The U-23 U.S. women’s national team will travel to Paris during the upcoming Feb. 12-21 international break for training and two games against the France U-23 national team, U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday. The games will take place on Feb. 17 and 20 at Clairefontaine, France’s National Training Center.
The U.S. U-23 roster is packed with college, NWSL and other top professional talent. Headlining the group is UANL Tigres forward Mia Fishel, who currently holds the Golden Boot title in Liga MX Femenil. Fishel has long been considered a potential call-up to the U.S. first team, but head coach Vlatko Andonovski hasn’t yet indicated he has the 21-year-old in his plans for this year’s World Cup.
“Mia is a very good young player,” Andonovski said in January. “Right now, after looking at everything, we decided the players that we have in camp are going to give us the best chance to be successful.”
“We analyze every goal that she scores,” he continued. “And analyze the difficulties of the goals, and compare to the players that we called up, and try to see how they would fit or how they would replicate [performances] on the team that we have.”
Fishel is joined in the attack by Angel City’s No. 1 draft pick, Alyssa Thompson, who has two caps with the U.S. first team. No. 2 draft pick and 2022 MAC Hermann trophy winner Michelle Cooper, now with the Kansas City Current, also features on the squad.
The #U23WYNT returns to the pitch for the first time this year for a camp and two matches vs. France on Feb. 17 & 20, outside of Paris. Among the invited players, seven were part of the 2022 U-20 @FIFAWWC Team.— U.S. Soccer YNT (@USYNT) February 9, 2023
The #U23WYNT returns to the pitch for the first time this year for a camp and two matches vs. France on Feb. 17 & 20, outside of Paris. Among the invited players, seven were part of the 2022 U-20 @FIFAWWC Team.
The rest of the roster is full of exciting rising talent. The midfield alone includes former Notre Dame sophomore Korbin Albert, who recently signed with Paris St. Germain, North Carolina Courage starter Brianna Pinto and college standouts Lexi Missimo (Texas) and Lia Godfrey (Virginia).
The defense features USWNT U-20 outside back Lily Reale, who recently won a national championship with UCLA. In addition to Reale, Albert, Cooper and Thompson, Lauren Flynn, Laney Rouse and Trinity Byars played for the U-20 USWNT in 2022. Last year, that team won the Concacaf U-20 Championship on their way to the U-20 World Cup. Pinto, Fishel and Kansas City draftee Alex Spaanstra were a part of the team that won the Concacaf U-20 Women’s Championship in early 2020 before the World Cup was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goalkeepers Hensley Hancuff (Gotham FC, on loan to Australian side Brisbane) and Lauren Kozak (Portland Thorns) round out the group, giving the team a mix of players professional and college experience.
The coaching staff also features a few notable names. Head coach Carrie Kveton, former Washington Spirit and OL Reign assistant coach and current Head of Individual Development for FC Nordsjaelland in Denmark, will work with two record-breaking, national championship-winning assistants.
UCLA Margueritte Aozasa joins the group off a historic season with UCLA, after becoming the first head coach to win the women’s soccer DI NCAA title in their first year. Former Chicago Red Stars assistant Julianne Sitch will also serve as an assistant coach after becoming the first woman to lead a men’s team — DIII program University of Chicago — to a national championship as head coach.
GOALKEEPERS (2): Hensley Hancuff (Brisbane Roar; Edmond, Okla.), Lauren Kozal (Portland Thorns FC; Ada, Mich.)
DEFENDERS (6): Megan Bornkamp (Clemson; Mooresville, N.C.), Lauren Flynn (Florida State; Arlington, Va.), Eva Gaetino (Notre Dame; Dexter, Mich.), Lilly Reale (UCLA; Hingham, Mass.), Laney Rouse (Virginia; Cary, N.C.), Kate Wiesner (Penn State; Monrovia, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain; Grayslake, Ill.), Hannah Bebar (Harvard; Naperville, Ill.), Lia Godfrey (Virginia; Fleming Island, Fla.), Lexi Missimo (Texas; Southlake, Texas), Brianna Pinto (North Carolina Courage; Durham, N.C.), Alexis Theoret (Virginia; Oak Hill, Va.)
FORWARDS (6): Trinity Byars (Texas; Richardson, Texas), Michelle Cooper (Kansas City Current; Clarkston, Mich.), Mia Fishel (Tigres FC; San Diego, Calif.), Taylor Huff (Florida State; Mansfield, Ohio), Alexa Spaanstra (Kansas City Current; Brighton, Mich.), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; Studio City, Calif.)