Lyon’s Macario returns to US national team for SheBelieves
Catarina Macario is returning to the U.S. women’s national team for the SheBelieves Cup after missing the team’s camp in January to play for French club Lyon.
Veteran defender Becky Sauerbrunn is also back on the roster for the four-team tournament later this month after missing last month’s camp because of a medical procedure.
Coach Vlatko Andonovski announced the 23-player roster for the tournament Thursday with the focus on preparing younger players for World Cup qualifying this summer. The United States is the defending World Cup champion.
“She’s been doing well in Lyon, she has been doing well for months now and we’re excited to have her back,” Andonovski said about Macario. “I think that she’s going to slot straight in and will not have any problems -- she’s a super intelligent player, very soccer savvy. We’re happy to have her back.”
Among the veteran players left off the tournament roster are Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath, who also weren’t in camp last month.
“All these players are very, very good players. We all know that. They’ve done so much for this team and they’ve won everything possible,” Andonovski said. “But right now I felt like I want to give a chance to players like Sophia Smith, Mal Pugh, Catarina Macario, Ashley Hatch, players that have earned their spot on the national team or earn their spot back on the national team. We want to give them maximum minutes, or the minutes they’ve earned, so we can evaluate every aspect of their game, in the training environment or the game setting.”
Another prominent absence is Julie Ertz, who was also left off the training camp roster for Angel City. Ertz, who battled a right knee injury last year, was traded to the National Women’s Soccer League expansion team in December.
Andonovski said Ertz was not physically ready to return.
“First and foremost, you’ve got to be healthy, fit and ready to play. Then the next thing is you got to perform in your club market to earn your spot on the on the national team,” Andonovski said. “So whenever Julie is ready and she performs well -- we know how good she can be and we know how valuable she is for this team -- we’re going to be happy to see her back.”
Trinity Rodman, who signed the richest contract ever in the NWSL, joins the team as a practice player. The Washington Spirit announced Rodman’s four-year contract, worth a reported $1.1 million, on Wednesday.
The daughter of former NBA great Dennis Rodman was last season’s NWSL Rookie of the Year as well as the U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year.
The United States will face the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Iceland in the round-robin SheBelieves Cup, which starts on Feb. 17 in Carson, California. The teams will play two double-headers before the tournament shifts to Frisco, Texas, on Feb. 23.
The U.S. national team SheBelieves Cup roster, with club affiliation:
Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns).
Midfielders: Morgan Gautrat (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyonnais), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current).
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports