Can Jill Loyden Lead USWNT in Goal?

admin Last updated on: February 17, 2024

The U.S.A.’s ‘Union’  is a tight group unit that always has each others backs. One might ask what is this Union? It’s a term the U.S.Women’s National Team (USWNT) goalkeepers refer to themselves as. One the members of this Union, Jill Loyden, has started in goal in the past two of three matches for the U.S.A.  The vocal South Jersey native has filled in with-out error for regular starter Hope Solo as she recovers from a wrist injury.

In the first match of the Algarve Cup, Loyden shut-out a well coached Iceland squad and helped lead the USA to a 3-0 win. Watching Loyden’s aggressive play between the pipes and the way she controls the box made me think, “Can she be the starter regular in goal?” She surely has the skill set and commands the 18-yard box to be mainstay in goal. I really think she fits well into Tom Sermanni’s system and has told me she has had some great training sessions for her new coach.

Whenever Hope Solo returns to full health, she will be the starter but in the meantime Loyden is making her presence known. Also with a new coach, it’s a fresh start for many players that may have been over looked and never even given a look, like Christen Press. Loyden has had to overcome being the number three choice as former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage went with Nicole Barnhart when Hope Solo couldn’t suit up.

While Barnhart may have an edge on the technical level, what Loyden has done in goal over the past nine years is truly amazing. Before entering Villanova University in PA to play her college soccer, she told me she never had a true goalie coach work with her. The level Loyden is at now surely is heroic.  Her stats in college are mind blowing; during her senior year, she had a .891 save percentage (fourth in the United States), finished with a 0.52 goals-against average (10th in nation), and was named Big East Goalkeeper of the Year for the third straight season (a conference first) and named First-Team All-Big East.

Whatever direction coach Tom Sermanni goes, his choice is not going to be an easy one. With Loyden playing at a high level, it will only push Solo, Barnhart and uncapped Ashlyn Harris to step up their game. This is an ideal situation for any coach as competition breeds excellence!

photo courtesy of AP images

via World Sports Show

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