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Christen Press keeps hope alive for return to USWNT World Cup roster

Christen Press has not played for the USWNT since the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021. (Logan Beerman/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Christen Press isn’t ruling herself out for the 2023 World Cup.

The 34-year-old forward is in “the final stretch” of her recovery from an ACL tear, and she hopes to return to the field soon, she revealed Monday on ESPN’s “Fútbol Americas.”

“It has been a unique recovery journey. I’ve had some setbacks, and I’ve had some ups and downs. I think that’s normal,” she said. “I think this took a bit longer than I had hoped up until now. But I’m in the final stretch of my recovery. I’m starting to feel like myself again, getting my body back. Hopefully I’ll be joining the team soon.”

Back in March, Press revealed on Instagram that she had undergone three surgeries on her knee in eight months. She tore her ACL in an Angel City FC game last June.

While Press was expected to make her return to the pitch in March, the multiple surgeries pushed back that timeline. While USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has described Press as in “return-to-play protocol,” she missed the team’s April friendlies against Ireland.

Still, if you ask the forward, she aims to be on the plane to Australia and New Zealand.

“There has never been a moment where I lost hope and that I took my focus off of the World Cup, from the moment that I got injured until now,” she said. “It’s the North Star for all of us professional players and it’s a motivation.

“Obviously the timing’s really tough. But I’m doing everything I can to get back as quickly as possible because it would be a dream come true to represent my country again at that level.”

Since Press tore her ACL last June, a number of the game’s biggest stars have sustained the same injury. Alexia Putellas ruptured hers ahead of the Euros in July, while Marie Antoinette-Katoto tore hers during the tournament.

Vivianne Miedema, Beth Mead, Janine Beckie and Leah Williamson have all torn their ACLs since November. The USWNT’s Mallory Pugh will also miss the World Cup with a knee injury, though she suffered a torn patellar tendon.

“I think the amount of ACL injuries in professional women’s soccer in the last two years has just been shocking,” Press said. “I think if the caliber of players – from Beth Mead to Miedema to Alexia – in every league, international players doing double duty, if this happened on the men’s side, we would’ve immediately seen a reaction of how are we going to solve this and figure this out and make sure that these players are going to be available at the biggest moments of their career.”