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United Spirits Women’s National Team: 7 Washington players called up


NWSL: Washington Spirit at Orlando Pride Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

By now we’ve grown accustomed to it, but it’s pretty incredible than on a 23-player USWNT roster Washington Spirit players nab seven spots. The following Spirit players will be in USWNT camp to face Colombia on June 25 & 28, then to Monterrey, Mexico for the CONCACAF W Championship tournament in July:

GK - Aubrey Kingsbury

CB- Emily Sonnett

RB - Kelley O’Hara

DCM/CM - Andi Sullivan

CAM/FWD - Ashley Sanchez

FWD - Trinity Rodman

ST/FWD - Ashley Hatch

The meteoric rises of Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman, along with steady high-level performances from Aubrey Kingsbury and Andi Sullivan plus the signings of Emily Sonnett and Kelley O’Hara mean the Spirit will be well-represented on the U.S. national stage for a while.

Sanchez gets a chance to build on her exceptional performances in the SheBelieves Cup, while Rodman can continue to settle into the team, particularly now that she’s scored her first senior national team goal.

Sullivan and O’Hara, meanwhile, have struggled with injury this regular season and may need to have their minutes managed in the two upcoming friendlies with Colombia, at least. However, for Sullivan, with Sam Mewis off the roster as she continues to struggle to recover from knee surgery, and Lindsey Horan earning the nickname ‘Potato’ from her Lyon teammates because her knee swells and apparently resembles a potato, it would be a big benefit to her personally but also the team overall if she could find full fitness.

Emily Sonnett didn’t start in the Spirit’s first regular season match as she was still recovering from suffering a broken rib in the Challenge Cup, but has started every regular season match since. Despite getting caught in bad 1v1 positions and giving up similar goals to Christen Press and Kerolin, Sonnett has been solid. Her range at the back and adventurous forward passing often help the Spirit progress the ball without requiring a midfielder to drop deeper toward the backline.

The flipside of having so many players called up is that a very talented chunk of the player pool will miss a not-insignificant number of matches. With a lengthy list of players ruled out of the last regular season match, including Dorian Bailey, Jordan Baggett, Tara McKeown, Alia Martin and Gaby Vincent, the Spirit could have an even thinner squad heading into matches if a chunk of these players remain unavailable.

Ahead of the match with North Carolina Courage, head coach Kris Ward gave positive updates on Gaby Vincent, Tara McKeown and Jordan Baggett, however they are all starting or still within their initial stages of on-pitch recovery.

While that is a problem for Ward and future Spirits, it’s no less excited for the players called up, particularly for young talents already performing well enough to embed themselves within the national team.

Congratulations Spirits!