Striker Trinity Rodman has been added to the United States women's team roster for this month's SheBelieves Cup, U.S. Soccer announced on Monday. Rodman will replace defender Abby Dahlkemper, who was ruled out with a back injury.
Rodman will be among the 23 players competing in the USWNT's first games of 2022 against the Czech Republic, New Zealand and Iceland in the SheBelieves Cup, which will be held Feb. 17-23 in Carson, California, and Frisco, Texas.
- SheBelieves Cup: Watch the USWNT live on ESPN/ABC (Feb. 17-23)
Rodman, 19, was initially left off the SheBelieves roster, instead joining the team as a training player during the leadup to the tournament, because manager Vlatko Andonovski said she needed to be eased into the team gradually.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Andonovski said Rodman was "very competitive" in January, when she made her debut in a USWNT camp, and "her mindset fits well" with the team, but she needed more time.
"She's doing really good in the league, but the national team is a completely different animal," Andonovski said Thursday. "We don't want to burn her out -- we want to give her a chance to slowly adjust herself to the system, to the structure and to absorb information slowly step by step instead of throwing everything at her."
Rodman generated a lot of buzz before the 2021 NWSL season because of her last name -- she is the daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman -- but she quickly impressed after becoming the youngest player ever drafted into the league. She won the NWSL Championship with the Washington Spirit in November and was named the NWSL's Rookie of the Year. She was also named U.S. Soccer's Young Female Player of the Year for 2021.
Last week, Rodman signed a contract extension with the Spirit that her agency said would make her the highest-paid player in the NWSL. The deal for $1.1 million over four years would reportedly put her salary above the likes of Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe for base NWSL pay.
Neither Morgan nor Rapinoe is on the SheBelieves Cup roster, in addition to the absences of Tobin Heath and Christen Press. Andonovski said those players had been left off to make room for the newer players needing to prove themselves.
"All these players are very good players -- we know that they've done so much for this team," Andonovski told ESPN of the veterans. "But right now I want to give a chance to players like Sophia Smith and Mal Pugh and Catarina Macario, Ashley Hatch, players that have earned their spot on the national team or earn their spot back.
"I want to give them maximum minutes or whatever minutes they earn so we can evaluate every aspect of their game, in the training environment or game setting."
However, the veterans being left off the roster in favor of younger players should not be interpreted as the vets being a lock in future squads, Andonovski added.
"It doesn't mean that all these players that have done well in the past are just going to come back here in the next camp because they've done well a year ago or two years ago," Andonovski said. "There's a reason why we're not calling Mia Hamm or Julie Foudy in camp, right? So the same goes here: they need to perform, they need to play in their markets, they need to play well in their markets, and show that they can still contribute and be valuable for the national team."