Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and several more veteran players found themselves left off the U.S. women’s national team roster for the last camp of 2023. But don’t count them out for the 2024 Olympics.
USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore talked with each veteran player about the decision to leave them off the roster, she said Monday.
“None of the players that were left off the roster are out of the mix,” Kilgore said. “We want to win and we want to make sure that we bring the best players with us to the Olympics, and this is just one step in making sure that we are making the right decisions moving forward.”
Players who were called into the October camp but not the December camp include Morgan, Dunn, Alyssa Naeher, Sofia Huerta, Becky Sauerbrunn, Ashley Sanchez and Andi Sullivan.
“I did call all the players that were in the previous camp that aren’t on the roster and explain to them why,” Kilgore said. “Those conversations are between coach and player. But I will say that each and every one of them are professionals. They responded as professionals would. They understand that we’re watching everything they do, everything matters.”
The coaching staff knows what all these players “are capable of doing and what their value is,” Kilgore said. The USWNT sees in the upcoming friendlies against China the opportunity to evaluate a wider pool of players.
As the team continues to build toward next year’s Olympics, Kilgore and incoming head coach Emma Hayes wanted to get younger players some looks with the senior national team. But the veterans are still very much in the mix for the Olympics, she said.
“There’s equal opportunity moving forward to make this roster,” she added.
And as for why they called in the players that they did, including newcomers Jenna Nighswonger and Korbin Albert, their strong play at the club level contributed to the decision-making process.
“The leading factor was that these players have been performing really well in their home environments,” she said. “We’ve been consistently watching them and giving an opportunity to both challenge and support in our environment and be able to evaluate them.”