Welcome to the new era of the U.S. women’s national team 

In the aftermath of the release of the U.S. women’s national team Olympic roster, it’s clear a new era has arrived. What it’s full of is a roster that features youth and versatility at the forefront.

Ahead of the planning and preparation for the Summer Games, let’s take a look at notable names on the list, the ones who missed out and the one player who’s addition might be an overcast on the rest.

Notable misses: Alex Morgan

For the first time in 13 years (and the irony of it being 13 is strong) the U.S. women’s national team roster for a major tournament does not have the name Alex Morgan listed on it. We all know Morgan’s name for one reason or another, so before we dive into the present, we have to look back.

South Korea v United States

Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images

Alex Morgan was a member of the 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023 women’s World Cup rosters, and the 2012, 2016, and 2021 Olympic rosters. Morgan has 224 appearances with the senior national team under her belt with 123 goals and 53 assists. For those of you who like to do the math, Morgan has either scored or assisted a goal in 79% of her senior caps. She is the 13th player in USWNT history to reach 200 caps and is fifth on the all-time scoring list. Needless to say, her trophy case is full, but let’s run through her accolades anyways:

  • Three World Cup trophies
  • One World Cup silver medal
  • One Olympic gold medal
  • One Olympic bronze medal
  • World Cup silver boot
  • NWSL golden boot
  • US Soccer’s Female Athlete of the Year award (2012 & 2018)
  • Four-time CONCACAF Player of the Year (2013, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Five-time FIFA Women’s World 11 selection (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, 2022)

“Her record speaks for itself,” said new USWNT head coach Emma Hayes in the press conference to announce the 2024 Olympic roster. Alex Morgan is, arguably, one of the best to play her position.

Even greater than her accomplishments on paper are those that are intangible. Her leadership, her class, and her determination to fight for equal pay for the US Women’s National Team are qualities that, quite simply, cannot be replicated.

Alex Morgan has made a lasting impact on the USWNT, and her legacy will never be forgotten. Even in this painful moment, with her statement, Morgan displayed ultimate class and remained an exceptional teammate.

The Olympic schedule is grueling. Each team will play a game every three days — that’s only two days rest in between — and because of that all 18 players on the Olympic roster are expected to carry a heavy load. In comparison, World Cup rosters are 23-players deep and teams have more than two days of recovery between games.

While this could seem like the end of the road for Alex Morgan’s senior national team career, it’s impossible to ever fully rule out a competitor like Morgan. We do know one thing: she’ll be watching this summer’s Olympic games on TV with the rest of us.

Notable Makes: Crystal Dunn, Casey Krueger, Korbin Albert

Korea v USWNT

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

Crystal Dunn being named to the US Women’s National Team roster for a major tournament is something that the forward has accomplished four times already, most recently for the 2023 World Cup. However, she hasn’t seen her name listed under the FORWARDS category for a major tournament since 2016.

Dunn is a goalscorer and plays forward for her NWSL club, Gotham FC, but has been playing outside-back for the USWNT since 2019. Upon taking over at the helm of the USWNT, Emma Hayes immediately brought Dunn into camp as a forward.

Dunn provides a veteran presence, leadership, and versatility as a player that can play forward, midfield, or defense.

South Korea v United States

Photo by David Berding/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

Casey Krueger is a consistent standout defender in the NWSL every year, and has seen herself called into many USWNT camps, but only made one major tournament roster. Krueger was listed as an alternate for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, but when rosters expanded due to COVID-19, she joined the squad as a rostered player. Krueger is a fan-favorite, as a player that is nothing but consistent on the field and is constantly overlooked at the National Team level.

South Korea v United States

Photo by Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Korbin Albert is a notable make, but for all of the wrong reasons.

In March of this year, Albert found herself at the center of controversy, receiving criticism from not only USWNT fans, but former USWNT players including Megan Rapinoe. Fans found anti-LGBTQ videos that Albert posted to her personal TikTok, and also found her having liked a post hoping for pain to be inflicted on former USWNT star Megan Rapinoe

Korbin Albert plays her club soccer at PSG and was a breakout star in the midfield for the team during the inaugural Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup earlier this year. Immediately following the tournament, her hateful social media activity surfaced.

Fans turned on her, and it caused enough stir to even warrant a response from Rapinoe.

South Africa v USWNT

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

“To the people who want to hide behind ‘my beliefs’ I would just ask one question, are you making any type of space safer, more inclusive, more whole, any semblance of better, bringing the best out of anyone?… because if you aren’t, all you believe in is hate. And kids are literally killing themselves because of this hate. Wake TF up!”

Shortly after, Albert posted an apology on her Instagram stories.

Canada v USWNT

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images for USSF

Captain Lindsey Horan and Alex Morgan spoke to the media in a press-conference, and expressed their disappointment, but stated that the matter was being handled internally. Since then, fans have been calling for more transparency into how the matter was handled. Albert’s play has suffered, and she has been audibly boo-ed at every USWNT match she has appeared in since.

Many were speculating that Albert may not make the 2024 Olympic roster because of her actions, but without knowledge of how the matter was being handled internally, fans were in the dark.

South Korea v United States

Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/USSF/Getty Images

“There’s no denying that there’s been a lot of work that’s going on in the background,” Hayes said of Albert, adding that Albert is young, learning from her experiences, and has had a tough time in reference to the backlash and boos she has received from fans.

“She’s spending time working on herself,” continued Hayes, “and I want the fans to really embrace Korbin because I do think she’s a tremendous human being.”

The issue itself is much larger than just Korbin Albert, though, and her name being listed on this roster shows a changing of the guards in more ways than one.

The USWNT has consistently been a safe space for LGBTQ fans, and players on the team have always made it that way. A new era of young talent brings fears around perhaps a new identity of the USWNT, and questions about if it can remain the same safe space that it has always been.

Albert’s inclusion in the roster coupled with Hayes’ comments around it is drawing a cloud of negativity that is, in some ways, close to overshadowing the positivity that has come with the announcement of this young, dynamic new era. How, if any it impacts the team internally is a wait and see.

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