The U.S. women’s national team announced its 24-player roster Thursday for its January friendlies against 2023 World Cup co-host New Zealand.
Lynn Williams returns for the first time since February 2022. The 29-year-old forward tore her hamstring in the NWSL preseason, which sidelined her for the rest of the year, though she did train with the Kansas City Current ahead of the NWSL championship match.
Emily Sonnett also makes her comeback. The 29-year-old defender injured her foot during the USWNT’s Concacaf W Championship title run in July.
Midge Purce did not make the cut for the last two USWNT camps in October and November due to what coach Vlatko Andonovski called a “dip in form.” But the 27-year-old will make the trip to New Zealand, perhaps helped by the absence of fellow forwards Megan Rapinoe (ankle) and Sophia Smith (foot), who will miss the camp with nagging injuries.
Teenage sensation Alyssa Thompson is the odd player out. She earned her first senior call-up in October and remained on the roster for the November friendlies against Germany, but she will not join the squad this month.
The USWNT will travel to New Zealand for a six-day training camp, then will play two matches against the Football Ferns, both set to air on HBO Max.
The first will kick off at 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at Sky Stadium in Wellington, and the second at 10 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 20, at Eden Park in Auckland. These venues will play host to the USWNT’s three group-stage matches at the World Cup.
“To get to bring the team to New Zealand in January and play in our World Cup venues has so many benefits so we are going to make sure we maximize our time together,” Andonovski said in a statement.
The USWNT holds the No. 1 spot in the FIFA world rankings, even after dropping three straight matches against England, Spain and Germany late in 2022. New Zealand is ranked No. 24, while their World Cup co-host Australia is ranked No. 12.
The Ferns have a 1-1-17 all-time record against the USWNT, with their one win coming in 1987. The most recent meeting between the teams came last February at the SheBelieves Cup in California, which ended in a 5-0 win for the home team.
Ready for 2023! 👊Roster Details » https://t.co/K3ZlvlC6n0 pic.twitter.com/HWPsj8b7ul— U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (@USWNT) January 5, 2023
Ready for 2023! 👊Roster Details » https://t.co/K3ZlvlC6n0 pic.twitter.com/HWPsj8b7ul