Jaedyn Shaw reaveals what it’s like to join the USWNT: ‘It’s almost like a superhero putting on their cape’


With just a short few months left to the Olympics, there’s no other player among the U.S. women’s national team pool who is stating their case to crack the roster more than Jaedyn Shaw. The 19-year-old attacker has been part of senior national team camps since September 2023, when she was first called in by former interim head coach Twila Kilgore and has rapidly become a mainstay on gameday rosters ever since.

Along the way, Shaw has made 11 appearances for the national team, and scored seven goals, with five of them recorded in her first five starts. Her smoldering start to 2024 has earned her heaps of praise and highlights across media outlets. 

“I just like I’m so grateful for all of the praise,” Shaw recently said on CBS Sports Golazo Network’s Morning Footy. “I’m just really happy to be able to contribute to this game in the way that I’ve always dreamed of doing … really happy that I’ve been able to impact the national team in the sport in this way.”

Shaw’s arrival to the senior teams comes amidst a time of change for the program. The U.S. Soccer Federation hired Emma Hayes as the next head coach in December, and her impending arrival in June meant a collaborative effort in roster building alongside Kilgore. It’s a new era, meant to get looks at new faces in training camps, and while Shaw was an early intro following the team’s disappointing 2023 FIFA World Cup elimination, she has been a staple among rosters both before and after Hayes’ long-distance appointment. 

Kilgore will now pivot from the interim role to full-time assistant on Hayes’ coaching staff. In her final media appearances as interim, she was full of praise for the teenage forward, but quick to note that Shaw is just hitting the beginning of her journey — and quipped that everyone should be patient “because there’s more,” when it comes Shaw.

The San Diego Wave FC player credited her teammates and the coaching staff with a seamless development from youth teams to club to country. 

“She [Kilgore] believes in us so much like, it’s like, Y’all don’t understand how difficult that is, being in that position, and believing in each individual player so, so, much,” said Shaw. “I felt so supported in this environment and they’ve made sure — like coaching staff, players — have made sure that I’ve gotten everything I needed to succeed, and that’s because [of] the environment they’ve made for this national team. I feel like it’s really helped us young players integrate into the team, like onboarding stuff, just making sure that we’re prepared to succeed, and not just kind of throwing us into the fire.”

That kind of holistic approach is another way of supporting players and keeping things in perspective. It’s maybe even necessary when you think about how the team keeps winning titles in 2024. A month ago they lifted the inaugural 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup, and recently claimed their seventh SheBelieves Cup title. 

“I knew I really wanted to be on this team and I knew that I was going to do whatever I could — off the field, on the field — to get to this point,” Shaw said. “I think once I just put the jersey on, it’s just like, it’s almost like a superhero putting on their cape. It’s just like a different feeling putting on that jersey and being able to play on this team. I feel like it just adds another level to your game, and being in that environment, just makes you so much better.”

In just eight months with the senior team, Shaw has already flexed her versatility in the attack. While she naturally feels like she can play anywhere her coaches want to play her, she doesn’t shy away from having a favorite role, the No. 10, where she can help facilitate offense as an attacking midfielder.

“I’ve said previously that my favorite position is the 10. I love being central, and I love being creative, and creating things out of nothing. I feel like that’s one of my main strengths. But, I mean I can play anywhere … I’m versatile. I actually don’t mind quite a bit of different positions,” Shaw said on her favorite role with the team.

Her flexibility in attacking roles offers different looks in layered formations, something that Kilgore, and by extension Hayes, have been tinkering with ahead of the Olympics. In previous cycles, Rose Lavelle has functioned as almost the definitive No. 10 for the national team. However, with recent injuries ahead of the previous World Cup, she’s navigating a lingering lower leg issue once again with the Olympics at bay. 

Shaw’s emergence quells some of those unpredictable scenarios with Lavelle. The truth is, at the international level, it should be about who can deliver performances on the biggest stages. While Shaw has yet to compete at a World Cup or Olympics, two recent title wins with the USWNT only help solidify her name toward an Olympic roster that will be finalized in the coming months. 

“I would just feel so special, being able to play on this team at the Olympics,” said Shaw on Olympic roster posibilites. “And that’s something that I’ve been talking about for a long time. So, I’m just crossing my fingers, and toes, and hoping that I can continue to impact this team and do what I need to do to get on it.”



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