Heath will practice with US, won’t play in Summer Series

Tobin Heath will join the U.S. women’s national team in practice for next month’s Summer Series in Texas but won’t play in any event matches because of a knee injury.

U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski will use the matches against Portugal, Jamaica and Nigeria as a final evaluation before he names an 18-player Olympic roster. The U.S. also plans to play two as-yet unannounced sendoff matches in July before heading to Tokyo for the Olympic tournament.

“Obviously, the most ideal thing for us is that Tobin is fully fit and able to play in our sendoff series before we go to the Olympics, because that will give us a very good benchmark of where she’s at and how much she can play there. But we’re not going to know anything until we see her in camp in a couple of weeks,” Andonovski said.

Heath, who played last season with Manchester United, is not yet fully recovered from her injury.

Another player from the 2019 World Cup-winning team, Julie Ertz, was left off the 23-player roster announced Tuesday because of an injury she suffered recently while playing with the Chicago Red Stars.

She hasn’t been ruled out for the Olympics either.

Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch retuned to the the roster after missing most of last season because of an injured right knee.

The Summer Series is not a tournament and no standings will be kept. The matches will be treated as friendlies, with the U.S. and Nigeria each playing three matches, and Portugal and Jamaica playing two apiece. The United States is the only team in the group headed to the Tokyo Games.

Four matches will be played on June 10 and June 13 in Houston. The new Q2 Stadium in Austin will host a match June 16 between the U.S. and Nigeria, the first time the two teams have met outside an international competition.

That game will also be the first soccer match held at Q2, the home of Major League Soccer expansion club Austin FC. Austin FC will play its first game in the stadium three days later.

Andonovski said 95% of the team is either vaccinated or has received a first dose. He expects the number to rise before the group departs for Tokyo.

The roster includes four players who have been playing in Europe and 19 from the National Women’s Soccer League.

The roster by position with club affiliation:

Goalkeepers: Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars).

Defenders: Alana Cook (Paris Saint-Germain), Abby Dahlkemper (Manchester City), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn (Portland Thorns), Kelley O’Hara (Washington Spirit), Margaret Purce (NJ/NY Gotham), Becky Sauerbrunn (Portland Thorns), Emily Sonnett (Washington Spirit).

Midfielders: Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Rose Lavelle (OL Reign), Catarina Macario (Olympique Lyonnais), Kristie Mewis (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit).

Forwards: Carli Lloyd (NJ/NY Gotham), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Manchester United), Megan Rapinoe (OL Reign), Sophia Smith (Portland Thorns), Lynn Williams (North Carolina Courage).

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