USWNT will have a new look in October friendlies with Switzerland

jill ellis

By TOM SLATER

As predicted by many and virtually promised by coach Jill Ellis, changes are underfoot with the United States Women’s National Team.

Ellis named her 24-player roster for training camp ahead of two matches against Switzerland, on Oct. 19 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2) and Oct. 23 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. (2:45 p.m. MT on FS1). Ellis will name 18 players to suit up for each match.

Of those 24 players in camp, 11 will be looking for their first international appearance on the senior national team camp. All of them have previous U.S. Youth National Team experience at the Under-23 level or younger with. Eight are from the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and three straight from college.

There will still be familiar names such as Carli Lloyd, Kelley O’Hara, Morgan Brian, Tobin Heath and Becky Sauerbrunn. However other familiar names such as Megan Rapinioe, Ali Kreiger and Alex Morgan will not be in camp. Add those to the already departed Whitney Engen, Heather O’Reilly, Hope Solo and Christie Rampone and there’s no question that Ellis is looking for a younger team for the next tournament cycle.

“Right now, we are in a phase where we want to try to expand the player pool, look at a number of players and start the long process to qualifying for the next World Cup,” said Ellis. “That means several of our more experienced players won’t be in for this camp while we get to evaluate some different personnel. In order to see if these players can contribute, we need to get them into a National Team training environment and in games. Our staff has been watching NWSL games this season and these are the ones that stood out. The league is vitally important to create a tremendous competitive environment for these players to show their talents as professionals and we are excited to give them a chance with the National Team.”

Some of the key new call-ups include:

  • Abby Dahlkemper: The former U.S. Under-17 Women’s National Team captain played every minute of every game this season at center back for the Western New York Flash. This is her first senior team call-up.
  • Lynn Williams: The 2016 NWSL Golden Boot winner scored 11 times for the Western New York Flash and two more in her club’s playoff semifinal victory over the Portland Thorns.
  • Kealia Ohai: The Houston Dash forward also scored 11 goals during the regular season. She scored the game-winning goal in the 2012 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup Final as the United States defeated Germany, 1-0, to win its third championship for that age level.
  • Danielle Colaprico: The Chicago Red Stars midfielder spent time in WNT camps at the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016

The matches against Switzerland will only be the third and fourth meetings between the two countries, with the USA winning both previous contents. The Americans triumphed 4-1 on Aug. 20, 2014 in Cary, N.C. and 3-0 on March 6, 2015 at the Algarve Cup in Portugal.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3):
 Jane Campbell (Stanford), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Western New York Flash), Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Andi Sullivan (Stanford)

FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City), Ashley Hatch (BYU), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (Western New York Flash)