CARSON, Calif. — Players from the United States women’s national team met with reporters on Tuesday as they begin preparations for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which will occur in Australia and New Zealand from July 20 to Aug. 20.

During Tuesday’s proceedings at Dignity Health Sports Park, the USWNT players were asked about a range of topics, from the newsworthy (the growth of women’s sports) to the light-hearted (what shows to binge-watch at the tournament).

As the USWNT targets an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title and a fifth overall, here were some quotes that caught our attention.

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Megan Rapinoe | Forward | Fourth World Cup

On the perception of women’s sports going into this World Cup:

“I think, just in general, women’s sports right now feels like we’re sort of out of just the dogged fight phase. Not that there’s not a lot still to fight for.

“I think everyone is sort of hip to the game now and understands that this is not somewhere that’s just like, oh, we should cheer for the Women’s World Cup because that’s the right thing to do.

“It is actually terrible business if you are not tuning in, you are missing out on a large cultural moment.”

Alex Morgan | Forward | Fourth World Cup

On the upcoming World Cup campaign:

“[In 2019], we started off with a bang, and we’re hopeful and optimistic in this tournament, of being able to be successful. That’s what we’ve worked so hard towards the last four years, and we have incredible respect for [upcoming group stage opponent] Vietnam. They’re an incredibly organized team, and we can’t overlook our first match of the tournament.”

Sophia Smith | Forward | First World Cup

On the musical taste of her veteran teammates:

“Some of the songs they play, they’re all listening to, I have no idea what they are. They sound like my parents, what my parents listen to.”

And has she, as an 18-year-old, has ever used a CD player?


Are there any non-USWNT players she’s looking forward to seeing at the World Cup?

[Australia’s] Sam Kerr — she is amazing. She’s someone that I definitely look up to. [Brazil’s] Marta is someone that I’ve always looked up to, probably my favorite player.

On her photo as a little girl with USWNT legend Abby Wambach:

“It’s just surreal. Surreal. I was one of those little girls who I see out at our games every day, just hoping for someone to say hi to me, someone that I looked up to. So it’s pretty surreal, like a full-circle moment.”



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Naomi Girma | Defender | First World Cup

When she tried to tell her family she had been selected for the World Cup:

“I tried to do a group FaceTime in our family group chat, and no one answered, like, are you kidding … And then my mom called me and was like, ‘Did you just try to call us?’ Yeah, Mom. I made the roster. So I told them all separately because no one got on the call, but they were so excited for me.”

On her social activism during college and the connection to the USWNT:

“I think me being at Stanford and speaking out about important social justice issues was a big result of me seeing the national team doing that. And I think being able to have them as role models growing up and seeing how they used their platforms, inspired me.”

Poking fun at an older player like Alex Morgan:

“We were joking about MapQuest, and she [Morgan] was joking about how she used to read the maps … she would pull out the actual map to get to games.”

Emily Fox | Defender | First World Cup

What show is she planning to stream during any World Cup downtime?

“I’m going to watch, I’ve been waiting to watch ‘Ted Lasso,’ hopefully for this moment. So there’s three seasons, so I’m going to be watching that during the World Cup.”

Is there a player she modeled her style after?

“For my game and who I want to emulate, I really like [Oleksandr] Zinchenko, he plays for Arsenal and he also kind of … he’s [an] outside back, but will play in the midfield too, which I love. And then also [Liverpool’s Trent] Alexander-Arnold — I mean, there are so many really good outside backs.”

Sofia Huerta | Defender | First World Cup

On her decision to not accept an early call-up to Mexico:

“I would call it brave, for sure. I think just having to make that decision at such a young age, just because of getting cap tied.

“At 19, [I] decided to make that decision, although I wasn’t getting any communication from the U.S. team, so I really had no idea if I was ever going to be someone that they were interested in or that I was ever going to get called into a camp.”

On inspiring a future generation:

“If I played for the U.S. and I had Huerta on the back of my jersey, little boys and girls could see the Hispanic last name. And if you could see it, you can be it. So it’s really important for me to be one of the two Latinx people on the team and to represent a community that’s unfortunately not represented too much.”

Ashley Sanchez | Midfielder | First World Cup

What athlete would she pick to play soccer, and what position would that person play?

“Probably Serena Williams. She’s already an athlete, but I feel like just put her up top and she would probably just be able to go straight to goal.”

Kristie Mewis | Midfielder | First World Cup

On awaiting the call for the USWNT roster:

“I’ve had a great career, but I think that this is something that my eight-year-old self always wanted. So if I didn’t accomplish it, it was of course going to hurt really bad — I’m sure it would hurt everybody [in that situation] too — but it meant so much to me because I think that this has just has made my career. Everything that I’ve done has been worth it.”

On the growing diversity in women’s soccer:

“The young girls that look up to me and a lot of girls that look like me, I see 10 to 20 girls after every single game that could look like, could be my sisters, and I just look at them and I smile.”

On having Shaquille O’Neal announcing her USWNT call-up in a star-studded video:

“He’s been so great, and obviously him and my dad [Dennis Rodman] had a connection, but he’s such a great guy. He’s a great dad and, I mean, he still influences social media, the game of sports and the woman’s game as well. I think getting that message from him was amazing, and I want to continue to have that connection with him as well.”

On how she wants people to see her:

“I’ve definitely tried to be more than a soccer player. I want to influence the world in the game in a different way. I don’t want to be, just be known as Trinity Rodman, the soccer player. I want to influence young girls. I want to be a face and a name for women of color.”

Savannah DeMelo | Midfielder | First World Cup

On being selected to the World Cup roster despite not yet appearing for the USWNT:

“I think I’ve been putting it in the back of my mind. I’m not really looking to that right now. I’m just looking to getting into camp, getting my feet settled, getting to know the girls, and just training and learning the system here.”

On any possible nerves before the World Cup?

“Oh yeah. Very nervous.”

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USWNT World Cup prep starts: Rapinoe, Morgan, Smith speak