The U.S. women’s national team faces an uncertain future as the program hunts for its next head coach, starting midfielder Andi Sullivan said Thursday.

Sullivan played every minute of the USWNT’s four matches at the 2023 World Cup, which ended in a disappointing Round of 16 exit for the defending champions. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski resigned after the elimination, starting the timer on the search for his successor with the 2024 Olympics just 11 months away.

“You need to get someone quickly in order to have as much time to prepare, but you also don’t want to rush and make a decision that may not be the best option, especially for the long term,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of work to do from now to the Olympics. And there’s a lot of work to do for years and years and years to come.

“So it depends on what strategy they’re going to take with that, and it’s all interesting stuff. So the future is uncertain, for all of us.”

Under Andonovski, Sullivan cemented herself as the starting defensive midfielder. But a new head coach could bring a new formation, a new style of play and new personnel preferences.

Still, the change at the head coaching position was an expected one after the USWNT underperformed in Australia and New Zealand. While the team felt prepared for its matches, that didn’t translate onto the pitch, backup goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury said.

“I like Vlatko. He’s a good coach. And I felt we were prepared for the games, but there was clearly a disconnect between our preparation and then what actually was executed in the game,” she said. “That’s not good enough for the U.S. women’s national team. So you have got to make changes, and hopefully we can get things right before the Olympics.”

Sullivan and Kingsbury are not the only players who haven spoken about the team’s World Cup loss and its plans for the future.

Their Washington Spirit teammate Ashley Sanchez, who made the World Cup roster but did not receive any playing time, has said that her role did not match what Andonovski had told her heading into the tournament.

“I felt for her because I know her skill level and ability and that she can really be a game changer,” Kingsbury said. “She handled it as well as she could have.”

Back in the NWSL, Sanchez showed off her game-changing ability, as she scored just 40 seconds into her return for Washington.

“Revenge mode was coming,” Spirit coach Mark Parsons said. “It came really quick, and I think that helps. Being involved, she’s now feeling good.”

Lindsey Horan, who served as the USWNT co-captain for the World Cup, has said not all players were not set up to succeed Down Under.

“We did not get the best out of every single individual,” she said. “I don’t think everyone was fully prepared. … Could I have done more to help those players? Because I don’t think we got the absolute best out of some of them because of the way that we were set up.”

In the aftermath of the U.S. women’s national team’s exit from the 2023 World Cup, players are sharing their reflections on their journeys.

And the same message comes through, over and over again, though captain Lindsey Horan spelled it out in the simplest terms: “We will grow. We will be back.”

From veterans Megan Rapinoe to Alex Morgan to newcomers Sophia Smith and Trinity Rodman to every player in between, this is what the stars of the USWNT have to say in the aftermath of their World Cup elimination.

Megan Rapinoe

The 38-year-old forward leaves her fourth and final World Cup without a title, but she still expressed immense pride in her team in her first Instagram captain after the USWNT’s loss to Sweden in the Round of 16.

“This team is in special hands as I walk away, just like it always was, and always will be,” she wrote. “Because that is what this team is all about. We lay it all out on the line every single time.”

Alex Morgan

“This wound will not only heal but will serve as a defining moment in the history of USWNT — one we will grow and be stronger for,” the 34-year-old striker wrote.

While Morgan did not commit to her future with the national team in the immediate aftermath of the World Cup loss, she later told ESPN that she plans to stick around — at least for the near future.

Sophia Smith

A heartbroken Sophia Smith missed a would-be winning penalty kick in the fifth round of the shootout loss to Sweden.

“It wouldn’t be life without moments like this, and I know without a doubt we will be back and hungrier than ever,” the 23-year-old forward wrote.

Trinity Rodman

While the 21-year-old forward said she had “no words” to describe her World Cup experience, she did give her thanks “to everyone who helped me grow as a person, soccer player, and teammate during this journey of the unknown.”

Lynn Williams

The 30-year-old forward took the time to praise her team — and also to push back against bad-faith critics who questioned their dedication to their sport and their country.

“For our dedication and reasoning for wearing the crest to be questioned is unfathomable,” she wrote.

Alyssa Thompson

The 18-year-old forward did not play many minutes in her first World Cup, but the experience will stick with her forever.

“While the result was not what we had wanted, I learned so much about myself, this game, and life,” she wrote.

Lindsey Horan

Horan, along with Morgan, took on the mantle of the USWNT captaincy during the tournament. And despite the pressure and the disappointment of the 2023 tournament, the 29-year-old midfielder still expressed her unwavering love for the game.

“This is why we play right? To live in the biggest pressure moments. To play on the greatest stage. Playing for something you’ve dreamt of your entire life. Playing to inspire. Playing to bring joy. Playing in front of all of you,” she wrote. “This is why I love this game so much.”

Andi Sullivan

The 27-year-old midfielder shared a poem from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, which celebrates “the adventure of being alive.”

Savannah DeMelo

“It’s hard to put into words all the emotions that have been felt within the past few months, but I’m grateful for them all, the highs and even the lows,” the 25-year-old midfielder wrote.

Crystal Dunn

Although the game can be “so cruel,” the 31-year-old defender said, she remains “so proud of this group” for its fight and its unbreakable bond.

Kelley O’Hara

The 35-year-old defender, who won the 2015 and 2019 World Cup titles with the USWNT and also competed in the 2011 tournament, apologized for her role in the shootout loss to Sweden in her first Instagram post after the 2023 tournament. O’Hara missed her kick in the seventh round of the shootout, and then Lina Hurtig buried hers to seal the win for Sweden.

“I was asked to do one job at the final critical moment and I did not execute,” O’Hara wrote. “For that, I am beyond sorry.”

Sofia Huerta

To have the dream of a lifetime end “just like that” hurts, Huerta wrote. But 30-year-old defender plans “to stay focused on the good and to turn the losses into lessons.”

“What no one sees from the outside is how each player had to dig deep,” she wrote. “And while the end result was not what we had hoped for, what happened on the field in our last game was nothing short of inspiring.”

Alyssa Naeher

“I think a piece of my heart is still on that field in Melbourne,” Naeher wrote. The 35-year-old goalkeeper had the closest possible view of Sweden’s game-winning penalty kick, which Naeher batted and then grabbed from the air but not before it crossed the goal line by millimeters.

Aubrey Kingsbury

“Our World Cup ended just as we were getting started,” the 31-year-old backup goalkeeper wrote. The USWNT played its best game of the tournament in the shootout loss to Sweden in the Round of 16.

Casey Murphy

“I’m optimistic we will come back stronger,” the 27-year-old backup goalkeeper wrote. “But also defeated, sorry, and sad it’s over.”

The U.S. women’s national team roster is here, and preparations will soon begin for the team’s World Cup title defense later this summer.

Before the 23 players named to the U.S. roster board the plane for New Zealand and kick off the group stage against Vietnam on July 21, test your knowledge on the USWNT with our interactive quiz!

The U.S. women’s national team has named its 23-player roster for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer. From 37-year-old Megan Rapinoe — a two-time World Cup champion with the USWNT — to 18-year-old Alyssa Thompson, the players vary in age and international soccer experience.

They also hail from different regions of the country. A team-leading eight players are natives of California, while two players each come from New Jersey, Virginia, Ohio, Georgia and Colorado.

Find out which state every U.S. player calls home with our interactive map below.

The U.S. women’s national team faces “one of the hardest” groups at the 2023 World Cup, head coach Vlatko Andonovski said Tuesday.

Andonovski and USWNT players addressed reporters Tuesday in California ahead of the training camp for the upcoming tournament, which kicks off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand. And they have their work cut out for them, at least in the view of the head coach.

The USWNT faces a tough test in Group E, which includes 2019 runner-up Netherlands, Portugal and Vietnam, “three different types of teams” with varied philosophies and styles, Andonovski said. Yet the two-time defending World Cup champions enter with sky-high expectations.

“Would I be happy with anything short of a third straight win? No! Absolutely not,” he said. “Our goal is to win the World Cup, there’s no question about it.”

Andonovski also addressed a number of questions, from which player will serve as captain to the possibility of Crystal Dunn in the midfield. Just Women’s Sports has a roundup of the news and notes as training begins.

Who is the next USWNT captain?

Longtime captain Becky Sauerbrunn is missing the World Cup due to a lingering foot injury, which leaves a big hole for the team to fill.

Yet while the next captain has been selected, Andonovski did not reveal the choice Tuesday. While he had intended to inform players of the selection upon their arrival in California, flight delays postponed the announcement.

One likely choice is Lindsey Horan, who has served as the co-captain to Sauerbrunn in recent years, often taking on the captain’s armband in Sauerbrunn’s absence.

“She gets to lead this team out at a World Cup and to really appreciate what that means, in the course of your career,” Sauerbrunn said of Horan on a recent episode of Snacks. “Like, that’s such a crazy, cool accomplishment.”

Will the USWNT use one starting goalkeeper or a rotation?

Andonovski plans to choose a No. 1 goalkeeper to make most of the starts at the World Cup, though a second goalkeeper might take the reins for one group-stage game, he said Tuesday.

“We’re going to have to keep the rhythm of our No. 1,” he said. But one game for the No. 2 keeper in the group stage could help the team in case of injury. At the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, starter Alyssa Naeher went down with a knee injury in the semifinals, so backup AD Franch saw her first minutes of the tournament in the semifinals and the bronze-medal match.

Naeher is the presumptive No. 1 as training camp begins, with Casey Murphy and Aubrey Kingsbury also on the roster.

Will Crystal Dunn play in the midfield?

Dunn shines at midfield for the Portland Thorns, but the 30-year-old is a starting defender for the national team. And while she wasn’t holding out hope for a midfield appearance at the World Cup, as she told “Diaspora United” in May, she may yet get her shot, Andonovski said Tuesday.

The team does not “want to exclude the possibility of her playing in the midfield if that’s what the team needs,” he told reporters.

“Crystal is one of the best players overall in the world, and the fact that she can play midfielder on Sunday and left back on Wednesday, that just speaks to the quality player she is,” he said.

When Andonovski announced the roster last week, he also floated the possibility of playing midfielder Julie Ertz at center-back. Ertz is a midfield mainstay for the USWNT but also has played center-back on the international stage.

How much should USWNT players pack for the World Cup?

Alyssa Thompson called Horan to ask her advice on what to pack. Yet despite playing in the 2019 World Cup in France, Horan did not know what to tell her 18-year-old teammate.

“She wanted to know essentials for packing for the World Cup and I had no idea what to tell her,” Horan said.

Megan Rapinoe, who will be playing in her fourth World Cup for the USWNT, offered a solution: “Bring it all!”

Alex Morgan is the lone U.S. women’s national team player in the top 10 of EA Sports’ 2023 Women’s World Cup player ratings.

EA Sports will release a World Cup update for its popular FIFA 23 game at the end of June in preparation for the tournament, which kicks off on July 20 in Australia and New Zealand. Australia’s Sam Kerr, Spain’s Alexia Putellas and Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen take the top three spots ahead of Morgan.

While no other USWNT star ranks in the top 10, the reigning World Cup champions count 12 players in the top 100 — though only 10 of those players are included on the World Cup roster. USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn and star forward Mallory Swanson both will miss the tournament with injuries.

Among the players who will make the trip Down Under, 22-year-old forward Sophia Smith comes behind Morgan at No. 14 overall, followed by midfielders Rose Lavelle and Lindsey Horan. Then comes Megan Rapinoe, Alyssa Naeher, Aubrey Kingsbury, Trinity Rodman, Casey Murphy and Kelley O’Hara.

Germany features the most players in the top 100 with 17 overall, though the team’s highest ranked player Alexandra Popp sits at No. 16 overall. England has 14 players in the top 100, while France has 13.

Still, the USWNT came out on top in the FIFA 23 simulation of the World Cup tournament, which saw the United States best Germany 4-2 in the championship match to claim the virtual three-peat.

FIFA 23 World Cup player ratings

Top 10 overall:

  1. Sam Kerr, Australia – 91
  2. Alexia Putellas, Spain – 91
  3. Caroline Graham Hansen, Norway – 90
  4. Alex Morgan, United States – 90
  5. Ada Hegerberg, Norway – 90
  6. Wendie Renard, France – 90
  7. Lucy Bronze, England – 90
  8. *Marie-Antoinette Katoto – 89
  9. Irene Paredes, Spain – 88
  10. Guro Reiten, Norway – 88

USWNT players in top 100:

  • 4. Alex Morgan, forward – 90
  • 14. Sophia Smith, forward – 87
  • 23. Rose Lavelle, midfielder – 87
  • 24. *Mallory Swanson, forward – 87
  • 26. Lindsey Horan, midfielder – 86
  • 33. *Becky Sauerbrunn, defender – 86
  • 35. Megan Rapinoe, forward – 86
  • 52. Alyssa Naeher, goalkeeper – 84
  • 58. Aubrey Kingsbury, goalkeeper – 84
  • 68. Trinity Rodman, forward – 83
  • 86. Casey Murphy, goalkeeper – 83
  • 92. Kelley O’Hara, defender – 83

U.S. women’s national team coach Vlatko Andonovski on Wednesday named his 23-player roster for the 2023 World Cup beginning next month in Australia and New Zealand.

The team features three players competing in their fourth World Cups (Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Kelley O’Hara) and 14 World Cup debutantes. The players will be released from their club teams for World Cup duty on June 26 and will play a send-off match against Wales on July 9 before traveling to New Zealand for their group-stage opener against Vietnam on July 21.

Get to know the 23 players representing the USWNT in their World Cup title defense.

It’s certainly no secret that this U.S. women’s national team World Cup roster looks much different from the last.

With many veterans having retired or out due to injury, the USWNT is bringing a number of newcomers down under. In total 14 of the 23 players on the provisional roster have never played in a World Cup.

Among them are players who have solidified their spots since 2019, like Sophia Smith and Naomi Girma, who are still young but bring a dominating presence to the squad. Others, like Alyssa Thompson, are just a few caps in and still attempting to find their way.

Alana Cook, 26, defender

Defender Alana Cook has factored heavily for the USWNT the last couple matches, including getting her first goal against Ireland in April. With club experience both internationally and domestically, Cook is no stranger to the world’s biggest stages from a club standpoint. Now, she’ll do it for the USWNT.

Also eligible to play for England, Cook’s first senior international call-up actually came for the Lionesses, before being called up to the USWNT in October 2019. Since joining OL Reign in 2021, Cook helped the squad to the NWSL Shield in 2022 and was named to the NWSL’s Best XI in 2021 and 2022.

Savannah DeMelo, 25, midfielder

Savannah DeMelo’s stellar start to the NWSL season has been rewarded with a provisional World Cup roster spot. Despite call-ups to the USWNT in September and October of 2022, DeMelo hasn’t made an international appearance, meaning that her debut will likely either come at the World Cup or in the send-off game against Wales. Her lack of experience could factor in, or it could not – and if it doesn’t, look out: DeMelo scored in four of five appearances to start the season and forced an own goal against Chicago.

Emily Fox, 24, defender

After earning her first call-up to the USWNT in 2018, Emily Fox finally earned significant time in camp in 2022, making 14 appearances and notching one assist. She’s had six appearances to start the year, and even scored her first NWSL goal against Ireland in April.

Fox is one that can go anywhere on the back line, be it right or left. USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn has called the defender “versatile” before, which could prove helpful down under if Andonovski decides he wants to play around with his lineup. With Sauerbrunn out, it’s even more likely that Fox could end up a starter in the first slate of games as Crystal Dunn continues to regain fitness and stamina after returning from childbirth.

Naomi Girma, 23, defender

Naomi Girma may have once been the future of the USWNT’s defense, but with the absence of Becky Sauerbrunn that future is now here. Girma might just be two years into her professional career, and 15 appearances into her international career, but you wouldn’t know it.

In her rookie NWSL season, Girma was named not only Rookie of the Year, but Defender of the Year as well. She’ll take on a lot of responsibility in her first World Cup, but there might not be another player better suited for it.

Sofia Huerta, 30, defender

While Huerta has become a mainstay over the last few years, the 2023 World Cup will be her first major tournament with the squad. While she missed out on the 2021 Olympics, she helped the team to the 2022 Concacaf Women’s Championship title, and she’ll look to replicate that success in Australia and New Zealand.

Aubrey Kingsbury, 31, goalkeeper

After receiving her first national team call-up in 2019, goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury has now been named to the World Cup roster. Slotting in at the third-string goalkeeper slot, Kingsbury has just one international appearance, but it was a clean sheet in a 9-0 win over Uzbekistan in April 2022. She’s also had a solid start to the NWSL season, and statistically has always been one of the NWSL’s best keepers.

Kristie Mewis, 32, midfielder

Kristie Mewis has been in the USWNT ranks for a long time, having earned 15 caps between 2013 and 2014 before falling off the radar. Suffering two serious knee injuries during that time, Mewis fought her way back and was rewarded. Under Vlatko Anodnovski, the midfielder has seen a resurgence in her national team career. Mewis is now one of the more experienced players that is going to New Zealand, despite never having played in a World Cup, with 51 international appearances under her belt.

Casey Murphy, 27, goalkeeper

Murphy made her first appearance for the senior national team on a trip to Australia in 2021. She recorded a shutout in that match against the Matildas, and she’ll look for similar success on her return trip.

Trinity Rodman, 21, forward

After bursting onto the NWSL scene in 2021, Trinity Rodman received her first call-up in 2022, scoring in just her third national team appearance. She made 10 appearances in 2022, scoring two goals.

A Ballon d’Or nominee in 2022, Rodman also became the highest paid player in NWSL history in February 2022. While she’s intermittently started since her first call-up, the injury to Mallory Swanson provides Rodman with the ability to solidify herself as a starter. Nobody can replace Swanson, but Rodman has the ability to balance out the USWNT starting attack, both with her scoring and as one of the team’s best passers.

Ashley Sanchez, 24, midfielder

Ashley Sanchez is no stranger to the national team program, having spent a lot of time on the youth national teams. In 2016, she featured at the U-20 Women’s World Cup and the U-17 WWC, becoming the first player in U.S. history to play in multiple World Cups in the same year. She also received her first national team call-up that year (although her first cap came in 2021), meaning that she’s been in the system a long time. Sanchez is a player that’s good at creating chances and taking them, and has had a good start to the NWSL season.

Sophia Smith, 22, forward

The 2022 NWSL Player of the Year also featured as one of the best players internationally and was named U.S. Soccer Player of the Year. But she’ll be making her first World Cup appearance this summer. And while some have tabbed her as “the future” of the USWNT, Smith has made it known that she’s intent on being that player right now.

Through 29 international appearances, Smith has 12 goals, with her most recent coming against Germany last November. She’s made just two appearances to start 2023, having dealt with some injury issues that kept her sidelined earlier in the year. But she’s back healthy, and started the NWSL season with seven goals and five assists in seven appearances, which once again places her as one of the best players in the league.

Andi Sullivan, 27, midfielder

Sullivan helped lead the Washington Spirit to the 2021 NWSL title, and since then she has become a starter in the USWNT midfield while Julie Ertz missed time due to injury and then pregnancy. She could hold onto that starting spot even with Ertz’s return.

Alyssa Thompson, 18, forward

18-year-old Alyssa Thompson’s career has been on a fast path ever since she made her USWNT debut last October. Since then, she’s made three appearances on the USWNT, and was called up in April as a replacement for Mallory Swanson.

Drafted first-overall in the 2023 NWSL Draft, Thompson has made 11 appearances in her rookie pro season for Angel City FC and scored three goals – which is the second-most on the team and includes just 11 minutes into her NWSL regular season debut and just five minutes into her pro debut against Club América. While young, Thompson’s abilities cannot be understated and she brings a boost down under with the USWNT.

Lynn Williams, 30, forward

Although it may seem crazy, this will be Lynn Williams’ first World Cup appearance. The three-time NWSL champion, NWSL Golden Boot and MVP winner has been a regular on the USWNT since 2016, but did not crack the roster in 2019.

But since her return from a hamstring tear last season, Williams has left no doubts about her inclusion on the roster this go around. She might be the best player that the USWNT has to take down under at the forward position, having had a hot start to the NWSL season with Gotham FC in which she’s scored five times and taken sole possession of the second-most goals in NWSL history. What’s even more scary for the opposition? Williams told Snacks back in May that she still feels like she’s getting back to being herself on the pitch.

Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe once again will lead the U.S. women’s national team into a World Cup tournament, though the roster revealed Wednesday looks much different than the one from the 2019 title run.

Morgan, Rapinoe and Kelley O’Hara provide a solid veteran foundation, as each of them are set to play in their fourth consecutive World Cup tournament with the USWNT. Alyssa Naeher and Julie Ertz each will be playing in their third World Cup, while Crystal Dunn, Emily Sonnett, Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle all will be playing in their second.

The other 14 members of the 23-player roster will be making their World Cup debuts in Australia and New Zealand. The tournament kicks off on Thursday, July 20, and the USWNT will play its first match at 9 p.m. ET Friday, July 21.

So far in 2023, the USWNT has gone 7-0 in international friendlies. The squad kicked off the year with two resounding wins against World Cup co-host New Zealand, then swept its three games in the SheBelieves Cup and its next two friendlies against Ireland. The squad will play in one more friendly, against Wales on July 9, before departing for the World Cup.

While the USWNT features a number of familiar faces, they will travel to Australia and New Zealand without captain Becky Sauerbrunn, who is sidelined with a foot injury. Rising star Catarina Macario also is unavailable as she continues to recover from an ACL tear.

Still, the U.S. squad remains the favorite to take home its third consecutive World Cup title.

Goalkeepers (3)

  • Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit)
  • Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)
  • Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders (7)

  • Alana Cook (OL Reign)
  • Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage)
  • Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC)
  • Sofia Huerta (OL Reign)
  • Kelley O’Hara (Gotham FC)
  • Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)

Midfielders (7)

  • Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC)
  • Julie Ertz (Angel City FC)
  • Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Rose Lavelle (OL Reign)
  • Kristie Mewis (Gotham FC)
  • Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit)
  • Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards (6)

  • Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC)
  • Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign)
  • Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit)
  • Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC)
  • Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC)
  • Lynn Williams (Gotham FC)

The U.S. women’s national team will be without captain Becky Sauerbrunn at the 2023 Women’s World Cup, The Athletic’s Meg Linehan and Steph Yang reported Friday. Sauerbrunn later confirmed the news on Twitter.

USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski is set to release his roster for the tournament next week. When he does, Sauerbrunn will not be included, multiple sources told The Athletic.

The 38-year-old defender has been dealing with a foot injury for the Portland Thorns for the last two months. On June 3, she played 24 minutes as a substitute in her first action since April 22, but then she missed the following match.

Veteran defender Kelley O’Hara will make the 23-player roster, though she also has missed time with injury. The 34-year-old played Sunday for the first time since May 14, coming on as a substitute in the 73rd minute of Gotham FC’s 1-1 draw with the Houston Dash.

Racing Louisville midfielder Savannah DeMelo and Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury also will make the cut, The Athletic reported. Players were informed Thursday of their roster status.

DeMelo received her first USWNT call-up last September as an injury replacement for the team’s friendlies against Nigeria. She has not trained with the team in 2023, but she has excelled in NWSL play, with seven goals across all competitions.

The inclusion of Kingsbury also aligns with Andonovski’s emphasis on club form. The 31-year-old ranks second in the NWSL with 0.91 goals against per 90. Kansas City Current goalkeeper AD Franch, who has been considered her direct competitor for the final USWNT goalkeeper spot, ranks last with 2.75 goals against per 90 and has not played since May 17.