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Casey Stoney: USWNT players missing NWSL training camp ‘not ideal’

(Ray Acevedo/USA TODAY Sports)

As the USWNT continues in the SheBelieves Cup, NWSL squads are having to navigate preseason and the international window.

While the NWSL attempted to enforce the international window starting with the tournament, issues arose when it became clear that camps had already been set. While not allowing players to be released outside of FIFA windows is common in international soccer, the enforcement was new to the NWSL.

But pushback forced the NWSL to back off for now, according to a report in The Equalizer, leading to players being away from teams for a longer period of time.

“It’s not ideal that the US players have gone away seven days before they even needed to, but there’s nothing we can do about that,” San Diego Wave head coach Casey Stoney said. “We’ve missed them for a week more than we needed to, but they’ve obviously got a big year ahead in the World Cup and I completely respect that.”

Stoney says that the Wave are giving international players access to video and learnings from camp, so that they can access it “it they want to.” The NWSL season kicks off March 25, a few weeks after the SheBelieves Cup ends.

But she also respects their space during the international window.

“I also leave them alone during international duties,” she said. “It is key that they focus on their international teams. If they wanna reach out, they can. We just monitor how many minutes they’re playing, if they’re okay, if they need any support. We’re here if they need us.

“And then it’s my job to focus on the players that are here, develop the players that are here, and then when those internationals return onboard them tactically what we’ve worked on so they don’t miss out on anything.”