Injuries and extended absences have taken a toll on the U.S. women’s national team as the reigning world champions prepare for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
As head coach Vlatko Andonovski continues to evaluate players before naming a final roster next summer, we take a look at recent USWNT mainstays on the outside looking in and where they stand in the run-up to the biggest tournament in women’s soccer. Next up: Lynn Williams.
Total caps: 47
Most recent USWNT appearance: Feb. 23, 2022, vs. Iceland (SheBelieves Cup)
Williams has racked up 14 goals and 10 assists in 47 appearances with the national team.
In her first match, a friendly against Switzerland in October 2016, she entered as substitute and scored a goal 49 seconds later — fastest debut goal in USWNT history at the time, though Kealia Watt broke the record four days later by scoring in 48 seconds.
While she did not receive a roster spot for the 2019 World Cup under coach Jill Ellis, she fit well in Andonovski’s system after he took the helm in late 2019. She made the cut for the 2021 Olympics and started the quarterfinal and semifinal matches.
The 29-year-old tore her hamstring at the start of the NWSL’s preseason Challenge Cup tournament.
Williams played 81 minutes and notched an assist for the Kansas City Current during their Challenge Cup opener, but more than a week later, the team announced that Williams had sustained an injury in the match and would require surgery.
In May, Williams discussed her injury on the Snacks podcast with co-host and USWNT and Current teammate Sam Mewis, who is working her way back from her own injury. Williams revealed that she has been dealing with pain in her hip and hamstring since tearing her labrum in college.
“The [doctors] said that my tendon has probably been hanging off slightly for the past couple of years and it was too much,” Williams said.
While Williams has not shared a timeline for her return, she did train with the Current ahead of the NWSL championship match.
Kansas City coach Matt Potter said he “wouldn’t anticipate seeing her” in the title game, but just seeing her on the pitch is an encouraging sign. And in late October, Andonovski said he expects her return in January 2023.
Still, on top of her recovery, she will need to compete with a crowded group of forwards for one of six or seven roster spots.
Alex Morgan, Mallory Pugh and Sophia Smith have gelled on the forward line, with Megan Rapinoe, Trinity Rodman and Ashley Hatch as substitutes. Midge Purce was left off the October roster due to what Andonovski called a “dip in form,” but 17-year-old Alyssa Thompson stepped in, and Catarina Macario, Christen Press and Tobin Heath are working their way back from injuries.