Though it might feel as if the SheBelieves Cup only just ended, the U.S. women's soccer team is already focused on what's next: a two-game series against Russia in early April.
Head coach Jill Ellis named a 24-player roster on Thursday for a training camp that will be held ahead of those games, which will be April 6 in Frisco, Texas (8:30 p.m., FS1) and April 9 in Houston (2 p.m., ESPN):
Goalkeepers (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders (6): Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue), Megan Oyster (Boston Breakers), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars)
Midfielders (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash, on loan to Manchester City/England), Allie Long (Portland Thorns), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign)
Forwards (7): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea/England) Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride, on loan to Lyon/France), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Mallory Pugh (UCLA), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)
Camp will begin March 30. Lloyd will arrive on the 31st, and Morgan will arrive on April 3.
The biggest headline is the return of Rapinoe after she wasn't on the SheBelieves Cup squad. Ellis said it was because Rapinoe wasn't quite at full fitness, perhaps because Rapinoe's recovery from a torn ACL in late December was fast-tracked so she could play in last summer's Olympics.
It so happens that this is the first national team camp since Rapinoe agreed to abide by a new U.S. Soccer Federation policy that players stand for the playing of the national anthem. Rapinoe famously kneeled during games in late 2016 with the national team and her club, the National Women's Soccer League's Seattle Reign. Now she has said she won't do that anymore, and here she is. It really isn't known whether that's anything more than a coincidence.
Other notable inclusions are Ohai, who will play on her home field in Houston, and Oyster, who's making her national team camp debut. Klingenberg and Rodriguez are on this roster after not particpating in the SheBelieves Cup, though they were part of a pre-tournament training camp.
As for notable names not on the roster, start with Julie Johnston. The veteran centerback will be off enjoying her wedding to Eagles tight end Zach Ertz and the honeymoon afterward. When she returns to the team, her jersey will bear her married name. (Expect that to sell well among Philadelphia fans.)
Prominent players who didn't make the call-up cut include central defender Emily Sonnett and defensive midfielder Danielle Colaprico. Sonnett was on the SheBelieves Cup roster, but didn't play in any of the games. Colaprico - who plays in a position where the U.S. could use some depth - hasn't been on the team since October.
We will see if either player's fortunes change during the the National Women's Soccer League season. The league's fifth campaign will begin a week after the game in Houston.
Ellis has said repeatedly in recent weeks that she and her staff will be paying close attention to players' performances with their clubs, and she reiterated that in a statement Thursday.
"Following these matches, my staff and I will begin a heavy investment in attending and evaluating the NWSL games as well as tracking our players overseas before we get back together for our European trip in the summer," Ellis said.
That European trip will be during a mid-June FIFA international window. There will be two games, of which only one has been announced publicly thus far: at Norway on Sunday, June 11.
The eagle-eyed among you might have noticed that is the same day as the U.S. men's team's World Cup qualifier at Mexico. The women's game is expected to kick off at around 1:15 p.m. Eastern. The men's game, according to the Washington Post's Steven Goff, will have "a late-day kickoff."
Broadcast details have yet to be confirmed for either game, but the odds are very good that you'll be able to watch both games easily.
(That was a hint.)
After the games in Europe, it's expected that the U.S. will play a round-robin tournament in late July with Australia, Brazil and Japan. That hasn't been confirmed yet, but there has been a report out of Brazil about it, and I and others have heard similar rumors independently.
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