Reign FC midfielder Allie Long was named to new U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s 24-player roster for the squad’s final two fixtures of the year, U.S. Soccer announced today. Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe was not available for selection due to injury.
Following a short camp, the U.S. will play a friendly against Sweden at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on Thursday, November 7 at 4:30 p.m. PT. The U.S. will then travel to Jacksonville, Florida for a match against Costa Rica on Sunday, November 10 at TIAA Bank Stadium at 5:00 p.m. PT.
“This first camp is short with two good games at the end, so after just being hired officially a few days ago, I personally don't have a lot of time to prepare for the camp or implement any major changes," Andonovski in a statement released by U.S. Soccer. "Mostly, this is a great opportunity for me to get to know the players, get to know the system, and start building relationships. If there is one goal that I want to accomplish in this first camp is to change the focus from the World Cup and the Victory Tour. It was a tremendous summer for this team, but now the approach is different. We have new goals and the most important thing is to shift the mentality and start moving forward because Olympic qualifying is just around the corner."
Long, 32, made her World Cup debut with the Stars and Stripes in France this summer. The midfielder has been capped 50 times by the United States, scoring eight goals.
The midfielder credited her development under Andonovski as instrumental in being named to Jill Ellis’ 23-player roster for the tournament.
“I think the role Vlatko has played in my life as a coach and a mentor was the key reason why I made the World Cup roster,” Long said. “His belief in me and the confidence that he has given me as a player while holding me to the highest possible standard was another. It’s almost frustrating at times, but I know it’s coming from a place of wanting me to be better. He sees in me what I sometimes don’t see in myself, so that’s why he expects so much of me. I think for that, he’s played such a meaningful role as my coach and mentor. I think his knowledge of the game, the way he sees things, his level of preparation behind closed doors for games is unmatched by any other coach that I’ve previously had. I never want to be a coach, ever, but if there was a coach where I’d say ‘this is how it’s done right,’ I’d say that he does it right.”
The United States have automatically qualified to the Concacaf Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, which will take place in February in a location to be determined.