Vlatko Andonovski recently announced his first USWNT training camp roster after seven months of inactivity due to the current coronavirus pandemic. The camp will take place in Colorado Immediately following the conclusion of the NWSL Fall Series and begin on Oct. 18 through Oct. 28.
Andonovski offered his take on the current talent pool within his training camp roster which includes several veteran NWSL players and up-and-coming college standouts, most notably Brazilian-born forward Catarina Macario out of Stanford.
Macario is an accomplished player at the collegiate level with a national championship and two Hermann trophies to her name, awarded to the top collegiate player in the United States. She's had eyes on her potential arrival to the senior national team as her U.S. citizen process finally got finalized.
Andonovski, who was born in North Macedonia and has himself has gone through the process of obtaining U.S. citizenship, understands and relates to the feeling and expressed excitement for Macario.
"I have to say, we're very happy and excited for her and for her to take a new step or a new chapter. Start a new chapter in her life, first and foremost, and then in her career," Andonovski said.
"Anyone who has seen Catarina play in college can tell that she's a special talent. She's incredibly skillful. Scoring many different ways. It's just fun to watch, she's got a flair, she's very creative and she's got the ability that anyone would want. The ability to create chances to score goals that anyone would welcome on a team."
The training camp roster is without several players from the 2019 World Cup roster due to either personal opt outs concerning injury or overseas duty for their clubs in Europe. The training camp has provided additional opportunities for several NWSL talents who impressed over the summer during Challenge Cup and currently in the Fall Series.
Kristie Mewis and Shae Groom of the Houston Dash are among some notable players, along with Kealia Watt and Sarah Gorden of the Chicago Red Stars. All four players played throughout the entire Challenge Cup -- including the final -- and are all now part of this training camp after continued impressive performances during Fall Series. For Gorden, she is the only player on the roster who never attended a U.S. youth national team camp.
"Her ability to defend one-v-one is something that we think is exceptional," Andonovski said of Gorden. "She has the incredible ability to advance forward with the ball in unbalanced defenses and start the attack for her own team."
Andonovski's prior NWSL coaching experience has an extensive footprint within the training camp roster. He has previously coached Groom at the NWSL club level with Kansas City and Seattle, and he believes the Dash forward has made some leaps in her development since their time together in NWSL.
"I'm very familiar with Shea and her abilities," Andonovski said. "I think that this year we've seen more and more Shea in every game. One thing that is something that made her special this year is the ability to penetrate on a dribble and break lines on a dribble. So it makes her just more dangerous and added another layer to her game."
The 27-player roster is ultimately providing both opportunity and reward for up and coming talents and current pool players. The roster holds 10 uncapped players, and features all domestic based talents. There will be no games surrounding these current training camps in October but there are ongoing discussions for potential USWNT activity in November. It remains to be seen if that will feature any friendly matches.