Who is the tallest player in US Women's National Team history?
No, it's not Abby Wambach – although you'd be forgiven for thinking that. Wambach used her height and her head to help score 184 international goals for the red white & blue, but she's not the tallest player in the national team's history. That title goes to Sam Mewis.
Mewis is a 6'0 midfielder, who can help drop back and command the defence or bolster the attack with her height and speed. She isn't your average tall player, not all over the place with her movements. She's swift and, despite her height, can sneak through defenders. She's not the first person that a defense will mark when playing the United States, with the opposition instead focused on superstar players like Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath.
That helps make Mewis the United States' not-so-secret weapon.
Why Doesn't Mewis Start More Often?
Mewis is in a peculiar situation.
In the year of 2019, she's been great in the matches she's played; scoring six of her 14 international goals in the last six months. In the United States' walloping of Thailand, Mewis scored two goals – but the 26-year-old midfielder used her feet for the goals.
She also scored this year against Belgium, South Africa and New Zealand – and is on red-hot form, with three goals against the latter two teams in World Cup warmup games.
Mewis had struggled to find herself in Jill Ellis' starting XI, but earned the nod for the US' quarter-final clash with Spain on Monday afternoon as part of a three-player midfield.
Prior to her start against Spain, Mewis had been primarily used as a like-for-like substitute for Ertz. There's no way that the latter comes off the pitch – which means the former doesn't start on a regular basis. If Ellis used a diamond midfield in a 4-4-2, she could pair the two, Mewis would likely take the bottom of the midfield with Ertz and Horan as the nominal width – and Lavelle, Megan Rapinoe or Tobin Heath at the top.
The 'Too Much Depth' Problem
It strikes again, this time for Sam Mewis.
Tierna Davidson is experiencing this too. While Crystal Dunn is naturally a forward and midfielder for any club team that she's ever played for, she is put at left-back for the national team. Davidson, a natural left-back, rose to the occasion against Chile, notching two assists and having a solid defensive game.
The United States' problem – and as problems go, it's not the worst – is having too many good players at each position. Players like Davidson and Mewis don't get to shine in their natural position, because someone is ahead of them.
With Mewis finally getting the start against Spain, now's her chance to show Ellis - and the world - what she's capable of.