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Players in dispute with Spanish soccer federation left off national team

Jenni Hermoso is among the players who was left off the team. (Angel Martinez/Getty Images)

The Spanish women’s national team revealed its roster for upcoming matches against Sweden and the United States, and notable names are absent from the squad.

Friday’s announcement comes amid a public rift between players and the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF).

The federation claimed last week that 15 players had refused to compete under coach Jorge Vilda and resigned from the national team.

Spanish players responded to the federation’s public statements, saying they never resigned but rather asked not to be called to play for the national team until their concerns regarding their health and well-being were addressed.

Now Spain has unveiled a roster that does not include the 15 players that submitted letters of concern to the federation.

Team captains Patri Guijarro, Irene Paredes and Jenni Hermoso are all absent from the October squad. Paredes and Hermoso were not not among the 15 players to send letters, but Hermoso, Spain’s all-time leading scorer, did speak out in support of her teammates Tuesday.

“I want to publicly express my support for all my colleagues who a few days ago decided to communicate their position,” Hermoso said in a statement. “Not only do I understand your reasons, but I have also experienced many of the feelings and concerns you have communicated.”

In a message published to social media, Hermoso said she would accept a national team call-up should she be asked.

“I am lucky to have worn the [Spain] jersey for 15 years, and I have tried to enjoy every stage that I have lived to the fullest,” Hermoso said. “In that time, I have always put the group first and this time it will be no different because for me, defending my country is, and always will be, a source of great pride and motivation.”

Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas also is not on the roster. She is unavailable while recovering from an ACL tear but also has supported her teammates in the dispute.

Vilda has not contemplated stepping down as coach, he said Friday.

“Due to the lack of clarity by the players in their public appearances and statements, there has been speculation that there is something going on beyond just the sport,” Vilda said. “I want to make a public appeal today that if any of my present or former players have received anything but exquisite treatment from me to say so.”

USWNT players have offered their support to the Spanish players ahead of their October friendly, with Megan Rapinoe, Becky Sauerbrunn and Alex Morgan publicly backing those that spoke out against the federation.

Meanwhile, USWNT coach Vlatko Andonvski told reporters Thursday that the team is “monitoring the situation” ahead of its match against Spain on Oct. 11.