The 24 Players Going To Train Before Vlatko Andonvski's First Game
Vlatko Andonovski, the new coach for the US Women’s National Soccer Team, has officially invited players to a national training camp. This camp will precede the November games against Sweden and Costa Rica, which will be the last two games of 2019 and will offer the first insights into what Andonovski has in store for the USWNT. Andonovski gave 24 players the chance to train with the team ahead of the November games. These players are getting international opportunities at a crucial time right before the start of Olympic qualifiers. These players, therefore, are all probably hoping to be one of the 20 players that goes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
2019 WORLD CUP VETERANS
Andonovski has not told anyone on the 2019 World Cup roster to stay home yet. Out of the 23 players that went to France, only six of them are going to be missing out on the two upcoming games this November. Five are absent due to injury and one is absent due to pregnancy. Everyone else will be going to Adonovski's training camp.
Although Franch was technically on the USWNT roster in the 2019 World Cup, she did not get any playing time, which could hurt her chances of sticking around as Alyssa Naeher’s backup goalkeeper. Andonovski may only bring one backup to Tokyo, so Franch will probably have to fight for her place on the team. She has the advantage of being the youngest veteran backup goalkeeper in Andonovski’s training camp.
Like Franch, Harris went to the World Cup as a backup goalkeeper and did not get to see the pitch. Unfortunately, she is older than all the other goalkeepers on the squad, which means she needs to really stand out if she wants to avoid being one of the three 2019 World Cup veterans that will not get themselves a ticket to Japan.
Naeher may be over 30 years old, but she is the only keeper that controlled the back line in France, orchestrated a couple of World Cup shutouts, and was instrumental in brining home the 2019 World Cup victory. Andonovski may want to start looking for younger keepers, but Naeher is still in decent shape and the new coach will probably want to have a veteran keeper like Naeher on hand, even if she is at risk to getting relegated to the position of a backup keeper, which could happen if she is outperformed by someone younger.
Dahlkemper certainly produced in France, so it is no surprise that she is going to Andonovski’s training camp. She started every game in the World Cup and played for at least 80 minutes in each game of the tournament. The young central defender is likely the future of the USWNT’s back line, so we should expect her to continue to make international appearances.
Andonovski clearly wants to bring youth to the USWNT, but there is still some room for veterans. Since Sauerbrunn was a starter under Jill Ellis, the former USWNT coach, and her health is still good, she has a shot of being one of the veterans that Andonovski puts on his Olympic roster.
Jill Ellis hardly ever let Sonnett play, even though Sonnett was one of the better defenders in the NWSL and is relatively young. Sonnett did, however, get about ten minutes of playing time in France and she has made other international appearances from previous years. At 25 years old, Sonnett should be able to continue to mature on the international level and prove to Andonovski that she should stick around for the Olympics.
Brian was one of the more surprising names on Jill Ellis’s World Cup roster, but Andonovski does seem to be open to the idea of giving her the chance to impress him. She is young and has time to develop as a player, but there are other young midfielders that have certainly made more of an impact for the USWNT. At least three players need to be cut from the team before the Olympics, so Brian will need to prove that she should not be one of them.
Ertz was probably the first name on Jill Ellis’s roster. Andonovski probably agrees that Ertz is a player worth inviting to international games. At only 27 years old, she has already made almost 100 international appearances, so she has a perfect balance between youth and experience. Furthermore, she is one of the most versatile Americans since she can play both defense and midfield. Unless Ertz becomes unavailable to play due to injury or something similar, Andonovski has no reason to make her stay home this summer.
Horan was the first person to win the title of NWSL MVP without simultaneously winning the NWSL Golden Boot. In other words, even if Horan does not score the most goals, she still has an important impact on the field. She is very good at winning balls, setting up goals for her teammates, and scoring herself. The USWNT already has a strong midfield without Horan’s help, but Horan can certainly contribute and add some depth. She is also young, so Andonovski will probably let her stick around.
Anyone that follows Lavelle’s career will be happy to know that Lavelle is healthy enough to go to Andonovski’s training camp. Based on her fantastic performance in France, she should continue to get opportunities with the USWNT if she can continue to avoid injuries.
In France, she brought experience to a group of younger midfielders, but those midfielders are now veterans of the 2019 World Cup, so Long’s age is no longer an advantage and she will have to prove herself if she wants to avoid getting dropped from the team before the 2020 Olympics. Luckily, she did play under Andonovski with Reign FC, so Andonovski might be willing to let Long play on Team USA this summer.
Because of Mewis’s fantastic form in France, Lindsey Horan did not get as much playing time as everyone expected. People thought Horan was going to be the future of the USWNT, but other midfielders like Mewis are proving to have a bright future with the USWNT as well. Andonovski will probably keep Mewis around if she continues to deliver.
Although Heath is getting older, she is one of the most technically advanced players that the USWNT has. She is probably the best dribbler in the world as well, so Andonovski would have trouble replacing her. She should be able to impress Andonovski in training camp and produce results in the two November games. Hopefully, Andonovski will continue to give Heath calls if Heath can stay healthy.
At 37 years old, Carli Lloyd is still a force to reckoned with on the field. She is certainly not ready for her international career to be over and has spent the last few months proving that Andonovski should give her a chance to make in onto the Olympic squad.
McDonald started her international career late, which means her career with the USWNT might be short-lived. However, Andonovski might let her stick around, especially if other strikers become unavailable. For example, Carli Lloyd might retire, Alex Morgan might not recover fully after her pregnancy, and any of the other older forwards could easily get injured.
Press was not usually a starter under Jill Ellis during the World Cup, but her career with both the Utah Royals and the USWNT has shown that she has the talent to start. The USWNT will be looking to display improvement after their two recent lackluster games against South Korea. Press was one of the few bright spots during those games, especially the first one. Andonovski may, therefore, decide to let Press get more playing time to see if she can continue to bring the spark that the USWNT needs. She should be in a decent position to go to Tokyo if she can impress Andonovski.
Although Pugh’s list of international credentials may be shorter than some of the other wingers on the USWNT such as Megan Rapinoe and Tobin Heath, Pugh is very young as has time to develop her resumé. Andonovski will certainly be looking to train young players like Pugh to eventually replace legendary forwards like Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and Carli Lloyd when they retire. Additionally, as young as Pugh is, she does have Olympic experience from Rio, so she should be able to find herself a spot on the 2020 Olympic roster.
Only 23 players could go to the France with Jill Ellis, which left a couple players off the rosters. However, three of the players that have certainly gotten close to finding themselves a more permanent spot with the USWNT are going to the next training camp.
Short was playing with the USWNT before the 2019 World Cup, but Jill Ellis cut her from the roster at the last second. Ellis was probably looking for attacking fullbacks and Short, unfortunately, does not contribute so much on offense. However, Short has been developing her style of play with the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL. Additionally, Andonovski is probably willing to be a little more flexible about the kinds of fullbacks he wants on the team, which means Short can try to carve herself a path to Tokyo.
The USWNT might not need more depth in the midfield, but Sullivan can still offer some. The young captain of the Washington Spirit can play a defensive midfield position if Andonovski wants to let Ertz play defense instead of midfield. However, Sullivan can also play as an attacking midfield and give the USWNT a few goals if needed.
It has been a long time since Williams played with the USWNT, but she is the best American scorer in the NWSL and could be a solid replacement to Alex Morgan. She lead the North Carolina Courage’s attack in the NWSL and her talent could probably translate onto the international level.
Andonovski is clearly looking for youth in case he decides to replace any of the veterans. A few of the younger professional players are now receiving their first call from the USWNT, which may give them a chance to go to Tokyo this summer.
Purce has gotten a few calls from the USWNT to join training camps, but she is still uncapped. The November games may finally be her chance to make her first international appearance. She can bring youth to Andonovski’s attack and would probably work well with the other Portland Thorns attackers on the USWNT like Lindsey Horan and Tobin Heath. She might book herself a ticket to Tokyo if she can score or set up a few goals. Keep in mind, however, that Purce is also capable of being groomed as the next converted fullback.
The 27-year-old keeper was named to the NWSL Best XI in the 2019 season. She clearly caught the eye of Andonovski and will now have the chance to compete with Alyssa Naeher, AD Franch, and Ashlyn Harris for a chance to play in the Olympics. Out of all the keepers in Andonovski’s training camp, Bledsoe is the youngest, but she is also the least experienced. Andonovski will have to decide if he wants to take a chance on her to give her more experience.
The PSG defender has caught the eye of a couple of different coaches. Her father is from England, which is how Cook got the chance to go to one of Great Britain’s training camps. However, Andonovski now wants to see if she could be a good fit for the USWNT, so the former Stanford star may have to decide if she would rather play for the United States or Great Britain. Certainly, the USWNT is more dominant and has a better shot of bringing home victories, but Great Britain is also one of the best teams in the world and it might be easier to find a place on Phil Neville’s English rosters this summer.
The 2018 winner of the NWSL Rookie of the Year Award has received her first call from the USWNT. Dorsey is only 23 years old, so Andonovski can think about letting her replace one of the older veteran defenders this summer.
PLAYERS THAT ARE MISSING
Anyone missing out on games right now has relatively lousy timing because Olympic qualifiers are approaching and Andonovski only just became the new head coach. There is not a lot of time to impress him before he starts thinking about the Tokyo roster.
O’Hara has been battling injuries, so she is not available for playing. Unfortunately, O’Hara needs the opportunity to play under Andonovski if she wants to go to the Olympic qualifiers and then to the Olympics in 2020. She is approaching her retirement age and there are several younger defenders around that can replace her if she does not find herself a chance to stand out to the new coach. Luckily, Andonovski probably wants to keep a few veteran defenders on the team and O’Hara is one of the best defenders in the world. She had a fantastic performance in the 2019 World Cup in France and was usually a starter under Jill Ellis.
Krieger is another older defender that is battling injuries. Krieger must know that her international career is going to end soon. Although she got plenty of playing time in the 2019 World Cup in France, she was usually a substitute. Andonovski might want to hold onto a few veteran defenders, but he is unlikely to hold onto veterans that barely started with the USWNT in recent years. Although Krieger is still one of the strongest defenders in the NWSL, she needs to recover from her injuries quickly if she is hoping to stay on Andonovski’s roster.
In the last NWSL game of the year, Dunn picked up an injury and was, therefore, not invited to training camp. However, Dunn is relatively young and is probably the most versatile player in the United States. She was one of the strongest starting defenders for the USWNT in France, but she is a dangerous attacker in the NWSL. Therefore, before she was injured, she probably the first name on Andonovski’s roster. He is likely to give Dunn a shot at making a good first impression when she recovers.
The young defender injured herself right before the last game of the NWSL postseason, which could hurt her chances of going to the Olympics. Although Davidson’s defending in the NWSL is very strong, she has gotten relatively few chances to play at the international level. Andonovski probably appreciates Davidson’s youth, which might mean that she will get to stick around. However, he is already calling up other young defenders. Davidson’s future may end up depending on exactly how Andonovski chooses to create a balance between veterans and new blood.
After recently announcing her pregnancy, Morgan still seems interested in going to the Tokyo Olympics. Her due date is about three months before the tournament, so she will have some time to recover, but Andonovski is still probably thinking about replacing her with younger strikers just in case.
Hamilton made her international debut in one of Jill Ellis’s last games as the coach for the USWNT. She had an explosive year with the NWSL, earning a nomination for the NWSL MVP. However, she has not received a call since her brief appearance in the USWNT’s game against Portugal. At 27 years old, her international career still has a little bit of time to develop, but she will need Andonovski to give her a call soon if she wants to go to the Olympics.
The 34-year-old forward needs to stop getting injured if she wants to avoid retirement before the 2020 Olympics. Rapinoe is probably close to the end of her international career and has been battling injuries since the 2019 World Cup. Still, she did manage to hit the pitch in a few NWSL games and proved that she still has good form. Additionally, she played in two international games against South Korea. During those two games, the USWNT scored three goals and Rapinoe set up all of them, so Andonovski will probably give her as many chances as he can to continue playing for the USWNT.