The problem with picking a starting goalkeeper for the U.S. women’s national team is this: There might not be a deeper or more talented position pool from which to choose.

Alyssa Naeher has held the starting spot since before the 2019 World Cup. But the 35-year-old was left off the national team roster for the last camp of 2023 in favor of giving other goalkeepers some looks. That’s not unusual and is in fact a good sign for the team, which will have the opportunity to evaluate its options as the coaching staff plans for the 2024 Olympics.

Still, Naeher’s absence does beg the question: Who is the future at goalkeeper? Just Women’s Sports is taking a look at who could be next in line.

One note: Left off this list is Aubrey Kingsbury. While the Washington Spirit starter has proved herself as a viable USWNT backup, the 32-year-old is only three years younger than Naeher. If the national team is looking for its next long-term starter, it is a little more difficult to make the argument for Kingsbury over the names on this list.

Casey Murphy

Murphy, 27, already is an experienced USWNT backup who now has one World Cup under her belt. She also has experience starting for the USWNT, having made 16 total appearances in goal, 12 of which were shutouts. She has not conceded a goal in her three starts so far in 2023.

On top of being a reliable option for the USWNT, Murphy also is the starting goalkeeper for the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage. She was among the league’s best goalkeepers in 2023, conceding just 20 goals in 20 starts and holding a 74.2 save percentage, good for seventh in the league. Her nine clean sheets in 2023 ranked first in the NWSL, her second time topping the league in clean sheets in three years.

Murphy also has some international experience, having played for Montpellier in France’s Division 1 Féminine. Murphy’s international experience, combined with her standout performance in club play, make her a compelling candidate for taking over the starting spot when Naeher eventually steps away.

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(Charlotte Tattersall/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Phallon Tullis-Joyce

If there is one player who could fit under the new-look USWNT squad led by new coach Emma Hayes, it’s Phallon Tullis-Joyce.

The 27-year-old departed OL Reign in 2023 for Manchester United, which is also home to World Cup Golden Glove winner Mary Earps. Earps is rumored to be departing Manchester United at the end of the Women’s Super League season, which could set up Tullis-Joyce to step into the starting spot for one of England’s best clubs.

Tullis-Joyce already is a top-notch keeper, having finished her time with OL Reign with 47 appearances, 135 saves and 15 clean sheets. She holds the club record for most clean sheets in regular season play with 13, and she ranks third on the club’s all-time regular-season saves list (110). In 2022, she ranked first in the NWSL in clean sheets (9), save percentage (81.3) and goals against per 90 (0.86). She also ranked fourth in saves and third in clean sheet percentage.

While she struggled to start the 2023 NW season relative to her 2022 performance, the move to Manchester United could prove beneficial for Tullis-Joyce and for the USWNT. Under Hayes, it’s likely that international club experience will be valued highly. After all, much has been made about the changes in the international game and how the USWNT’s players need to change with it.

A goalkeeper who has experience playing against some of the world’s best players in Europe (and keep in mind Tullis-Joyce also played professionally in France) could prove vital, especially as the 27-year-old takes this season to play under one of the best goalkeepers in the game in Earps.

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(Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Jane Campbell

The 2023 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, Campbell has been playing her way back into consideration for the USWNT. And she was given that chance this month, as she was named to the national team roster for the December friendlies against China.

Campbell’s NWSL season was an outstanding one for the Houston Dash, with the keeper making a league-leading 93 saves and recording eight shutouts all while boasting an astounding 0.83 goals against average in 22 games played. She also conceded the fewest goals (18), even though she ranked third in the league in shots on target faced (108).

With Campbell in net, the Dash came within one goal of the NWSL record for fewest goals conceded in a season. (The record of 17 was set by the North Carolina Courage in 2017 and matched by the Portland Thorns in 2021.)

Campbell has spent time in USWNT camp before, having bounced in and out of senior national team camp since 2013 and making her international debut in 2017. She also spent extensive time in U.S. Soccer’s youth development system. The 28-year-old has made seven international appearances, and she was on the USWNT roster for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, where the team won bronze.

As a player in which the USWNT already has invested time, if Campbell continues the trend she started in 2023, she could find her way not just back onto the national team but into the starting spot.

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(Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports)

Claudia Dickey

At just 23 years old, Claudia Dickey very well may be the goalkeeper of the future for the USWNT. A former UNC Tar Heel who was the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NWSL draft, Dickey took over the OL Reign starting spot from Phallon Tullis-Joyce during the 2023 Challenge Cup. She made three starts in the Challenge Cup, recording 12 saves and not allowing a single goal.

She then started in the remaining six games of the season as Tullis-Joyce departed for Manchester United. In the playoffs, she helped lead the team to an appearance in the NWSL championship final, setting the club record for shutouts in the NWSL playoffs with two. She also became just the fifth NWSL goalkeeper to earn a shutout in her postseason debut.

“My thing with her is just how much she’s improved since taking over the Reign starting job midseason, and she’s particularly fearless coming off her line,” Just Women’s Sports writer Claire Watkins says. “So I like her intangibles. She’s young, so the rest can be coached.”

While Dickey is inexperienced, she’s shown bright spots with a club that boasted big USWNT names such as Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Emily Sonnett. While still young, she will continue to develop under head coach Laura Harvey after signing a contract extension through 2025. By the time that the 2027 World Cup rolls around, she could at the very least warrant a look for the backup position – if not the starting spot.

The final U.S. women’s national team roster of 2023 is here, with Rose Lavelle back in the fold for the first time since the World Cup after missing the last couple of camps with a lingering knee injury.

The 28-year-old midfielder missed all but four NWSL regular-season games but returned for the playoffs, helping lead OL Reign to the NWSL championship match. She also scored in the final for the Reign in their 2-1 loss to Gotham FC.

Despite the defeat, Lavelle looked as sharp as ever in the postseason, showcasing precisely what makes her such a huge asset both for the Reign and the USWNT. As the team looks to win its final two friendlies of the year against China, look for Lavelle to make an impact.

The USWNT will host China for two matches, the first on Saturday, Dec. 2, at 3 p.m. ET, and the second on Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 8 p.m. ET.

Several veteran players are sidelined for the friendlies, including forward Alex Morgan, defender Becky Sauerbrunn and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Their absences, though, should not raise too many red flags, as resting veteran players for the final camp of the year is a standard practice for the USWNT.

Also absent from the December roster are defenders Crystal Dunn and Sofia Huerta and midfielders Ashley Sanchez and Andi Sullivan.

Interim head coach Twila Kilgore will continue to lead the team in the stead of newly announced head coach Emma Hayes. This is the first roster to be dropped since the USWNT named Emma Hayes as its next head coach. But with Hayes continuing with Chelsea through the conclusion of the Women’s Super League season, Kilgore will remain at the helm until Hayes joins the USWNT in May 2024.

Catarina Macario remains sidelined, and the Chelsea midfielder is not expected to return for club or country before the end of the year, according to Hayes. But another Chelsea player in Mia Fishel is back on the roster, as is San Diego Wave forward Jaedyn Shaw. Both scored their first international goals in the USWNT’s most recent match in San Diego, a 3-0 win against Colombia at the end of October.

New faces on the roster include Korbin Albert, a 20-year-old midfielder for Paris Saint-Germain, and Jenna Nighswonger, the NWSL Rookie of the Year from Gotham FC.

USWNT schedule: December 2023

  • Saturday, Dec. 2 — 3 p.m. ET (TNT, Universo, Peacock)
    • United States vs. China (DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida)
  • Tuesday, Dec. 5 — 8 p.m. ET (TruTV, Universo, Peacock)
    • United States vs. China (Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas)

USWNT roster: December 2023

Goalkeepers (3)

  • Jane Campbell (Houston Dash)
  • Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit)
  • Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage)

Defenders (7)

  • Alana Cook (OL Reign)
  • Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave)
  • Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars)
  • Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage)
  • Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave)
  • Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars
  • M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC)

Midfielders (8)

  • Korbin Albert (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns)
  • Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC)
  • Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais)
  • Rose Lavelle (OL Reign)
  • Olivia Moultrie (Portland Thorns)
  • Jenna Nighswonger (Gotham FC)
  • Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)

Forwards (8)

  • Mia Fishel (Chelsea)
  • Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit)
  • Midge Purce (Gotham FC)
  • Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit)
  • Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave)
  • Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns)
  • Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC)
  • Lynn Williams (Gotham FC)

Jane Campbell has been named the 2023 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year after turning in a stellar season for the Houston Dash.

The 28-year-old from Kennesaw, Georgia, turned in a career year, with her highest saves total (91) and lowest goals-against average (0.83) across her six NWSL seasons. The Dash selected Campbell out of Stanford in the 2017 NWSL draft, and she has spent her entire professional career in Houston.

No other Dash player has won an NWSL end-of-season award in franchise history. Campbell beat out Katie Lund of Racing Louisville and 2022 winner Kailen Sheridan of the San Diego Wave.

“It’s a huge honor,” Campbell said. “I mean, it was an honor to get nominated, and I’m glad Houston got the recognition that the team deserved.”

She led the league in saves and goals against average while playing every minute of the regular season. She also conceded the fewest goals (18) and had eight shutouts across 22 appearances, even though she ranked third in the league in shots on target faced (108).

With Campbell in net, the Dash came within one goal of the NWSL record for fewest goals conceded in a season. The record of 17 was set by the North Carolina Courage in 2017 and matched by the Portland Thorns in 2021.

Sophia Smith is looking to run it back as NWSL MVP, as the Portland Thorns star is nominated for the top individual award for the second straight season.

In 2022, Smith became the youngest MVP in the history of the league. The 23-year-old has built a solid case for the 2023 award, leading the league with 11 goals and winning the Golden Boot award. But the Portland Thorns forward also missed significant time due to the World Cup and a knee injury.

That opens the doors for other candidates, including San Diego Wave defender Naomi Girma. Another repeat MVP finalist, Girma won the Defender of the Year and Rookie of the Year awards in 2022.

Another top candidate: North Carolina Courage star Kerolin, Just Women’s Sports‘ pick for the award. Kerolin, Girma and Smith are joined by Kansas City Current forward Debinha and Thorns midfielder Sam Coffey.

Girma also is nominated once again for the Defender of the Year award. But repeating could prove a challenge, as both Gotham FC captain Ali Krieger and Washington Spirit star Sam Staab have had outstanding defensive seasons. Kaleigh Kurtz and Sarah Gorden round out the nominees.

Alyssa Thompson, meanwhile, leads the Rookie of the Year candidates, having lived up to the hype as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NWSL draft.

She is joined by Messiah Bright of the Orlando Pride and Jenna Nighswonger of Gotham FC. Bright is Just Women’s Sports’ pick for Rookie of the Year after finishing with six goals on the season and proving wrong everyone who passed her over in the draft.

Both Angel City’s Becki Tweed and Gotham FC’s Juan Carolos Amorós challenge for Coach of the Year, as does San Diego Wave’s Casey Stoney – to no surprise.

The choice between Katie Lund of Racing Louisville, Jane Campbell of the Houston Dash and Kailen Sheridan of the San Diego Wave for Goalkeeper of the Year is a tough one, although Lund has had a solid year and is Just Women’s Sports’ pick. Sheridan is looking to repeat as winner.

NWSL fans can vote on the award winners via online ballot any time before 12 p.m. ET Friday. The NWSL uses a weighted voting formula — 40% from players, 25% from owners, general managers and coaches, 25% from media and 10% from fans.

2023 NWSL award nominees

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Kerolin scored 10 goals for the North Carolina Courage in 2023. (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

Most Valuable Player

  • Sam Coffey, Portland Thorns
  • Debinha, Kansas City Current
  • Naomi Girma, San Diego Wave
  • Kerolin, North Carolina Courage
  • Sophia Smith, Portland Thorns
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Naomi Girma won Defender of the Year as a rookie in 2022. (Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Defender of the Year

  • Naomi Girma, San Diego Wave
  • Sarah Gorden, Angel City FC
  • Ali Krieger, Gotham FC
  • Kaleigh Kurtz, North Carolina Courage
  • Sam Staab, Washington Spirit
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Katie Lund had a stellar season for Racing Louisville. (EM Dash/USA TODAY Sports)

Goalkeeper of the Year

  • Jane Campbell, Houston Dash
  • Katie Lund, Racing Louisville
  • Kailen Sheridan, San Diego Wave
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Messiah Bright scored six goals in her first season with the Orlando Pride. (Stephen Brashear/USA TODAY Sports)

Rookie of the Year

  • Messiah Bright, Orlando Pride
  • Jenna Nighswonger, Gotham FC
  • Alyssa Thompson, Angel City FC
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Interim head coach Becki Tweed led Angel City FC to a playoff spot. (Kiyoshi Mio/USA TODAY Sports)

Coach of the Year

  • Juan Carlos Amorós, Gotham FC
  • Casey Stoney, San Diego Wave
  • Becki Tweed, Angel City FC

Houston Dash goalkeeper and captain Jane Campbell is staying in Houston through 2024.

The Dash announced Tuesday that they have signed the goalkeeper to a multi-year extension after she wrapped up the 2021 season with the best goals-against average of her career at 1.05.

“I’m very excited that Jane has committed her future to the Dash,” Head Coach James Clarkson said in a release. “She is an outstanding player and person, who is extremely ambitious. It’s our responsibility to help her achieve all her goals.”

During the 2021 NWSL season, Campbell started in 18 matches while notching 70 saves and four clean sheets. She’s been a pillar of the Dash’s last line of defense for the past five seasons and is one of the longest tenured players in Dash history.

Campbell was also recently called into the USWNT for their friendlies in Australia.

“Re-signing with Houston is an honor,” Campbell said. “The city and the organization are like home to me, so staying here and adding another three years is a tremendous honor. I’m really thankful for everyone who’s supported the team thus far and I know we can get back to work to produce a championship contending team. I’m excited to get back to work. Thank you to Coach James, John Walker and Ted Segal for having faith in me.”

The Dash recorded a commanding 2-0 win over OL Reign Friday night, extending Houston’s home unbeaten streak to 10 matches.

Jasmyne Spencer struck first for the Dash in the 50th minute, slotting home a clinical finish after splitting OL Reign’s backline.

Katie Naughton then doubled Houston’s lead in the 57th minute, heading home a Dash set piece to put the game at 2-0.

Jane Campbell dazzled for the Dash as well, batting away four saves to keep the Reign off the scoresheet.

Next up: The Dash will head to Chicago to take on the Red Stars on July 11. OL Reign will travel home to host Kansas City on July 11.

Jane Campbell certainly made things exciting (and continued to make her case for the Olympics), even as the Portland Thorns and Houston Dash played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.

Portland dominated time of possession, forcing Campbell to make six saves throughout the game, including this dive to deflect a Crystal Dunn rocket. 

That save would allow for Houston to strike first in first half stoppage time as Shea Groom sent this one home with her left foot.

Later, Campbell would again prove that she’s one of the best goaltenders in the NWSL today, making this diving save off of a header by Simone Charley.

Eventually, one would sneak past Campbell, as Christine Sinclair took one straight up the middle to even it up 1-1 late in the game.

USWNT head coach Vlatko Andonovski has been vocal about using NWSL games to evaluate potential USWNT players, having himself been a former NWSL coach. Campbell appears to be one of those players who has benefited from exceptional club play.

She’s been called up to multiple USWNT camps since Andonovski took over the USWNT in 2019. Houston Dash coach James Clarkson has even stated that he believes Campbell will become the number one goalkeeper for the USWNT if she continues to improve the way she has. 

“I think she’s the best goalkeeper in the world… You can see her game has continued to improve,” he said. “Her work ethic off the field is incredible.”

“She came out for a few crosses in the second half and plucked them out of the air,” Clarkson added, praising Campbell’s play against Portland. “That brings confidence to the whole team.”

Portland head coach Mark Parsons had plenty to say about the game as well, calling Houston a “very, very good team.”

“They’re constantly adjusting throughout the game to try and impose their strips and for me I was really excited coming in,” Parsons said. “I loved the battle. I said to James [Clarkson] at the end ‘this was probably the best game I’ve seen in the league for a month or so.’”