The NWSL is home to 22 of the 23 players on the United States women’s national team’s World Cup roster. Between Sophia Smith, Crystal Dunn, Rose Lavelle, Naomi Girma, and a host of others, there’s no doubt that those 22 players are some of the best in the league – and the world. Still, there are over 200 other professional players in the NWSL who are also pretty darn good at soccer.
Why, you ask, are we focusing on those other NWSLers?
Well, with the 2023 World Cup kicking off later this month, we’ve been turning over a fun thought experiment in our Backheeled hive mind. We started wondering: what if there was another national team full of United States-eligible NWSL players who took the field this summer? How would they perform? Could they make a deep run? Where would they shine, and where would they struggle?
To answer all of those questions, I selected 11 of the league’s top U.S. players to play in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Let’s talk about those selections, the strengths and weaknesses of this team, and how it would fare at this year’s edition of the World Cup.