Julie Ertz is BACK! USWNT name squad for Republic of Ireland friendlies with Sophia Smith returning and Becky Sauerbrunn set to be honoured for 200th cap

USWNT SheBelieves 2023Getty Images
  • Andonovski announces 26-player squad
  • Wertz welcomed back after almost two years out
  • Sauerbrunn to be honoured for 200th cap

WHAT HAPPENED? The Stars and Stripes will continue their World Cup preparations with two legs against Ireland on April 8 and 11, and look set to welcome back a host of familiar faces. Julie Ertz - currently without a club, but in negotiations with several teams - returns to the roster for the first time since the 2021 Olympics and 600 days after her last competitive match, after giving birth to her first child back in August. Highly-rated youngster Sophia Smith also returns having missed the first two USWNT squads of 2023 due to injury.

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Casey Krueger is welcomed back to the fold after giving birth to her first child in July of last year, meanwhile two-time World Cup winner Kelley O'Hara is back in the picture having not featured since July through injury. Fellow defender Tierna Davidson also makes a return having not played since February 2022.

AND WHAT'S MORE: The matches against the Irish will also provide some landmark moments for a certain USWNT duo. Ertz will be honoured in the first match for earning her 100th cap, achieved just before the pandemic in March 2020. Becky Sauerbrunn, meanwhile, will be honoured in the second leg for reaching a staggering 200 caps reached back in February 2022, as her tally currently stands at 214.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Kansas City Current; 10), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage; 13), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 89)

DEFENDERS (10): Alana Cook (OL Reign; 23/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 48/1), Emily Fox (North Carolina Courage; 27/0), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns FC; 130/24), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC; 14/0), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign; 28/0), Casey Krueger (Chicago Red Stars; 37/0), Kelley O’Hara (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 156/3), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns FC; 214/0), Emily Sonnett (OL Reign; 73/1)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Julie Ertz (Unattached; 116/20), Lindsey Horan (Olympique Lyon, FRA; 126/26), Taylor Kornieck (San Diego Wave FC; 12/2), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign; 87/24), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 50/7), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit; 22/3), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 42/3)

FORWARDS (6): Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit; 17/5), Alex Morgan (San Diego Wave FC; 204/121), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit; 15/2), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC; 27/12), Mallory Swanson (Chicago Red Stars; 87/32), Lynn Williams (NJ/NY Gotham FC; 52/15)

WHAT THEY SAID?: “It’s exciting to get the group back together and we’re getting closer to how we want to look this summer,” Andonovski said in a press conference on Tuesday. “The team is gelling and getting these players back in camp, all who know the environment very well, is just going to make it more competitive and turn the intensity up a notch. I know there is a lot of pressure on the players as the competition for World Cup spots increases, but that’s not something we shy away from. We talk about it, and we embrace it, as we all know these players make each other better.”


Julie Etrz USWNTGetty ImagesSophia Smith USWNT 2023Getty ImagesBecky Sauerbrunn USWNT 2023Getty

WHAT NEXT FOR THE USWNT? The 26 players will battle it out to be among the 23 named in each match against against Ireland, the first of which will take place on April 8 in Austin, Texas, while the second leg three days later will be held in St. Louis, Missouri.