Eighteen-year-old Alyssa Thompson was among the 23 players selected Wednesday for the United States team that will defend its title at the Women’s World Cup next month.
Thompson, who has been impressive this season as a rookie for Angel City in the National Women’s Soccer League, was called onto the team in early April for a match against Ireland, taking the place of injured forward Mallory Swanson.
The roster selected by Vlatko Andonovski includes a mix of both familiar faces and newcomers like Thompson.
“We are expecting the level of play at this World Cup to be the best it’s ever been, and all the teams must keep up with that growth,” Andonovski said in a statement Wednesday. “For years, we’ve been able to see first-hand where the game is going and that’s exciting. We are proud to have been one of the teams leading the way for women’s international soccer and I know the tournament will once again show the world how great these players are across all 32 teams.”
The veterans include national team stalwart Megan Rapinoe, who will be making her fourth World Cup appearance at age 37, and Alex Morgan, 33, another four-time World Cup veteran. Defender Kelley O’Hara, 34, also earned a spot on the roster as a veteran presence to shore up the backline in the absence of veteran defender and team captain Becky Sauerbrunn, a member of the Portland Thorns who announced last week she won’t play in the World Cup because of a lingering foot injury.
The United States has won the last two World Cups and is vying for an unprecedented third title when the tournament kicks off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand. The Americans are in Group E with Vietnam, the Netherlands and Portugal. The United States opens with Vietnam on July 22 local time in Auckland.
The U.S. will be without Sauerbrunn and Swanson, who injured the patella tendon in her left knee. Her injury is another big blow to the United States — she led the team with seven goals this year.
In addition to Swanson and Sauerbrunn, Catarina Macario will be missing. Macario is a talented forward who tore her ACL last year while playing for her French club, Lyon. Midfielder Sam Mewis also has a lingering injury and wasn’t available for the World Cup.
Some of the youngsters include 22-year-old Sophia Smith, the Portland Thorns forward who was named both the NWSL Most Valuable Player and the U.S. Soccer Player of the Year for 2022, and 21-year-old Trinity Rodman, U.S. Soccer’s Young Player of the Year in 2021 and the daughter of former NBA star Dennis Rodman.
Midfielder Julie Ertz, who was on the team that won the title in 2019, made the squad after returning to the team in April following a long layoff for the birth of her son.
A surprise inclusion on the roster was 25-year-old Savannah DeMelo, who has yet to appear in a match for the United States. DeMelo plays for Racing Louisville in the NWSL, and has scored in three of her last four matches. She has five total goals this season.
The roster by position with club affiliation:
Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Gotham), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign).
Midfielders: Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Julie Ertz (Angel City), Lindsey Horan (Lyon), Rose Lavelle, (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (Gotham), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
Forwards: Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City), Lynn Williams (Gotham FC).