Nov 25, 2021 - Sports

USWNT friendlies roster provides look into the team's future

Table: Axios Visuals
Table: Axios Visuals

The USWNT roster for a pair of friendlies against Australia this month offers a glimpse of the future.

By the numbers: Just 10 of the 22 players headed to Australia were on the Tokyo 2020 team. The other 12 all have 10 or fewer caps.

  • The most notable absences are Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan, left off to give younger players more experience, plus Carli Lloyd, who retired last month.
  • Other big names missing: Alyssa Naeher, Crystal Dunn, Kelley O'Hara, Julie Ertz, Christen Press, Tobin Heath and Sam Mewis, absent for reasons ranging from injuries to opt outs.

The big picture: While plenty of veterans will play in the 2023 World Cup, the young squad headed to Australia is a reminder that the USWNT is nearing a state of transition.

  • One generation will soon depart, while another takes its place — a reality for all national teams.
  • Yes, but: Few groups accomplished more on the field — or fought for more off of it — than the generation currently leading the USWNT.

The bottom line: As the equal pay saga continues, it's worth remembering that many of the players fighting for a better future may only get to enjoy it from the sidelines.

This story is part of a special report on the state of U.S. women's soccer. It appeared first in Axios Sports. (Sign up here.)

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