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The Week In Women’s Football: USA names first 2017 squad as Canadian pair head to PSG, Lyon

This week we present the U.S. National Team roster for their annual January training camp in Southern California and report on two Canadian stars heading to France rather than NWSL after finishing at West Virginia University. Finally, we have some updates from the semiprofessional United Women's League (UWS) ahead of their second season beginning in May.

U.S National Team Camp includes 30, with 7 Uncapped

Head Coach Jill Ellis named 30 players for the first U.S. women's national team camp in 2017 from January 13-23 at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson Colorado. Forward Amy Rodriguez was on the World Cup winning team in Canada in 2015 but did not play last season for the nats or FC Kansas City in NWSL due to maternity leave. Four players who were on the 2016 Olympic team are not on the camp roster: Hope Solo (suspended for six months), Whitney Engen (dropped) while Meghan Klingenberg and Mallory Pugh are both recovering from injuries

The seven uncapped players on the roster are goalkeepers Jane Campbell and Adrianna Franch, defender Sara Killion and midfielders Kristen Edmonds, Christina Gibbons, Rose Lavelle and Taylor Smith. Gibbons and Smith are attending a full national team camp for the first time. Smith was undrafted last year but made the 2016 champions Western New York Flash roster and played in 18 games, starting five and scoring two goals. Gibbons recently completed her career at Duke University, where she was an All-American and started 64 of her 65 career games. For Killion, the camp is her second call up but first since 2014. The Sky Blue FC defender played every minute in 18 games last season in the NWSL, scoring three times with one assist, as a defensive midfielder playing primarily defensive midfielder. Killion won a U-20 Women's World Cup title with the U.S. in 2012 in Japan. Franch is a backup at Portland Thorns but had a phenomenal 0.50 Goals-Against-Average in 6 games last season while Edmonds had a breakout season with Orlando Pride in 2016, with 6 goals and 2 assists in 19 games, after two previous goalless seasons with the Western New York Flash. Lavelle recently finished her career at Wisconsin and is expected to be an early selection at this week's NWSL college draft, as is goalkeeper Campbell from Stanford.

The next competition for the U.S. will be the She Believes Cup in March versus Germany (ranked No. 2 in the world), France (No. 3) and England (No. 5), which was begun last year. The sites for this year's event have yet to be announced.

U.S. Women's National Team Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (4): Jane Campbell (Stanford), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars)

DEFENDERS (8): Jaelene Hinkle (Western New York Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Sara Killion (Sky Blue FC) Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC)

MIDFIELDERS (11): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Kristen Edmonds (Orlando Pride), Christina Gibbons (Duke), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Wisconsin), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC), Samantha Mewis (Western New York Flash), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC), Taylor Smith (Western New York Flash)

FORWARDS (7): Crystal Dunn (Chelsea Ladies FC, ENG), Jessica McDonald (Western New York Flash), Alex Morgan (Olympique Lyonnais, FRA), Kealia Ohai (Houston Dash), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars), Amy Rodriguez (FC Kansas City), Lynn Williams (Western New York Flash)

Two Canadian National Team Players are Reportedly Headed to France

Canadian World Cup and Olympic national team stars midfielder Ashley Lawrence and defender Kadeisha Buchanan are said to be spurning the NWSL to play professionally in France. Lawrence will join Paris Saint-Germain while Buchanan is rumored to be bound for European champions Olympique Lyon, linking up with American Alex Morgan, who is on loan through June from the Orlando Pride. The Canadian pair just finished their collegiate careers at NCAA runner up West Virginia University, galvanizing the team the past four years with their skills. Buchanon won the 2016 Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Trophy recently, signifying the best college player in the country. Neither player registered for this week's NWSL 2017 College Draft.

UWS Updates

As this column hinted at a few weeks ago, the United Women's Soccer summer semiprofessional league has added another team to its new Midwest Conference for this summer. The Michigan Legends FC will play in the 160,000 square foot Fieldhouse at Legacy Center in Brighton Michigan, a far northwestern suburb of Detroit.

In other UWS news, 2016 league champions Santa Clarita (California) Blue Heat has signed two Costa Rican internationals: Melissa Herrera and Carolina Venegas.

Santa Clarita owner and Technical Director Carlos Marroquin explained: “When I went to Costa Rica to talk to each player, they shared my passion for the sport and growth of the women's game. It did not take much to convince them to come to the U.S. to showcase their skills in such a quality league. I want to bring the best to the league and to the City of Santa Clarita."

Herrera was only 18 when she was named to Costa Rica's 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup roster (23 caps, 13 goals overall), starting all three group games and scoring against South Korea. Herrera has 23 caps and 13 goals with her national team and is currently playing at home with Deportiva Moravia—the 2016 Apertura champions. Herrera played briefly last season in the WPSL with F.C Indiana, who will have teams in both leagues this summer.

Venegas (37 caps, 15 goals) was also a member of Costa Rica's 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup roster. The 25-year-old is coming off a season in Spain with Madrid CFF and is currently playing at home for Deportivo Saprissa in Costa Rica. Venegas explained her decision: “When the current champions of any league show interest, it is an honor. It will be a challenge playing in the U.S. with such quality teams and talented players."

*Note: Next week this column reports live from the NWSL 2017 College Draft in Los Angeles.

Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribalfootball. His latest book is Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

Tim Grainey
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Tim Grainey

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