Here is a player-by-player breakdown of the team competing for a historic third consecutive World Cup title.
Alyssa Naeher #1 of the United States during warmups prior to an international friendly against Wales at PayPal Park on July 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Casey Murphy #18 of the United States during training at PayPal Park on July 08, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by John Todd/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Kingsbury might only have one appearance for the senior national team — earned in a 9-0 victory over Uzbekistan in April 2022 — but she has been one of the more consistent and reliable goalkeepers in the NWSL lately.
Named NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year in 2019 and 2021, she has started every match and played nearly every minute for the Spirit this season, who have been in and out of the top of the standings.
Kingsbury hasn't been called into as many camps as Alyssa Naeher, Casey Murphy and A.D. Franch, but she's a calming presence in the back, communicates well and is the Spirit's captain. She is ready for this opportunity.
Murphy would start for just about any of the other 31 teams in the World Cup field; she's the best USWNT backup keeper since current starter Alyssa Naeher served as the understudy to all-time great Hope Solo in 2015.
The Rutgers alum has accumulated some big-game experience despite making her USWNT debut less than two years ago. In 2022, she started two matches at the SheBelieves Cup and three more at the CONCACAF W Championship, helping the U.S. qualify for both this World Cup and next summer's Paris Olympics. She also kept a clean sheet in a February win over 2011 World Cup champ Japan.
The USWNT's No. 1 goalkeeper from its 2019 World Cup triumph is likely to be the starter in net again, although it hasn't been an ideal leadup to this World Cup.
Naeher's Chicago Red Stars have struggled mightily, with the team (and Naeher) conceding 31 goals through 12 regular-season games. Last year, during World Cup qualifying, Naeher split time in net for the U.S. with challenger Casey Murphy. Naeher ultimately played in the final, with head coach Vlatko Andonovski choosing to go with experience. Will he choose the same at the World Cup?
Naomi Girma #4 of the United States dribbles the ball during the first half of an international friendly against Wales at PayPal Park on July 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Crystal Dunn #19 of the United States dribbles the ball during the first half of an international friendly against Wales at PayPal Park on July 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Cook will almost certainly start in central defense alongside fellow Stanford grad Naomi Girma. Each player had pushed for what looked like one starting spot, but the recent injury to Becky Sauerbrunn will thrust both young players into prominent roles.
Cook signed with Paris Saint-Germain out of college and was part of the 2021 PSG team that won the league title for the first time, ending Lyon's 14-year run. That summer, she transferred to Seattle-based OL Reign and soon became part of the USWNT picture. She's a cerebral center back who tries to position herself to predict opponents' attacks, much like Sauerbrunn.
Crystal Dunn is a shoo-in starter for the USWNT at fullback. The only real question is whether she ends up playing on the right or the left. She was the starting left-fullback for the team's 2019 World Cup title run.
Dunn's position remains a tense talking point even for her: She is one of the best midfielders in the NWSL for Portland, and she has said repeatedly that she prefers to play there. She even won the Golden Boot and MVP awards as a forward in 2015, when she was the last player cut from that USWNT World Cup roster.
For the USWNT, however, there is a greater need at fullback. Dunn has also owned that role masterfully, with her 2019 quarterfinal performance against a stacked France side shining as one of her best international performances.
It's strange to think that Fox is still one of the younger players on this roster and hasn't played in a World Cup or an Olympics. That's because she really only burst on the scene while Crystal Dunn was gone most of 2022 after having a baby. During that time, Fox, who earned her first cap back in 2018, emerged as Andonovski's go-to left back. The good thing for her, though, is that with Dunn's return, Fox can also play on the right side and has started there for the USWNT.
Fox was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2021 NWSL draft by Racing Louisville and was traded to the Courage in January. She goes by the nickname "Foxy" on the national team and before she committed her life to playing soccer, she was a gymnast. However, she jokes now that she probably wouldn't be able to do any cool moves or flips. Fox scored her first international goal back in April in a 2-0 win over Ireland.
In 2022, Girma became the first player to win both NWSL Rookie of the Year and Defender of the Year in a single season. So it’s no surprise that she has quickly established herself as a young player who will play a prominent role for the USWNT in the future. Girma, who turned 23 in June, is also a former No. 1 overall draft pick. She’s soft-spoken and has a friendly smile, but don’t let that fool you. She’s ruthless on the back line, rarely makes mistakes and is deceptively physical and fast.
"She’s just f---ing good," Megan Rapinoe said of Girma earlier this year. "It’s tough to step into this team at this level and immediately be like a no-brainer to start. She’s going to be the future of this team for a long time."
The former Mexican youth international, whose one-time switch of allegiance to the U.S. program was green-lit by FIFA in 2019, has emerged as a regular during coach Andonovski’s maiden World Cup cycle.
Huerta will likely back up Emily Fox at right back this summer, though don’t be surprised if she gets at least one start in the World Cup group stage if Andonovski tries to keep his players’ legs fresh for the all-important knockout stage.
O’Hara is a two-time World Cup champion and was also part of the 2011 team that lost to Japan in the final. She’s a veteran member of the USWNT who has played meaningful minutes in major tournaments, including being part of the gold medal-winning squad at the 2012 Olympics. But even despite missing a few camps in the leadup due to a nagging hip injury, O’Hara will provide important leadership and experience not just on the back line, but in a locker room that will be filled with young players. This is especially important with Sauerbrunn missing the World Cup with a foot injury.
O’Hara has established herself at outside back, but she actually began her career in college at Stanford as a forward. The former Hermann Trophy winner was later converted to a defender, but she still has that attacking mindset which serves the U.S. well. This will be her fourth World Cup appearance.
Sonnett is a versatile defender who provides cover for the U.S. at center back or fullback. Given the injury to captain and center-back Sauerbrunn, Sonnett is most likely to fill the depth chart centrally at this World Cup.
Sonnett spent most of the year playing as a holding midfielder for OL Reign, which helped her refine her ball distribution. She was a member of the 2019 World Cup team as a reserve who played in one group-stage match.
Lindsey Horan #10 of the United States dribbles during a game between Wales and USWNT at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF).
Rose Lavelle #16 of the United States during warmups prior to an international friendly against Wales at PayPal Park on July 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
DeMelo is the only player on this roster with zero appearances for the national team, though she does have two training camp experiences. She was invited into her first camp last September, but only to replace Trinity Rodman, who had a family obligation. Then she was included on the roster for October friendlies against England and Spain.
She's a perfect example of how club play matters when it comes to making a World Cup roster. DeMelo, who is only in her second professional season after being taken fourth overall in the 2022 NWSL draft, was named NWSL Player of the Month in May after scoring three goals and adding two assists in five matches.
She was a member of U.S. teams at the 2016 and 2018 FIFA U-20 World cups and led the USA in scoring with four goals in the latter tournament. She'll provide necessary and welcome depth in the midfield this summer.
Ertz went 18 months without playing for the USWNT after the 2021 Olympics. She gave birth to her son in August 2022 and, as the calendar turned to March this year, there were no indications publicly that Ertz planned to return to the game. Then she did.
Now, she is likely to start as the team's defensive midfielder. In 2019, her place in that role was one of singular dominance, a presence that allowed the rest of the midfield to attack while she cleaned up any counterattacks. She was arguably the best player in the world.
Can Ertz be that player again? That's the hope, largely because the USWNT midfield looked incomplete in her absence. She has played only a handful of games for the struggling Angel City FC this spring in her return. How the bet on Ertz pays off could dictate how the USWNT's World Cup plays out.
Horan is the USWNT's No. 8, a box-to-box midfielder. Depending on the opponent, she could play higher up the field next to the attacking midfielder or drop deeper to create a double pivot. The USWNT found success recently with the latter setup, although that was before the return of Julie Ertz.
Known to be a student of the game with exceptional passing vision, Horan was a forward when she turned pro out of high school and signed with Paris Saint-Germain at 18 years old. She shifted back to midfield when she made the move to Portland in 2016, and her career took off from there. Expect her to play a more prominent role at this World Cup than she did in 2019.
The breakout American star at the 2019 World Cup, Lavelle's play in France — her late goal in the finale against the Netherlands sealed the Americans' fourth title — was so brilliant that it kept Lindsay Horan on the bench.
Smack in her prime now, Lavelle and Horan will partner together this time around in central midfield, where they'll be the main chance creators for the U.S. forwards.
Ten years after earning her first international cap, Mewis is finally headed to her first World Cup. The sister of 2019 U.S. starter Sam, the 32-year-old midfielder is the lone Mewis on this roster; her younger sibling isn't available to play Down Under because of a long-term injury.
Sanchez is crafty, technical and fun to watch. She's comfortable with the ball at her feet and is a natural No. 10 attacking midfielder. If that sounds familiar, it's because such a description can also be used for star Rose Lavelle. The two players are similar in many ways, which is great for the USWNT as Andonovski views Sanchez as a viable backup. Plus, Lavelle hasn't played in a match since suffering a "knock" in a friendly vs. Ireland in April, which could provide an opportunity for Sanchez.
Sanchez will be ready for the job. After playing at UCLA for three years, she was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NWSL draft by the Spirit, and won a league title with the club in 2021. She's scored three goals for the U.S. in 24 caps, and is more than capable of thriving in an important role this summer.
One of the final cuts from the roster in 2019, the versatile Sullivan has been a regular this World Cup cycle. Often deployed as the go-to defensive midfielder during the almost two years that the USWNT’s first choice destroyer, two-time World Cup champ Julie Ertz, was out following the birth of her first child, Sullivan will probably return to an understudy role now that Ertz is back.
She’s likely to be called upon to contribute as a substitute or even in the starting lineup if the US rotates its 11 during the group stage.
Alex Morgan #13 of the United States looks to the ball during a game between Wales and USWNT at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF).
Sophia Smith #11 of USA prepares for a corner kick during an international friendly game between Wales and USWNT at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Bob Drebin/ISI Photos/Getty Images).
Player: Alex Morgan
Hometown: Diamond Bar, California
Club: San Diego Wave
USWNT caps: 206
Everybody knows Alex Morgan. She's a two-time World Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist. She's an activist who speaks up for social change and a leader who played a key role in helping the USWNT achieve equal pay. She's an entrepreneur who owns her own business and is always thinking of ways to leave her sport better than she found it. But most of all, Morgan is a mom and earlier this year became the USWNT's all-time leading mom goalscorer (14). She's scored a total of 121 goals in 206 appearances for the national team and expects to increase the tally on that list this summer.
Morgan gave birth to her daughter Charlie in 2020 and has somehow hit another level as a player since. She attributes being left off a few of Andonovski's rosters as being the motivation she needed to reestablish herself as one of the best players in the world. Morgan is Andonovski's clear No. 9 heading into this World Cup, which will be her fourth. But will it be her last? Morgan isn't ready to think about that yet, she just wants to make history by being part of the first team ever – men's or women's – to win three straight World Cup titles.
Smith is the 2022 NWSL MVP and a lock to start at the World Cup as one of the wingers in the USWNT's 4-3-3.
She is even better as a center forward, where she plays for her club team, Portland Thorns FC. The way this USWNT roster was constructed, Smith will also likely work into the rotation as the backup No. 9 as other players get opportunities on the wing.
She is sensational with the ball at her feet and a superior finisher. This is her first World Cup, and she is primed for a breakout on the global stage.
Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States is introduced during postgame ceremonies after a game between Wales and USWNT at PayPal Park on July 9, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Brad Smith/USSF/Getty Images for USSF).
Rapinoe, who will turn 38 before the World Cup starts, isn't the player she was in France four years ago, when she scored the winning goal in the final against the Netherlands, took home the Golden Ball as the tournament's best player and co-led it in scoring along with teammate Alex Morgan.
No matter. Just as Carli Lloyd was in 2019, Rapinoe will be a key sub off the bench at this World Cup. Her leadership and experience will also be invaluable, especially with captain Becky Sauerbrunn forced to sit out this summer because of injury.
Rodman may be one of the youngest players on this roster, but she's already one of the most recognizable. There's her name, for starters. Her father is NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman. But soccer fans know her as the youngest player drafted in NWSL history when she was 18. She earned NWSL Rookie of the Year that season and the next, signed a contract extension that was reportedly worth more than $1 million which made her the highest-paid player in league history.
Rodman is one of the most dangerous players with the ball at her feet and Andonovski has called her a "tremendous finisher." There's always a sense that something big is going to happen when she's on the field. While she's still finding her way on the USWNT, Rodman is a gifted player and figures to have a breakout summer while filling the void left by Mallory Swanson's absence.
Alyssa Thompson #7 of the United States dribbles the ball against Wales during the first half of an international friendly at PayPal Park on July 09, 2023 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/USSF/Getty Images for USSF)
Thompson, the youngest player on this team, made history earlier this year when she became the first high scholar to be selected No. 1 overall in the NWSL draft. While initially it seemed like her chances of going to the World Cup at this stage of her career were slim, Mallory Swanson's injury opened the door. As soon as Swanson went down during the April window, Andonovski's staff called in Thompson to fly out to training camp. She made an immediate impact and had a clear presence on the field as she earned her third cap.
Thompson joins a deep and competitive forward line, but it's going to be hard to keep her off the field. She's a confident player and loves taking defenders one-on-one. Thompson, who recently graduated high school, has been a huge asset to her club, scoring three goals so far in her rookie season.
"For an 18-year-old, it's borderline arrogant the way she goes at you," Andonovski said earlier this year. "She can eliminate players on the dribble and score some good goals as well."
Williams, a member of the USWNT roster at the Tokyo Olympics two years ago, was projected as a bench option up front at this World Cup.
But now that the expected starting forwards — Catarina Macario and Mallory Swanson — are both unavailable for the tournament because of long term knee injuries. She could end up playing a far bigger role than expected Down Under.
Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of "Strong Like a Woman," published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.
Doug McIntyre is a soccer writer for FOX Sports. Before joining FOX Sports in 2021, he was a staff writer with ESPN and Yahoo Sports and he has covered United States men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. Follow him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.