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Ellis shakes things up with USWNT October roster

Jill Ellis’s 24-player roster leaves off several key veterans in favor of trying out some new blood.

Netherlands v United States Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Jill Ellis, head coach of the United States Women’s National Team (USWNT), called up 24 players to national team camp today ahead of the U.S.’s upcoming international friendlies against Switzerland.

The team’s previous two friendlies featured the USWNT’s Olympic roster, but as Ellis and the national team look ahead to the next World Cup in 2019, she is looking to bring in some fresh faces. In doing so, she called up 11 uncapped players will leaving some of the USWNT’s most popular players at home.

“Right now, we are in a phase where we want to try to expand the player pool, look at a number of players and start the long process to qualifying for the next World Cup,” Ellis said in a statement released by the team. “That means several of our more experienced players won’t be in for this camp while we get to evaluate some different personnel. In order to see if these players can contribute, we need to get them into a National Team training environment and in games.”

Ellis’s desire to see some new blood on the field is understandable. With the next major international tournament not being until 2019, she has to realistically look at the players who are still going to be to be around for international play.

The veterans who were not called into the October camp are Alex Morgan, Ali Krieger, Julie Johnston, Meghan KIingenberg and Megan Rapinoe. Defender Whitney Engen was also not called into camp, but Engen wrote a letter to fans earlier this week stating that Ellis had informed her that her time on the national team, at least under Ellis’s guidance, had come to an end. It is uncertain if any other USWNT players received a similar phone call, but Jaelene Hinkle’s absence from both the Rio and October rosters may indicate a fate similar to Engen’s.

Although not a veteran, 18-year-old Mallory Pugh was also not called into October camp, most likely a result of her training with the U.S. Under-20 women’s national team as they prepare for the U-20 Women’s World Cup in December.

Eight of the 11 uncapped players come from the NWSL, and the other three are being called up from the college level. The eight NWSL players include the 2016 NWSL Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot award winner Lynn Williams, as well as the Golden Boot runner-up Kealia Ohai. Danielle Colaprico, who joined the USWNT during some of the later matches in the 2015 Women’s World Cup Victory Tour but was never capped, was also called back into camp for the first time this year. Joining them are fellow NWSL players Abby Dahlkemper, Arin Gilliland, Merritt Mathias, Casey Short and Shea Groom.

The three college call-ups include BYU’s Ashley Hatch, the current NCAA goal-scoring leader with 15 goals, and Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan. In the wake of starting goalkeeper Hope Solo’s suspension and contract termination, it is unsurprising that Stanford goalkeeper Jane Campbell was called back into camp as well. Campbell became the youngest goalkeeper ever called into senior national team camp when, at just 17 years old, she was called up by then-coach Tom Sermanni in January 2013.

The USWNT’s first match against Switzerland will take place at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, on October 19 at 9 p.m. EST. The match will be broadcast on ESPN2. The second match on October 23 will take place at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Minnesota with 2:45 p.m. EST kickoff. This match with be broadcast on FS1.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (3): Jane Campbell (Stanford), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (Western New York Flash), Arin Gilliland (Chicago Red Stars), Merritt Mathias (Seattle Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Andi Sullivan (Stanford)

FORWARDS (6): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Shea Groom (FC Kansas City), Ashley Hatch (BYU), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Lynn Williams (Western New York Flash)