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Aubrey Bledsoe, Alana Cook, Imani Dorsey join USWNT for friendlies

New USWNT coach Vlatko Andonovski addresses the pressure of coaching the two-time reigning World Cup winners.

New coach Vlatko Andonovski wasted little time expanding the player pool in naming his first U.S. women's national team roster.

With FIFA Player of the Year Megan Rapinoe and World Cup Silver Ball winner Alex Morgan unavailable for selection due to injury and pregnancy, respectively, Andonovski selected 24 players for games against Sweden on Nov. 7 in Columbus, Ohio, and Costa Rica on Nov. 10 in Jacksonville, Florida.

The roster for the team's final games this year includes three first-time call-ups: goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and defenders Alana Cook and Imani Dorsey.

Formerly the coach of Reign FC in the National Women's Soccer League, Andonovski is familiar with Bledsoe and Dorsey, who can play multiple positions, from their play with the Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC, respectively. Cook's inclusion indicates a willingness to look beyond the league in which he coached seven seasons. A Stanford product, Cook now plays for Paris Saint-Germain in France.

In addition to Rapinoe, who played for Andonovski the past two seasons with Reign FC, and Morgan, World Cup winners Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Ali Krieger and Kelley O'Hara are unavailable due to injury. U.S. Soccer indicated the five injured players will attend the early portion of camp before leaving to continue their rehabilitation.

In all, 17 members of the World Cup-winning team will participate in on-field activities in Andonovski's first camp. Margaret Purce, Casey Short, Andi Sullivan and Lynn Williams, who were not on the World Cup team but were called into camps under former coach Jill Ellis, were also named to the roster.

"Mostly, this is a great opportunity for me to get to know the players, get to know the system and start building relationships," Andonovski said. "If there is one goal that I want to accomplish in this first camp is to change the focus from the World Cup and the Victory Tour. It was a tremendous summer for this team, but now the approach is different. We have new goals, and the most important thing is to shift the mentality and start moving forward because Olympic qualifying is just around the corner."

Olympic qualifying is expected to begin in late January.

Andonovski will be the first U.S. coach since Pia Sundhage in 2008 to debut against a top-10 opponent. Sundhage's team beat a Canadian opponent ranked 10th in the world at the time, while Sweden is currently fifth in the FIFA rankings. The U.S. beat Sweden in the World Cup group stage this summer, although the Swedish team went on to finish third.

Sweden also eliminated the U.S. in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics.

Thursday's game will be Andonovski's first at any level of international competition.

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