Alyssa Thompson, Alex Morgan, others make USWNT World Cup roster

United States' Alyssa Thompson in action.
United States’ Alyssa Thompson in action during the first half of an international friendly match against Ireland on April 11 in St. Louis.
(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)
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Alyssa Thompson found out a week ago that she had made the U.S. team for this summer’s women’s World Cup. But when coach Vlatko Andonovski delivered the news in a phone call, it came with a condition: she couldn’t tell anyone but her family and close friends until the official roster announcement.

“It was easy to keep it a secret,” Thompson said with a giggle Wednesday, a few minutes after the roster had been released. “A lot of things sometimes that I do are secret. The people around me are good at just keeping it in house.”

This news was a little different, though. The U.S. will be going for an unprecedented third straight World Cup title in New Zealand/Australia and Thompson, at 18, will be the youngest player on the team. In fact, she’s the youngest woman to make a U.S. World Cup team in 28 years.


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The selection also fulfills the plan Thompson laid out when she declined a scholarship to Stanford to turn pro in January, becoming the first high school player selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the NWSL draft.

“It just kind of shows that everything that I’ve done up until this point has gotten me to this moment,” said Thompson, who signed with Angel City, then scored five minutes into her first game with the team. “I didn’t know it would happen so soon. It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“It’s going to be crazy that I get to play with all these amazing players that I’ve looked up to forever.”

Among them are Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and defender Kelley O’Hara, who will all be playing in their fourth World Cups this summer. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and Julie Ertz, Thompson’s Angel City teammate, made the team for a third straight time.

Ertz said Thompson has already begun asking for advice on how to pack for the six-week trip.

Angel City FC's Alyssa Thompson controls the ball against San Diego Wave FC's Danielle Colaprico.
Angel City FC’s Alyssa Thompson (21) controls the ball against San Diego Wave FC’s Danielle Colaprico (24) during the first half at BMO Stadium on April 23.
(Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images)

“Talking about stuff or messing with her, it’s just fun,” said Ertz, 31, who will be playing in the World Cup less than a year after giving birth. “That’s what [is so fun] about this team. ... Everybody is at such a different point in their life with the same goal.

“Just having somebody who’s so raw, so good, so young at her first World Cup, I’m just so happy and excited for her. So well deserved.”

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But there are also some significant players missing from the team, which will gather for the start of training camp Monday in Carson. Mallory Swanson, the leading scorer for the U.S. the last two years, tore the patellar tendon in her left knee in April, which opened a roster spot for Thompson. Midfielders Catarina Macario (ACL) and Sam Mewis (knee) and center back Becky Sauerbrunn (foot) are also out with injuries.

In addition, Rapinoe and midfielder Rose Lavelle are nursing injuries, though Andonovski expects both will be ready for the team’s final World Cup tune-up with Wales on July 9 in San José. The team will open the World Cup on July 22, facing Vietnam in Auckland. It will also meet the Netherlands and Portugal in group play.

The absence of Sauerbrunn, the captain and the team’s most experienced player with 216 international appearances, leaves a particularly big hole in Andonovski’s lineup.

“We’re going to miss her on the field, we’re going to miss her off the field,” the coach said. “But that’s part of sports. We’re very confident in the abilities of the players that we have on the team that we’ll be overcome the deficiencies that may occur with Becky’s absence.”


Given the injury to Sauerbrunn, Andonovski’s decision to leave 2019 World Cup defender Tierna Davidson off the roster was a surprise. San Diego’s Naomi Girma and Alana Cook of the OL Reign, both playing in their first World Cups, are the expected starters at center back, although Andonovski said he is also considering using Ertz, a natural center back who started seven games there in the 2015 World Cup.

This summer’s women’s World Cup will be the largest in history with 32 teams and 64 games. It will also be the first shared between two countries, with games in 10 stadiums and nine host cities, five in Australia and four in New Zealand.

USWNT World Cup roster

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)

Midfielders: Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC), Julie Ertz (Angel City FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

Forwards: Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)