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Alex Morgan Christen Press returning to USWNT squad for SheBelieves Cup

The returns of Alex Morgan and Christen Press highlight the U.S. women’s national team roster for the SheBelieves Cup.

U.S. manager Vlatko Andonovski named 23 players to his squad. The most notable omissions were Manchester United forward Tobin Heath, who is injured, as well as the Orlando Pride duo of goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger. Both Harris and Krieger were involved in the January camp, though Krieger played in just one of two friendlies against Colombia. Harris was replaced on the roster by North Carolina Courage goalkeeper Casey Murphy.

– Alex Morgan back with Orlando Pride after COVID-19 scare
– Japan withdraws from SheBelieves Cup, replaced by Argentina
– USWNT’s Tobin Heath out 10-12 weeks after suffering ankle injury

Both Morgan and Press missed the team’s training camp in January due to illness, with Morgan announcing she had contracted COVID-19. Press’ illness was not COVID-related. With rosters for this summer’s Olympic games limited to 18 players, the competition for spots will be intense, and the matches will reveal much about the current form of players.

“I think we made a lot of progress on and off the field during the January camp and games, so we’ll be looking to build on that for these three matches and we want to continue to test different players in tough environments,” Andonovski said. “Each game will present its own unique challenges and the matches are not only a step up in competition from January, but, as I’ve said before, are extremely valuable as a test run for group play at the Olympics.”

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The U.S. roster features 17 players playing in the National Women’s Soccer League and six playing in Europe. For training purposes, Andonovski has also called up three non-rostered players who will practice with the team for the first week of camp before departing. That trio includes Racing Louisville’s defender Emily Fox, Florida State midfielder Jaelin Howell and Chicago Red Stars forward Mallory Pugh.

Of the overseas players, Lyon forward Catarina Macario will arrive in Orlando with most of the roster on Feb. 8, while Paris Saint-Germain defender Alana Cook is expected to arrive shortly thereafter. The squad’s England-based players are scheduled to arrive on Feb. 13.

The tournament, set to be held Feb. 18-24 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida, will feature Brazil, Canada and Argentina. The Argentines were a late replacement for Japan, who pulled out of the tournament because of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in their country. The U.S. will face Canada on Feb. 18, Brazil on Feb. 21 and Argentina on Feb. 24. Canada and Brazil are tied for eighth in the latest FIFA rankings while Argentina is tied for 31st.

Full SheBelieves Cup squad:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 4), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 65)

DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA; 2/0), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City, ENG; 63/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 27/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 107/24), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit; 133/2), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC; 4/1), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 179/0), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit; 48/0)

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MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 105/20), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC;88/20), Rose Lavelle (Manchester City, ENG; 48/13), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnaise, FRA; 2/1), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash; 18/3), Samantha Mewis (Manchester City, ENG; 70/21)

FORWARDS (6): Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 296/123), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 170/107), Christen Press (Manchester United, ENG; 139/58), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 170/54), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage; 31/10).

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