The U.S. women's national team interim head coach Twila Kilgore named a 27-player roster for the upcoming October friendlies against Colombia. The two-game series will begin on Oct. 26 in Sandy, Utah, and conclude on Oct. 29 in San Diego, California. The roster is similar to the September squad list, which also featured 27 players, but with a few player rotations in light of recent retirements of Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe.
Team captain Becky Sauerbrunn is back with the squad after a lengthy absence with a foot injury, and Sophia Smith is back with the team after an MCL sprain sustained in NWSL play ahead of the September friendlies. Portland Thorns FC midfielder Olivia Moultrie is the new name of the roster. This is the first-ever senior national team call-up for the 18-year-old.
"I was very impressed and pleased with the focus, energy and dedication of the players to prepare for the two games against South Africa in September and I'm expecting the same for this camp, even if we'll only have a few training days together," said Kilgore.
"Once again, 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 with the senior National Team. All of these players are excited for the future and for these two tough tests against Colombia, which is a team we might see in the Olympics next year."
Take a look at the entire roster here:
USWNT Roster (Club; Caps/Goals)
Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 15),
Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 96)
Defenders (9): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 27/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 138/24), Emily Fox (North
Carolina Courage; 35/1), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 22/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 31/0), Casey
Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 40/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 216/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 79/2), M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC; 1/0)
Midfielders (6): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC; 4/0), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 4/0),
Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 135/29), Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Ashley Sanchez
(Washington Spirit; 26/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 51/3)
Forwards (9): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG; 1/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 20/5), Alex Morgan
(San Diego Wave FC; 213/121), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 24/4), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit;
24/6), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; 0/0), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 34/14), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 7/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 57/17)
Players who are ready for international play
Kilgore was named to the position by U.S. sporting director Matt Crocker back in August. After the USWNT failed to advance past the round of 16 for the first time ever in program history, the federation parted ways with Vlatko Andonovski. Crocker did place a deadline on the role as the search for a permanent head coach continues, and the October friendlies are likely the final pair of matches for Kilgore as U.S. Soccer wants the position filled by November for the December window.
The roster is a mix of 2023 World Cup players, with a sprinkling of newer names in the mix and even the return of familiar faces. Sauerbrunn and Smith are back with the squad after recovering from lower body injuries.
"It's a joint effort overall between Matt and myself," Kilgore told media on how the roster gets selected at this time. "If they're healthy and fit to play international minutes, that's a directive from Matt. But something that we've worked together on and I have quite a bit of leeway with the rest of the roster."
The October window will be the first for Sauerbrunn since April. In her absence, we've seen a return in minutes for Alana Cook -- who did not play in the World Cup -- and Tierna Davidson, who was not named to the World Cup roster but is missing this camp due to a face injury she sustained in NWSL play. Sauerbrunn is likely to see some action in the role over the two games.
"I think it's really important to just kind of remind everybody that Becky would have been on a World Cup roster had she been fully fit for international minutes at that time," said Kilgore.
"Anytime a player suffers an injury and has to work their way back, that's always going to be really difficult, but the quality of play that Becky has shown in her return has been very, very high. There's a reason why she's one of, and has been, one of the best center backs in the world. She has been called into this camp because she continues to be one of the best center backs that we have."
Will we see more first-time debuts?
For now, Kilgore has two wins with the team, a pair of victories against South Africa in September. She also gave national team debuts to new names in the player pool. M.A. Vignola and Mia Fishel each earned their first cap and are back with the squad for October.
Shaw is back with the team, and the addition of Moultrie could mean that two more players get their first caps under coach Kilgore.
"We're asking them to just come into the environment with a really open mind. Be willing to do all the little things. Rake advantage of every opportunity they can to prepare for trainings, to review classroom sessions, to take advantage of all the coaches that are on staff, the veterans. Learn every single thing that they can and then when they go on the field, just simply execute what's being asked, and to be themselves," Kilgore said of the first-time players on the team.
Kilgore also went on to praise the skill set of Shaw and Moultrie. Both players are preparing for a semifinal with their respective NWSL clubs set for Nov. 5. Each has played starting roles for club and are expected to be key figures through the postseason. Kilgore noted Moultire's ability to play between the lines and accelerate attack and mentioned Shaw's ability to play different roles and her unique quality on the final pass. Fans will have to wait and see if they earn first appearances at the senior level.
"Every player that's called them to camp has an opportunity to prove themselves. Whether it's in training, in the environment that they belong there. And potentially, if they play, that they deserve those minutes," Kilgore said.