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USWNT 2021 SheBelieves roster: Alex Morgan, Christen Press back; keeper Casey Murphy gets first 2021 callup

United States women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski announced his roster for the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, featuring a heavy number of National Women’s Soccer League players and the return of some USWNT mainstays like Christen Press (Manchester United) and Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride) who recently recovered from COVID-19. 

SheBelieves Cup matches will take place on Feb. 18, 21 and 24 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, as the Americans will face off against Brazil, Canada and Argentina in a series of three matchdays with doubleheaders. 

The U.S. roster features 17 players currently playing in the NWSL and six currently playing in Europe. Players for Euro-based clubs will arrive to Orlando over the next week. Twenty-one-year-old midfielder for Lyon, Catarina Macario, however, will arrive in Orlando with the bulk of the roster on Feb. 8 at the start of training camp while Paris Saint-Germain’s 23-year-old defender Alana Cook is anticipated to arrive shortly thereafter. Players based in England are scheduled to arrive on Feb. 13. 

“We will hit the ground running in Orlando with most of our roster and will get in some great work in the first part of camp before we start focusing on the games once all the European-based players arrive,” Andonovski said. “I think we made a lot of progress on and off the field during the January camp and games, so we’ll be looking to build on that for these three matches and we want to continue to test different players in tough environments. Each game will present its own unique challenges and the matches are not only a step up in competition from January, but as I’ve said before, are extremely valuable as a test run for group play at the Olympics.”

The roster announcement comes a few days after the USWNT opened their 2021 campaign with a pair of friendly victories (4-0 and 6-0) over Colombia after a lengthy January camp that saw the return of team veterans Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd. For Morgan, her return to camps comes after a brief stint in FA women’s super league with Tottenham and a recovery from COVID-19 prior to January camps.

“She’s one of the players that is on the list of our high performance coaches [who] are overseeing, supervising, providing trainings, so that when she comes in camp she’s at the level, or close to the level where everybody else is so she can take all the challenges.”

Missing from the SheBelieves roster after the January camps are Orlando Pride players Ali Krieger and Ashlyn Harris. Goalkeeper Casey Murphy will be participating in her first senior-level camp with the U.S. in 2021 along side starting keeper Alyssa Naeher, and Jane Campbell who played a game against Colombia in the previous camp. 

“Anyone that comes that comes on the national team, we have high expectations and that’s not a secret, it’s the best team in the world. The expectations for Casey will be to be the best goalkeeper on the team, but it’s the same expectation for Jane [and] is the same the same expectation for for Alyssa,” said Andonovski.

“Just because she’s younger, or she comes in, or she hasn’t been in before, or for a while, doesn’t mean that we’re gonna take it any easier if I can say. The expectations are same for everyone, they’re expected to be the best version of themselves, challenge for a starting spot, and that’s what ultimately makes this team the best . .  They want to be the best, they want to be starters, they want to make [an] impact — that’s what separates us from anybody else, and that’s what the expectations are for Casey.”

The overall roster also includes players as training camp players with Emily Fox, Jaelin Howell, and Mallory Pugh included in the SheBelieves camp. All players were included in the previous January camps, with Fox seeing game time against Colombia, though Pugh picked up an injury during camps. 

“When we made when we made the roster. It wasn’t easy. We can see that there’s some very good players that didn’t make the roster, Jalen and Emily, you know, being being some of them,” said Andonovski.

“Because of where they’re in the stage of the career that they’re at, I feel like, those are the type of players that need to be there regardless of if they’re going to be able to play games or not. Right now at this particular camp; to be around these players, they need to be around this coaching staff, they need to be in the system, to get used to my approach — the coaching staff approach, to get used to the team, team tactical principles, the game idea [and] game model that we have. So when it comes time for them, hopefully they become more regular on the national team, they’re not a step behind with the process, but they’re up to date.”

USWNT’s SheBelieves Cup roster (club; caps/goals): 

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 4), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 65)

DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 63/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 27/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 107/24), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 133/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 4/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 179/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 48/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 105/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 88/20), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 48/13), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnaise, FRA; 2/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 18/3), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City, ENG; 70/21)

FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 296/123), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 170/107), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 139/58), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 170/54), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 31/10)

Training Players: Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC; 4/0), Jaelin Howell (Florida State; 1/0), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars; 63/18)

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