USWNT soccer players to watch at the 2023 Women's World Cup as USA looks for third straight title


The U.S. Women's National Team is a few days away from vying for their third straight title at the FIFA Women's World Cup in New Zealand and Australia, which officially kicks off on Thursday. 

The USWNT, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will open their bid against Vietnam in Eden Park, New Zealand's national stadium, on Friday at 9 p.m. ET. As for the rest of their group stage, the team will play against the Netherlands on July 26 at 9 p.m. ET and Portugal on August 1 at 3 a.m. ET. 

This World Cup marks the USWNT's first cup since the team and U.S. Soccer, which oversees both USWNT and the men's team, settled their equal pay lawsuit last year. Since then, U.S. Soccer said both will receive the same compensation for all competitions and the same commercial revenue sharing mechanism. The winner of this year's Women's World Cup will receive $4,290,000, according to FIFA

Who will be on USWNT's starting roster for the World Cup?

The full 23-woman roster features an eclectic mix of players with World Cup experience and 14 first-timers who will take the big stage. The average age of the players is 28 and a half years old as the team looks to usher in a new era for USWNT. 

Starters will be named closer to match time, but the full roster includes:

  • GOALKEEPERS: Aubrey Kingsbury, Casey Murphy, and Alyssa Naeher
  • DEFENDERS: Alana Cook, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta, Kelley O'Hara, and Emily Sonnett
  • MIDFIELDERS: Savannah DeMelo, Julie Ertz, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez, and Andi Sullivan
  • FORWARDS: Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Alyssa Thompson, and Lynn Williams

These are some of the players to watch in the upcoming tournament

Trinity Rodman 

Rodman, 21, is the second-youngest player on the roster – and already a superstar in the National Women's Soccer League (NSWL).  At 19 years old, she became the highest-paid player in the league. The forward is playing in her first World Cup and will put her scoring abilities to the test, and is widely expected to play a significant role on the team. 

She's also the daughter of NBA hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. Last year, she spoke to CBS Mornings about her famous dad and creating her own legacy. 

Trinity Rodman seen celebrating a goal against Wales on July 9, 2023
Trinity Rodman celebrates her goal during an international friendly game between Wales and USWNT at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023, in San Jose, California./ GETTY IMAGES

Sophia Smith

Smith, 22, is also going to represent the United States in the World Cup for the first time. The Portland Thorns star is leading the NWSL in goals scored — securing a hat-trick before leaving for the tournament. Smith is considered to be a rising star on the squad. 

United States Women's National Team Training
Sophia Smith arrives for a USWNT training session at Bay City Park on July 13, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. BRAD SMITH/USSF

Alyssa Thompson 

Thompson's the first teenager to make the U.S. roster for a Women's World Cup since 1995. The 18-year-old was the first overall selection in the 2023 NSWL Draft when she was selected by Los Angeles' Angel City FC. The speedy forward is seen as one of the faces of the new generation of USWNT players. 

Alyssa Thompson of the U.S. Women's National Team dribbles during a July 9, 2023, match vs. Wales.
Alyssa Thompson of the USA Women's National Team dribbles the ball upfield against the Wales National Team in the first half of the send-off match at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023, in San Jose, California./ GETTY IMAGES

Megan Rapinoe

It's officially her swan song in the red, white, and blue uniform. The OL Reign winger — who at 38 years old is the oldest player on the USWNT roster — has announced she will retire after the end of her NWSL season. It's her fourth World Cup, and even though she's not expected to be a starter, she will likely make her 200th appearance for Team USA, becoming the 14th player in USWNT history to reach the milestone. 

Wales v USWNT
Megan Rapinoe salutes fans during postgame ceremonies after a game between Wales and USWNT at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023 in San Jose, California. BRAD SMITH/USSF

Alex Morgan 

Morgan, like Rapinoe, will make her fourth World Cup appearance, but she has already appeared in more than 200 games for the U.S. The legendary forward ranks at the top in the USWNT's history in goals, assists, and multi-goal games. Morgan will be counted on as one of the team's captains along with midfielder Lindsey Horan. 

USA Open Training Session - FIFA Women's World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023
Alex Morgan speaks to media during the USWNT training session ahead of the FIFA Women's World Cup football at Bay City Park, Browns Bay on July 12, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand.FIONA GOODALL - FIFA/FIFA VIA GETTY IMAGES

Naomi Girma 

A consistent force on the defensive end, Girma is poised to bring stability to the USWNT's backline. She was the top pick of the 2022 NSWL draft for the San Diego Wave FC and continues to be one of the league's top defenders. 

USWNT Training
Naomi Girma warms up during USWNT Training at Bay City Park on July 16, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand.BRAD SMITH/USSF

Rose Lavelle 

Lavelle will play in her second World Cup and look to continue to grow as a leader on the team. She told CBS Sports earlier this month that she will have to push herself out of her "comfort zone a little to be more of a leader." The OL Reign player and passing-savant has been nursing a knee injury but is working to get it right before the tournament begins. 

United States Women's National Team Training
Rose Lavelle dribbles during a USWNT training session at Bay City Park on July 17, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand.BRAD SMITH/USSF

Lynn Williams 

Williams, 30, maybe playing in her first World Cup, but she has had a successful pro career before getting the call. The NJ/NY Gotham FC star has won multiple NSWL championships and has the second-most goals in the history of the league. Williams, who grew up on a pecan farm in Clovis, California, will now get to show the world they've been missing out on. 

Lynn Williams plays for the U.S. Women's National Team against Brazil on February 22, 2023, during the SheBelieves Cup.
Lynn Williams controls the ball during the SheBelieves Cup game between Brazil and USWNT at Toyota Stadium on February 22, 2023, in Frisco, Texas./ GETTY IMAGES

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