12313_rapinoeheath_isi_uswntmj091612200 Michael Janosz/isiphotos.com

The Next Step for the U.S. Women's National Team

New coach Tom Sermanni picks his first roster. And oh by the way, a United States future star is going to Europe for six months and won't play in the National Women's Soccer League until May.
BY Maura Gladys Posted
January 23, 2013
8:18 AM
We now have our first look at what the U.S. women’s national team under Tom Sermanni might look like. On Tuesday, U.S. Soccer revealed the 29 players that Tom Sermanni named to his first-ever-national team training camp. The bunch is a healthy mix of Olympic and World Cup vets and fresh talent from the U.S. youth system waiting to break into the national team.

Seventeen of the 18 players on last summer’s Olympic gold medal winning squad have been named to the camp, the only exception being Amy LePeilbet who is battling a knee injury. Veterans Lori Lindsey and Jill Lloyden, who were alternates on that squad were also called up. Defender Ali Krieger makes her return to the national team, more than a year after tearing her right ACL and MCL during the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament last January.

Whitney Engen, Yael Averbuch, Christen Press, and Ashlyn Harris, all of whom play abroad in Europe also got the nod, along with youngsters Kristie Mewis and Keelin Winters. (Harris was also allocated to the Washington Spirit in the NWSL.)

Crystal Dunn, a University of North Carolina junior who was named the 2012 MAC Hermann Award winner earlier this year, and Julie Johnston, a Santa Clara junior who captained the U.S. U-20 National Team, earned call-ups.

The youngest member of the camp is goalkeeper Jane Campbell, a 17-year-old that represented the U.S. at the 2012 U-17 Women’s World Cup.

The bigger news from the announcement comes from the notes section of U.S. Soccer’s release, which mentions that Tobin Heath is headed to Paris Saint-Germain. The release also lists Heath’s team as Paris Saint-Germain, rather than the Portland Thorns, the National Women’s Soccer League team that she was allocated to earlier this month. (That affiliation later changed on the USSoccer.com website.) Heath reportedly signed a six-month deal and will finish out the European season with PSG before returning to the Thorns in May. Heath joins fellow USWNT-er Megan Rapinoe in the Division 1 Féminine.

The news is a blow to the fledgling NWSL, which will start without two of its better known players. Of course, if you're a glass half-full type of person, you might argue that the return of Heath and Rapinoe after the European season could give the league a nice PR boost after the initial excitement has worn off.

Maura Gladys, a featured ASN columnist, works in production for KICKTV. She also runs the goalkeeping blog All You Need Is Glove.

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