Five Things To Know: January Camp

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The U.S. Women’s National Team’s January BioSteel Training Camp is a unique opportunity to open the year in the country in which it will be based for the majority of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The USA opened training camp in Auckland, New Zealand on January 11, kicking off a 12-day stretch Down Under that will feature two games against the World Cup co-host Football Ferns.

The teams will play the first of the two games in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara at Sky Stadium on January 18 (4 p.m. NZT; 10 p.m. ET on Jan. 17 in the USA) before traveling back to Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau for a January 21 meeting at Eden Park (4 p.m. NZT; 10 p.m. ET on Jan. 20). Both games will be televised in the United States on HBO Max, with pre-game coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Dive into January Camps and the USWNT’s year-opening matches with Five Things to Know.

DESTINATION DOWN UNDER

This camp and games against the Football Ferns mark the first ever trip to New Zealand for the U.S. Women’s National Team, as New Zealand will become the 27th different country in which the USWNT have played a match. Heading into 2023, the USWNT has played 715 matches in its history, but never played a game in New Zealand. That drought will soon end and the USA will be well acquainted with the country by the end of the summer, as all three of its group stage matches will be played in New Zealand during the World Cup.

The U.S. will open Group E play against Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park (1 p.m. NZT; 9 p.m. ET on July 21 in the USA), followed by a matchup against the Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium – also known as Sky Stadium – in Wellington (1 p.m. NZT; 9 p.m. ET on July 26). The USA will then return to Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau to play its final group stage match on Aug. 1 (7 p.m. NZT; 3 a.m. ET) at Eden Park against the Group A Playoff Winner.

While this marks the first trip to New Zealand for the Senior National Team, the U.S. Under-17 Women’s Youth National Team and current USWNT call-ups Crystal Dunn and Kristie Mewis competed in New Zealand during the 2008 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. The U.S. finished runner-up at that tournament, falling to Korea DPR, 2-1, in overtime in the final. Dunn and Mewis both played the full 120 minutes in that match while Mewis collected Bronze Ball honors at the conclusion of the tournament.

WORLD CUP YEAR IS HERE!

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau on July 20 with the Opening Ceremony and match between New Zealand and Norway at Eden Park and will come to a close with the final on August 20 at Stadium Australia in Sydney/Gadigal. The ninth edition of the FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in six months, in what is slated to the biggest spectacle ever for women’s sport.

With an expanded team of 32 teams, the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be the largest on record, expanded from a 24-team field in both 2015 and 2019. Twenty-nine of the 32 World Cup teams have already been determined, with the three remaining bids – including the USA’s third and final group stage opponent - to be determined during the upcoming Play-Off Tournament held from Feb. 17-23 in New Zealand. Group A play kicks off on Feb. 18 with Thailand and Cameroon squaring off in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa. The winner will advance to face Portugal on February 22, with the winner of that match advancing to join the USA in Group E when the final tournament kicks off this summer.

This will also be the first Women’s World Cup to be played in the Southern Hemisphere and the first co-hosted by two countries, with the tournament being conducted in across four cities in New Zealand and five in Australia.

The four-time world champions, the USA will be competing in its ninth FIFA Women’s World Cup, one of seven nations to qualify for every edition of the tournament.

SQUAD TO START THE YEAR

U.S. head coach Vlatko Andonovski has called in a 24-player roster for the January Training Camp and matches against New Zealand, 21 of whom participated in the November Training Camp and matches against Germany to close out 2022. Defender Emily Sonnett and forward Lynn Williams return to the roster after missing significant time in 2022 due to injury while forward Midge Purce also is back in camp for the USWNT.

The USA will be without forwards Sophia Smith and Megan Rapinoe for this camp, both of whom scored in the November friendlies against Germany but are coming back from minor injuries.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Club) – January Training Camp NZL:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (OL Reign), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Hailie Mace (Kansas City Current), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)

FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC)

READY TO COMPETE

After a nearly two-month hiatus from national team competitions, the U.S. Women’s National Team players bring excitement, energy and a range of world championship experience into this first camp of the World Cup year.

The most experienced players on this roster are defender and team captain Becky Sauerbrunn (211 caps), forward Alex Morgan (200) and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher (86), all of whom are two-time Women’s World Cup Champions. Six other players on this roster – goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, defenders Crystal Dunn and Emily Sonnett, midfielders Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Swanson, formerly Pugh, helped the USA hoist the World Cup in 2019. Williams and Mewis also bring world championship experience to this roster, both appearing for the USA during the delayed 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Along with a strong core of talented veterans, this roster is heavily influenced by a group of promising young and less experienced players who have contributed valuable minutes for the USWNT as of late and will be vying for a spot on the final World Cup roster to be named this summer.

Midfielder Sam Coffey is the least experienced player on this roster with four caps, while midfielder Taylor Kornieck (7 caps) and defender Hailie Mace (8) also enter this camp with single-digit caps. Forward Trinity Rodman, who has two goals in 10 career caps, is the youngest player on this roster at 20 years old. Rodman earned her first ever call-up with the Senior National Team during the 2022 January Camp and was one of seven players to debut for the USWNT in 2022, four of whom are on this roster.

FACING THE FOOTBALL FERNS

The USA has played New Zealand 19 times overall and leads the all-time series, 17-1-1. Thirteen of the previous 19 games between the nations have been played in the USA, including the most recent matchup between the teams during the 2022 SheBelieves Cup. The USA won that match, 5-0, on Feb. 21 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. To earn its first victory of the year. Ashley Hatch and Mallory Swanson, formerly Pugh, scored for the USWNT in the victory. The USA also benefited from three New Zealand own goals on the day.

Prior to the to the meeting in the SheBelieves Cup, the matchup between the teams came in the group stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where the USA picked up a 6-1 victory as Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press and Alex Morgan all scored while the USA forced the Football Ferns into two own goals. Betsy Hassett scored the lone goal for New Zealand in the 72nd minute.  

The Football Ferns have qualified for every world championship since the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. New Zealand made a fourth consecutive appearance at the Olympics last summer, having qualified for every Olympic Games since its debut in 2008, and will play in its fifth consecutive World Cup in the summer of 2023.

New Zealand is currently ranked No. 24 in the latest FIFA Women’s Rankings and is led by former U.S. Under-20 Women’s Youth National Team head coach Jitka Klimkova. 

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