The wait is over as United States Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski has announced his 23-player squad for next month’s CONCACAF W Championship tournament in Mexico.
Four OL Reign players were named to the roster: defenders Alana Cook and Sofia Huerta, midfielder Rose Lavelle, and forward Megan Rapinoe will look to contribute to the United States in their efforts to qualify for next year’s FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, as well as punching a ticket to the 2024 Summer Olympic Games held in Paris, France.
The 2022 CONCACAF W Championship tournament is scheduled to run from July 4 to July 18. Eight teams (Canada, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago) are split into two groups of four, with the United States, Mexico, Jamaica, and Haiti in Group A. Group B will have Canada, Costa Rica, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago. The two group winners will automatically qualify for next year’s World Cup, while the third-place teams from each group will move on to the inter-confederation playoffs in pursuit of qualifying for the same World Cup. Additionally, the overall winner of the CONCACAF W Championship tournament will also qualify for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, while the second- and third-place teams will play one additional game for the other Concacaf slot at the Olympics.
OL Reign fans have been anticipating the news of Cook, Huerta, and Lavelle getting the call to once again suit up for the national team. Some might be surprised at Rapinoe’s inclusion despite her limited minutes thus far in 2022 for OL Reign. However when the games have the biggest stakes, and certainly World Cup qualification fits the bill, Megan Rapinoe is still that impact player. In his media call after the roster announcement, Andonovski cited Rapinoe’s experience and leadership in elevating the young attackers of the squad such as Mallory Pugh, Sophia Smith, and Trinity Rodman.
Despite the limited appearances in club competition this year, Andonovski said Rapinoe’s place on the national team was always going to be there as long as she is healthy. The decision to call in Rapinoe has met some controversy, as Angel City FC forward Christen Press was not in consideration for the national team for this tournament for unknown reasons, even prior to her recent injury, despite having made more appearances and being in arguably better NWSL form than Rapinoe.
“Since we were last together in April, we’ve been evaluating a lot of games and hours of video and have had extensive conversations among the coaching staff to arrive at this 26-player roster for the Colombia games and the final 23 for qualifying. As usual, the players don’t make these decisions easy, but we feel this is a roster that can accomplish all of our goals over the four weeks we will be together for what we hope will be seven successful games,” Andonovski said in US Soccer’s press release.
Before the team heads to Mexico to participate in the tournament, the US will play two friendlies against Colombia on Saturday, June 25 and Wednesday, June 28. For those friendlies, Carson Pickett (North Carolina Courage), Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns), and Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville) will join Andonovski’s 23-player Concacaf W Championship roster.
A full listing of Vlatko Andonovski’s United States roster is below.
U.S. Women’s National Team Concacaf W Championship Roster by Position (Club; Caps/Goals):
DEFENDERS (7): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 9/0), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 13/0), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 1/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 12/0), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 152/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 202/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 65/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 109/25), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 0/0), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 71/20), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 38/5), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 7/2), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 27/3)
FORWARDS (7): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 8/4), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 190/115), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 72/23), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 14/3), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 187/62), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 3/1), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 15/4)