Lynn Williams had a lot to process when it came to her role with the U.S. women’s national team at the 2023 World Cup.
On the most recent episode of “Snacks,” she described the roller coaster of emotions she experienced in regards to her role with the team. Williams sat for the USWNT’s first two games, prompting questions from media and fans, before starting in the group-stage finale against Portugal.
Williams had a conversation with former head coach Vlatko Andonovski about her bench role at the World Cup ahead of the tournament, she told co-host Sam Mewis on the show. Williams entered the World Cup ready to channel her “inner Christen Press” and be a “super seven” sub, based on what Andonovski had described to her.
“So I was clinging on to that. And so with Vietnam, not playing in that, I mean, on some level, it’s devastating,” she said. “Because you’re like, everybody’s getting into the game, and I’m not getting into the game.”
Williams leaned into supporting the team and not letting her disappointment get to her before refocusing for the USWNT’s next game against the Netherlands. The forward did not play in that game, either, as Andonovski drew criticism for his lack of substitutions in the 1-1 draw. Andonovski resigned as USWNT head coach in the weeks following the team’s exit.
“I just felt like I could have made a big impact,” Williams said about the Netherlands game. “Of course, everybody thinks that. We wouldn’t be on the team if we didn’t think we could make an impact.
“And so to not get sucked into that it was another like, OK, like, just stay in it. And I just had to remind myself again, like, it’s not about you, it’s about the team. So whatever the decisions were made, just support that decision and make your teammates the best teammates you can possibly be.”
Williams was excited to get the starting nod against Portugal, but said she struggled with her confidence after not playing in a competitive game for a while. In a lackluster 0-0 draw for the USWNT, Williams shined in her role, putting the most shots on goal per 90 minutes of all U.S. players.
She did not start the team’s Round of 16 game against Sweden, but subbed in for Trinity Rodman in the 66th minute as the U.S. tried to break a 0-0 tie. The USWNT ultimately lost to Sweden in a penalty shootout and were eliminated from the World Cup in their worst-ever finish at the tournament.
Williams said she’s still coping with the emotions from her first World Cup, but the experience taught her the importance of supporting her teammates even through personal disappointment.
“I mean, you can’t look on the sidelines and look so distraught, and like you’re not going to give to the team because I think that the bench, you feed off the bench when you’re on the field,” she said. “So I think that you have to give 100% of yourself in those moments to the team, which honestly is like, more exhausting than playing sometimes.
“But I also think that if you want a collective goodness and a mentally sound team, you have to make sure you’re checking in with one another. … I think that that’s a collective responsibility.”