Lynn Williams will make her return from injury at the U.S. women’s national team’s January camp, but still more players remain sidelined as they continue their recoveries.
The 29-year-old forward tore her hamstring during the NWSL preseason and missed the rest of the year. USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski said in October that he anticipated a January return for Williams, and she met that timeline.
Williams, who has appeared in 47 games for the national team with 14 goals since her debut in 2016, came close to returning for the Kansas City Current during the playoffs, according to Andonovski.
“I think that this camp is a good opportunity to see how she’s gonna integrate the back with the team for this camp, but also for the future,” he said.
Emily Sonnett also is back on the roster after missing time with a foot injury she sustained at the Concacaf W Championship. As with Williams, Andonovski had anticipated a January return for the 29-year-old defender.
Still, Williams and Sonnett are just two of a cadre of players who have been absent from the team due to injury or parental leave.
Others include Abby Dahlkemper (back), Tierna Davidson (ACL), Julie Ertz (parental leave), Casey Krueger (parental leave), Catarina Macario (ACL), Sam Mewis (knee), Kelley O’Hara (hip), Tobin Heath (knee) and Christen Press (ACL). While none of these have yet to return, Andonovski provided updates on several of them Thursday.
Davidson and O’Hara are “very close,” the coach said, while the others won’t be ready for at least a “couple more months.”
Andonovski went into more detail on Macario’s status, saying the midfielder should be back soon and certainly will be available for the World Cup in July.
“She is progressing very well,” he said. “And she is in line to be on the field or in contact play probably in about four to five weeks.”
In addition to players who were previously injured, veteran forward Megan Rapinoe (ankle) and NWSL MVP Sophia Smith (foot) will miss the New Zealand trip with nagging injuries.
Speaking of Smith, who led the USWNT with 11 goals in 2022, Andonovski said the injury is not serious but rather a small injury that has been bothering her for a while.
“We felt like this was the time that we wanted to fix it and not have any problems going forward,” he said.
Smith already is back to training, Andonovski added, though she is unable to play in New Zealand because of treatment she received in December. While she isn’t up to the levels of speed or fitness needed to be included in the January camp, she still should figure heavily in the team’s World Cup preparation.