The U.S. women’s national team is heading into the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand without a number of familiar faces.
Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at who those players are and why they’re absent. Next up: Sam Mewis.
Total caps: 83
Most recent USWNT appearance: Aug. 5, 2021 vs. Australia (Tokyo Olympics)
Mewis underwent arthroscopic surgery on her right knee in August 2021. At the time, she was expected to be out for up to eight weeks. But nearly two years since that surgery, one of the best midfielders in the world remains sidelined.
In January, Mewis announced that she’d had another surgery on the same knee and there was no timeline for her return to soccer. Calling it a “difficult time for me personally,” she said that being away from soccer left her “devastated.”
While the Kansas City Current included the 30-year-old on their 2023 preseason roster, the club also bought out her previous contract and signed her to a new deal that runs through the end of this season. The intent was to help Mewis stay “focused on her recovery and future” while she works her way back “from her progressive injury to her right leg,” according to the team’s press release.
Mewis has not played for the Current since two Challenge Cup matches in March 2022. While initially included on the USWNT roster last March for friendlies against Uzbekistan, she was later ruled out with “a knee issue.” The exact nature of the injury hasn’t been revealed.
In short, nobody knows, except for maybe Mewis and her doctors. In January, USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski indicated he was also unaware of Mewis’ timeline.
“At this point, I don’t want to guess what the time is or if she is going to be back at all,” he said.
Mewis recently spoke with GOAL about her recovery process and how she’s learned to manage adversity.
“I would give this advice to any of the athletes here: When you are facing an injury or some kind of adversity like this and you’re unable to participate the way you want to, find a new purpose in there somewhere,” she said. “Maybe you’re feeling isolated from the team or you have a setback with an injury or something goes wrong, I think being able to kind of reframe in that moment and say, ‘What can I do here that’s going to be productive?’
“It might not look exactly like what I want it to look like, but it will give me a new sense of purpose. I think I’ve had to do that a little bit. Obviously, I haven’t played in a while. I’m just doing my rehab and taking it one day at a time, but I think my message is just in moments like that, in moments of difficulty, just try to find that new purpose, if you can, and apply yourself to that.”
In the meantime, Mewis is staying connected to the game. She’ll be a part of Men in Blazers’ Women’s World Cup coverage , hosting a daily podcast and providing commentary on Twitch streams. She’ll also serve as a contributing writer with The Athletic throughout the tournament, and she continues to co-host the JWS podcast Snacks with Lynn Williams.
As Mewis keeps herself busy off the field, she hasn’t given up hope of a return as she continues her rehab.
“I want to get back to the fields if I can,” she told GOAL. “That’s like always my goal and I’m just taking my rehab one day at a time.”