The first training camp of 2022 for the United States Women’s National Team was released Wednesday, and several familiar faces from Colorado soccer made the cut.
A total of four Coloradans made head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 25-player roster for training camp, which runs Jan. 19-28 in Austin, Texas. Among the Centennial State standouts are Golden’s Lindsey Horan, Littleton’s Mal Pugh and Sophia Smith of Windsor. Jaelin Howell of Lone Tree, who won her second straight MAC Hermann Trophy last week and left Florida State in December as a two-time national champion, also made the roster.
Howell went No. 2 overall in the NWSL Draft and was selected by Racing Louisville. She became just the sixth player to win the MAC Hermann Trophy back-to-back, joining women’s soccer icons Mia Hamm, Christine Sinclair, Morgan Bryan (current U.S. Soccer president), Cindy Parlow Cone, and fellow USWNT teammate Catarina Macario.
This will be a big year for Howell, 22, and Smith, 21, to earn significant playing time after the program had a bronze-medal finish at the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. Events for 2022 include the annual SheBelieves Cup in February and the new Concacaf W Championship in July. The latter will serve as the region’s World Cup qualifying event for the expanded 32-team 2023 FIFA World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The January camp will consist of intense training and full-field scrimmages. When asked about the development from the top two picks from the draft, Naomi Girma and Howell, Andonovski believes the training camp will help both players.
“Both of them have some experience but nowhere near the experience they need to play top-level international games,” he said. “But this is part of the process … we need to help them incorporate into our system.”
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