With less than four months until the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off in Australia and New Zealand, the U.S. Women’s National Team takes to the field for two matches against the Republic of Ireland as preparations for the summer Down Under enter the final stages. The teams will square off on Saturday, April 8 at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas (2:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Universo and Peacock) in a match presented by Truly Hard Seltzer before playing again three days later on April 11 at CITYPARK in St. Louis, Mo. (7:30 p.m. ET on HBO Max, Universo and Peacock).
Meet the USA’s upcoming opponent with Five Things to Know about the Republic of Ireland.
IRISH QUALIFY FOR FIRST WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
On October 11, 2022, the Republic of Ireland qualified in dramatic fashion for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, a first ever for the women’s program and just the fourth senior World Cup in the history of the Federation. After finishing second in UEFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Group A behind Sweden, Ireland met rival Scotland in a one-game World Cup playoff at the famed Hampden Park in Glasgow. In front of more than 10,000 fans, a highly emotional goal in 72nd minute from forward Amber Barrett sent The Girls in Green to Australia and New Zealand.
After dropping its first match in Group A of UEFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying - a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sweden following an own goal – Ireland went unbeaten in its final seven games of the group stage, including a 1-1 draw against the Swedes in Stockholm in Gothenburg to finish second in the group. Irish midfielder Katie McCabe scored in the draw against the Swedes and led all players in Group A with seven goals during the group stage while fellow midfielder Denise O’Sullivan was second with six goals.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
Ireland head coach Vera Pauw has called up a 27-player roster for these matches against the USA. The squad, which includes eight players who saw action in Ireland’s decisive matchup against Scotland, boasts a blend of youth and veteran experience on the international level.
Defender Áine O’Gorman is the most experienced player on the roster with 115 caps followed by fellow defender Louise Quinn with 101 caps. O’Sullivan is on 99 caps and will hit the 100-cap milestone in the first matchup against the USA. Defender Diane Caldwell also boasts a wealth of experience with 93 international caps followed by McCabe with 70.
O’Sullivan, one of two players on this Ireland roster who currently plays in the U.S. in the National Women’s Soccer League, is the leading scorer on this roster with 18 international goals. McCabe also has 18, Quinn has 15 and O’Gorman has 13.
On the other end of the spectrum, seven Irish players called up for the matches against the USA have one cap or fewer, including three uncapped players in goalkeeper Sophie Whitehouse, forward Alannah McEvoy and defender Tara O'Hanlon.
Fifteen of the 27 players on this roster play their club soccer in England, highlighted by defender Aoife Mannion, who plays for current FA Women’s Super League leaders Manchester United, McCabe, a longtime fixture in the Arsenal midfield, and goalkeeper Courtney Brosnan, who plays for Everton and saved a penalty in the World Cup Qualifying Playoff against Scotland.
IRELAND WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEM ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (4): Courtney Brosnan (Everton F.C., ENG), Grace Moloney (Reading F.C., ENG), Megan Walsh (Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., ENG), Sophie Whitehouse (Lewes F.C., ENG)
Defenders (9): Harriet Scott (Birmingham City F.C., ENG), Jessie Stapleton (Shelbourne F.C.), Louise Quinn (Birmingham City F.C., ENG), Aoife Mannion (Manchester United F.C., ENG), Diane Caldwell (Reading F.C., ENG), Claire O’Riordan (Celtic F.C., SCO), Hayley Nolan (London City Lionesses, ENG), Tara O’Hanlon (Peamount United), Áine O’Gorman (Shamrock Rovers)
Midfielders (8): Katie McCabe (Arsenal F.C., ENG), Lucy Quinn (Birmingham City, ENG), Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage, USA), Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion F.C., ENG), Jamie Finn (Birmingham City F.C., ENG), Ruesha Littlejohn (Aston Villa F.C., ENG), Ciara Grant (Hearts, SCO), Roma McLaughlin (Fortuna Hjorring, DEN)
Forwards (6): Heather Payne (Florida State University, USA), Abbie Larkin (Shamrock Rovers), Amber Barrett (FFC Potsdam Turbine, GER), Kyra Carusa (London City Lionesses, ENG), Marissa Sheva (Washington Spirit, USA), Alannah McEvoy (Shamrock Rovers)
O’SULLIVAN SET TO JOIN CENTURY CLUB
A dynamic and dominant force in the midfield for both club and country, Denise O’Sullivan is set to earn her 100th cap for Ireland in these games against the USA, a fitting celebration for a player who has a had a long and successful club career playing in the United States. O’Sullivan first joined NWSL in 2016, where she spent one-and-a-half seasons with the Houston Dash before moving to the North Carolina Courage midway through the 2017 campaign. Playing alongside current USWNT callups Lynn Williams and Ashley Hatch, she helped the Courage win the 2017 NWSL Shield in her first season with the club. O’Sullivan established herself as mainstay in the midfield and fan favorite for the Courage and helped the club capture two more NWSL Shields in both 2018 and 2019 as well as back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2018 and 2019. O’Sullivan has amassed well over 100 matches in NWSL and currently plays alongside USA goalkeeper Casey Murphy and defender Emily Fox in North Carolina.
O’Sullivan is one of three players on this Ireland roster playing in the USA and one of many with times to American soccer. Washington Spirit forward Marissa Sheva, who was born in Pennsylvania and played collegiately for Penn State, has one cap for Ireland while forward Heather Payne currently plays collegiate soccer for Florida State.
Midfielder Megan Connolly now plays her club soccer in England following a standout career Florida State where she was the ACC Midfielder of the Year, ACC Defender of the Year and was a First-Team All-American. Forward Kyra Carusa was born in San Diego and played three seasons at Stanford University, helping the Cardinal win the 2017 NCAA Championship playing alongside current USWNT call-ups Andi Sullivan, Alana Cook and Tierna Davidson.
SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Saturday’s matchup in Austin will be the 14th meeting all-time between the USA and the Republic of Ireland and the first since the teams met on August 3, 2019, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California in the USWNT’s first match after winning the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Played in front of a crowd of over 37,000 fans at the site of the historic 1999 Women’s World Cup final, the USA topped Ireland 3-0 led by goals from Lindsey Horan, Carli Lloyd and Tobin Heath.
Prior to that match in the 2019 Victory tour, the Irish and Americans last squared off in San Diego on January 23, 2016. Lloyd tallied a hat trick in that match while Alex Morgan earned her 100th cap and a 17-year-old Mallory Pugh (now Swanson) made scored in her international debut.
Overall, the USA leads the series against the Irish 13-0-0 and has scored five or more goals in seven of the 13 previous meetings. Morgan has scored in all three of her previous appearances against Ireland, tallying five goals in those games include a hat trick in her first match against the Irish in 2012. Julie Ertz, Horan and Swanson have all also scored in previous meetings with Ireland.
GROUP B AWAITS THE IRISH
Ireland will be one of eight teams making its FIFA Women’s World Cup debut this summer, joined by the Philippines, Vietnam, Zambia, Morocco, Haiti, Portugal and Panama in the newly expanded field of 32 teams. However, an additional spotlight will be on the Irish, who were drawn into Group B and will take on World Cup co-hosts Australia on the opening day of the tournament. The match against the Matildas on July 20 was originally slated to be played in Sydney/Gadigal at Sydney Football Stadium but in January it was announced that the game would instead be played at the much larger Stadium Australia in Sydney to accommodate the significant demand for tickets.
Ireland will then travel to Perth/Boorloo for its second game of group play, squaring off against Canada on July 26 at Perth Rectangular Stadium before closing out the group stage in Brisbane/Meaanjin on July 31 against Nigeria.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is the first major tournament of Ireland’s Women, who have yet to qualify for either the Olympics or the UEFA Women’s Championship.