USWNT: Jill Ellis rings in the changes for next matches

Jill Ellis promised changes in the composition of the U.S. women's national team roster for friendlies against Switzerland Oct. 19 in Sandy, Utah, and Oct. 23 in Minneapolis. She also promised to look at new players from the NWSL. And she did it in numbers: Just 10 of the 18 2016 Olympians were retained, and 11 of the 24 players are uncapped, eight from the NWSL and three from the college ranks.

"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."

The uncapped players include 2016 NWSL MVP Lynn Williams, who has led the Western New York Flash to the league final Sunday against the Washington Spirit. The Flash was the only NWSL with a representative on the U.S. 18 at the Rio Olympics, but it has three players in Ellis' team for the Switzerland friendlies: Sam Mewis (an Olympic alternate), her former UCLA teammate, Abby Dahlkemper, and Williams.

"Our staff has been watching NWSL games this season and these are the ones that stood out," said Ellis. "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."

The collegians are Jane Campbell and Andi Sullivan from Stanford and BYU's Ashley Hatch, the leading NCAA Division I women's scorer.

The eight players not called in include Hope Solo, who is suspended, Whitney Engen, who said Ellis told her she no longer fits in her plans, and 18-year-old Mallory Pugh, who is preparing for the Under-20 Women's World Cup. Alex Morgan, Meghan Klingenberg and Julie Johnston were all starters at the Rio Olympics, while Megan Rapinoe and Ali Krieger had reserve roles.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford Univ.), 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).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns), Sam Mewis (Western New York Flash), Andi Sullivan (Stanford Univ.).
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).
11 comments about "USWNT: Jill Ellis rings in the changes for next matches".
  1. Brian Ashley, October 7, 2016 at 8:09 a.m.

    Interesting. Sure would have been good to know that BEFORE buying tickets. So, the advertising for the game should have read, "come see a few USWNT players playing with some other people.
    Honestly, the USWNT has skipped Minneapolis for far too long and when they finally decide to come to town they only bring a few WNT players?

  2. jj jjest replied, October 7, 2016 at 4:37 p.m.

    You gotta live for the future too. It's time for a new group of leaders to become involved. They have a few in this group! It's Hatch and Williams.

  3. Terry Lynch, October 7, 2016 at 9:01 a.m.

    Yeah, but the good news is there's no Rapinoe. It's a shame to dump Engen so ingloriously and keep (maybe) MR. Anyway, I think it's exciting to see the next generation. Try to pick out who's going to make it.

  4. Brian Ashley replied, October 7, 2016 at 9:40 a.m.

    Maybe. But I sure wish they'd do that on someone else's fine and time. Been waiting many years to take my daughter to a WNT game. Had to wait while USWNT completely ignored the upper Midwest. And now, AFTER buying the tickets, to find that it's really not the WNT at all, but mostly people trying out for the team is sorely disappointing. Why does US Soccer hate the Upper Midwest so much?

  5. Fire Paul Gardner Now replied, October 7, 2016 at 1:35 p.m.

    Yep - Jill Ellis should have said "we are in a phase of the cycle where we need to bring in new players to get experience but Brian Ashley and his daughter have tickets so I better just call in whoever he wants."

  6. Gus Keri, October 7, 2016 at 10:03 a.m.

    Brian, you still have Lloyd in the team. You can't go wrong with watching the best player in the world. Also, you have Dunn, Press, Horan, Heath and Brian. These are excellent players and will be there in the next world cup. So, take your daughter to the game and let her enjoy it.

  7. Kevin Sims, October 7, 2016 at 12:06 p.m.

    4 UVA players in the mix ... curious about count from other schools?

    Can reasonably be foreseen that a post-World Cup friendly would serve as an audition for newcomers to the pool ... perhaps some will stand out and spectators can claim they were there when the next great USWNT player debuted

  8. Brian Ashley replied, October 7, 2016 at 5:09 p.m.

    Okay, Gus and Kevin, I get that it's either not a big deal to you. Maybe you live in Texas, Florida, California, or one of the other states where you can count on seeing the USWNT all the time. Here in the upper midwest we've been passef over year after year. So when we were told the USWNT was finally going to play a game in our area we bought the best tickets. Would have even bought the fantasy camp tickets, but it's been so long since the USWNT has been here that my kid is now too old for that since it's only for younger kids. All I'm saying is that if they weren't going to bring most of the team it would have been good to know that before putting the tickets on sale. Would you pay top dollar to see your favorite band if they only brought the drummer? Would you pay top dollar to see an American football game where only half the players has played on that team before? Of course not. You're not idiots. So, yeah, I get that Ellis wants to try out new players. And as long as it's her team she can try out as many new players at a time as she wants. But as the customer I'm saying it would be appropriate to let people know that you are going to do that on such a large scale before selling them the tickets.

  9. Philip Johnson, October 7, 2016 at 2:09 p.m.

    Congrats to the new players called into this falls USWNT camp. With so few spots in which players can be evaluated, I'm sure there are still a some very talented players that have been overlooked. One of those players is certainly Samantha Johnson (Chicago Red Stars). Over the past 3 NWSL seasons, Samantha has been a defensive 'mainstay' & anchored one of the best defensive backlines in the league. Hopefully, the current & upcoming evaluation cycles will yield an opportunity for Samantha & other additional player that may have been overlooked...

  10. jj jjest, October 7, 2016 at 4:43 p.m.

    I hope a few superstars are born. We need them.

  11. Brian Ashley, October 7, 2016 at 5:11 p.m.

    Would also like to see Kassey Kallman as long as we're adding new players.

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