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Mallory Swanson joins USWNT as training player amidst recovery

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(Erin Chang/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

The first U.S. women’s national team roster of the year dropped on Wednesday, with some familiar names returning to the ranks.

Star forward Mallory Swanson will join the team as a training player ahead of the Gold Cup. It’s the first time that Swanson has joined the USWNT since suffering a patella tendon tear during a friendly last April.

Swanson has since revealed that the injury was much worse than initially thought, with Swanson needing to undergo a second surgery to remove an infection in her knee. Now she’s back training, signed a new contract with the Chicago Red Stars, and interim head coach Twil Kilgore said Wednesday that the team is “thrilled” to have her back in camp.

The forward, she says, has remained involved with the team in different ways throughout her recovery, and Kilgore said that this is “just the next natural progression” in getting Swanson back into the full-time lineup.

“I expect that Mal will come in and be Mal,” she said. “We know that in anything that Mal’s doing she brings a really high level of professionalism, a high level of execution. We believe she’s absolutely ready for this step.

“She’s just a really important leader in this team. … Her influence is always felt in camp so we expect that she’ll just continue to help raise the standards on the field and within our team culture.”

Forward Alyssa Thompson was one notable absence, although her sister Gisele was called up as a training player. When asked about her absence on Wednesday, Kilgore said it was due to a “minor back injury.”

“She’s well on her course but isn’t quite into full training yet,” Kilgore said. “And just wasn’t quite ready for this and out of an abundance of care and caution … she was not able to come in.”

Similarly, midfielder Catarina Macario – who has not played for the USWNT since the 2022 SheBelieves Cup due to an ACL tear – was left off the roster. It wasn’t as much of a surprise, as she’s not expected to return for Chelsea until after the international break.

Macario’s recovery has been a lengthy one, and Kilgore said Wednesday that she believes Macario is “in a really good space mentally.” While she’s not included on this roster, that doesn’t mean Macario couldn’t be soon. In fact, Kilgore said that the team is “very excited” about inviting Macario back into camp at the right time.

“She’s progressing well physically,” Kilgore said. “She’s looking forward to the point in time when it’s most appropriate for her to come back into our environment. She’s well supported where she’s at in terms of where she’s at in the day-to-day. I will leave that to Chelsea and her current club environment to reveal those things as they see fit, as they’re closer to it.

“We’re very excited about moving forward with Cat when the time is right.”