USWNT Opens 2023 Campaign In Wellington/Te Whanganui-A-Tara

Watch New Zealand-USA on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 10 p.m. ET on HBO Max

The U.S. Women’s National Team will kick off a massive 2023 in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand, taking on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup co-host Football Ferns at Sky Stadium. The game will kick off on Jan. 18 at 4 p.m. local NZT, which will be 10 p.m. ET on Jan. 17 back in the United States and will be available for viewing stateside on HBO Max, with pre-game coverage beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET and post-game coverage to follow.

The 2023 opener in Wellington, which will serve as the host city and venue for the USA’s second group stage match against the Netherlands during this summer’s World Cup, will be the first of two meetings between the USA and New Zealand during this trip Down Under. The teams will meet again three days later in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau for a showdown at the renowned Eden Park, New Zealand’s National Stadium. Kickoff for the second match is slated for 4 p.m. NZT on Jan. 21 (10 p.m. ET on Jan. 20; HBO Max).

Fans will also be able to follow the action via Twitter (@USWNT), Instagram (@USWNT), Facebook and the official U.S. Soccer App.

USWNT DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)

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)

 

The 24-player roster called up for this trip features 21 players who participated in the USA’s November Training Camp and matches against Germany at the end of 2022. The USWNT will be without forwards Sophia Smith and Megan Rapinoe for these games, both of whom scored in the November friendlies against Germany, as both are coming back from minor injuries. 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.

 

Thirteen players on this roster saw action in the most recent meeting between the USWNT and New Zealand, which came on Feb. 20 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. During the 2022 SheBelieves Cup. Ashley Hatch and Mallory Swanson, formerly Pugh who will now be playing under her married name, both scored in the win as the Americans also forced three New Zealand own goals in the 5-0 victory.

RUN THROUGH DOWN UNDER

This January camp, which will market the first ever games for the USWNT in New Zealand, provides the USWNT with the unique and invaluable experience of getting to stay and train in the city in which it will base camp during the World Cup, as the USA will be based in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau for the duration of the group stage.

The USA will also get to play at both its World Cup group stage venues this month, as Sky Stadium, which will be known as Wellington Regional Stadium during the World Cup due to sponsorship regulations, will be the site of the USA’s second Group E match against the Netherlands on July 27 (kickoff at 1 p.m. NZT; 8 p.m. ET on July 26 in the USA). The USA’s World Cup opening match against Vietnam (July 22 at 1 p.m. NZT; 8 p.m. ET on July 21) and third group stage match against the Group A Playoff Winner (Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. NZT; 3 a.m. ET) will both be staged at Eden Park in Auckland.

In the lead up to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the USA also had the opportunity to experience travel and training in the World Cup host country, holding its January camp in France and opening the 2019 schedule with a match against 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup hosts France in Le Havre.

SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. NEW ZEALAND

The USA and New Zealand have played 19 times previously with the USWNT leading the overall series 17-1-1. The lone loss for the Americans came in a 1-0 defeat during the first meeting between the teams on Dec. 15, 1987. Since then, the USA is unbeaten in the last 18 head-to-head matchups with the Football Ferns, scoring five or more goals in each of the last four meetings. The teams drew 1-1 during a friendly in October of 2013.

The most recent meeting between the teams came 11 months ago at the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, a 5-0 victory for the Americans in Carson, Calif on Feb. 20, 2022, behind goals from Hatch and Swanson and three New Zealand own goals. Prior to that, the teams squared off in the group stage of the delayed 2020 Olympics, a 6-1 victory for the Americans as Rose Lavelle, Lindsey Horan, Christen Press and Alex Morgan scored while the USA forced the Football Ferns into two own goals.

The meeting during the Tokyo Olympics marked the fourth consecutive Olympics in which the USA and New Zealand have squared off, a streak that began during group stage play in 2008.

THE WORLD CUP AWAITS

The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will kick off on July 20 as co-host New Zealand takes on Norway in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau. An hour later, co-host Australia opens against the Republic of Ireland in Sydney/Gadigal. The full tournament schedule along with kickoff times can be found here.

The USA, which has qualified for every FIFA Women’s World Cup in history and will be seeking to lift the trophy for a fifth time, will face World Cup debutant Vietnam, Netherlands and the Group A Playoff Winner -- either Portugal, Thailand or Cameroon -- in Group E, playing the entirety of the group stage in New Zealand. The U.S. will open Group E play against Vietnam on July 22 at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and then face the Netherlands on July 27 at Wellington Regional Stadium – also known as Sky Stadium - in Wellington/Te Whanganui-a-Tara, marking the first time in FIFA Women’s World Cup history that the two finalists from the previous tournament will meet in group play. The USA will then close out the group stage against the Group A Playoff Winner on Aug. 1 at Eden Park in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau.

The Inter-Confederation Playoffs will determine the final three qualification spots for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, including the USA’s final opponent for the group stage. The ten-team playoff tournament will take place in New Zealand from February 17-23, 2023, and features ten nations split into three groups, with the winner of each group qualifying for the Women's World Cup. Group A will feature Cameroon against Thailand on Feb. 18 with the winner taking on Portugal for a berth to the World Cup on Feb. 22.

AUSTRALIA/NEW ZEALAND 2023 GROUPS

Group A: New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Switzerland
Group B: Australia, Ireland, Nigeria and Canada
Group C: Spain, Costa Rica, Zambia and Japan
Group D: England, Group B Playoff Winner, Denmark and China PR
Group E: USA, Vietnam, Netherlands and the Group A Playoff Winner
Group F: France, Colombia, Jamaica, Brazil and the Group C Playoff Winner
Group G: Sweden, South Africa, Italy and Argentina
Group H: Germany, Morocco, Colombia and Korea Republic

Single match passes are available between now and March 3rd via FIFA’s ticketing portal on a first come, first serve basis. Prices will start at AUD/NZD$20 for adults and AUD/NZD$10 for children. For more information about the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup visit the FIFA’s 2023 World Cup hub.

2023 SHEBELIEVES CUP, PRESENTED BY VISA, COMING SOON

Following these January games in New Zealand, the USA will return stateside for the February FIFA International Window, where it will host the eighth annual SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa®. This year’s tournament will run from Feb. 16-22 as Brazil, Canada and Japan join the USA for the four-team international tournament. All four nations will be participating in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer and all four are ranked in the top 11 in the world with the USA at No. 1, Canada at No. 6, Brazil at No. 9 and Japan at No. 11.

The SheBelieves Cup will return to its traditional three-venue format with matches played at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla., GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tenn. and Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Play kicks off on Thursday, Feb. 16 at Exploria Stadium as Japan takes on Brazil (4 p.m. ET) and the USA faces Canada (7 p.m. ET). The tournament resumes on Sunday, Feb. 19, as the competition moves to Nashville’s GEODIS Park with the USA playing the first match of the day against Japan (2:30 p.m. CT / 3:30 p.m. ET) and Brazil facing Canada (5:30 p.m. CT / 6:30 p.m. ET) in the nightcap. The tournament concludes on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, with Canada taking on Japan (3 p.m. CT / 4 p.m. ET) and the USA facing Brazil in the tournament finale (6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET). Broadcast information for all the matches will be available at a later date.

USA ROSTER NOTES

  • Since the start of 2020, the USWNT has played 33 matches in the United States and 18 outside the country. The USA is 30-1-2 in domestic matches and has outscored the opposition 130-6 (+124) at home and is 10-4-4 with a 35-16 goal margin (+19) when playing outside the USA.
  • The most capped player on this roster is Becky Sauerbrunn at 211, followed Alex Morgan (200), Crystal Dunn (126) and Lindsey Horan (122) while the least capped players are Casey Murphy (11), Adrianna Franch (10), Trinity Rodman (10), Naomi Girma (10), Hailie Mace (8), Taylor Kornieck (7) and Sam Coffey (4).
  • Morgan earned her 200th cap on Nov. 13 in the USA’s match against Germany in Harrison, N.J., becoming just the 13th player in USWNT history to reach the 200-cap milestone.
  • Morgan is the top scorer on the roster in international play with 119 goals. Lindsey Horan has 26. Swanson has 25 and Dunn has 24 goals for the USWNT while Rose Lavelle has 22.
  • Seventeen different players scored for the USWNT in 2022 – Sophia Smith (11), Mallory Swanson (7), Catarina Macario (5), Alex Morgan (4), Rose Lavelle (4), Kristie Mewis (3), Ashley Sanchez (3), Ashley Hatch (2), Trinity Rodman (2), Midge Purce (2), Kelley O’Hara (1), Jaelin Howell (1), Andi Sullivan (1), Taylor Kornieck (1), Emily Sonnett (1), Lindsey Horan (1) and Megan Rapinoe (1).
  • The USA’s other six goals in 2022 came via own goals, the most ever in a calendar year in program history with three on Feb. 20 vs. New Zealand, and one each on April 12 vs. Uzbekistan, June 28 vs. Colombia and Sept. 6 vs. Nigeria.
  • Nine different NWSL clubs are represented on this roster, along with 2021-22 UEFA Women's Champions League winners Olympique Lyon, led by four players each from the Washington Spirit and OL Reign, and three players each from Portland Thorns FC, San Diego Wave FC and NJ/NY Gotham FC. 

IN FOCUS: NEW ZEALAND | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW

Current FIFA World Ranking: 24
OFC Ranking: 1
FIFA Country Code: NZL
World Cup Appearances: 5 (1991, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019)
Best World Cup finish: Group stage
Record vs. USA: 1-17-1
Last Meeting vs. USA: February 20, 2022 (5-0 win for the USA in Carson, Calif.)
Coach: Jitka Klimkova (CZE)
Championship Honors: OFC Women’s Nations Cup Champions (1983, 2007, 2010, 2014, 2018); AFC Women’s Champions (1975) 

NEW ZEALAND WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION

GOALKEEEPERS (3): 1-Erin Nayler (IFK Norrköping), 21-Murphy Sheaff (Jacksonville University, USA), 23-Brianna Edwards (Wellington Phoenix FC)

DEFENDERS (8): 7-Ali Riley (Angel City FC, USA), 18-Mackenzie Barry (Wellington Phoenix FC), 19-Liz Anton (Perth Glory, AUS), 24-Ally Green (Vålerenga, NOR), 30-Ashleigh Ward (Southampton FC, ENG), 31-Anna Green (Sydney FC, AUS), 35-Grace Neville (London City Lionesses, ENG), 37-Rebecca Lake (Canterbury United Pride)

MIDFIELDERS (7): 12-Betsy Hassett (Wellington Phoenix FC), 15-Daisy Cleverley (HB Køge, DEN), 20-Jana Radosavljevic (DSC Arminia Bielefeld, GER), 28-Ava Collins (St John’s University, USA),  29-Jacqui Hand (Åland United, FIN), 32-Aniela Jensen (University of the Pacific, USA), 33-Grace Wisnewski (Wellington Phoenix FC)

FORWARDS (9): 9-Gabi Rennie (Arizona State University, USA), 11-Olivia Chance (Celtic FC, SCO), 13-Paige Satchell (Wellington Phoenix FC), 16-Emma Rolston (Wellington Phoenix FC), 22-Hannah Blake (University of Michigan, USA), 25-Grace Jale (Canberra United, AUS), 27-Indiah Paige Riley (Brisbane Roar), 34-Tayla O’Brien (Eastern Suburbs AFC), 36-Deven Jackson (Eastern Suburbs AFC)

NEW ZEALAND ROSTER NOTES

  • 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.
  • Almost the entirety of NZL’s roster plays club soccer outside the country and they are spread across the world in Australia, the USA, Scotland, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Germany and Finland. As these matches are taking place outside a FIFA window, the Ferns are missing a few regular call-ups, but still have a selection of highly experienced players.
  • Team captain Ali Riley, who plays for Angel City FC in the NWSL, is the most experienced Fern on the roster with 147 caps and two goals. Riley, who grew up in Southern California and attended Stanford, has spent most of her pro career overseas, spending about seven years in Sweden, one Germany and one in England, she returned the USA to play for the Orlando Pride and was traded to Angel City FC before last season.
  • Starting goalkeeper Erin Nayler, who plays for IFK Norrköping in Sweden and has 78 caps, has had several excellent games against the USA over the years.
  • Veteran midfielder and former California Golden Bear Betsy Hassett (137/14) earned her 100th cap against the USA during the match in 2017 in Colorado. Hassett played with U.S. forward Alex Morgan at Cal.
  • Midfielder Daisy Cleverly played college soccer at UC Berkeley and Georgetown and now plays professionally in Denmark.
  • Five players on this New Zealand roster are currently playing college soccer in the USA including Gabi Rennie of Arizona State who scored in New Zealand’s 2-1 loss to Australia at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan. Rennie was a part of the New Zealand U-17 team which made history by winning NZL’s first medal at a FIFA Word Cup with a third-place finish at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. Two other players on this roster, defender Mackenzie Barry and midfielder Grace Wisnewski, were also on that team.
  • Head coach Jitka Klimkova was the head coach for the U.S. U-20 WYNT during the 2020 World Cup cycle and was also head coach U.S. U-19s as well as head scout for the U.S. team at the 2018 FIFA U-20 WWC in Papua New Guinea.
  • She came to U.S. Soccer from New Zealand Football Federation, where she was head coach of the New Zealand U-17 Women’s National Team and an assistant coach for the Ferns U-20 Women’s National Team over 2013 and 2014, also serving as an assistant coach for the senior New Zealand Women’s National Team in 2014. 
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