Following a 3-0 victory and a final farewell to legendary midfielder Julie Ertz on Thursday night in Cincinnati, the U.S. Women’s National Team heads to Chicago, where it will take on South Africa on Sunday, September 24 in a match presented by Allstate. The game, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m. ET on TNT, Universo and Peacock, will be the second in a two-game set against South Africa and the final international match for USWNT great Megan Rapinoe.
A two-time Women’s World Cup champion, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and the 2019 World Player of the Year, Rapinoe is set to play in her 203rd and final game with the USWNT, although she will continue to compete for her longtime club, OL Reign, through the conclusion of the 2023 NWSL season. Rapinoe will be honored before and after the match in Chicago.
Following these games, the U.S. Women’s National Team will next reconvene in October, when it will play two games against Colombia, squaring off on Oct. 26 in Sandy, Utah and again on Oct. 29 in San Diego, California in a match presented by AT&T 5G.
LAST TIME OUT
Playing its first game under interim head coach Twila Kilgore and first match since the 2023 World Cup, the U.S. topped South Africa 3-0 on Thursday night at Cincinnati’s TQL Stadium behind a brace from forward Lynn Williams and a nifty one-time finish from forward Trinity Rodman. Williams tallied her first of the night in the 32nd minute and Rodman scored just a minute and 39 seconds later, finishing in transition off a well-weighted pass from Alex Morgan. As the celebrations following Rodman’s goal subsided, Ertz left the match for the final time in her illustrious international career.
Williams scored again in the 41st minute following a skillful heel-flick from Lindsey Horan off a corner kick for her second career multi-goal game. Cincinnati-native and defender M.A. Vignola came on as a halftime substitute, becoming the 252nd player to appear for the USWNT and helped the USA defense limit South Africa – which reached the Round of 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup – to just one shot on goal on the night. Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher kept her eighth clean sheet of 2023 and the USA still has only conceded two goals in 13 total games this year.
U.S. WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION (CLUB; CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit; 1), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 14), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 96)
DEFENDERS (8): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 26/1), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 49/1), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 137/24), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 34/1), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 21/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 39/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 78/1), M.A. Vignola (Angel City FC; 1/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Sam Coffey (Portland Thorns FC; 4/0), Savannah DeMelo (Racing Louisville FC; 3/0), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 134/29), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 26/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 50/3)
FORWARDS (9): Mia Fishel (Chelsea FC, ENG; 0/0), Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 20/5), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 212/121), Midge Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 23/4), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign; 202/63), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 23/5), Jaedyn Shaw (San Diego Wave FC; 0/0), Alyssa Thompson (Angel City FC; 7/0), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 56/17)
THANK YOU PINOE
One of the most iconic players – and personalities – in the history of the sport, Rapinoe’s decorated career with the U.S. Women’s National Team has spanned more than 17 years and has seen her compete in four World Cups and three Olympics, helping the USA to a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Games in London and back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019.
Rapinoe ranks in the top 10 in team history in goals (63) and assists (73) and has become known for her creative goal scoring, infectious celebrations and her clutch performances in some of the biggest matches of her career.
Along with her plethora of on-field accomplishments, Rapinoe’s impact has been felt far beyond the pitch. She is known for her deep caring and support for a myriad of social issues including LGBTQ+ rights, racial inequality, voter rights, and gender and pay equity, and she leaves the game as one of the most impactful figures in the history of soccer in the United States and in the global women’s game. Rapinoe publicly came out as gay in July of 2012 and has been an outspoken and visible advocate ever since. She was also the first white athlete and first female to kneel during the national anthem in solidarity with football player Colin Kaepernick.
RETURN TO THE WINDY CITY
Sunday’s game at Soldier Field will be the USWNT’s first match in Chicago since October of 2019, where former head coach Jill Ellis coached the USA for the final time. However, the U.S. is no stranger to the Windy City, having played seven times previously at Soldier Field, all of them wins.
Three players on this roster also call Chicago home when it comes to club play, with three Chicago Red Stars on the roster in Alyssa Naeher, Casey Krueger and Tierna Davidson.
INSIDE THE SERIES: USA vs. SOUTH AFRICA
The USA and South Africa entered this two-game set in the Midwest having played twice previously. The teams first met on July 9, 2016, where Crystal Dunn scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 victory for the USA. Prior to these September matches, the sides played most recently in the build up to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, a 3-0 win for the Americans in Santa Clara, Calif. on May 12, 2019, behind goals from Samantha Mewis and Carli Lloyd.
South Africa is one of just two African teams that the USWNT has faced in its history, having also played Nigeria eight times. The U.S. is 11W-0D-0L all-time against CAF competition, with the most recent six meetings all coming in friendly competitions.
PATHWAY TO PARIS
With less than a year until the start of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris, the USWNT has set its sights squarely on preparation for that tournament and its pursuit of a fifth Olympic gold medal. The Olympic Football Tournament features 12 teams and will be contested in seven different venues across France from July 24 to August 10: Parc des Princes in Paris, Stade de Lyon, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne, Stade de Marseille, Stade de Nice, Stade de Bordeaux and Stade de la Beaujoire in Nantes. The USA is one of just four teams to have already qualified for Paris, joining hosts France and South American qualifiers Brazil and Colombia.
The USA qualified for Paris by virtue of winning the 2022 Concacaf W Championship in Monterrey, Mexico, which served as the region’s qualification for the Olympics as well as the 2023 World Cup. Seventeen players on this September camp roster were a part of the USA’s squad for that tournament, which saw the USA run through the group stage, defeat Costa Rica 3-0 in the semifinal and then top Canada 1-0 in the championship game to secure an automatic berth to the 2024 Summer Games. Runners-up Canada and third-place finisher Jamaica have a two-game playoff this international window to determine Concacaf’s other berth to the Olympics. Canada won the opening leg 2-0 in Kingston on Friday, Sept. 22 and the teams will meet again on Tuesday, Sept. 26 with an Olympic berth on the line. The remaining seven teams in the Olympic Field (two from Europe, two from Asia, two from Africa and one from Oceania) will be determined in early 2024 with the Official Draw to follow.
2023 USWNT MEDIA GUIDE
The 2023 U.S. Women’s National Team Media Guide is available for download. The Media Guide features all the history and statistic for the USWNT, as well as full bios on technical staff and the current top players, information on the USA’s Youth Women’s National Teams and general important information on U.S. Soccer.
USA ROSTER NOTES
- With Ertz having played her final match in Cincinnati and defender Sofia Huerta returning for her club for rehab after suffering a hamstring injury during training, the USA roster is down to 25 players for the match in Chicago. Twenty-three players will suit up for the match.
- The most capped player on this roster is Alex Morgan (212 caps), followed by Megan Rapinoe (202), Crystal Dunn (137) and Lindsey Horan (134).
- The least capped players are Alyssa Thompson (7), Sam Coffey (4), Aubrey Kingsbury (1), M.A. Vignola (1), Mia Fishel (0) and Jaedyn Shaw (0).
- With 18-year-olds Shaw and Thompson both earning call-ups, this is the first USWNT camp with games associated since 2018 to feature multiple teenagers. The last such occurrence came in April of 2018 when 19-year-olds Mallory Pugh (now Swanson) and Tierna Davidson featured for the USA.
- Five players on this roster –Thompson, Shaw, Fishel, Trinity Rodman and Naomi Girma – were born after the historic 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.
- Morgan is the top scorer on the roster in international play with 121 goals. Rapinoe has 63, Horan has 29, Dunn has 24 and Lynn Williams has 17.
- Eleven different players have scored for the USA so far in 2023, led by seven goals from Mallory Swanson, three goals each from Horan, Rodman and Williams, two goals each Lavelle, Morgan and Sophia Smith and one goal each from Emily Fox, Alana Cook, Ashley Hatch and Taylor Kornieck.
- Eight different players have tallied an assist for the USA this year, led by four each from Lavelle and Morgan, three from Rodman, two from Smith and one apiece from Horan, Williams, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan and Sofia Huerta.
- Defensively, the USA has allowed just two goals this year, which came against Brazil in the 2023 SheBelieves Cup finale on Feb. 22 and against the Netherlands in the World Cup group stage on July 27. Alyssa Naeher has accounted for eight shutouts this year while Casey Murphy has three clean sheets.
- Eleven total clubs are represented on this roster – Olympique Lyon from France, Chelsea FC from England and nine different NWSL clubs, led by five players from the Washington Spirit and three each from OL Reign, the Chicago Red Stars and San Diego Wave FC.
IN FOCUS: SOUTH AFRICA | FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
FIFA World Ranking: 45
CAF Ranking: 2
Olympic Appearances: 2 (2012 & 2016)
Best Olympic Finish: Group stage
Record vs. USA: 0W-0D-3L (GF: 0; GA: 7)
Last Meeting vs. USA: September 21, 2023 (3-0 win for USA in Cincinnati, Ohio)
Head Coach: Desiree Ellis (RSA)
SOUTH AFRICA WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (3): 16-Andile Dlamini (Mamelodi Sundowns FC), 1-Kaylin Swart (JVW FC), 21-Kebotseng Moletsane (Royal AM)
DEFENDERS (7): 7-Karabo Dhlamini (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 5-Fikile Magama (UWC), 4-Faith Owusu (Blackburn Rovers, ENG), 2-Lebohang Ramalepe (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 14-Tiisetso Makhubela (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 15-Lonathemba Mhlongo (UWC), 3-Bongeka Gamede (UWC)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 10-Linda Motlhalo (Glasgow City, SCO), 19-Kholosa Biyana (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 22-Nomvula Kgoale (TS Galaxy Queens), 20-Robyn Moodaly (JVW FC), 13-Sonoxolo Cesane (East Tennessee State, USA)
FORWARD (6): 9-Gabriela Salgado (JVW FC), 12-Jermaine Seoposenwe (C.F. Monterrey, MEX), 6-Noxolo Cesane (UWC), 17-Melinda Kgadiete (Memelodi Sundowns FC), 23-Wendy Shongwe (University of Pretoria), 11-Thembi Kgatlana (Racing Louisville FC, USA)
SOUTH AFRICA ROSTER NOTES
- South Africa’s 22-player roster for these September matches features 19 players from the 2023 World Cup squad.
- Thembi Kgatlana, the leading scorer on this roster with 26 goals in 72 international appearances, is one of two players on this roster who currently competes in the United States. Kgatlana is in her first full season with Racing Louisville FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, having previously played for the Houston Dash during the 2018 NWSL Season. Kgatlana signed with Louisville in 2022 but was sidelined while recovering from torn Achilles tendon. Since her return to health and fitness, Kgatlana has been a key contributor for her new club and was named the NWSL Player of the Week on September 5 after scoring the game-winning goal against then-league leaders Portland Thorns FC.
- Along with Kgatlana, midfielder Sonoxolo Cesane, a junior at East Tennessee State University, was called up for these games against the USA, joining her twin sister Noxolo. Sonoxolo got into the match at the very end in Cincinnati.
- South Africa brings an experienced roster two players (defender Lebongang Ramalepe and forward Jermaine Seoposenwe) with at least 90 caps and 13 players with 24 or more caps.
- Kgatlana is leading scorer on this roster with 26 goals in 72 international appearances, but Seoposenwe has 20 goals, Linda Motihalo has 19 and midfielder Koholso Biyana has 16.
- Of the 21 players on the roster, 15 play domestically, two play in Europe, two in the USA, one in Mexico (Seoposenwe for CF Monterrey) and one is unattached as of now.