Macario, Swanson return to USWNT roster for SheBelieves Cup

Forwards Mallory Swanson and Catarina Macario returned to the United States women’s national team for the first time in a year and two years, respectively, following major knee injuries.

Both players are eligible for selection at the SheBelieves Cup, where the USWNT will play Japan on April 6 in Atlanta and either Canada or Brazil on April 9 in Columbus, Ohio.

Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)

Joining Swanson and Macario are two first-time call-ups: 16-year-old Lily Yohannes, a midfielder at Ajax, and 21-year-old Eva Gaetino, a defender at Paris Saint-Germain. Both players started in their respective teams’ most recent UEFA Champions League quarterfinal matches.

The 19 other players called up to the U.S. roster by interim coach Twila Kilgore, in collaboration with incoming head coach Emma Hayes, all participated in the team’s recent Concacaf W Gold Cup, which the U.S. won by narrowly defeating Brazil in the final on March 10.

Macario was the focal point of former coach Vlatko Andonovski’s initial roster rebuild in early 2022, but she tore her ACL later that spring on the final day of the French season while playing with Lyon.

Macario signed with Chelsea — still coached by Hayes — last summer but endured multiple setbacks. She returned to the field earlier this month and scored in her first game for Chelsea.

“What’s been most impressive about her as she’s come back is just the quality of her impact on a game regardless of the amount of minutes that she’s been playing,” Kilgore said about Macario during a media availability Tuesday. “So, we’re really excited to get her reintegrated into our team.”

Swanson last played for the U.S. in April 2023, when she tore her left patella tendon. She scored seven goals in the USWNT’s first five games of 2023 and was expected to star at the World Cup. However, an infection following her initial surgery last year dashed any hope of returning in time for the tournament.

“I honestly didn’t even think about playing after that,” Swanson recently told “The Women’s Game” podcast. “I literally just need to feel better, because I was so sick.”

She joined the U.S. as a training player in February ahead of the Gold Cup but did not participate in the tournament. Swanson started each of the Chicago Red Stars‘ first two matches of the new National Women’s Soccer League season, her first competitive matches since the injury.

Yohannes is the youngest player to be called up to a full U.S. national team camp since 16-year-old forward Sophia Smith joined the team in April 2017. In November, Yohannes became the youngest player to ever start a UEFA Women’s Champions League match.

Yohannes joins the U.S. roster days after Netherlands coach Andries Jonker said publicly that the midfielder wanted to play for the Netherlands. Yohannes, who is not a Dutch citizen, was born in Virginia and her family moved to the Netherlands when she was 10 years old, initially for her father’s career. She began to play for Ajax and signed with the senior team as a 15-year-old last year. She previously attended camps with the under-15s and U16 U.S. national teams in recent years.

Kilgore said on Tuesday that any player’s potential decision between multiple countries is a personal and individual choice, but the interim coach noted that Yohannes is only currently eligible to play for the U.S. Kilgore said she has spoken with Yohannes and her family over the phone and on Zoom, and she has also seen her play live.

“We offered Lily an invitation to this camp, and she accepted and that’s a pretty big statement,” Kilgore said. “I think that she’s prepared to come in and do whatever is asked of her.”

Hayes has a front-row seat to Yohannes thanks to the quarterfinal pairing of Ajax and Chelsea in the Champions League. Chelsea leads 3-0 on aggregate after the first leg, with the return leg at Stamford Bridge set for Thursday. Hayes praised Yohannes as a “tremendous talent” ahead of the first leg but said she would not try to convince Yohannes to play for the United States.

Hayes said she does not “influence those things at this time,” keeping consistent with her desire to focus exclusively on Chelsea for the remainder of the European season. Kilgore and Hayes have confirmed repeatedly, however, that they collaborate on player selection.

“Her final pass is exceptional,” Hayes said of Yohannes. “She’s got the ability, especially in tight areas she can get out of pressure really well. But her vision, the quality of her execution is really, really high. Sometimes I don’t believe she’s 16 years of age because she plays with such maturity, but a wonderful talent.”

Gaetino skipped the 2024 NWSL draft after completing her senior season at Notre Dame. At PSG, she is teammates with midfielder Korbin Albert, who is also on the SheBelieves Cup roster after starting all three knockout-stage games at the Gold Cup.

The five U.S. players not included on the SheBelieves Cup roster who were initially named to the Gold Cup roster are all out due to injuries. Forward Mia Fishel tore her ACL in training ahead of the Gold Cup and was replaced by Alex Morgan. Defender Alana Cook also left U.S. camp early with a knee injury and has not played in Seattle Reign FC‘s two NWSL games thus far. Midge Purce left Sunday’s NJ/NY Gotham FC game early with an apparent leg injury, and teammates Rose Lavelle and Lynn Williams missed the match entirely due to injuries.

Seventeen of the 23 players on the U.S. roster play for NWSL clubs. The other six play professionally in Europe. At last year’s World Cup, 22 of the 23 players on the U.S. roster played in the NWSL.

The two matches at the SheBelieves Cup are expected to be the final matches in charge for Kilgore before Hayes arrives in late May ahead of a pair of June friendlies against South Korea. Kilgore will stay on staff as one of Hayes’ assistant coaches. The U.S. will play two additional games after those matches prior to the Olympics.

A tough group awaits the U.S. at the Olympics. Germany and Australia were drawn into Group B with the U.S. alongside the winner of the ZambiaMorocco playoff to be contested in April. The U.S. has not won an Olympic gold medal since the 2012 London Games.

USWNT roster for SheBelieves Cup:

Goalkeepers: Jane Campbell, Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher

Defenders: Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Tierna Davidson, Emily Fox, Eva Gaetino, Naomi Girma, Casey Krueger, Jenna Nighswonger

Midfielders: Korbin Albert, Sam Coffey, Lindsey Horan, Olivia Moultrie, Emily Sonnett, Lily Yohannes

Forwards: Catarina Macario, Alex Morgan, Trinity Rodman, Jaedyn Shaw, Sophia Smith, Mallory Swanson