Women’s World Cup
The countdown is becoming a little more real. The 2015 Women’s World Cup is less than 60 days away, making it feel more real with each passing moment. The USWNT had been struggling to get results in friendlies, and have been looking to reverse the trend before the showcase event this summer. The team played New Zealand this past weekend in St. Louis, but still have three more friendlies to get into form.
There is a positive trend for the USWNT right now. Despite a draw in the group stage of the Algarve Cup, they were still able to advance to the Final. There they defeated France 2-0 to claim the title. Its not all sunshine and rainbows though, as the team has been exploited and given up multiple goals at critical stages in the game. Now that major players have recovered from nagging injuries, Jill Ellis’ squad is beginning to play like the contender that they are.
The women’s side of football is a little different, as many players will take off their domestic seasons in order to prepare for the World Cup. For the US, Abby Wambach is taking this approach. Who knows if it will pay off, but it is certainly something to watch for as we embark upon a short journey to Canada this summer.
They did have a game recently in St. Louis against New Zealand. In fact, they broke the all-time record for attendance for a friendly. 35,817 spectators were on hand to witness second half dominance from the US in a 4-0 victory at Busch Stadium. A 4-0 margin is very encouraging, especially considering that New Zealand have also qualified for the Women’s World Cup and are considered by many to be a dark horse in the tournament. Either way, The Kiwis didn’t have a single shot on goal, a promising sign that the US defense might be improving.
With Hope Solo back on the team and playing, it seems that Jill Ellis has one position locked up for the World Cup. The front line is pretty set as well, having a multitude of attackers to choose from. In fact, she cannot get them all on the pitch. Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Sydney Leroux, the list seems to go on and on. Either way, the forward position is also pretty set for the World Cup. Ellis has been experimenting with different midfield combinations, and has been tinkering with the back line as well. The team has a mix of veterans and youth that are sure to get some playing time, including Tobin Heath, Morgan Brian, and Megan Rapinoe.
Speaking of Rapinoe, the New Zealand match represented her 100th cap for the USWNT. This is quite the accomplishment for any international player, and Rapinoe deserves a round of applause for her contribution to the team. She will be one of the critical pieces if the US is going to advance deep into the tournament this summer.
The US has three more friendlies to get everything ironed about before heading to Winnipeg for their first group game. Throughout the month of May, The US plays Ireland and Mexico in California, while having their final friendly against South Korea in Harrison, New Jersey. Mexico and South Korea will also be headed to Canada for the World Cup, but Ireland failed to qualify. Avoiding injuries and major letdowns will be a huge part of these matches.
The US have their first group match in Winnipeg on June 8th against Australia. The next match is four days later against Sweden, also in Winnipeg. The Swedes are led by former USWNT coach Pia Sundhage, who led the US to a runner-up finish in the last edition of the World Cup. After Sweden, the final group match will be against Nigeria in Vancouver. If they place in the top two of their group, they will automatically progress to the knockout stages. If they finish 3rd, they will have to wait for Groups E and F to finish play. If they are one of the four best 3rd place teams, they will progress to the knockout stage. The bottom two 3rd placed teams will be eliminated. This expanded format will be a first for the Women’s World Cup, so it will be very interesting to see how it is played out.
The draw for the Women’s World Cup brought an excitement that reassures us the main event is almost here. Despite not kicking off for another 6 months, the draw gave up plenty to talk about from now until then. FIFA put on a show in Ottawa for the Official Draw, while the 24 competing nations waited to see their fate revealed. Jerome Valcke, FIFA Secretary General, was the main host of the event and announced the nations as they were drawn into their respective groups.
With all of the seeded team placed in groups pre-draw, the interest was where the other 18 teams would land. The draw went great until Colombia was drawn into the same group as Brazil. The organizers moved Colombia to Group F and placed AFC nation South Korea in their Group E place. Other than that small blip, everything went smoothly. The draw created some interesting matchups for each of the groups.
Group A is made up of hosts Canada, China, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Canada head coach John Herdman was manager of New Zealand from 2006-2011, giving the hosts a link to one of their opponents. As Andrew mentioned on the Center Circle, this group is oozing with potential for any of the teams involved. Canada will need their home field advantage as they hope to progress to the knockout stage.
Group B has two UEFA teams with Germany and Norway, in addition to Ivory Coast and Thailand. This will be Thailand’s first World Cup appearance, while two-time champions Germany will look to complement their men’s squad by adding a second World Cup in as many years. Norway will also be a threat, considering they are one of the four nations (USA, Germany, Japan) to win a World Cup.
Group C has reigning champions Japan, along with Switzerland, Cameroon, and Ecuador. The latter three are making their tournament debut. It seems Japan will have an easy path to the knockout stages, but the games have yet to be played. History is certain to be made, considering at least one of the debut nations will progress to the knockout rounds.
Group D has been dubbed this Cup’s version of the Group of Death. World power and two-time champions USA headline the group. Australia is always a fierce opponent, and Nigeria boast their resume as the reigning African champs. Sweden have former USA coach Pia Sundhage and three top 3 finishes at the World Cup to hang their hat on. Every team in this group had better strap on their goal scoring boots if they are going to progress out of the Group of Death.
Group F has an interesting mix with Brazil, South Korea, Spain, and Costa Rica. Brazil has progressed to the knockout stage in each of the last four World Cups, and they have Marta, the superstar who we had the opportunity to interview for the Instep. This will be the debut for Spain and Costa Rica’s women’s team, and the second tournament for the South Koreans. Similarly to Group C, it seems there is a favorite (Brazil), and three other teams hoping to progress.
That leaves us with Group F. The only team with a top 4 finish is France, who finished 4th in 2011. England, Colombia, and Mexico have all been to the tournament before, but without the success of some of the other groups. Any of these teams can progress as top 2 in the group, but don’t pencil anyone in until all the matches are played.
As usual the top 2 teams out of each group will progress to the knockout stage. However, with the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams, four of the six third place teams in each group will also progress, while the other two will be knocked out. Now managers have the task of preparing for their group games in the quest for the Cup. The first match will feature Canada vs China on June 6th, 2015 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Shorts and sweatshirt weather is upon us, which means that it’s perfect time to grab a pair of Nike Women’s Tempo Shorts. With a variety of colors and breathable material, there is absolutely no match for this short. It is actually one of Nike‘s top selling products, so you know you can’t go wrong! I have literally seen girls wearing them everywhere! It’s a must have for the spring.
With so many colors to choose from, there is a pair to fit every personality. From bright blues, to your basic black and white, Nike has it covered. The length is perfect for the field or just hanging out with friends and it’s an overall great fit for any body type.
Comfort is the ideal word to describe the Tiempo Women’s short! Each pair of the Tiempo shorts is made with a really lightweight material with mesh venting on the side. To add to the comfort, the shorts have an inside lining as well as a drawstring to make sure you are always comfortable no matter where you are or what you are doing. The dri-fit technology
I cannot say enough good things about this short. Ask any female athlete and she will tell you how comfortable this short is! It’s a must have for anyone who plain and simple wants to be comfortable and in style!
Trini, futbol fashionista, soccerprose.com
Soccerprose.com understands that the Women’s Professional Soccer League is to suspend operations for the 2012 season. A legal battle with owner Dan Borislow is being blamed and in an email to players the league said it “has diverted resources from investment in the league” & forced WPS to suspend season due to a lack of funds.
Dan Borislow, who is the owner of WPS team magicJack, had filed a lawsuit in a Florida court seeking to prevent, in the suit’s words, “the League’s threatened immediate termination of the Team as a League member” after their abysmal showing last year. The suit was made public a by the league and claimed Borislow was “asking a Florida court to bar the League from exercising its right to terminate his franchise at the end of the season for breach of his contractual obligations.” Obviously, its completely untenable for any league to operate without the ability to control what teams can play in it, and compel owners to follow those rules.
The battle between the league and Borislow has been well publicized with the owner feuding with the league over everything from game day scheduling to pitch side billboard, which Borislow complained were a rip off. After being fined draft picks, naming rights, and everything else under the disciplinary sun the WPS finally had enough and voted to terminate his franchise, and his ownership. At the time the suit was filed, Mark Washo, managing partner of sports agency Playbook Management International, said he hoped the dispute could be resolved and quickly.
“There [is] enough general interest in Women’s Soccer for WPS to capitalize on, to slowly build and grow a sustainable professional league,” Washo wrote in an email. “However, the ‘battle’ must be fought externally to win over fans, media, ticket buyers and sponsors. Therefore, the more time and energy WPS spends with internal issues, only detracts from the external efforts needed to continue to capitalize on the momentum of Women’s World Cup. I hope all sides can come together to work through the challenges, so the owners can be united in building the league these gifted athletes deserve to play in.”
Unfortunately, it seems the potential legal cost of fighting Borislow’s suit has sunk the whole league. We always knew the WPS had a small budget, and has been struggling, but the true story here may not be the lawsuit itself bringing down the league, but its own lack of success. A successful league, even one in its infancy, should easily be able to fend off a lawsuit from a disgruntled owner, and its unbelievable that the WPS cannot come up with the money to fight back. It may be that overspending on marketing, under-performing sponsorship contracts, and a lack of TV ad dollars have finally taken their toll, and while Borislow undoubtedly bears some of the blame here, it seems he’s only hammered the final nail into the coffin.
There may be someway back from the brink for the league, and it remains to be seen how all this plays out, but it seems one way or another Dan Borislow will no longer be welcome as part of it.
Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
- Credit for quotes: http://espn.go.com/espnw/news-opinion/6830670/women-professional-soccer-league-turmoil
C.J. Sapong play for MLS outfit, Sporting KC, and loves Hope Solo of the US women’s national team so much he went to see her in person, and rap her this love poem.
Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
What do Wolfgang Amadeus, 50 Cent, and Abby Wambach all have in common? No they don’t all own a USWMT jersey, they’ve all inspired rap songs and Youtube sing-a-longs. Seems some lovely ladies from Carolina love Abby Wambach of the USWNT so much they wrote a rap/song about her, and her mad skills.
Truly a treasure for all the ages….
Credit to Kendra for finding the gem
Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com
After twists and turns befitting a Broadway drama the curtain finally fell on the United States’ hopes of lifting the Women’s World Cup. But, it was the steely antagonists Japan who had the final triumph on this day, defeating the U.S.A. 3-1 on penalties in a heartbreaking storyline that was also appropriate to this year’s tournament.
It was clear that Pia Sundhage had instructed her women to go right after Japan and the U.S.A. started brightly with Cheney getting shots in the 1st and 8th minutes. Indeed, within the first 20 minutes Japan were finding it hard to get into any rhythm as Carli Lloyd kept trying her luck from distance and the U.S.A. had already racked up seven shots. Hardly any of them were on goal however and squandering chances quickly became the theme of the first half from the Americans’ point of view. The best chance of the half came when the immense Wambach blasted against the crossbar with her left foot from 20 yards out. Scores were level at the break but Japan were slowly working themselves into confident passing and possession play.
After the interval Alex Morgan replaced Cheney who had picked up an ankle injury and the substitute made an immediate impact, going close but hitting the woodwork again from close — it seemed the Americans were doing everything they could to score but failing to capitalize again. Japan were asserting themselves now and showing the world why they earned the ‘giant-killer’ nickname as they whipped in a corner on 56 minutes that zipped dangerously past Hope Solo’s goalmouth without anyone there to apply the final touch.
The game was end to end with both teams pressing and possession at 50% each when the breakthrough came for the Americans. The very impressive Rapinoe got hold of the ball deep in her defensive end after a Japanese attack and picked out Alex Morgan, the lone counter-attacking player with a 60 yard ball. Morgan, only 22 years old, got around her defender skillfully and showed real class by running onto the pass and finishing with aplomb in the bottom right corner past the diving Kaihori.
The lead only lasted 12 minutes as Japan equalized on the 81st minute and made the Americans rue all those missed chances in the first half. Miyama hit home after the two American centerbacks made a hash of clearing out of their 6 yard box. Japan were fully deserving of their equalizer and had earned the extra time.
In extra time, the U.S.A. continued to exploit their size and try the long ball strategy when on the 104th minute, the talisman Wambach scored surely what would be the winner. Morgan beat her defenders in the box near the byline and crossed superbly to the flat-footed Wambach who only needed steer the ball with her head into the back of the net.
Surely this is what World Cup glory tastes like? Surely this was the time for Wambach’s generation to stop being jealous of the Hamm generation and lift the cup for themselves? Japan had other ideas.
The never-say-die Americans conceded once again to the never-say-die Japanese and we were all level at 2-2 with penalties an inevitability. Morgan was brought down just outside the 18 by Iwashimizu but her dismissal by the referee could have but little impact because it came so late.
Before the penalty phase the Americans must have felt confident with Hope Solo having such a formidable presence in goal, but putting the ball in the net turned out to be their undoing. Shannon Boxx, Lloyd, and substitute Tobin Heath all missed their penalties and Japan would never look back. Wambach netted her chance, but once again, misses cost the United States.
Full credit to Japan, a team rocked by personal loss and adversity given the earthquake and tsunami disaster was able to surmount 1-goal deficits twice on the world’s biggest stage against the world’s best team.
Written by: Tom Yonker, WWC correspondent, soccerprose.com
The USWNT plays for the Women’s World Cup tomorrow versus Japan and just in time for the big game, our friend Sergio at soccerpro.com has clued us in on a sweet discount on these USWNT jackets. Nike make a beautiful jacket, and these N98 are one of the most stylish they’ve put out this season. They’re designed with us ladies in mind, so they’re snug in the right places and loose where you want them to be. Now I may not be a supermodel, but no matter what size you are this slimming black jacket will look good on you.
The crest and Nike swoosh spread the eye across the top of the jack along with red line going up both sleeves and across the back to give you a clean, classic look. The jacket also has pockets, which is great if you’re planning on going running this fall, but can’t find a pair of shorts with pockets in them. Overall, its functional, simple, and looks great on me, so I really recommend it if you want to support the USWNT, but don’t like the jerseys. And at 10% off, who can argue?
Written by: Christie, futbol fashionista, soccerprose.com
It’s a little upsetting that girls are so quick to pass up a well made women’s cleat simply because it’s in the women’s section of the store. I will say that a lot of women’s cleats are worth passing up because it also seems there just isn’t proper time spent constructing the boots, not to mention the weird colors they believe all girls want to wear. The Women’s CTR360 Maestri FG is one of those rare women’s shoe finds that I think every girl should stop and take a look at. I give Nike a lot of credit; it’s a shoe tailored to a woman’s foot and is a high quality shoe built to maximize ball control.
This boot strays away from the classic shoes such as the Tiempo, but this is not an over the top cleat that blinds you when you look at it. Nike has integrated their innovative features to double as design aspects of the shoe also. I actually like the teal accents throughout the shoe. It’s a neutral color that doesn’t scream “I’m a girl, so I have to have a pastel color on my shoe.” In all honestly, if I were just walking past the shoe aisle I would have never pegged this as a women’s soccer shoe. This is finally a cleat that allows you to be an individual on the field in a women’s cleat without having to go with the typical color choices.
The Maestri is a cleat that was designed to specifically help a player’s first touch and ball control. They have added a handful of innovative features to help improve the players game. First off, Nike has made a revolutionary Kanga-lite synthetic leather. This provides the player with extra comfort, a better fit to help increase performance, and is great in all conditions. Whether you’re trying to keep your foot cool on hot turf or from weighing you down during a rainy game, these cleats will always help you perform at your best ability. On the front of the foot Nike has added dampening pads that are there to help you with the first touch of the ball. I really noticed that I had a little more touch compared to my normal touch. Most importantly, my touch was more consistent. On the inner arch of the foot, there is a receiving pad that helps receive the ball and also helps you give a better pass by giving you a better grip on the ball. Lastly the gradually off-centered lacing is engineered to create a bigger surface area on the foot to control and play the ball.
I really liked this cleat, and as I mentioned earlier, I think it’s one of the first cleats that was given the attention and quality other women’s cleats aren’t. I was worried the ball control features were going to be a little bit of a gimmick, but I was wrong. The different surfaces on various parts of the shoe only helped not only my ball control a little but also made my touch more consistent as I was playing around in them. They were also super comfortable and not too heavy. I didn’t have to search for my size. What I normally wear in shoes is what I fit in, so it was nice not having to try on a bunch of different sizes to find the right one. I would recommend this cleat to any girl soccer player who is looking for a quality shoe built for our foot.
A quality soccer shoe like this that is awesome will be in the upper price range of about $180.00. This may be high priced for a women’s cleat, but the quality and wear you will get out of this cleat will not let you down. If you really want to take your game to the next level, you will love the extra ball control you’ll get out of this cleat. Don’t pass up this awesome cleat because of its label; you’ll be missing out!
Written by: Kendra, girls soccer guru, SoccerProse.com
p.s. GIRLS RULE!