U.S. women’s national team veterans Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz, both of whom are poised to make their final appearances for the USWNT, headline the 27-player roster that will face South Africa in a pair of friendlies later this month.
Ertz will play her final match for club or country on Sept. 21 in Cincinnati and is set to finish her career with 123 appearances for the USWNT. She has 20 international goals and was part of World Cup-winning squads in 2015 and 2019.
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Rapinoe will make her last international appearance three days later in Chicago and could finish with as many as 204 caps. The 38-year-old will no doubt be looking to add to her total of 63 international goals.
Rapinoe will then finish out the club season with the NWSL’s OL Reign. In addition to her two triumphs at the Women’s World Cup, she was also on the squad that won the gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Twenty-one of the players who took part in the 2023 Women’s World Cup for the U.S. have been called in, with forward Sophia Smith of the Portland Thorns and Gotham FC midfielder Kristie Mewis both missing out due to injury.
The roster composition was a collaborative effort between U.S. Soccer sporting director Matt Crocker and USWNT interim manager Twila Kilgore, who stepped in after the resignation of Vlatko Andonovski on Aug. 17.
“As we continue the search for our new head coach, we felt it was best to call up all of the World Cup players who are fit to play, while also bringing in some players that we believe can help us moving forward as we start our preparations for the Olympics next year,” Crocker said.
“We’re looking forward to having the opportunity to honor the players who have decided to retire but also know these games are valuable as the first steps towards Paris. Once the new head coach comes in, that individual will assess the player pool and make roster decisions that will be focused on building a team for the future.
Kilgore had the primary responsibility of filling out the roster beyond the 21 World Cup veterans who were included.
The five players who didn’t go to the World Cup are Chicago Red Stars defenders Tierna Davidson and Casey Krueger, as well as Portland Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey, Chelsea FC forward Mia Fishel and San Diego Wave forward Jaedyn Shaw. The last two will be looking to earn their first caps.
Fishel, 22, earns her second senior team call-up after participating in a training camp in October 2020, while Shaw’s call-up is her first at the senior level. Shaw, 18, has five NWSL goals so far this season for the Wave.
“The Olympics may seem like they are far away, but the amount of time that the players get with the national neam between now and Paris is not a lot, so we need to start that journey now,” Kilgore said. “No matter who the coach is, or which players get to wear the crest, the standards remain the same and everyone wants to excel, so we’ll be looking forward to putting together two good performances against a South Africa team that showed well at the World Cup.”
South Africa is coming off an impressive performance at the Women’s World Cup in which it advanced out of Group G behind Sweden on the strength of a 2-2 draw with Argentina and a dramatic 3-2 win over Italy in its final group game, with the winning goal coming in the 92nd minute from Racing Louisville’s Thembi Kgatlana. The Banyana Banyana then fell 2-0 to the Netherlands in the round of 16.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Club)
Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (9): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
Midfielders (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Julie Ertz (Unattached), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, France), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
Forwards (8): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, England), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)