The U.S. women’s national team is playing in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand without a number of familiar faces.
Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at who those players are and why they’re absent. Next up: Christen Press.
Total caps: 115
Most recent USWNT appearance: Aug. 5, 2021 vs. Australia (Tokyo Olympics)
The 34-year-old tore her ACL while playing for Angel City FC last June. Back in May, she said she was in “the final stretch” of her recovery, and she wouldn’t rule herself out of a World Cup push.
“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.”
Press revealed on Instagram in March that she had undergone three surgeries on her knee in eight months. Still, she had referred to the World Cup as a motivator during her recovery, despite the “tough” timeline to make the team.
“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.”
But Press suffered another setback, as she revealed on July 17: She will require a fourth surgery to repair her knee. While she still is “working toward” her goal of returning to the pitch, she had to give up on her World Cup dream.
Even if healthy, Press may have faced an uphill battle to make the roster, as she did not make the cut for the the Concacaf W Championship roster in 2022 even before her injury.
While the Angel City forward made a return to the practice field in cleats in early June, she remains on the season-ending injury list. She didn’t provide a timeline for her fourth knee surgery, but the procedure seems likely to rule her out of the 2023 NWSL season. But she does want to return to professional soccer, she said.
“Despite the fact that, on paper, this is an athlete’s recovery-nightmare, I feel in my heart that to climb the mountain — yes, even one more time — is the dream,” Press wrote.