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The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup is rapidly approaching with the countdown under 30 days. The tournament will kick off in Australia and New Zealand on July 20, with 32 nations participating for the first time. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski and his staff have finalized the 23-player roster, a process that has included evaluation through various injuries for some and elevated play by others. 

The final result has provided us with a 23-person list that has nine athletes competing in successive World Cups, and there are 14 players across the roster who will experience the World Cup for the first time. In between the nagging injuries and fresh names, that means there are some surprises and some snubs to the 2023 USWNT World Cup roster. 

Let's take a look at the players who broke through and others who fell just short of making the plane:


There are multiple first-time World Cup players on the roster but the wide range of ages between them and the current phase of their collective careers are what stand out. 

Alyssa Thompson: She cracked the roster in the same way she's captivated current audiences, through neck-turning force on the pitch, and at 18 years old is the youngest player on the roster. 

Aubrey Kingsbury: She has had a lock-down start to the NWSL season with Washington Spirit and not only returns to the team after an 18-month absence but is going to her first World Cup at age 31 as the third goalkeeper option.

Kristie Mewis and Sofia Huerta: Similarly, though perhaps not surprising for some of us, are these two, who are on this roster after back-and-forth callups to USWNT camps over the years depending on form, and who was in charge. Both Mewis (32) and Huerta (30) are going to their first World Cup after extensive, and at times tenuous, experiences with the national team.

Savannah DeMelo: She's only in her second year as a professional soccer player in NWSL, but her rise in form from year one to year two is showing major signs of her ongoing development. Her place on the roster comes with question marks around Rose Lavelle, who hasn't played since mid-April, and it's a compliment to DeMelo's game that the staff wants her as an option if Lavelle needs rotation.


With just weeks till the start of the World Cup, injuries have played a part in several national team rosters, and for the USWNT it may have played a role for some who have been with the team through their buildup.

Taylor Kornieck: The midfielder isn't among the 23 players despite being tasked with new responsibilities earlier this year, but she missed a large part of San Diego Wave's first half of the season with injury and only recently returned to the pitch. 

Midge Purce: She's another player primarily called into camp by Andonovski in a similar situation as Kornieck. With nagging injuries, a narrow timeline towards the tournament, and a vast attacking player pool, it means she also misses out. Neither Purce nor Kornieck were snubbed exactly, but there are players where the term might seem an appropriate term now that the roster is finalized. 

Ashley Hatch: Her omission from the roster may be a head-scratcher for some as they debate who the backup No. 9 will be on the team. She's been a top scorer in the league, and a frequent part of USWNT camps over the last two years, but is not headed to the tournament. She's a traditional center forward, and perhaps that was the downfall, as Andonvski later told media that multiple forwards going to the World Cup have the ability to play along the front line, including the No, 9 role. 

Adrianna Franch:  Kansas City Current will have zero players represent the USWNT in the World Cup after the goalkeeper was passed over for Kingsbury on this roster. Franch's peculiar situation in Kansas City began with an early rocky start this season, and after former head coach Matt Potter was dismissed after three weeks, interim head coach Caroline Sjoblom promoted back-up Cassie Miller to the starting role to try and kickstart the season. It was a gamble, Franch has paid a price, and they are currently in last place in the league table. 

Tierna Davidson: Unlike some others on this list, Davidson has returned from an ACL injury sustained in 2022 and is playing consistent minutes. But there have been some lapses and nervy moments during games by Davidson, and she was not selected to the roster despite previous experience in the 2019 World Cup and Tokyo Olympics. 

Casey Krueger: Davidson's Chicago Red Stars teammate  was also not named to the roster. The duo has played in nearly all of the Red Stars games this year. The club is going through a historically poor season after massive roster turnover, and the players are playing through outside factors that aren't within their control as the franchise navigates a sale and seeks new ownership.  Krueger covers extended ground as a center back, at both outside back positions, and perhaps elevated her profile this season ahead of Davidson. Her versatility has been a bright spot among Chicago's current regular season woes. Despite being rated by Andonovski, this is the second World Cup omission for Krueger, who was left off in 2019 when the backup fullback roles went to Emily Sonnett and Ali Krieger. 

What the current roster tells us

Versatility over experience was the key, which could be a refreshing change for the senior national team program that has previously defaulted to experienced players. Though it's not something that came organically, Julie Ertz and Lavelle are still on the plane despite the lack of minutes, but so are DeMelo and Thompson. 

Forwards who can play along the top line, or deeper if needed, are packing their bags for the Southern Hemisphere. Midfielders who can rotate higher or convert into a defender have booked their ticket. Defenders who can push higher and cover ground are going to the World Cup for the USWNT. 

Injuries and timelines have clearly shaped the roster, but instead of solely leaning into experience for depth positions like in past tournaments, the coaching staff tried to lean into form for certain roles. Now they will have to make sure the players understand the assignment if they want to win a fifth World Cup.