Top 10/50/100

FourFourTwo's USWNT Top 50: No. 10 – Sam Mewis

Our countdown of the 50 best USWNT-eligible players hits the Top 10, with 2016's breakout midfielder kicking off the final group:

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Not much has gone wrong for Samantha Mewis over the last few years. In 2012 she was on the U-20 team that won the World Cup.  In 2013 she won the USL W-League championship with Pali Blues and later helped UCLA get the College Cup monkey off its back. The following March, she made her U.S. debut at the Algarve Cup. Her NWSL rookie season in 2015 was a successful one NWSL after the Flash made her the No. 4 overall pick.

This year, Mewis solidified her place on the national team, traveling to Rio as an alternate, and was an integral part of the Flash’s surprise win in the NWSL Championship. And on the day she scored the Flash’s first goal in the final, she turned 24. Not bad.

At the league level, it has taken two seasons for Mewis to develop into a player who can dictate all facets of a game. She can play as an attacking midfielder or in a deeper-lying, distribution type of role. She is also underrated in the air, which makes her a threat on any set piece near the 18-yard box. As an added bonus, she has never missed a match for the Flash except to be with the national team.

At the senior international level, Mewis has already scored 4 times from just 18 caps. Having already competed at a U-17 and two U-20 World Cups, she is a solid bet to complete the cycle come 2019.

To get a full understanding of how Mewis contributes, let’s review extra time of the Flash’s NWSL semifinal win in Portland. First, Mewis positioned herself between two opponents and found her way in to get a foot on the second ball, following a Jess McDonald throw-in. The touch kept the ball alive long enough for Lynn Williams to put the Flash in front.

A few minutes later, Mewis jumped a Thorns throw-in in her defensive half and immediately triggered a counterattack. Waiting for precisely the right moment, she snuck a perfectly-weighted ball between Portland defenders to Williams, who was able to finish for what turned out to be a much-needed insurance goal.

With Jill Ellis preaching quick play and aggressive outside backs, Mewis is a perfect player to sit in the hole and dictate from the middle. Look for her to become a regular in the rotation even as the coach continues to tinker in all areas of the field.

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