January camp: Vlatko goes young again

U.S. women's national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski named a 25-player roster for the USA’s annual January training camp, scheduled to take place for the first time in Austin, Texas, beginning Jan. 19.

The squad is one of the youngest the national team has ever assembled for a January camp. Twelve players have fewer than 10 caps -- Aubrey Kingsbury, Naomi Girma and Trinity Rodman are all uncapped -- and eight players are 23 or younger -- including Rodman, who is 19.

The Austin camp will be the first for Rodman, the 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year.

"She was one of the most exciting players in the league this past season," said Andonovski. "She proved that she can be impactful in the professional level in NWSL. And with that she earned the call-up for the national team team. Now we don't want to rush anything. We obviously have to be patient. She's still a young player, but we do want to expose her to the environment, where she can get her feet wet a little bit and get used to my coaching and the players that she's around."

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (back after missing the last three months of the 2021 NWSL season due to a knee injury picked up at the Tokyo Olympics) and defender Kelley O'Hara are the only players in camp who are over 30 and played for the USA's 2019 World Cup championship team.

Missing are many of the team's veteran stars: Becky Sauerbrunn (not yet physically prepared for camp, according to Andonovski, after having a setback following a procedure to freeze her eggs), Crystal Dunn (expecting first child in 2022), Julie Ertz (not yet back to full fitness) and Tobin Heath (back at training with Arsenal), but also Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press.

"I had conversations with them before the holidays and before the November camp," Andonovski said. "In the conversations, I did lay out the plan, at least in the short term plan for them, that they're not going be called in the November camp, and January as well, because we wanted to see these young players and we wanted to give them an opportunity. With more of the senior players being around, the younger players would not have as much opportunity as they got, or they're going to get now. We will evaluate all these players in this camp and we'll start making decisions for the future camps as well. Now, with all this being said, these players are not out the picture by any means. A lot of things depend now not just on the players that are not here, a lot depends on the players that are coming in camp and how well they do now, or how well we believe we'll do in near future, or 18 months from now."

All five forwards on the original roster of 18 players for the Tokyo Olympics won't be in camp. Also missing will be rising star Catarina Macario, who was supposed to come in for at least part of the camp but was scratched when her club, Lyon, was drawn with archrival Paris St. Germain in the round of 16 of the Coupe de France on Jan. 30, two days after the end of the U.S. camp. A replacement for Macario will made.

Given the short time between the camp and the SheBelieves Cup Feb. 17-23, the players in Austin -- plus Macario -- are expected to form the nucleus for the first matches of 2022.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3):
Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit)
Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)
Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (9):
Alana Cook (OL Reign)
Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave)
Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars)
Imani Dorsey (Gotham FC)
Emily Fox (Racing Louisville)
Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave)
Sofia Huerta (OL Reign)
Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit)
Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)

MIDFIELDERS (7):
Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns)
Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville)
Rose Lavelle (OL Reign)
Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC)
Samantha Mewis (Kansas City Current)
Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit)
Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS (6):
Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit)
Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars)
Midge Purce (Gotham FC)
Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit)
Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns)
Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current
10 comments about "January camp: Vlatko goes young again".
  1. Charles Allen, January 13, 2022 at 8:07 a.m.

    A recipe for disaster. "Third is good enough" Andonovski  He continues his bizarre rotations. A team is built by fitting players together. So the new should be worked in with the vets. European teams won't come here. They are creating world class teams with the WC in sight. VA is lumping a group of new internationally inexperienced players together without the valuable counsel and bond of the vets. VA has got to go now while there is time.  

  2. R2 Dad replied, January 13, 2022 at 5:05 p.m.

    Unless....unless he wants to instill something different that these new players aren't supposed to pick up from the vets. I would love to see a more patient side, creating more chances inside the 18 and fewer shots from outside the 18.

  3. Wooden Ships replied, January 13, 2022 at 11:51 p.m.

    Agreed R2

  4. Charles Allen, January 13, 2022 at 8:13 a.m.

    "Third is good enough" Andonovski says he wants TRodman (and presumably other new players) to get used to the players they will be next to. So he has already written off the vets. 

  5. Bill Riviere, January 13, 2022 at 9:35 a.m.

    Paul,  I'm surprised you would include information like Becky Sauerbraun freezing her eggs.  I'm surprised that US Soccer would release such information!  That is private and none of anyone's business. That is strictly a family matter and should stay that way.

  6. Michael Saunders replied, January 13, 2022 at 11 a.m.

    Bill Riviere ..... Becky announced it in an intervew with NBC sports, days before it was mentioned by anyone in the Federation, ..... Suggest in the future you check the veracity of your assumptions before going on line with misguided accusations !
     

  7. Bill Riviere, January 13, 2022 at 11:51 a.m.

    I stand corrected. My apologies.  

  8. James Madison, January 13, 2022 at 6 p.m.

    I can understand Rapinoe, as she  shoulr be ready for retirement, and Morgan is sort of "on he bubble," but Press???

  9. uffe gustafsson replied, January 14, 2022 at 5:03 p.m.

    I believe Press announced she need a break from National team. I think it had something to do with that sexual harassment that been in the league.

  10. Bob Ashpole, January 14, 2022 at 3:09 a.m.

    One of the major problems with the USSF programs is that they don't have U23 teams. When they need one, they throw it together at last minute. I don't know if its a budget thing or what. But every High School Athletic Department in the country knows how to run a varsity and junior varsity at the same time. So it isn't breaking any new ground.

    I hope that USSF is trying to make up for the lack of a U23 team with this camp. Poor alternative though.

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