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Will Sam Mewis return to USWNT? Vlatko Andonovski can’t say

Sam Mewis has been sidelined since the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. (Howard Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Sam Mewis has not played for the U.S. women’s national team since she suited up at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

The prospect of her return — to the USWNT and to the sport — remains a question mark, coach Vlatko Andonovski told reporters ahead of the team’s two friendlies in New Zealand this week. Mewis made two NWSL preseason appearances in 2022 but otherwise has not played.

“At this point I don’t want to guess what the time is or if she is going to be back at all,” Andonovski said Tuesday.

The star midfielder received her first call-up to the senior national team in 2014. By 2018, she had established herself as a mainstay on the roster, and she excelled for the 2019 World Cup-winning squad.

But Mewis last took the field for the USWNT in its bronze-medal match against Australia in August 2021. She underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee later that month, with an anticipated recovery time of eight weeks.

More than 16 months later, the USWNT is gearing up for another major tournament. But Mewis remains on the sidelines.

“With Sam, it’s a long-term injury and at this point, you know, we probably would not go into details for that,” said Andonovski, per a transcript from Australian Associated Press reporter Ben McKay.

In the NWSL, Mewis features on the Kansas City Current roster after she joined the club via trade in November 2021, though she only played for the team in two Challenge Cup matches in March 2022. Current general manager Camille Levin Ashton said last week that the 30-year-old midfielder is focused on recovery.

Mewis is not the only player absent from the USWNT for its New Zealand trip. Andonovski provided updates on several other players before the first match against the Football Ferns, which will kick off at 10 p.m. ET Tuesday.

Tierna Davidson is “already in full training,” Andonovski said. The 24-year-old defender is expected back for the next camp in February — if she earns a spot, the coach noted.

He also provided brief updates on Megan Rapinoe (ankle) and Kelley O’Hara (hip), saying both are progressing well.

Veteran midfielder Julie Ertz welcomed her first son in August. She “needs a little bit more time to prepare before she even starts training,” Andonovski said, so the team is giving her “a little more space and time until she’s fully ready to join.”