U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 24-woman preliminary roster for the friendlies vs. China PR on June 7 (at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah) and June 12 (at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland). Eighteen players will be named for each gameday roster.
Among the names on the roster: Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni, Thorns midfielder Midge Purce, Courage defender Merritt Mathias, Utah Royals FC goalkeeper Abby Smith and Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez. Overall, 20 NWSL players have been called in.
Zerboni has one cap in her international career. Mathias, Purce and Smith are uncapped. Rodriguez has 130 caps, but hasn’t played for the USWNT since October 2015 following the birth of her son and an ACL tear.
NWSL players will report to USWNT camp on June 1, and will return on June 13. There are four NWSL games the weekend of June 2 and 3, as well as one NWSL game that takes place on June 8, during the FIFA window.
It’s the second career call-up for Zerboni, who played 45 minutes for the USWNT in October vs. Korea Republic in North Carolina after the 2017 NWSL season. In that game, two months before she turned 31, she became the oldest player to earn her first cap in USWNT history.
This season in the NWSL, Zerboni leads the league in tackles won (32). She is second in duels won (113), second in interceptions (39), sixth in aerial duels won (33) and fourth in total touches (727). She has also added three goals and played every minute.
It’s the second call-up for Mathias, who was in camp in October 2016 for friendlies vs. Switzerland. Mathias has one goal and has played all but 19 minutes for the Courage this season at right back, after joining the team in an offseason trade with Seattle Reign FC. She’s recorded 17 chances created, sixth-best in the NWSL.
Purce also earns her second call-up after being on the roster for the 2017 Tournament of Nations, though she did not appear in a game. Purce joined the Thorns in the January dispersal draft and has played right-wing outside back in the Thorns 3-5-2 formation. She has played all but 27 minutes so far this season. She’s seventh in the league in duels won (72) and sixth in tackles won (22).
Rodriguez has a goal and an assist for Utah Royals FC this season. She made her season debut on April 14 after recovering from her torn ACL suffered in April 2017. She scored her first goal of the season two weeks later. She played all 90 minutes for the first time on May 26.
Smith has played every minute of Utah Royals FC’s nine games this season and has earned four clean sheets, tied for the league-lead in the NWSL. She’s made 13 saves and conceded seven goals. Smith was previously called in for the June 2017 friendlies and was on the roster for the 2017 Tournament of Nations.
Sky Blue FC’s Savannah McCaskill is the only NWSL rookie on the roster. She has two goals and has appeared in every game so far this season for Sky Blue.
Also named to the roster is Sky Blue FC 2018 draft pick Casey Murphy, who now plays in the D1 Feminine for Montpellier HSC and was named the top goalkeeper in the French league.
U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position; Caps/Goals
DEFENDERS (6): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 18/0), Tierna Davidson (Stanford; 6/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 5/0), Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage; 0/0), Margaret Purce (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 137/0)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Morgan Brian (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 74/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 59/15), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 49/5), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 252/100), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 34/7), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 37/6), McCall Zerboni (North Carolina Courage; 1/0)
FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 62/23), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 132/18), Savannah McCaskill (Sky Blue FC; 5/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 140/85), Christen Press (Kopparbergs/Göteborg FC, SWE; 98/44), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 135/36), Amy Rodriguez (Utah Royals FC; 130/30)