Rebekah Stott set for emotional New Zealand comeback after cancer fight

Former Brighton & Hove Albion player Stott said in March 2021 she would need to go through four months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with the condition.

FILE PHOTO: The 28-year-old was included in head coach Jitka Klimkova's 23-player squad for the four-team SheBelieves Cup which will be played from February 17-23 in the United States.   -  GETTY IMAGES

New Zealand defender Rebekah Stott will return to the squad less than a year after battling stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer, the team announced on Tuesday.

Former Brighton & Hove Albion player Stott said in March 2021 she would need to go through four months of chemotherapy after being diagnosed with the condition.

The 28-year-old was included in head coach Jitka Klimkova's 23-player squad for the four-team SheBelieves Cup which will be played from February 17-23 in the United States.

"Stotty's situation is very unique – very few players have gone through what she has and returned to international football," coach Klimkova said in a statement.

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Stott, who has earned 81 caps for the 'Football Ferns', returned to play for W-League club Melbourne City this season following her treatment.

"She is a fighter. We all hoped and believed that she would come back, and watching her performances each week for Melbourne City has shown what a role model she is," Klimkova added.

Injured Dahlkemper out of U.S. team for SheBelieves Cup

The U.S. women's national team will be without defender Abby Dahlkemper at this month's SheBelieves Cup due to an injury, the team said, adding that teenage forward Trinity Rodman will join the squad as a replacement.

The reigning world champions said Dahlkemper, who has 77 caps, has been ruled out due to a back injury.

Rodman was originally supposed to train with the team before the tournament, but now will be on the final roster.

Veteran forwards Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath were all omitted from coach Vlatko Andonovski's 23-player squad in a bid to offer opportunities to younger players.

The USWNT, who top FIFA's rankings, face the Czech Republic on February 17 and New Zealand on February 20, both in Carson, California, before a Feb. 23 meeting with Iceland in Frisco, Texas.

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The winner of the four-team international tournament, which the USWNT have won the last two years, will be determined by total points.

The tournament will serve as valuable preparation ahead of July's eight-team CONCACAF W Championship that will produce four direct qualifiers for the 2023 women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand as well as one automatic qualifier to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Aubrey Kingsbury, Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher

Defenders: Alana Cook, Tierna Davidson, Emily Fox, Sofia Huerta, Kelley O'Hara, Emily Sonnett, Becky Sauerbrunn

Midfielders: Morgan Gautrat, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Catarina Macario, Kristie Mewis, Ashley Sanchez, Andi Sullivan

Forwards: Ashley Hatch, Mallory Pugh, Margaret Purce, Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Lynn Williams

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