USWNT Olympic roster expanded to 22 players

USWNT starting lineup (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
USWNT starting lineup (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /
The USWNT starting lineup poses before a match. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images) /

After a handful of tough phone calls, heartache, and the announcement of an 18-player roster, the USWNT will now be allowed to bring a total of 22 players to the Tokyo Olympics.

Jane Campbell, Catarina Macario, Casey Krueger and Lynn Williams were originally listed as alternates who would accompany the team to Tokyo but would watch from afar unless it became necessary to replace an injured teammate. Now these four women will officially be a part of the USWNT Olympic roster. Though only 18 players can be rostered per game, any one of the 22 players can be included in the game-day roster at any time regardless of injury.

A combination of the ongoing pandemic, the grueling Olympic schedule, and expected heat and humidity in Tokyo led the International Olympic Committee to this decision.

USWNT has more to gain than others

For a country like the United States who boasts great depth on its roster, this change is particularly beneficial. It gives head coach Vlatko Andonovski a bigger player pool to pick from each game as fatigue, potential injuries and new game plans for different opponents come into effect.

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For countries that would have struggled to hold their own against the USWNT even with an 18-player roster (but one that featured two players previously plagued with injury), this decision widens the gap between them.

An already strong USWNT has now been made stronger, and a lot of the unique difficulties the Olympics often bring are now more or less moot.

Though a larger roster will inevitably help every team in some way, if you don’t have depth, there’s little to be gained.

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For young players like Catarina Macario who only earned her first USWNT cap this year and almost saw her Olympic chances dashed when a COVID-19 outbreak at Lyon caused her to miss national team matches in mid-April, this is a huge opportunity. Campbell, Macario, Krueger and Williams can now call themselves Olympians, and that is a badge of honor they’ll wear proudly for life.