The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup is less than a month away, and Gotham FC is set to be well-represented at the tournament.
Five players will participate in this summer’s world cup, with three lining up for the United States, one for Nigeria, and one for the Republic of Ireland. These players aren’t just heading to the biggest soccer tournament of the year, they are vital to Gotham’s resurgence this season.
Here’s a look at how Gotham’s stars earned their places on the planes to Australia and New Zealand.
The Debutant: Lynn Williams
Any worries Lynn Williams had regarding her spot on the United States Women’s National Team were relieved once Gotham FC’s National Women’s Soccer League season got underway. Williams continues to score after finding the back of the net in her Gotham debut, tallying eight goals in 12 games so far. This form is crucial to Gotham’s success this season, and the 30-year-old will look to bring that same level of play to her first World Cup.
“I think for the rest of the world there was uncertainty, but for myself, I always back myself,” Williams said following the roster announcement. “This is where the work starts. We worked so hard to get here but we haven’t really done anything yet. We still have to go win a World Cup.”
With her seat reserved, the next question surrounding Williams is where she will be positioned on the field. There was a conversation between Williams and Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski about playing as striker, but her form at the wing this season provides the team with options. Alex Morgan is the only other true center forward on the roster, so don’t be too surprised to see Williams getting minutes up top.
The First-Time Regular: Kristie Mewis
Also making her World Cup debut is midfielder Kristie Mewis. She has been a regular with the USWNT ever since Andonovski took over as head coach in 2020 and brought her back into the national team after a six-year absence. Her play with the Houston Dash, and now Gotham FC, earned her continuous call-ups through the years, but her on-field time began to dry up. A run in the recent SheBelieves Cup and friendly meeting with the Republic of Ireland seemingly secured her spot on the World Cup roster.
“It was very helpful that I had a couple of just small, solid performances throughout the spring,” Mewis said. “I don’t know if I would be on the roster if it wasn’t for those for those games, so I’m very thankful that I was able to show what I could do in those opportunities.”
Mewis has appeared in every Gotham game this season, leading a midfield trio from the left side. She has been technical in tight areas, confident on the ball, and serving accurate passes from long and close range. Mewis has been one of the first names in Gotham head coach Juan Carlos Amorós’ lineup, and time will tell if she will crack Andonovski’s.
The Fourpeat: Kelley O’Hara
Kelley O’Hara’s selection makes her the twelfth player in USWNT history to be named to four Women’s World Cup Teams. A regular at right-back for nearly a decade, O’Hara brings a vast amount of experience and success to Oceania. Those qualities made O’Hara’s spot reasonably safe, but recovering from a slight ankle injury suffered last month presents a potential roadblock.
“I wouldn’t probably be on this [UWSNT] if I was with any other team,” O’Hara said. “[Gotham FC] were super patient with me they were so supportive through the offseason and into preseason and just understood what I was going through and what I needed.”
O’Hara’s arrival in the northeast was a big piece in Gotham’s rebuild, but her first year has been reasonably managed. Recovering from a pair of knocks that sidelined the 34-year-old for two games and limited minutes in four others. Now returning to full fitness, O’Hara looks to build on a World Cup legacy that includes a goal in the 2019 Final.
The Snub: Midge Purce
The only glaring exclusion from Gotham’s roster was forward Midge Purce. The 27-year-old was ready for a big year with club and country, but after a hot start, a hip injury kept Purce off the field since April. Purce’s two goals and assists in the opening four games of the 2023 season looked to be making her case for a spot on the UWSNT, her chances boosted when fellow winger Mallory Swanson suffered a season-ending knee injury two months ago. Purce was a part of rosters that won three SheBelieves Cups, the 2022 CONCACAF Women’s Championship and plenty of friendly games but will be missing out on the biggest international tournament of them all.
Unfortunately, Purce has been unable to return to club play in time to make a final case for a call-up. She plays in a deep position for the USWNT, competing with the likes of Alyssa Thompson, Trinity Rodman, and Megan Rapinoe. It’s a thin silver lining, but Purce’s presence will be vital to Gotham’s push to remain towards the top of the NWSL table during the dog days of summer.
The Super Falcon: Ifeoma Onumonu
Outside of the US, Ifeoma Onumonu is set to represent Nigeria in her first World Cup. She has been a part of the National Team since June 2022, scoring twice in 14 appearances.
Onumonu will arrive Down Under with an opportunity to turn around a season that is surely disappointing the 29-year-old. She has yet to score in 411 minutes over 11 appearances for Gotham, and seemingly lost her starting spot under Juan Carlos Amorós. Based on how she performed in the Revelations Cup over the winter, Onumonu should see some regular minutes in the Super Falcon’s lineup.
The Second Act: Sinead Farrelly
The year of Sinead Farrelly is only getting better. After returning to professional soccer after a six-year absence, Farrley slid into the Gotham FC roster as a box-to-box midfielder without skipping a beat. Her performances halfway through the 2023 NWSL season earned her a first-ever call-up to the Republic of Ireland national team in May. She played 59 minutes in a 2-0 friendly loss to the United States, and that was seemingly enough to earn her a spot at the World Cup.
The 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will kick off on Thursday, July 20 with the final scheduled for Sunday, August 20. You can catch games on FOX, FS1, FOXSorts.com and the FOX Sports App.