The U.S. women's national team's Olympic preparations begin with the SheBelieves Cup next month, and preparations for that begin with a 26-player roster that will be trimmed by three prior to the three-game tournament.
On Monday, manager Vlatko Andonovski revealed his roster for an upcoming training camp that will convene for about a week before the March 5 tournament opener vs. England. The squad features all 20 players that helped the U.S. qualify for the Olympics, with six additional players rounding out camp. Among them are Mal Pugh, who was surprisingly left off the Olympic qualifying squad, and Tierna Davidson, who missed out on qualifying with an ankle injury.
The other additions are goalkeeper Jane Campbell, defenders Casey Short and Midge Purce and midfielder Jordan DiBiasi.
The squad will be reduced to 23 players for the tournament, which also features matches against Spain and Japan. All four teams in the tournament reached the knockout stage of the 2019 Women's World Cup, with the U.S. beating Spain in the round of 16 and England in the semifinals en route to the title.
The U.S. qualified for the Olympics earlier in February and has the SheBelieves Cup and a series of six friendlies to use as preparation in an attempt to become the first reigning Women's World Cup champion to win Olympic gold the following year.
"As a team, we have lots of positive feelings coming out of Olympic qualifying, but I think we all know that there's still a lot of room for growth for this group, and there's no better way to continue that process than to play teams like England, Spain and Japan," said Andonovski. "Our end goal is the Olympics, but we're looking forward to a productive camp in Orlando and the challenge of playing three fantastic sides over the seven days. The rhythm of the SheBelieves Cup schedule directly matches what we will face in group play at the Olympics, and the value of getting a test run against this level of competition cannot be overstated."
This training camp is a particularly vital one for Pugh, who appeared at the 2016 Rio Olympics as a 17-year-old only to be left out of qualifying as a coach's decision, to show she belongs in frame for the long haul. With only 18 players going to the Olympics, not becoming one of the 23 going to SheBelieves Cup would be an indicator that the road to Tokyo is long–with that being true for any healthy player who doesn't make it out of camp to the competition.
Here is the U.S. roster in full:
GOALKEEPERS: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS: Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals), Margaret Purce (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Orlando Pride)
MIDFIELDERS: Jordan DiBiasi (Washington Spirit), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
FORWARDS: Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage), Christen Press (Utah Royals), Mallory Pugh (Sky Blue FC), Megan Rapinoe (Reign FC), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage)