CUP: Alyssa Naeher, AD France
MISSING: Jane Campbell, Ashlyn Harris
Naeher is locked in as a starter, but the pieces behind her have changed quite a bit in recent months.
The longtime Harris save was frozen by Andonovski in 2021, which opened the door for Campbell and, more recently, Franch to step in and fill the void.
Franch returned to form for the Portland Thorns and as the team’s third string at the 2019 World Cup, she has the experience advantage over Campbell. It might just be Campbell’s job, but for now, Franch has been given the green light.
MAKE THE CUP: Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O’Hara, Crystal Dunn, Emily Sonnett, Tierna Davidson
MISSING: Alana Cook, Midge Purce
Dunn, Sauerbrunn, Dahlkemper and O’Hara make up the team’s top four, forming the backbone of the team. The pair of center-backs Sauerbrunn and Dahlkemper, in particular, are essential to almost everything the team does.
Sonnett can play any position on the back line as well as hold the midfield which will be crucial, with Julie Ertz’s health being a major question mark. Davidson can play those same positions, and Andonovski has also given her the green light as the youngest player on the roster at 22.
Purce, who can play the rear or one of the wide front roles, has been omitted in favor of more experienced options.
Cook is highly regarded and her time with the United States will come, but the writing was on the wall when she didn’t play in any of the team’s friendlies this month.
MAKE THE CUP: Julie Ertz, Sam Mewis, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis
MISSING: Catarina Macario, Andi Sullivan
Ertz’s injury status is clearly concerning, but Andonovski still believed it was worth bringing him to Japan. The USWNT would be fine without her in the group stage, which would give her an extra week and a half to recuperate if needed.
Andonovski looks set to give Horan the first chance to replace Ertz in the starting role, which makes sense given his experience in the position and his ability to launch deep attacks. But this is not its most effective role. Andonovski admitted that the USWNT “was wasting some of its qualities at six” against Nigeria, suggesting he is eager to try other options.
Lavelle’s status is a slight concern after suffering a minor ankle injury against Jamaica, while Sam Mewis is a fixture and will likely be used in a box-to-box role.
This left one more spot in the midfielder, which went to Sam’s older sister Kristie, who fully returned to the squad after a long period without appeal.
Macario, 21, was left out after she failed to fully show her limited-time game-change potential with the USWNT.
Andi Sulivan, although a natural midfielder, is ruled out due to his lack of consistent involvement with the USWNT this year, combined with the team’s other options in this position.
MAKE THE CUP: Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Carli Lloyd
MISSING: Sophia Smith, Lynn Williams
Morgan, Rapinoe, and Press have the big game experience and current ability that got them locked down for the roster. Heath has this combination as well, but his health is a major question mark.
Heath hasn’t played a game since January and his inability to even fully participate in training before the Olympic team was named was a concern. Ultimately, however, her talent, combined with the positive indicators of the team’s health workforce, gave Andonovsky the confidence to place her in the 18.
Williams looked like a solid bet due to his speed and pressing ability, but his lack of a final product seems to have cost him a place on the squad.
Smith is undoubtedly talented, but she’s still only 20 years old, and her limited playing time in the USWNT’s three friendlies suggests that she is looking to the future.
MAKE THE CUT: Jane Campbell, Casey Krueger, Catarina Macario, Lynn Williams
MISSING: Midge Purce, Alana Cook, Andi Sullivan, Sophia Smith