The NWSL preseason, starting on March 4, is less than three weeks away, and Utah Royals FC will find themselves without key international stars for the first week - Kelley O’Hara, Becky Sauerbrunn, Christen Press, Rachel Corsie, and Katie Bowen. And though it has yet to be announced, we can expect Canadian internationals Desiree Scott and Diana Matheson to join their national team for the 2019 Algarve Cup. We can also guess that Gunny Jónsdóttir will receive a call to join Iceland for the very same tournament.
“Why?” you may ask. Well, it so happens that the end of February, early start of March tends to be a popular time for tournaments, and national teams like the United States, Scotland, and Canada are usually playing during this time of year. But this year, these tournaments are crucial because it’s a World Cup year, and teams want to use the time to continue preparing for the biggest tournament of the year.
- O’Hara, Sauerbrunn, and Press will join the United States National Team for the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. The U.S will open against Japan (Feb. 27), then play England (Mar. 2) and Brazil (Mar. 5). All three players were key members of the 2015 World Cup-winning team and are expected to make the 2019 roster for France.
- Bowen has been called to represent New Zealand in the inaugural 2019 Cup of Nations Tournament, which runs February 28 to March 6. New Zealand will face Australia (Feb. 28), Argentina (Mar. 3), and Korea Republic (Mar. 6).
- Corsie, with Scotland, will head to Portugal for the 2019 Algarve Cup. Scotland will play Canada (Mar. 1) and Iceland (Mar. 4).
All players missing the start of the preseason will return to Utah at after the conclusion of their respective tournaments.