Yes, you read that correctly. Lauren Barnes, Reign FC defender and Sounder at Heart's two-time defender of the year winner, has received her first senior national team call-up. The 26-year-old centerback joins Hope Solo as the two Seattle players named to the 22-player roster for the SheBelives Cup, which features four of the world's top five ranked women's national teams: the U.S. (#1), England (#5), France (#3), and Germany (#4).
The SheBelieves Cup will host double-headers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. (March 3), Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. (March 6), and FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. (March 9), allowing each of the four teams to play each other once.
Should she get any playing time, this will be an enormous opportunity for Barnes, who has already represented the United States at the U-15, U-20, and U-23 levels. She was a key member of the U-23 team that made it to the 2010 Four Nations Tournament title match. While Reign fans have known that Barnes was worthy of a call-up for years, it is encouraging that USWNT Coach Jill Ellis also recognizes what she could bring to the national team.
It will also be a great opportunity for Barnes to prepare for the Reign FC preseason. The versatile Reign defender, who can play both centerback and on the outside, opted not to head abroad to play soccer in the long offseason. Instead, she joined with Reign defender Elli Reed to travel through Southeast Asia. The pair also just concluded a trip to Ethiopia with Water1st International.
You can catch Barnes, Solo, and the USWNT next Thursday, March 3, at 4:30 p.m. PT when the U.S. take on England. The match will be broadcast on FS1.
U.S. Women's National Team SheBelieves Cup Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign FC)
DEFENDERS (9): Lauren Barnes (Seattle Reign FC), Whitney Engen (Boston Breakers), Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns FC), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Heather O'Reilly (FC Kansas City)
FORWARDS (4): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado)