May 28, 2024

Veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn returns to the women’s national team, alongside teenagers Alyssa Thompson, Olivia Moultrie and Jaedyn Shaw, for upcoming friendlies with Colombia in Sandy, Utah and San Diego.

Sauerbrunn, 38, missed last summer’s World Cup because of a foot injury but if she starts either of the two Colombia games alongside Thompson or Moultrie, who are both 18, the 20-year age gap will be the largest in team history. Shaw will turn 19 on Friday.

Also returning to the roster is forward Sophia Smith, the reigning NWSL scoring champion. She hasn’t played for the U.S. since spraining her right knee following the World Cup. She is one of 18 World Cup players on the roster and one of 17 whose team is taking part in the NWSL playoffs. The playoffs will pause for two weeks for the FIFA international break, meaning no player will have to choose between club and country.

The two matches could be the last for interim coach Twila Kilgore. The U.S. has two matches scheduled for December but Matt Crocker, U.S. Soccer’s sporting director, said last month he was confident he would name a permanent manager by then.

Kilgore was named interim coach when the federation sacked Vlatko Andonovski after the U.S. failed to advance past the World Cup round of 16, the team’s earliest exit.

Thompson will be joined on the 27-player roster by Angel City FC teammate M.A. Vignola, who made her international debut last month. Moultrie, from Canyon Country, became the youngest player in NWSL history when she signed a three-year contract with the Portland Thorns in 2021 at 15. She has played five times for the U20 national team, but this is her first call-up to the senior national team.

Shaw, who trained with the national team last month, also si looking for her first senior cap.

Also called up was former UCLA standout Mia Fishel, who plays in England with Chelsea. She and midfielder Lindsey Horan of French club Lyon are the only players currently with clubs outside the U.S. Of the 12 NWSL teams, only Kansas City, Orlando and Houston are not represented on the roster.

“This roster is a mix of the players from the World Cup team who are fit to play international minutes, players trying to establish themselves in the environment and players who are taking a next step in their growth through this experience,” Kilgore said in a statement.

The U.S. will train at altitude in Utah before playing Colombia, a World Cup quarterfinalist, on Oct. 26 at American First Field in Sandy, then decamp for San Diego where the teams will meet again Oct. 29 at Snapdragon Stadium. Like the U.S., Colombia already qualified for next summer’s Paris Olympics.

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign), M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC)

Midfielders: Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards: Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

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