NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team is off to Portland this weekend, to compete in the Thorns Spring Invitational. There, they will get the chance to face off against NWSL opponents including the Portland Thorns, Chicago Red Stars and Reign FC.
U-23 WNT head coach B.J. Snow announced a roster this week that features 21 college players and two professionals competing abroad. While it’s difficult to imagine any players forcing their way into the full team conversation in the coming year, there’s still opportunity for those called up to impress.
Below is a look at five players that will look to capitalize on that as the games kick off on Sunday.
F Haley Hopkins, Vanderbilt – A breakout campaign in the SEC earned Hopkins a slew of plaudits, scoring 14 goals and setting up seven more. She was the SEC Freshman of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year. Youth national team chances haven’t come her way very often, so the trip to Portland for her gives the U.S. Soccer staff the opportunity to give Hopkins a closer look.
M Emina Ekic, Louisville – The attacking midfielder’s earned a couple of call-ups to youth national teams in the past. She scored seven goals and added five assists for the ACC side last fall. If she can stamp her authority on this camp, and builds on that with a strong shift in the college game, her profile is going to grow when it comes to evaluating potential No. 10s.
M Paula Germino-Watnick, Georgetown – Another player that took a big step forward in the fall, Germino-Watnick is a potential attacking midfielder that could end up making a big case for the national team down the road. Playing 23 games, she scored eight goals and added eight assists, playing a big part in the team’s run to the College Cup. Showing that she can handle the regular reps against her teammates in camp, and getting playing time, would both be big for the Maryland native.
F Martha Thomas, Le Havre – After wrapping up her four-year standout career at the end of the 2017 season, Thomas moved to France in August, signing with Division 2 side Le Havre. She has four goals in eight games during the 2018-19 season on a fifth-place team in Group A. A trip to Portland is a huge chance for her to get in front of the U.S. coaching staff and showcase her talent. As her 47 career goals and 26 assists in four seasons at Charlotte indicate, there’s an impressive prospect with a huge chance.
M Channing Foster, Mississippi – Hitting the ground running since her arrival at Ole Miss in 2017. She was an impressive foil to CeCe Kizer, the All-American performer at the SEC program. Foster now has the chance to compete in front of U.S. Soccer coaches, opportunities that eluded her during a standout club career with either Eclipse Select or St. Louis Scott Gallagher.