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Midge Purce gets chance to ‘fight for her spot’ with USWNT after snub

Midge Purce was left off the roster for the USWNT's last two camps. (Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Midge Purce will have a chance to “fight for her spot” with the U.S. women’s national team, coach Vlatko Andonovski said Thursday.

The 27-year-old forward was left off the USWNT roster for four friendlies against England, Spain and Germany to end 2022, but she has rejoined the 24-player roster for two upcoming matches against World Cup co-host New Zealand on Jan. 18 and 21.

Purce has made 20 appearances for the national team, and she contributed two goals and an assist in 11 games in 2022. But she was left off the roster for the final four games of the year because of a “dip in play,” according to Andonovski.

“We decided not to take Midge [Purce] in this camp, but [that] doesn’t mean Midge is off the roster,” Andonovski said at the time. “It’s just something that we’ve looked into. And we just feel like there’s a dip in her form, which is something that happens unfortunately to a lot of players.”

Now, as the USWNT heads to New Zealand, Purce joins the forward group in the absence of Sophia Smith, who has a nagging foot injury and is in a walking boot, and teenager Alyssa Thompson, who featured in the previous two camps.

Purce, who plays her NWSL soccer for Gotham FC, appeared in 16 games for the club in 2022, notching three assists and three goals. As a whole, Gotham struggled, going 4-1-17 and finishing last in the standings.

Purce, Andonovski and the rest of the USWNT staff had several conversations regarding her play and what she needed to do to get back on the team, the coach said.

“We wanted to give her a fair chance to get back on the team and fight for her spot,” Andonovski said. “We want to see a consistent Midge Purce. We want to see consistency on the national team, but also in between the camps.”