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After Rejecting Invite In November, Trinity Rodman Accepts First USWNT Call-Up

Trinity Rodman, the dynamic 19-year-old forward who was named 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year, will finally get her first senior U.S. women’s national team experience this month. Two months after she rejected a previous invite, Rodman accepted Vlatko Andonovski’s call-up for the USWNT’s January camp.

Andonovski selected 25 players to take part in the annual training camp. In years past, the camp has concluded with a pair of friendlies, though U.S. Soccer has not yet announced any matches before the SheBelieves Cup, which runs Feb. 17-23.  

The USWNT January roster is comprised mostly — 17 of 25 — of players who were a part of the last squad that traveled to Australia for a pair of friendlies in November. Rodman and Mal Pugh were notable absences from that roster, with unconfirmed speculation at the time suggesting it was because neither was vaccinated, a requirement to get into Australia (unless, apparently, you’re Novak Djokovic). Andonovski said both Pugh and Rodman were invited to join the team but declined without elaborating. 

The January camp will not require vaccinations — it’s being held in Austin, capital of a state whose governor does not care to protect his constituents whether from a deadly virus or deadly electric grid catastrophes — but will require extensive testing to ensure no one has or spreads Covid-19. 

Rodman was a revelation in 2021. After becoming the youngest player ever drafted in NWSL history (No. 2 by Washington), she led the league with seven assists to go with seven goals, eighth best in the league. Rodman beat out Lyon’s Catarina Macario for U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, and anyone who watched Rodman help the Spirit win the NWSL championship recognizes she’s a special player. Rodman has played for various youth national teams, but not the senior USWNT.

Rodman is the daughter of former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman, though he does not play a large role in her life. Dennis surprised Trinity by showing up at one of her playoff games last season but otherwise has not been prominent during Trinity’s rise as one of the nation’s brightest young soccer stars. 

Rodman, Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsburg (formerly Bledsoe) and San Diego Wave defender Naomi Girma are the only three uncapped players on the January roster. Unlike Rodman, Kingsburg, who got married in December, and Girma, the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NWSL Draft, were not invited to Australia. (Fun fact: Girma is one of seven No. 1 NWSL draft picks in the squad.)

Rodman is by two years the youngest player called into this camp and is the only one who is also eligible to play in the 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup, which is scheduled for August in Costa Rica, with qualifying in the Dominican Republic from Feb. 25-March 12. Two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner Jaelin Howell (22), Girma (21) and Sophia Smith (21) are the next youngest players on the squad. 

The squad is overall light on experience, despite Alyssa Naeher, Kelley O’Hara and Sam Mewis having been brought back into the fold after missing the Australia trip. More than half the players (13) have fewer than 13 caps. Veterans like Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn will not participate in this camp. Instead, it appears Andonovski is using this period to develop younger players before recalling veterans for the SheBelieves Cup roster next month. 

Though there are no major tournaments this year, 2022 will be big for the USWNT. The Concacaf W Championship in July will serve as qualifying for both the 2023 Women’s World Cup and 2024 Olympics. While it would be a shock if the U.S. failed to qualify for either, you never know what can happen when players step on the pitch with so much on the line. 

The next confirmed matches for the USWNT will be against the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Iceland in the 2022 SheBelieves Cup, which unfortunately features by far the weakest field in tournament history. Don’t be surprised if the U.S. schedules some friendlies for later this month, which could be the first opportunity to see Rodman with the senior national team.

USWNT January Camp Roster

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury (Washington Spirit), Casey Murphy (North Carolina Courage), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)
Defenders: Alana Cook (OL Reign), Abby Dahlkemper (San Diego Wave FC), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Imani Dorsey (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Emily Fox (Racing Louisville FC), Naomi Girma (San Diego Wave FC), Sofia Huerta (OL Reign), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit)
Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Jaelin Howell (Racing Louisville FC), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Kristie Mewis (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Samantha Mewis (Kansas City Current), Ashley Sanchez (Washington Spirit), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit)
Forwards: Ashley Hatch (Washington Spirit), Mallory Pugh (Chicago Red Stars), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham FC), Trinity Rodman (Washington Spirit), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns FC), Lynn Williams (Kansas City Current)

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