U.S. women's national team head coach Jill Ellis has named her 23-player roster for the 2019 World Cup, which includes a host of expected names and a couple of surprises.
Mainstays, including Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Julie Ertz and Becky Sauerbrunn, will headline the team as it aims to win its second straight World Cup.
But the bigger news on Thursday was the selection of three names who have been mostly out of the USWNT picture recently: Allie Long, Ali Krieger and Morgan Brian.
Krieger, a right back who started all of the USWNT's matches at the 2015 World Cup, only just returned to the team after a two-year exile.
Central midfielders Long and Brian have not featured much for the USWNT in 2019, but Brian was a key factor in the U.S. winning the 2015 World Cup, starting the final three games of the tournament as the team's youngest player.
With that trio's inclusion, fullback Casey Short and central midfielders Andi Sullivan and McCall Zerboni appear to be the unfortunate final cuts from the squad.
“Selecting a World Cup team is a long process, and I want to thank the players – the ones that made the final team and the ones that didn’t – for all of their hard work over the past two and a half years,” Ellis said in a federation release.
“They all pushed each other in every training session and every game and challenged the coaches to make some tough decisions.
"These 23 players have been through adversity and success, and it’s a group that has the talent, confidence, experience and desire to help us win the World Cup.”
Lloyd is the only player on the roster to be featuring in her fourth World Cup, while 11 players have been selected to their first World Cup roster. Twelve of the 23 players return from the victorious 2015 team.
The U.S. has three remaining friendlies before the World Cup kicks off in France. Ellis' side will face South Africa on May 12, New Zealand on May 16, and Mexico on May 26.
The USWNT has been drawn into Group F in the World Cup, and will face Thailand, Chile and Sweden in the group stage, with their first group stage game June 11.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch* (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris** (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher** (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper* (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson* (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn* (NC Courage), Ali Krieger*** (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara*** (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn*** (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett* (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian** (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz** (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan* (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle* (Washington Spirit), Allie Long* (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis* (NC Courage)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath*** (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd**** (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald* (NC Courage), Alex Morgan*** (Orlando Pride), Christen Press** (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh* (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe*** (Reign FC)
* First Women’s World Cup
** Second Women’s World Cup
*** Third Women’s World Cup
**** Fourth Women’s World Cup