World Cup squads continue to be announced ahead of tournament kickoff next month, with five more Reign FC players booking their tickets to France after the unveiling of England, Japan and Australia’s rosters for the tournament.
Forward Jodie Taylor will be representing the Lionesses for her second World Cup campaign, after helping them to a third-place finish – their best ever – in 2015.
“It’s feels awesome,” Taylor said in a team release. “It’s been nerve-wracking waiting for that final confirmation about going. Now I’m just really focused on the World Cup. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to get with the squad now. Looking from the last tournament to now, we have so much more confidence, so much more belief. We have a lot more depth as well, so I can’t wait to get out there with the squad.”
In addition to facing Scotland and Argentina, Taylor will go up against club teammate Rumi Utsugi and Japan in the group stage. Utsugi was named to her fourth World Cup squad, and has a championship and runners up trophy to her name. She has 11 prior World Cup appearances for the Nadeshiko, including playing the full 90 minutes in the 2015 final against the United States.
Finally, Australia unveiled their roster yesterday, with three representatives from Reign FC. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams, defender Steph Catley and midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight will be part of a surging Matildas squad with high hopes for the tournament. Australia will face Brazil, Italy and Jamaica in the group stage.
This will be Williams’ fourth World Cup, where she is expected to be Australia’s top choice at goalkeeper.
“It’s always an honor to be called into camp to represent my country, but obviously the World Cup is the pinnacle of football competition,” Williams said. “I’m over the moon and so excited to be a part of the Australian team to compete in France.”
For Catley, who is part of her second World Cup roster after making five appearances in 2015 and who was named vice captain of this year’s squad, the selection has her excited.
“Mostly I feel proud,” she said of her selection. “It’s a moment and a feeling that you can’t really put into words. Every time I represent Australia, it’s an honor. And to be chosen to do that at a World Cup for the second time, amongst so many other incredible players, I’m just really excited.”
Kellond-Knight, who will participate in her third World Cup, echoed the sentiments of her club teammates.
“It’s always an honor to get a call-up for the national team, even if it’s just for a cap or a tournament, it’s the same feeling of pride,” she said. “But for a World Cup, it’s special. It’ll be my third. That’s quite significant. I think I can give a lot of experience to the squad. I think this group of players have our best shot of actually walking away with some sort of silverware at the tournament. It’s a real opportunity to be a part of the team.”
All five players are expected to be available for selection for Reign FC’s match against Sky Blue FC on Saturday, May 18, after which they will report to their respective national team camps in preparation for the tournament.
However, Spanish fullback Celia Jimenez Delgado will not be available for Reign FC this weekend. She has been called into Spain national team camp for a friendly against Cameroon on May 17, after which coach Jorge Vilda will name his final 23-player roster. Celia is on a quest to make her second World Cup roster.