Top 60 USWNT Goalkeepers - April 2019

cover photo from the NWSL

The 2019 World Cup kicks off June 7th, with the United States waiting to play their first game on the 11th against Thailand. Teams must submit a preliminary roster by April 26th, featuring no more than 50 players. Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, and Adrianna Franch are the frontrunners for the three final roster spots while dark horse candidate Jane Campbell could see her name on the preliminary roster spot.

# - listed as trailist on NWSL preseason roster
^ - recently finished collegiate eligibility

1. Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) - 31
2. Aubrey Bledsoe (Washington Spirit) - 27
3. Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) - 33
4. Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns) - 28
5. Haley Kopmeyer (Orlando Pride) - 28
6. Katie Fraine (Vaxjo / Sweden.1) - 31
7. Britt Eckerstrom (Portland Thorns) - 25
8. Michelle Betos (Seattle Reign) - 31
9. Lindsey Harris (Klepp / Norway.1) - 25
10. Nicole Barnhart (Utah Royals) - 37

One to Watch: Audrey Bledsoe. 2018 was a busy year for Bledsoe. Despite the poor team performance, Bledsoe was named the 2018 Washington Spirit team MVP, set the NWSL record for most saves in a year, and is fresh off of winning Australia’s W-League with Sydney FC. The key to Bledsoe’s success can be found in her footwork, maintaining impeccable balance and never going to ground too early. Routinely she finds a way to displace a shot that would slip most goalkeepers almost solely because of her ability to move herself from post-to-post. For a national team that has struggled with stability in the back, Bledsoe would be a great addition as her consistency is tops in the league, rarely conceding a poor goal despite being on a 2 win team in 2018.

11. Bryane Heaberlin (FFC Frankfurt / Germany.1) - 25
12. Emily Dolan (Real Betis / Spain.1) - 24
13. Christina Dineson (Assi / Sweden.2) - 26
14. Abby Smith (Utah Royals) - 25
15. Kelsey Wys (Washington Spirit#) - 28
16. Tori Ornela (IA / Iceland.1) - 27
17. Audrey Baldwin (Free Agent) - 27
18. Megan Dorsey (Sparta Praha / Czech Republic.1) - 27
19. Jane Campbell (Houston Dash) - 24
20. Emily Armstrong (IBV / Iceland.1) - 25

One to Watch: Jane Campbell. At one time Campbell was the apparent heir to the USWNT starting spot but after a polarizing season and a half in the league, fans are starting to notice the one-step-forward-one-step-backwards trend. Unfortunately, 2019 hasn’t started off any different from last year. After a near positive opener against the Seattle Reign, her sloppy footwork forces a turnover and penalty in the dying minutes of a tied match. She makes a wonderful penalty save to put herself back on even ground. She’s still fairly young (turning 24 this past February) and has a world of talent up her sleeve, but if she can’t stop routinely shooting herself in the foot, the national team may look elsewhere for the number one position.

21. Sammy Jo Prudhomme (Washington Spirit#) - 25
22. Adelaide Gay (North Carolina FC#) - 29
23. Lauren Watson (Assi / Sweden.2) - 25
24. Jennifer Pelley (Djurgården / Sweden.2) - 25
25. Lucy Gillett (Crystal Palace / England.2) - 25
26. Katelyn Rowland (North Carolina FC) - 25
27. Jillian McVicker (IK Myran / Finland.1) - 25
28. Caitlyn Clem (UMF Selfoss / Iceland.2) - 24
29. Alex Godinez (Pachuca / Mexico.1) - 25
30. Brett Maron (Kristianstad / Sweden.1) - 32

One to Watch: Jillian McVicker. The Ohio State Buckeye has a large task in front of her: keep Myran in the topflight. After an 18-2-2 run to earn promotion from the second division, Myran brought in McVicker to bolster the squad a little more. McVicker has some Champions League experience under her belt, playing for Romania’s Olimpia Cluj back in 2017. If McVicker is able to keep Myran afloat, she may find herself moving up to a higher profile club. If not, Myran fans might only remember the first division as a passing moment.

31. Mallory Lieberman (AS Saint-Étienne / France.1) - 23
32. Lauren Clem (Uppsala / Sweden.2) - 23
33. Cassie Miller (PSV Eindhoven / Netherlands.1) - 24
34. Casey Murphy (Montpellier / France.1) - 23
35. Emily Boyd (Chicago Red Stars) - 22
36. Danielle Rice (Örebro / Sweden.1) - 23
37. Morgan Bertsch (SC Braga / Portugal.1) - 23
38. Courtney Brosnan (Le Havre / France.2) - 23
39. Alison Jahansouz (Chicago Red Stars#) - 23
40. Bella Bixby (Portland Thorns) - 23

One to Watch: Emily Boyd. Alyssa Naeher is likely to miss four or five games with Chicago due to the World Cup starting in early June, which will leave the Red Stars turning to 22 year old Emily Boyd in the mean time. Admittedly, Boyd isn’t exceptionally quick but where she lacks in agility she more than makes up for in strength and bravery. Boyd won’t takes Naeher’s starting spot for a couple more years, but these handful of games are crucial for her development and hopefully preparing for the changing of the guards in 2022, unless she impresses the front office to make the switch sooner.

41. Rachel Egyed (Hapoel Ra’Anana AFC / Israel.1) - 23
42. Megan Hinz (Chicago Red Stars#) - 23
43. Anna Buhigas (Tavagnacco / Italy.1) - 24
44. Hannah Seabert (Fortuna Hjorring / Denmark.1) - 24
45. Ella Dederick (Washington State) - 22
46. Jalen Tompkins (University of Colorado) - 22
47. Courtney Hofer (Empoli / Italy.1) - 23
48. Kate Mason (Telge United FF / Sweden.3) - 23
49. Lainey Burdett (Orlando Pride) - 22
50. Caroline Brockmeier (LSU^) - 22

One to Watch: Ella Dederick. After seeing her senior season cut short due to an ACL tear in September, Dederick has been granted a medical redshirt and will be back with the Cougars this fall. Needless to say, questions will surround Dederick’s power and agility but few are doubting her desire to finish her collegiate career on a strong note. The 2020 goalkeeper draft class will be a crowded one, even more so with Dederick joining in, but if there’s one goalkeeper up for the challenge it’s Dederick.

51. Phallon Tullis-Joyce (Stade de Reims / France.1) - 22
52. Kelsey Daugherty (North Carolina FC#) - 22
53. Cosette Morche (Houston Dash#) - 21
54. Kaelyn Johns (Dayton^) - 22
55. Devon Kerr (Houston Dash) - 22
56. Mikayla Krzeczowski (University of South Carolina) - 21
57. Samantha Leshnak (North Carolina FC#) - 22
58. Shae Yanez (Washington Spirit) - 21
59. Brooke Heinsohn (Duke) - 21
60. Kaylie Collins (USC) - 20

One to Watch: Mikayla Krzeczowski. Ask any coach and they’ll say Krzeczowski’s a little undersized for the next level. Displaying a stunning ability to react and read oncoming plays, her senior year will be held under a microscope to see how well she can cover the top third of the net. The 5’6” goalkeeper hasn’t shown much reluctance to challenge opposition in the air so far, but nevertheless the stigma of short goalkeepers is one that filters a number out of the league. If she can display a true commanding presence of the box and ability to cover the bar, she should hear her name called in the 2020 draft.

USL Expansion Is Saving the American Goalkeeper

cover photo from Soccer Today

For the past few years there’s been a growing concern about the development of the American player. With MLS putting heavy resources into bringing foreign players into the league, the future for domestic talent was left unclear. Questions surfaced about MLS’ ability to simultaneously rise the overall talent level of the league and aide the development for Americans at the same time.

Heading into 2018, MLS goalkeepers’ salaries had stagnated in their growth. While it was a problem for the league’s position regardless of nationality, it was a pretty clear sign that American goalkeepers weren’t seeing as much of an investment from the league as other positions were. As teams across the league looked for their Wayne Rooney-equivalent, they also refrained from shelling out for goalkeepers. The past decade has been earmarked with the league cutting corners on not only developing young players but also getting top goalkeepers in the league, which unsurprisingly were tied to each other.

MLS has unrolled nine new teams (and lost one) since 2010. The new roster spots have been a nice addition for American players who couldn’t catch on elsewhere in MLS, but the lower leagues have shown more substantial gains in real estate. In the same time span that MLS grew by eight teams, lower tiers (a combination of USL, NASL, and NISA) have grown by a total of 32 teams.

Expanding the American Goalkeeper Landscape

How many American goalkeepers earned 10 league appearances by year and age. The top chart is by percentage, while the bottom chart is raw numbers. 2019 are projections.

How many American goalkeepers earned 10 league appearances by year and age. The top chart is by percentage, while the bottom chart is raw numbers. 2019 are projections.

To best show how the landscape has changed for American goalkeepers, I tracked every goalkeeper who made 10 league appearances since 2010 by year and age. It’s not a perfect method, but the goal was to see how teams invested their most valuable (league competition) and regular playing time when it came to their goalkeepers. While late round USOC and CCL games are treated important, most teams’ lineups vary from B+ to C- squads in the early rounds so league play was the most consistent standard when gauging teams’ investments.

Looking at the two charts, the yellow-to-white-to-blue scale shows the slices of each group by year. The 34 and older age group has dwindled significantly since 2010, while the 22-25 has doubled. “Non-US” accounts all players who can’t play for the USMNT, with the age of the goalkeeper being irrelevant for this category. Similarly, the second chart (green-white-blue) gives the raw numbers for each section.

Again, it’s important to note that these numbers are not roster spots, but a gauge of playing time MLS, USL and NASL teams devoted to the goalkeeping position. It’s one thing to make the game day roster, it’s quite another to play a third of the team’s games. Looking at the numbers, there are three major trends that immediately stand out.

1. Playing time for foreign goalkeepers has stayed fairly consistent - It’s hard to say what a good share of foreigners is in any country’s pyramid should be. When considering American development within the professional game, it’s good to remember that it’s not about removing foreigners but simply getting the correct talent in place. If a MLS, USL, and NISA team can find a better player - in any position - at an appropriate price, raising the level of competition serves teammates and opposition well, regardless of nationality.

A notable example of seeing the influence of a high profile athlete transcending nationalities can be found in Peter Schmeichel’s recounting of Gordon Banks’ save against Pele in the 1970 World Cup. The Brit’s performance (a decade before the Danish goalkeeper started as a professional) inspired Schmeichel to play at a higher level, even later recreating his own take on the save. This sort of standard is why goalkeepers like Pat Onstad, Jaime Penedo, and Jorge Campos are important to the American landscape. It’s a tangible goal players (current and young) to aspire towards.

The average age of a professional American goalkeeper has dropped from 29 (2010) to 25.77 (2015) and currently sits at 25.83 (2019).

The average age of a professional American goalkeeper has dropped from 29 (2010) to 25.77 (2015) and currently sits at 25.83 (2019).

2. Professional American goalkeepers are getting younger - The big reason why the average age has dipped is because USL teams - not MLS - are taking more chances on the recent college graduates. MLS is notorious for struggling to play youngsters, only recently empowering their U23 players. Yet the USL has been increasingly kind to young players and are the main reason for why 35.6% of the counted goalkeepers land in the 22-25 age range.

The trend is now bleeding into the 18-21 age bracket, with five college-aged Americans earning ten league starts in 2018. Ten goalkeepers are currently on track to double last year’s numbers. It’s hard to see where the ceiling is for U20 goalkeepers getting time but for now American goalkeepers are getting younger by the minute.

3. Late teenagers are opting out of college - Los Angeles Galaxy’s USL side paved the way for USL teams knowing how to place responsibility on a young goalkeeper’s shoulders. Originally leaning on early-to-mid 20 year olds like Brian Rowe, Brian Perk and Celement Diop, Galaxy reset their course and immediately invested in Eric Lopez, giving the 17-year-old a dozen starts in 2017, the most for any goalkeeper on the roster. They doubled down on their commitment to young goalkeepers by bringing in Justin vom Steeg and Abraham Romero.

Since then, Abraham Rodriguez (16, Colorado Springs), Aaron Cervantes (17, Orange County), David Ochoa (17, Real Monarchs), Luca Mancuso (17, Orlando B), and Max Trejo (17, Swope Park Rangers) have all earned a start in USL action just one month into the season. Perhaps most notably, two of these five goalkeepers aren’t MLS affiliates, meaning teams that aren’t a direct feeder into an MLS side are starting to invest in young players as well. It’s an unheard time in American goalkeeping and one that will start to undo the fractured goalkeeping environment that’s plagued player development for the past two decades.

Where do we go from here?

It’s been a painfully slow progress to get to this point but the last few years have seen doors open in ways that didn’t exist before. Ultimately if MLS teams want to continue to flip future Zack Steffens for $8-to-10 million dollars, they need to continue to flesh out player development for 18-23 year olds. If the NCAA continues to show no interest in adapting to the modern game and best serve the student-athlete, the responsibility falls on the USL to help bridge the gap for aspiring players to reach their potential. A few years ago, signing with a USL side for $8,000 only to sit the bench was less than a desirable option, but with promising roads being paved to MLS and perhaps beyond, don’t be surprised to see even more young players jump straight to the pro game as soon as possible.

Top 10 NCAA Men's Goalkeepers (since 1970)

After months of teasing a list, Stan Anderson and Bill Reno reveal their picks for their top ten goalkeepers in NCAA’s men’s D-1 play since 1970. To hear the rationale behind the picks, head over to the latest podcast (click here).

Stan’s List

1. Tony Meola (Virginia, 1987-89)
1989 National Champion
1989 Hermann Trophy Winner
1989 1st Team All-American
1988 1st Team All-American
1987 U20 World Cup

2. Kasey Keller (Portland, 1988-91)
1991 ISAA Goalkeeper of the Year
1991 2nd Team All-American
1990 1st Team All-American
1989 U20 World Cup
1988 National Semifinalist
1988 3rd Team All-American
1987 U20 World Cup

3. Dragan Radovich (St. Francis, 1975-78)
1978 1st Team All-American
1977 1st Team All-American
1976 1st Team All-American

4. Brad Friedel (UCLA, 1990-93)
1992 Olympics
1992 ISAA Goalkeeper of the Year
1992 Hermann Trophy Winner
1992 1st Team All-American
1992 3rd Seed in National Tournament
1991 1st Team All-American
1991 3rd Seed in National Tournament
1990 National Champion

5. Adin Brown (William and Mary, 1996-99)
2000 Olympic Qualifying
1999 1st Team All-American
1998 1st Team All-American
1997 2nd Team All-American
1996 4th Seed in National Tournament

6. Jon Busch (Charlotte, 1994-96)
1996 National Semifinalist
1996 1st Team All-American
1994 4th Seed in National Tournament
1993 U17 World Cup

7. Andre Blake (Connecticut, 2011-2013)
2013 1st Team All-American
2012 1st Team All-American
2012 4th Seed in National Tournament
2011 3rd Team All-American
2011 3rd Seed in National Tournament

8. Peter Mannos (NIU, 1972-75)
1975 1st Team All-American
1974 1st Team All-American

9. Jeff Duback (Yale, 1982-86)
1986 ISAA Goalkeeper of the Year
1986 1st Team All-American
1984 1st Team All-American
1983 U20 World Cup

10. Skip Gilbert (Vermont, 1980-1983)
1982 1st Team All-American
1981 1st Team All-American

Bill’s List

1. Brad Friedel (UCLA, 1990-93)

2. Kasey Keller (Portland, 1988-91)

3. Tony Meola (Virginia, 1987-89)

4. Jeff Causey (Virginia, 1990-93)
1993 National Champion
1993 3rd Team All-American
1992 National Champion
1991 National Champion

5. Adin Brown (William and Mary, 1996-99)

6. Juergen Sommer (Indiana, 1987-90)
1990 ISAA Goalkeeper of the Year
1989 National Semifinalist
1988 National Champion

7. Pat Wall (Notre Dame 2010-14)
2014 1st Seed in National Tournament
2013 National Champion
2012 National Runner-Up

8. TJ Hannig (Indiana, 1997-2000)
2000 National Semifinalist
1999 National Champion
1998 National Champion
1997 National Semifinalist

9. Peter Arnautoff (San Francisco, 1975-78)
1980 Olympic Qualifying
1978 World University Games
1978 National Champion
1976 National Champion
1975 National Champion

10. Will Hesmer (Wake Forest, 2000-03)
2003 1st Team All-American
2003 3rd Seed in National Tournament
2002 2nd Team All-American
2002 1st Seed in National Tournament

Top 10 U23 Goalkeepers for the USMNT and USWNT

cover photo from ISIPhotos


1. JT Marcinkowski, 21 - San Jose Earthquakes
2. Jonathan Klinsmann, 22 - Hertha BSC
3. Justin vom Steeg, 21 - Los Angeles Galaxy
4. Carlos dos Santos, 18 - Benfica
5. Parker Siegfried, 22 - Ohio State
6. Jacob Harris, 21 - Colgate
7. Jimmy Slayton, 21 - Hartford
8. Ben Hale, 21 - Furman
9. Eric Lopez, 20 - Los Angeles Galaxy
10. Andrew Thomas, 20 - Stanford

Marcinkowski and Klinsmann were recently called into the U23 camp. It’s a positive sign there’s a fairly unanimous agreement on the top goalkeepers for a cycle, which hasn’t always been the case. Marcinkowski and Klinsmann split time in the recent 2-0 loss to Egypt and will take on the Netherlands later this weekend. I was critical of Klinsmann’s performances two years ago when he started over Marcinkowski with the U20s but since then he’s earned some strong praise from his goalkeeping coach at Hertha Berlin over his development.

Vom Steeg has emerged as the starter for LAG2, a team known for maintaining a large emphasis on development, so don’t be surprised if California native has a high GAA at the end of the year. He’s played well in his first two matches, even if the defense isn’t quite up to top professional standards yet. Dos Santos is currently with the U20s, where he appears to be a front runner for making the U20 World Cup roster.

While goalkeepers like Klinsmann and Lopez are certainly of a large, physical stature that traditional goalkeepers match, it’s interesting to see a number of undersized and lean goalkeepers are in the pool. Marcinkowski and Siegfried seem a little overbilled at 6’1” and 6’2”, respectively. Vom Steeg and dos Santos are both under 200 pounds, surely modeling parts of their game after David de Gea. Past USYNTs have more often relied on physically dominating goalkeepers but it seems U23 head coach Jason Kreis is putting a high priority on keeping the ball out of the net. Not unrelated, Jon Busch has been working with the U23s this camp.

Marcinkowski, Klinsmann, and the rest of the pool are vying for a roster spot for the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying, which starts this fall.


1. Jalen Tompkins, 22 - Colorado
2. Cosette Morche, 21 - Houston Dash
3. Mikayla Krzeczowski, 21 - South Carolina
4. Brooke Heinsohn, 21 - Duke
5. Kaylie Collins, 20 - USC
6. Emily Alvarado, 20 - TCU
7. Jaelyn Cunningham, 21 - Illinois
8. Mandy McGlynn, 20 - Virginia Tech
9. Hillary Beall, 20 - Michigan
10. Laurel Ivory, 19 - Virginia

The U23 goalkeeping pool on the women’s side is one more for interest and less of consequence. While Marcinkowski and Klinsmann are gearing up for Olympic qualifying (a strictly U23 event), the recent U23 WNT camp has nothing more than a handful of exhibition games currently scheduled. Last year’s U23s went to Norway for a brief U23 tournament, but plans to return have not been announced yet.

The current U23 camp features Laurel Ivory and Mandy McGlynn, the starter and backup from the 2018 U20 World Cup team that did not advance out of their group. Ivory is a goalkeeper who can either showcase top abilities that would easily translate to the professional game or simple errors like we witnessed in the tournament ending match versus Spain. McGlynn heads into her senior year at Virginia Tech as one of the most athletic goalkeepers in her age group.

Morche, Heinsohn, and Beall rely on their frame (all are around the 6’0” mark) and patient positioning while Tompkins, Krzeczowski, Collins, and Alvarado make up in the lack of height with quick reflexes and mobility to get themselves behind the ball. Similar to the men’s pool, there’s a wide variety when looking down the list.

(Cosette Morche is on trial with the Houston Dash and not under contract at this time. Emily Alvarado is currently in the Mexican youth national team setup but a one-time switch could theoretically see her in goal for the US, even though the move is unlikely.)