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: Tierna Davidson.
Total caps: 48
Most recent USWNT appearance: Feb. 23, 2022 vs. Iceland (SheBelieves Cup)
The defender played a full 90 minutes in each of her first three matches for the USWNT en route to the 2018 SheBelieves Cup title.
While Davidson missed the Concacaf W Championship later that year with a broken ankle, she returned to the USWNT in 2019. At 20 years old, she became the youngest player on the U.S. roster at the 2019 World Cup.
Davidson appeared in just one World Cup game, a group-stage match against Chile, but she made her mark with two assists in the 3-0 win. By the 2021 Olympics, she’d become a standard presence in the starting lineup.
The 24-year-old tore her ACL in March 2022 during a training session for the Chicago Red Stars.
She had started all 17 games she played for the Red Stars during the 2021 season, in which the team made a run to the NWSL final, but played just one game in the preseason Challenge Cup in 2022 before going down with the injury.
Davidson is “very close” to returning, Andonovski said when announcing the roster for the January friendlies against New Zealand.
The coach provided another update ahead of the first match against the Football Ferns, saying Davidson is “already in full training” and should be back in February — “if we decide to, obviously, call her up.”
In her absence, Alana Cook and Naomi Girma have stepped up as capable center backs for the USWNT. So the decision of which players to include on the World Cup roster could be a tough one for Andonovski.
Cook appears to have locked up the starting position alongside captain Becky Sauerbrunn, with Girma cycling in as a reliable substitute in the back. Davidson, however, has the advantage of major tournament experience after being paired with Sauerbrunn at the Tokyo Olympics.