The USWNT needs roster turnover more than you need to see Alex Morgan score a goal against a team outside of the top 10 in the FIFA rankings.
I understand seeing Alex Morgan or Julie Johnston or Carli Lloyd can improve your experience or make it into a once-in-a-lifetime thing, I really do. But included in the price of your ticket is not the right to get a say in who is in the starting eleven, who is in the 18, or who got called into that camp.
Outside of matches meant to reward or thank fans after a World Cup or Olympics, the games played, even the friendlies, are meant to test new players and check up on more seasoned players. They should matter to the evaluation of the coaching staff for the next major tournament and not be an eleven packed with fan favorites just for the sake of making those fans happy.
Alex Morgan shouldn’t start every single USWNT friendly. Neither should Carli Lloyd. Even Becky Sauerbrunn should be rotated to the bench a few times a year to give other players a chance to grow their experience and for evaluations. Not to mention resting some of your best in some of the less challenging games is a benefit to the players.
And while the chance of seeing Alex Morgan and Julie Johnston and Meghan Klingenberg have remained high in the past, with the newest 24 person roster for the upcoming camp and pair of friendlies, these games will happen without all three being even possible subs.
The USWNT needs to expand the list of names that the coaches are able to look at during the year. It’s even more important in the next two years as they gear up for France in 2019.
Some of the World Cup winning 15ers have retired. More will in the coming months. Some still will be cut. While it’s disheartening at times to see players left out in the cold, it is a necessary evil when it comes to sports.
Rosters aren’t 50 players long. You want some of the great NWSL players to get a shot? Someone has to go.
To all of those who have a friendly in their city and are thinking of not going? Go. Maybe you’ll get to see the first game of the next great USWNT player’s career. Maybe you’ll just see the first game of a player who has waited her whole life for the shot to step on the pitch with three stars above her heart.
Either way? Go to the game. Support the team. Hope in 2019 we have the best 23 the World Cup has ever seen. Your favorites or not.