Dear Jill Ellis, Give Other USWNT Goalkeepers a Chance

Jill Ellis loves Alyssa Naeher and Ashlyn Harris. There’s no doubt about it. When healthy, both goalkeepers expect a call up to a U.S. Women’s National Team camp.

Dear Jill Ellis, Give Other USWNT Goalkeepers a Chance

Since the middle of May, Harris has not featured for club and country. Then, on May 23, Harris was ruled out for eight weeks with a quadriceps injury, near the hip. That gave Naeher center stage for the national team. However, perhaps it’s time to look past Naeher and Harris. Jill Ellis should give other keepers a chance with the USWNT.

Alyssa Naeher
USWNT Goalkeepers
Alyssa Naeher (1) of USA during the Tournament of Nations soccer match between USA and Brazil on July 30, 2017 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. – Getty Images

Naeher started both matches during the USWNT’s overseas trip to Sweden and Norway. The United States managed to leave Europe with two slim 1-0 wins. On April 6, Naeher got the start against Russia, a match which the United States won, 4-0.

Naeher also earned both starts in the United States’ two Tournament of Nations matches, against Australia and Brazil.

In the first match, Tameka Butt, who scored the game-winning goal for Australia, beat Naeher.

The match against Brazil was completely different. Naeher bobbled the first shot taken by Andressinha in the 2nd minute, only 70 seconds into the match. Her howler resulted in Brazil’s 1-0 lead early on. Naeher also let two more goals go by her, one more from Andressinha and another from Bruna Benites.

The Brazil match was by far the worst outing that Naeher has had in her 17 appearances for the national team.

That begs the question. Why doesn’t Ellis give any other goalkeepers a chance?

Ellis’ Other Current USWNT Goalkeepers

For the Tournament of Nations, Ellis brought in Naeher, Jane Campbell of the Houston Dash and Abby Smith of the Boston Breakers.

Jane Campbell
USWNT Goalkeepers
Jane Campbell (18) goalkeeper of U.S. warms up before the USA Soccer match between USA and Russia on April 9, 2017 at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas. – Getty Images

Campbell would be the likely of the two to start before Smith. Campbell struggled to get consistent playing time for the Houston Dash at the beginning of the NWSL season. However, she has started under interim head coach Omar Morales, and has totaled 28 saves in seven matches.

Campbell appeared as a substitute (relieving Harris) in the United States’ 5-1 victory over Russia on April 9.

Abby Smith
Abby Smith, Boston Breakers and USWNT Goalkeeper
Boston Breakers goal keeper Abby Smith during the second half of the Portland Thorns 2-0 victory over the Boston Breakers at Providence Park on May 27th, 2017 (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire). – Getty Images

As for Smith, a small injury kept her out of action for the Boston Breakers for three weeks. Replacing her was Sammy Jo Purdhomme. However, Smith has been back in net for the Breakers. This season, she has appeared in 11 matches for the Breakers, recording 50 saves.

Haley Kopmeyer
USWNT Goalkeepers
Portland Thorns midfielder Allie Long and Seattle Reign goal keeper Haley Kopmeyer jokey for position during a corner in the 2-2 tie between Portland Thorns match and the Seattle Reign on May 6, 2017, at Providence Park, Portland, Oregon (Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire). – Getty Images

Haley Kopmeyer of the Seattle Reign has proven to be a consistent threat in goal this season. After the disappearance of Hope Solo last season after the Olympic international break, Kopmeyer took the reins. This season, she has made 66 saves in 15 appearances.

Other Goalkeepers Worth a Shot

Other keepers that could potentially – and probably should – be called up to the national team are Adrianna Franch of the Portland Thorns and Katelyn Rowland of the North Carolina Courage.

After all, the Courage are the No. 1 team in the NWSL. Why not have their goalkeeper reap the benefits of that success? Rowland has made 20 saves in her eight appearances for the Courage.

Meanwhile, Franch has started every match for the Thorns, totaling 60 saves in 15 appearances.

If it hasn’t been made clear to Ellis, Naeher and Harris might not be the long-term answer in goal for the United States. Even if Solo would make a comeback to the national team (which would certainly be their best option), other talented goalkeepers in the NWSL have emerged and are more than ready for a call up.

All they need is a chance, Jill.

You can listen to Rachael McKriger, Erik Watkins and Sean Garmer each week. Right here on W2Mnet.com or I-Tunes, Youtube and more on the Soccer 2 the MAX Podcast.

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ALYSSA NAEHER PHOTO:

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ABBY SMITH PHOTO:

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