US women’s national team head coach Vlatko Andonovski announced the 23-player roster for the Concacaf W Championship next month in Honduras, with Megan Rapinoe headlining the squad.
The inclusion of the veteran forward came as a surprise to most after her limited involvement with OL Reign this NWSL season and previous USWNT snubs. Rapinoe has managed just 155 minutes across five substitute appearances in 2022.
While explaining the recent roster, Andonovski revealed her call up is not a reflection of her current status with the NWSL team, but a kept promise made last summer.
“Megan and I had a great conversation after the season last year, and she understood the process that we were going to go through,” Andonovski told reporters on a conference call.
“Within the conversation, she understood that we are going to bring a lot of players, we are going to test a lot of players, we want to give the young players lots of minutes and opportunities to play, and give us a chance to evaluate them as much as possible. But after everything is said and done [I said] that if she’s healthy, and if she’s fit to get minutes that she will be on the roster.”
The head coach continued to explain Rapinoe’s role in the American team, highlighting her impact both on and off the field.
“We saw in the minutes she got in the last game, how dangerous she can be. But also the thing with Megan is that she is very important for this group. We are a younger group and we’re bringing in lots of young players. So her experience and going through adversity, going through tough times and [coming out] on top – her winning mentality, her knowledge and understanding is very valuable for the group,” the coach said.
“For players like players like Mal [Pugh] and Soph [Smith] and Trinity [Rodman] who are forwards, who play the same position as Megan, I think that she’s going to be instrumental to help them going through these games, going through these qualifiers, because at some point, whether it’s within the game or in between the games, they’re going to need Megan’s voice and her responsibly is to help them be the best version of themselves.”
The team is set to report to camp in the upcoming weeks as the USWNT hosts two friendlies against Colombia before heading to Mexico for the Concacaf tournament, which runs from July 4 to July 18. The American side face Mexico, Haiti and Jamaica in Monterrey as Concacaf nations battle it out for a ticket to the 2023 World Cup and 2024 Paris Olympics.