Vets Kept Off USWNT SheBelieves Cup Roster

It looks as though the next generation of U.S. Women’s soccer is starting under Vlatko Andonovski’s new regime. So much so that the likes of Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Christen Press were left off the roster for the 2022 SheBelieves Cup.

Rather than go with the veterans, Andonovski chose to include Margaret Purce (26 years old; nine appearances), Catarina Macario (22; 12 appearances), Mallory Pugh (23; 67 appearances), and Sophia Smith (21; 10 appearances). For Andonovski, this is a chance to evaluate and develop players who proved themselves in January camp.

“All these players are very good players. We all know that. They’ve done so much for this team, and they’ve won everything possible. But right now, in these camps, I felt like I want to give a chance to players like Sophia Smith and Mal Pugh and Catarina Macario. Players that have earned their spots on the national team, or their spots back on the national team. (We) want to give them maximum minutes or whatever minutes they earned to play so we can evaluate every aspect of their game, whether that’s in the training environment or in a game setting,” Andonovski said in a statement.

Trinity Rodman (19), who recently signed the largest NWSL contract with Washington Spirit worth $1.1 million over four years, will serve as a training player during the lead-up to the tournament. Rodman was the 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year and 2021 U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year following her championship-winning first year as a pro.

Although Press (33), Morgan (32), and Rapinoe (36) are absent from the tournament’s roster, they are all likely to be on the 2023 World Cup roster.

“Now again, not that it doesn’t mean these players haven’t done well in the past. They’re not just going to come back in the next game because they’ve done well a year ago or two years ago. So, I mean, there’s a reason why Mia Hamm is not in camp still. We’re not calling Julie Foudy into camp, right? The same goes here. They need to perform. They need to play in their markets. They need to play well in their markets and show that they can still contribute and be valuable for the national team,” Andonovski said.

The USWNT is set to play the Czech Republic (Feb. 17), New Zealand (Feb. 20), and Iceland (Feb. 23) in this year’s SheBelieves Cup.

(Photo: Olympics.com)

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