Following the announcement of the USWNT’s 18-person Olympic roster, coach Vlatko Andonovski spoke with the media to answer some of the burning questions that remained about the selections.
On the health of some star players: Andonovski provided updates on the status of Tobin Heath and Julie Ertz, who are both progressing. According to Andonovski, Heath is ahead of Ertz and expected to play some minutes against Mexico in East Hartford, Conn. Ertz, meanwhile, will likely have to wait until closed-door games in Japan before the U.S. begins play. Both should be ready to go by the group stages.
The arrival of Kristie Mewis: “Very simply for Kristie,” he said. “She’s a product of the NWSL. She played extremely well in the league in the last year and a half or so. She earned herself an opportunity, and then she took full advantage of it every game she came in.”
Why Catarina Macario is an alternate: “Catarina is an exceptional player with exceptional talent,” Andonovski told reporters, noting that a few other players are more ready at the present moment, leading to the decision to make her an alternate. However, he’s confident the experience will help her in the process.
He hopes Lynn Williams makes the World Cup team in 2023: “We feel like alternate is a good next step for Lynn,” Andonovski said. “Hopefully she’ll be on the full roster in the near future or in the World Cup, 2023. We know the quality that she has.”
On the inclusion of Carli Lloyd and the average age of the roster: “Carli (Lloyd) has done everything she needs to do to earn a roster spot,” he said. “I don’t look at players’ ages. There’s so many other things we look at first. The most important thing is if they’re performing or not, and if they’ll help us win the Olympics.”
Andonovski also revealed that the United States might be trying to push the IOC to increase roster sizes to 22 players for the Olympics, bringing it more in line with the World Cup.