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The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

The Student Media Site of Georgia College & State University

Bobcat Multimedia

USWNT plays last major tournament before Olympics

courtesy of GC Athletics
USWNT celebrating

The United States Women’s National Soccer Team, or USWNT, defeated Brazil in the championship of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football Champions Cup, or CONCACAF tournament, on March 10. This tournament was the first of the year for the team and the only one before the Paris Olympics this summer. 

The team was able to make it to the championship after an incredible performance by their goalie, Alyssa Nerher, in penalty kicks against Canada. Nerher was able to save three out of four shot attemps and also scored a goal for the team. In the championship, captain Lindsey Horan scored the lone goal off a header. 

The CONCACAF tournament serves as a crucial platform for teams to showcase their talent and dedication. During the tournament, the team demonstrated their superiority on the field and showcased much for their hard work they put into the season. 

The team is undergoing new coaching by Emma Hayes. Under this new coaching staff, many of the former star players have been replaced for this big tournament. Alex Morgan, a very notable player, did not make the roster. Morgan, however, was brought up due to another player suffering from an injury. The majority of these players are being replaced by younger players. Although this might benefit the team, a lot of fans are concerned about the veteran players not making the roster. 

“The USWNT has always been a team with lots of veteran players, but as the veterans retire, young players need to have the opportunity to play and gain experience,” said Bridget Johnson, a sophomore defender for GC. “Players that I do wish were on the roster would be Carson Pickett, Jaelin Howell and Ashley Sanchez.”

Other notable veterans that were left off the roster include Becky Sauerbrunn, Sofia Huerta, Aubrey Kingsbury, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez and Andi Sullivan. All of these players played in the 2023 Women’s World Cup. 

As a defender, I always have had many of the USWNT players be my role models, so I am very happy with their defender choices,” said Zelia Griffith, a senior defender for GC. “Emily Fox, Crystal Dunn and Casey Krueger are amazing returners along with Naomi Girma, Becky Sauerbrunn and Tierna Davidson are spectacular additions.” 

Hayes is one of the new coaches that is helping make these roster changes. While she is not physically with the team until June, she still makes critical decisions and has new coaching techniques for the team. She is currently coaching Chelsea Women, so switching teams can be difficult.

“Emma Hayes has a very impressive record in Europe,” Griffith said. “I think it will be beneficial and a learning curve to come over and coach in America. As a coach taking over a team, you don’t have the advantage of knowing the background of everything, and I think she is doing a great job. There will always be adjustments with a new coach, and it’s both the players and the coaches seeing eye to eye.”

The USWNT has now won every CONCACAF tournament they have participated in, which guides them with a total of 15 titles from the region. The team will play their first game with their new coach on June 1 against South Korea. 

I think the U.S. needs to change its mentality by understanding that they are not the only team at the top anymore,” Johnson said. “The USWNT has been used to being at the top of women’s soccer for some time now, but other countries are becoming just as good — or even better than — them.” 

While the team is entering friendly play coming off this big tournament win, the team needs to take advantage of these final games to help prepare them since the Olympics are only a few months away. 

“I don’t think that the USWNT needs to change anything,” said Kenda Williams, a senior soccer player for the GC women’s club soccer team. “The new coaching staff and the new players give a new face to the team. I think that they are fully on the right track to be a contender for the finals in both the Olympics and the future Women’s World Cup.” 

Though the team won the CONCACAF tournament, there are greater challenges ahead. They must put in the extra work to excel in future games. Fans are excited to see how the team looks with the new coaching and new roster. 

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