The United States women's national team will face South Africa in a two-game series in September and interim head coach Twila Kilgore has named her 27-player roster ahead of the matches in Chicago and Cincinnati. The roster features Julie Ertz and Megan Rapinoe, who are being celebrated as they retire, and new additions Mia Fishel and Jaedyn Shaw expand the player pool.
The pair of friendlies are the first games for the team since their round of 16 exit in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this summer. The roster is the first for Kilgore since being named interim head coach after U.S. Soccer and former manager Vlatko Andonovski parted ways.
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These matches are the first for Kilgore in a leading position at the senior national team level. She previously coached U.S. youth women's national teams and was an assistant with Houston Dash in the NWSL after several years as head coach at the collegiate level. She's the first American-born woman to earn U.S. Soccer's Pro Coaching License.
"The Olympics may seem like they are far away, but the amount of time that the players get with the national team between now and Paris is not a lot, so we need to start that journey now," said Kilgore. "No matter who the coach is, or which players get to wear the crest, the standards remain the same and everyone wants to excel, so we'll be looking forward to putting together two good performances against a South Africa team that showed well at the World Cup."
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U.S. Women's National Team roster
Goalkeepers (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa
Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (9): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland
Thorns FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL
Reign), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O'Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)
Midfielders (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Julie Ertz
(Unattached), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Ashley Sanchez (Washington
Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
Forwards (8): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego
Wave FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave
FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)
New names in the mix
Fishel and Shaw are the two new faces in camp with a first-time appearance for Shaw and Fishel earning a second callup. The 18-year-old Shaw is in her second NWSL season with San Diego Wave FC and has five goals. Fishel recently signed with Chelsea FC in Barclay's WSL after stellar seasons in Liga MX Femenil with Tigres Femenil. She scored 38 goals in her two seasons in Mexico and earned Golden Boot honors.
"We're really excited to have both Jaedyn and Mia in the squad. They've both been performing really well in their home markets. They have a lot of talent. We view them as high potentials," Kilgore told media.
"The idea with bringing them into the environment ... is just to expose them to the current environment. Help with their onboarding, get them used to what the expectations are and make sure they have a pathway for the future."
Kilgore's naming of a larger roster pool is intended. The interim head coach is in a unique position as the Olympic are just nine months away and with the federation actively searching for a new coach. There's not a lot of time for preparation or even to implement Kilgore's own ideas. But she's also ready to turn the page help the team look ahead.
"Well, it's this isn't about me. This is about the team and the program moving forward. But we're all really happy with our performance against Sweden, not the results. But the direction that we're taking there. We want to build off that performance while also pushing the boundaries to make sure that we're more successful moving forward," she said.
For the friendlies against South Africa, only 23 players from the 27-player roster will dress as the team officially moves forward from their early World Cup exit. There are only two players on the squad in preseason mode in Fishel and Horan (Lyon) as they both play in Europe. All other players are in full playoff push mode with the NWSL season winding down and Kilgore will try to manage those players while celebrating the retirements of Ertz and Rapinoe.
"We'll play within a structure and ask the players to have freedom within that structure, to be their full selves on the field to enjoy it. And we'll do that hopefully while honoring both Megan and Julie and spreading some minutes around the rest of the squad."