The Toughest Cut

This article is part of the USA Women's Eagles Final in '14 blog. All entries are written exclusively by members of the women's national team.

This Friday, the coaching staff of the Women’s Eagles will gather in Colorado as the program starts the last leg of the journey to the World Cup. On Saturday, the staff will be joined by 49 of the best players in America to compete for the 26 World Cup spots. For some the week of practice and games will end with the fulfillment of a dream – representing their country at the highest level possible – and for others three years of work will end with “thanks, but no thanks.”

We have designed a week that will give players an opportunity to play their way into the squad, with two “Probables vs Possibles” games during the week and three days of preparation for each game. At the end of the week we will have to make our decision.

I started coaching the Eagles in 2011 at the Nations Cup It seems a long time ago and while there are a core of players in the current squad that were there, there are also a number of new players that have been brought in. It is exciting to be able to help a player fulfill their ambition of playing for their country. Even better than that is to help provide the environment where they can grow as a player and a person. There have been a number of players who are fulfilling their potential as part of the program.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to say good-bye to 13 players who will not be selected in the top 30 who travel to the UK or are non-traveling reserves. Our goal is to always focus on performance, and the players who do not make it would have worked hard, made sacrifices and “deserve” to make the squad. Every player has been given the opportunity to get feedback on what they need to do to be considered, and the chance to hear where they are in the selection processes. A principle of our culture is to be open and explicit and we will keep to that as we go through.

Next week will define careers – both of the players and the coaches. It is a big week but one where the pressure and challenge needs to be embraced.