United States women's national team and Kansas City Current midfielder Samantha Mewis looks set to miss the 2023 World Cup due to injury. The 2019 World Cup winner released a statement providing an injury update on Monday, revealing that she had an additional surgery on her knee after rehabbing from a previous injury for nearly all of 2021. The second surgery means Mewis is unlikely to feature in the 2023 Women's World Cup this summer.
"I am letting everyone know that I had another surgery on my knee last week. I'll be starting my rehab at home where my family can support me," she said.
January 30, 2023
"I gave everything I had to rehabbing my knee after my last procedure in 2021. This has been a really difficult time for me personally and I've been devastated to be away from soccer for so long. The Current have been extremely patient and supportive of me throughout this process. I don't have a timeline for my return to soccer, but I will give my best effort in my recovery as I always have. Thank you to everyone for your support and well wishes."
Mewis previously had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee in August 2021 after the Tokyo Olympics. The latest update is considered a significant loss for the USWNT. Mewis has been a staple in the midfield for the national team, previously playing alongside Rose Lavelle and Julie Ertz. The 30-year-old has been a regular on the USWNT since 2016 with 83 appearances, and she was voted U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2020.
With Mewis expected to miss the World Cup, the gaps in the midfield are even larger now. Ertz has been absent from the team after giving birth to her son in August, and head coach Vlatko Andonovski has tried different trios in the middle third in light of the absences and injuries during 2022. Mewis has long been part of a long list of injured players the coaching staff hopes to integrate back into the player pool. But recent comments made by Andonovski during the 2023 January camp in New Zealand implied Mewis may miss more time with the team.
"At this point, I don't want to guess what the time is or if she is going to be back at all," Andonovski said. "With Sam, it's a long-term injury and at this point, we probably would not go into details for that."
Lindsey Horan, Lavelle, and Andi Sullivan have been the typical midfield unit for the team over the last year. During the USWNT's two victories after the January camp, the coaching staff got a look at Lavelle in the No. 8 role for the team, where Mewis has typically featured for the USWNT in the past.
Mewis' recent statement and unknown timeline to return nearly confirms her unavailability for the World Cup. Kansas City Current has announced their preseason roster ahead of the National Women's Soccer League regular season with Mewis not listed but noted they bought out her previous contract and signed her to a new deal through 2023 to "focus on her recovery and future."
Mewis arrived in Kansas City in a trade with the North Carolina Courage during the 2021 offseason. She featured in two Challenge Cup games in the preseason but has yet to make her regular season debut for the team. The Current made several off-season moves to build up their roster, including midfielders Morgan Gautrat and Debinha. The 2023 NWSL regular season begins on March 25.