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Who Will Be on the U.S. Women's Olympic Soccer Team? USWNT Boasts No Shortage of Star Power

Led by a wave of new stars like Naomi Girma, Jaedyn Shaw, and Sophia Smith, and a new coach, the women's national squad is a team in transition.

By Ethan Sacks
Kelly Clarkson, Peyton Manning & Mike Tirico Preview Paris Olympics Opening Ceremony

Despite the retirement of soccer icons Megan Rapinoe and Julie Ertz, this year’s U.S. Women’s National Team has more than enough talent to put its best foot forward at the 2024 Paris Olympics

The USWNT is the all-time winningest team since women’s soccer became an Olympic event in 1996 – notching four gold medals, a silver, and a bronze over that span. It has, however, been a while since the sport was dominated by Americans, as Canada took gold in the 2020 Tokyo Games and Germany came away with top honors in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

This is now a time of transition for the program.   

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Alex Morgan, who will turn 35 before the opening ceremony, is the lone remaining player from the 2012 London Olympics -- the last time the U.S. won gold in the event -- and her spot in the top 18 this time around is not assured. 

Success at the Olympics has been elusive ever since, with the bronze medal won at the COVID-delayed Tokyo Games considered a disappointment. The true nadir came with last year’s early exit from the World Cup in the Round of 16, a shocking loss that ultimately cost head coach Vlatko Andonovski his job.

New Faces on the Pitch ... and on the Sideline

This year, though, feels different. The team, having undergone a youth movement, is fresh off a SheBelieves Cup title victory in penalty kicks over archrival Canada on April, coming just a month after winning the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup.

Team USA will enter the Summer Games with both momentum and motivation.  

“We have a little chip on our shoulder, [but] I think we always play like that honestly,” midfielder Rose Lavelle told NBC’s TODAY in April.

Alex Morgan and Lindsey Horan lift up the SheBelieves Cup trophy after winning

The Olympic squad will be led by a new coach, Emma Hayes, who comes over from Chelsea in the Women’s Super League with a championship pedigree on both sides of the Atlantic -- including previous stops with the Long Island Lady Riders and Iona College. 

“She’s a serial winner,” USWNT star defender Crystal Dunn recently told Front Row Soccer of Hayes, for whom she played at Chelsea during the 2017-18 Women’s Super League Season. "I can expect her to just be an all-time professional coach who knows what it takes of get the job done and is going to bring great intensity.”

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Hayes will have a talented squad with which to work: A smattering of experienced veterans, including midfielder Lindsay Horan and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, to mix with a batch of young stars like Naomi Girma, Sophia Smith and Jaedyn Shaw. She’ll have to cut the roster down to the Olympic-mandated 18 players, down from the 23-player roster at most tournaments.

They will have a challenge navigating an international field that has closed the talent gap since the glory days of the program.

Here’s a look at the players who could make the final roster tasked with representing the U.S. in Paris:


Alyssa Naeher

A pillar of the U.S. team for a decade, Naeher ranks third all-time in caps, wins and shutouts for a goalkeeper in U.S. history. The 35-year-old has won two FIFA Women’s World Cup Championships and a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics and is the NWSL’s all-time leader in both saves and appearances. She is the unquestioned starter on the 2024 Olympic squad. 

Casey Murphy

At 6-foot-1, Murphy is the tallest goalkeeper in USWNT history. The 27-year-old made an impressive debut for the USWNT, going unbeaten in her first nine starts. The North Carolina Courage star gives the national squad a strong backup. 

Jane Campbell

Crowned the 2023 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year after a superlative season for the Houston Dash last year, Campbell seems to have cemented her spot as the third keeper on the roster. Campbell, 29, made the team as the third goalkeeper in both the Gold Cup and the SheBelieves Cup this year. With a shortened bench at the Olympics, however, it’s unlikely the team will carry a third goalkeeper.

The US Women's National Team pose together after the SheBelieves Cup final football match


Naomi Girma

With the 2023 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year honor under her belt and a dominant performance on an otherwise disappointing World Cup squad last year, the 23-year-old Girma is primed to go from being the face of the future of the American squad to a pillar of the present. The Stanford grad now stars for the San Diego Wave, and is the first player of Ethiopian descent to earn a spot on the USWNT. 

Crystal Dunn

A versatile player, Dunn, 31, was a star on the 2019 FIFA World Cup-winning squad. In 2015, the then-23-year-old won both the NWSL Most Valuable Player and the Golden Boot awards, becoming the youngest player to win both honors. She now plays for Gotham FC, close to her hometown of Rockville Centre, Long Island. 

Tierna Davidson

A teammate of Dunn’s at Gotham, the 25-year-old Davidson is up and running after a 2022 ACL tear kept her out of last year’s World Cup. The play-making center back helped Stanford to a 2017 NCAA championship and was drafted first overall in the 2019 NWSL College Draft by the Chicago Red Stars. Davidson was the youngest member of the American 2019 World Cup-winning team. 

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Abby Dahlkemper

A dominant tackler at center-back, the 30-year-old has been a perennial winner at every level she’s played, representing the U.S. since 2010 when she first appeared for the U-17s, a squad she captained. She helped lead UCLA it its first national championship in women’s soccer in 2013, and also won three championships in her first four seasons in the NWSL. 

Emily Fox

Considered one of the best fullbacks in the world, Fox signed with Arsenal of the Women’s Super League in January after three years in the NWSL. Fox led Team USA with 26 interceptions in international play last year. The 25-year-old adds speed, defensive reliability, and an ability to go on the attack from the backfield. 

Jenna Nighswonger

One of the newer faces on the top USWNT squad, the 23-year-old defender and Florida State product is still a veteran of the national program, having made the U-17 team at the age of 14. Nighswonger is fresh off a 2023 NWSL Rookie of the Year for Gotham FC. 

Casey Krueger

Another veteran presence in the back half of the field, Krueger has overcome two torn ACLs and a serious ankle injury over her career. She remains an unsung hero of the national team, providing shutdown one-on-one coverage on defense. 

Becky Sauerbrunn

Second to only Ashley Morgan in time logged for the USWNT among active players, the 38-year-old Sauerbrunn missed the 2023 World Cup with an injury and has not made the rosters for the last two international tournaments. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that the former captain, who won the NWSL Defender of the Year three years in a row from 2013-15, will get a chance to bow out from the international stage at a fourth Olympics. 


Rose Lavelle

The only obstacle that could keep the star 28-year-old Gotham FC midfielder out of a spot on the Olympic squad is a lower leg injury suffered during the Gold Cup tournament in March. Lavelle, the first overall draft pick in the NWSL in 2017, is one of the most dynamic players on the U.S. squad. She scored one of the biggest goals in U.S. Soccer history to clinch the 2019 World Cup final game against the Netherlands.

Lindsey Horan and Rose Lavelle pose with the the championship trophy

Lindsey Horan

A USWNT captain who will turn 30 before the Summer Games, Horan will be playing in her third Olympics. She became the first American female player to turn professional straight out of high school when she signed with Paris Saint-Germain in 2012. Horan would go on to score 46 goals in 58 appearances for the French club before heading back to the States to join the Portland Thorns, which she would lead to a NWSL championship in 2017 and win the league MVP the following season. 

Sam Coffey

Another potential Olympic first-timer, the 25-year-old defensive midfielder is known as a fantastic passer. Though Coffey was left off the 2023 World Cup squad, she has been regularly included on the USWNT roster this year. Coffey was key cog in the Portland Thorns squad that won the 2022 NWSL Championship and was named an NWSL MVP finalist in 2023. Sports is in her blood: Her father, Wayne, was a long-time sportswriter for the New York Daily News, and her sister, Alex, is the Phillies beat-writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

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Korbin Albert

At 20, Albert is another relatively new addition to the team. The Notre Dame product is already establishing herself as an offensive force from the midfield at Paris Saint-Germain. Her image took a major hit, however, when she was exposed for sharing homophobic and transphobic posts on TikTok. Albert publicly apologized in March after USWNT legend Rapinoe seemingly called her out. Forming an effective double-pivot with Coffey during the USWNT’s Gold Cup run, Albert should also make the final Olympic roster. 

Emily Sonnett

An unsung part of two World Cup squads and the last Olympics teams, the 30-year-old veteran can play multiple spots in the midfield. She currently plays for Gotham FC of the NWSL. 

Olivia Moultrie

A soccer protégé, Moultre signed an endorsement deal with Nike at the age of 13, joined the USWNT U-17 team a year later, and signed a professional contract with the Portland Thorns as a 15-year-old. She scored two goals in her first start for the USWNT  in February during a Gold Cup match against the Dominican Republican. Despite her world-class talent, Moultre may get squeezed off the Olympic squad given the glut of talent at midfield and her lack of experience. 

Lily Yohannes

The youngest potential member of the squad won’t turn 17 until June, but is already a seasoned veteran on the field. This season Yohannes became the youngest player to start a Women’s Champions League group stage match, suiting up for Dutch powerhouse Ajax. Born in the U.S., but based in the Netherlands, where her father moved for work, she is still a rookie in international play with the recent SheBelieves Cup being her first stint with the senior team. 


Sophia Smith

The top pick in the 2022 NWSL draft out of Stanford, Smith, 23, is already one of the most dangerous weapons on a talented U.S. team. In 2022, Smith was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year after leading the USWNT in scoring with 11 goals, and NWSL MVP in a season in which she won a championship with the Portland Thorns. Smith followed that up in 2023 by winning the NWSL Golden Boot for leading the league in goals. 

Mallory Swanson

In December of 2015, at the CONCACAF U-20 Women’s Qualifying Tournament, Mal Swanson scored seven goals in five games to help the USA win the tournament title. The feat helped earn the then-17-year-old a call-up to the full Women’s National Team, making her the youngest player to debut for the USA in the last 11 years. She’s been a fixture ever since. Her devastating knee injury in a World Cup tune-up game forced her out of that tournament.

Jaedyn Shaw

Jaedyn Shaw on the soccer field during the SheBelieves Cup Final

Just 19 years old, Shaw is primed to be the next big star of the U.S. Team. She’s already dominated the NWSL, becoming the youngest player to score on her league debut for the San Diego Wave two years ago. Equally dangerous as a striker or an attacking midfielder, Shaw scored four goals in six matches in the recent Gold Cup to lead the USWNT team in her first tournament for the squad. The sky’s the limit for Shaw.   

Trinity Rodman

Already a dynamic offensive player at just 21 years of age, Rodman is considered one of the most important players on the American squad in a transition era. The daughter of Chicago Bulls icon Dennis Rodman won 2021 NWSL Rookie of the Year for the Washington Spirit and has only gotten better since. She was the youngest player in league history to record 10 goals and 10 assists in a season. 

Alex Morgan

As potentially the last link to the 2012 Gold Medal-winning Olympic team, Morgan could bring veteran leadership to a team full of younger stars. That’s if the 35-year-old makes a squad that’s in transition. Morgan has all the credentials: She’s fifth all time in goals scored for the USWNT (123) and ninth all time in assists (53). Morgan still has some kick left, having won the NWSL Golden Boot award as the league’s top scorer in 2022, scoring 15 goals in just 17 games.

Catarina Macario

One of the most dangerous scorers on the squad, Macario is coming back from a two-year layoff after a devastating ACL tear two years ago. Despite the setback, the 23-year-old had already notched eight goals and two assists in her first 18 caps with the team. Currently at Chelsea playing for Hayes, the striker has previously terrorized opposing goalkeepers at Stanford and then French juggernaut Lyon before her injury. Born in Brazil, Macario is the first naturalized citizen to play for the top USWNT squad. 

Alyssa Thompson

A year ago, the then 18-year-old soccer protégé was the youngest player on the World Cup squad and considered the future of the program. But a back injury has kept Thompson off the field for both the Gold Cup and the SheBelieves Cup, and there may not be enough recovery time for her to be in consideration for the Paris games.

Beginning July 26, you can catch complete coverage of the Olympics on Peacock and NBC.

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