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USWNT status updates: Julie Ertz, Christen Press and more

Christen Press is recovering after tearing her ACL in June. (Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images for Angel City FC)

When U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski announced his squad’s roster for the upcoming friendly matches against Germany, he also provided updates on 10 players who have been absent, including some predictions of when fans can expect their returns.

Julie Ertz

It’s been more than a year since soccer fans have seen Ertz on the field. The 30-year-old midfielder gave birth to a son in early August, and the team is not rushing her into a comeback, Andonovski said.

The coach also did not offer a possible timetable.

“She’s enjoying motherhood and she’s happy and doing a great job at it,” he said. “We want to give Julie time to get back slowly. We won’t even discuss it. This is time for Julie to enjoy time with her family, and when the time comes, if she is anywhere near her best, this team will welcome her back.”

Catarina Macario

The 23-year-old midfielder tore her ACL in June and underwent surgery soon afterward. She is expected to return in early 2023 after at least six months of recovery.

She is working on her recovery at a FIFA rehab center in Qatar, Andonovski said.

“She has been recovering very well,” he said. “Last week she started doing some running and jumping for the first time. … As of right now it is hard to predict exactly when she will be back. We do have some idea based on how the progress is going.”

Andonovski anticipates having Macario back in February, as long as there are no setbacks in her rehab process, he said. Macario provided a similar timeline last week, saying she “would like to start ramping it up in February and March and just go from there.”

Tierna Davidson

Another player battling an ACL injury, Davidson sustained her tear during an April training session ahead of the NWSL season. The 24-year-old was the youngest player to represent the United States in the 2019 World Cup when she was 20.

Davidson has the potential to return for the 2023 World Cup, Andonovski said — and if she does, the defender has the ability to be a starter.

“She is looking really good,” he said. “We expect her to be back in full in the middle of November.”

Abby Dahlkemper

Dahlkemper is recovering from a third consecutive injury. She missed the SheBelieves Cup in February with a back injury, then broke two ribs in May. Just before the San Diego Wave competed in their NWSL quarterfinal, the team announced Dahlkemper would miss the playoffs with a back injury.

The 29-year-old defender played in just eight regular-season matches for the Wave, and Andonovski said her return will take a while yet, as her latest back injury requires surgery.

“We are just hoping everything goes well,” he said. “We will know more about what the return is going to be for her once she has the surgery.”

Dahlkemper played in eight regular-season matches for the Wave. (Courtesy of San Diego Wave FC)

Casey Krueger

The 32-year-old defender gave birth to a baby boy in July, and Andonovski said Krueger is in the same situation as Ertz: The team wants to give her as much time as she wants to recover and enjoy motherhood.

Krueger has been training, though, and she worked out with her NWSL squad this month.

“She actually did some training with Chicago Red Stars before they got eliminated, and she is in training with a group of players from Chicago even after the season,” Andonovski said.

Emily Sonnett

After sustaining a foot injury during the Concacaf W Championship, Sonnett remains out for the rest of 2022.

Andonovski does expects the 28-year-old defender to be available for selection in January, he said.

Kelley O’Hara

O’Hara continues to rehab a nagging hip injury after missing September’s friendlies against Nigeria as well as October’s trip to England and Spain. The 34-year-old defender is working through physical therapy and should be available in January as well, Andonovski said.

Lynn Williams

The forward tore her hamstring during the NWSL preseason and has been out ever since.

The 29-year-old had a slight setback to her recovery, according to Andonovski, but he also anticipates her return in January.

Tobin Heath

The OL Reign forward suffered a season-ending injury in September and had surgery on her left knee shortly after that. Andonovski said she is “recovering,” but the coach didn’t provide any other details.

Christen Press

After playing just eight games for Angel City FC to start the NWSL season, Press tore her ACL. The 33-year-old forward missed the remainder of the year.

Andonovski expects her return to be in line or slightly behind that of Macario, he said.