With the Olympics right around the corner, the final rosters and teams are shaping up, and that includes the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team.
The team has huge pressure to win gold in Tokyo this summer, especially since they won the World Cup in 2019, and head coach Vlatko Andonovski has compiled a roster full of experience and talent that will hopefully win gold.
Seventeen of the squad’s 18 members were on that World Cup-winning team, and the average age on the squad is 30, which may seem old, but with a high-intensity competition like the Olympics, there’s no doubt that experience from veteran players will be useful.
So, let’s get into who ended up making the 18-player roster.
Goalkeepers: Alyssa Naeher, Adrianna Franch
Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Naeher stepped up big time during the 2019 World Cup after the departure of Hope Solo, who was a mainstay on the national team for so long. Naeher is undoubtedly the No. 1 pick for goalkeeper for the team, and Franch is the perfect backup for her.
Defenders: Becky Sauerbrunn, Abby Dahlkemper, Kelley O’Hara, Crystal Dunn, Tierna Davidson, Emily Sonnett
Sauerbrunn is the captain of the team, so it was a given that she was going to Tokyo. The other three normal starters on the backline, Dahlkemper, O’Hara and Dunn were expected to make the team. Those four players were the anchors of the backline during the 2019 World Cup, so their chemistry is unmatched.
Davidson and Sonnett were the big questions when it came to the defense. Both of them were on the 2019 World Cup squad, but up-and-comers Alana Cook and Midge Purce were also being considered for the positions. At the end of the day, Andonovski went with experience.
Midfielders: Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Sam Mewis, Kristie Mewis
The big news in the midfield is that sisters Sam and Kristie Mewis will be going to the Olympics together. Younger sister Sam was on the 2019 World Cup team, but older sister Kristie was playing her way back to form after an injury. Now, Kristie is playing better than ever, and punched her ticket to Tokyo.
As far as the other midfielders are concerned, they were all expected to make the team. Ertz puts in the defensive work that no one else can, Horan brings physicality on and off the ball and Lavelle has the technicality that can split defenders and score goals.
Forwards: Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, Christen Press
The big questions surrounding the forwards revolved around whether Heath would be healthy enough to go. She suffered an injury at the beginning of 2021 and hasn’t played in a game since, but Andonovski said if she were fit, she would be going to Tokyo.
The front line for the U.S. leans on the older side (they’re all older than 30, and Lloyd will be 39 by the time the Games start), but there is no denying just how talented these players are. Press is at the top of her game, Morgan is back to form after having a baby last year and Rapinoe always shows up in the big moments. Just look at what she did during the 2019 World Cup.
The U.S. will take on Sweden, New Zealand and Australia in group play, with the match against Sweden happening first, on July 21.