Monthly Archives: July 2010

W-League, WPSL, UEFA WWC Qualifying, WPS Updates

W-League

The Buffalo Flash defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks 3-1 to advance to the W-League Championship. W-League regular season goal leader Kelly Parker and USL assist leader Veronica Bouquete had big games. Jenny Hammond opened scoring in the 23′. Atlanta then equalized and scored from a free kick thanks to some confusion on the part of the Buffalo defenders. Buffalo redeemed themselves, however, as they Bouqete found Parker for a goal. The dynamic duo appeared yet again in the 81′ as Parker scored to send Buffalo through.

The Vancouver Whitecaps defeated regular season champs Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues by the same 3-1 score line. Although the Caps were without a few star players, they still managed to earn a berth in the Championship. Kaylyn Kyle opened the scoring early as she converted a free kick and put the Caps up 1-0. Then in the 13′, Kyle again put a dangerous ball in the box and Martino Franko headed it in for 2-0. Contentious play defined the second half but the Caps were unstoppable as Julie Armstrong sent a shot off the crossbar. Melanie Booth got the rebound and scored to make it 3-0. In the 85′, Quickstrike got one back from Gabriela Demoaner. But by then, it was merely a consolation prize.

 

Highlights – merci, Charles. 

 

And interviews after the match:

 

The Buffalo Flash and the Vancouver Whitecaps will meet tonight in the 2010 W-League Championship Game. It will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel.

 

WPSL

The WPSL National Semifinals kick off today. The Milwaukee Nationals face the Boston Aztec in the first semifinal. The Aztec could feature several Boston Breakers players. And in the other semifinal, the Oklahoma Alliance will meet Ajax America.

The winners of each will play in the 2010 WPSL National Championship on Sunday. Expect coverage from the event tomorrow here on All White Kit.

 

UEFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying

Northern Ireland defeated Estonia 3-0 midweek with help from Helen McKenna’s brace. Northern Ireland could now finish third in Group 1 behind France and Iceland.

 

England will now likely finish at the top of Group 5 after defeating Turkey 3-0 in Walsall. Rachel Yankey – who was playing in her 100th game for England - scored the opening goal. Ellen White and Jess Clarke then sealed the deal in the second half. They are now tied on points with Spain but still have a game left to play in Austria. A mere draw will see them through to the playoffs.

 

WPS

Boston and Washington meet today at 6pm ET. This bullish Boston team has beaten the Freedom more than any other opponent this season. If Boston win, the Breakers could finish out the month with five wins and just one loss.

The Atlanta Beat host FCGP. These two teams are the hottest in WPS (weird, right?). FCGP humiliated Atlanta 4-0 last time these two met but this is not the same Atlanta team. With a draw and a Washington and Chicago loss, Atlanta will be tied in “last place” with both teams.

Finally Sky Blue FC and the Chicago Red Stars face off in their final regular season meeting. Jenni Branam is back in goal for SBFC which should add some relief. Essentially both these teams need a win to put their regular season campaigns back on track. SBFC haven’t won in like forever (nearly a month) and CRS are riding a three game losing streak.

A Vacation From A Vacation

Sooo in light of the fact that it’s summer and I’ve hardly noticed, updates might be a little sporadic (read: less obsessive) over the next two weeks or so.

 

Perhaps it would be the appropriate time to express a sincere thank you to those that have read, commented and corrected. It wouldn’t be nearly as fun without you.

And thank you to the players for giving us something to write about. Perhaps it seems as if your efforts are in vain sometimes. They’re not.

 

The brief respite will hopefully only embolden All White Kit’s commitment to producing several daily posts that somehow pay homage to the world of women’s soccer. It’s been a privilege and an honor thus far and long may it continue. 

 

But before I go…a list.

  • Any kind of feedback would be very much appreciated. What works, what doesn’t? I’m all ears. Kindly direct any comments/questions/suggestions to me at jennaawk@gmail.com or here in the comment section. What would you like to see more of? What would you like to see less of? Aside from the spelling/grammatical/factual errors of course. Will try to work on those, but hey I only spelled ‘Colombia’ wrong once!

 

  • Getting more coverage of the women’s soccer – particularly WPS - in more places is something that’s vital to the growth of the game. That being said, look for WPS updates on usa10kit.com every Tuesday. And in addition to the great coverage that Ryan Wood provides of the Boston Breakers, World Soccer Reader will be expanding its coverage of WPS/the USWNT beginning August 2nd. Look for a few familiar names soon.

 

  • And finally, AWK is on the hunt for quality writers/correspondents who would be willing to contribute consistently on much of anything related to women’s soccer. Get involved and get read by thousands of readers each week from nearly 120 countries. If you’re interested and/or have further inquiries feel free to drop me a line. 

 

Ok. See you soon…as in tomorrow probably.

Germany and Nigeria Set For 2010 U-20 Women's World Cup Final

No vids, sorry. I’ll reserve commment on these semifinal matches until I’m able to watch them but the score line tells you everything, doesn’t it.

 

Here’s what you need to know about Germany: They’re brilliant. Might as well get the engravers out already because this country is going to win its third straight Women’s World Cup at home next summer. That’s presumptuous of course, but considering how its U-20′s hammered a very exciting South Korean team toda it’s safe to say that this team is peerless. Kim Kulig and Alexandra Popp each had two goals while Svenja Huth scored the opener. The electrifying Ji So Yun scored a consolation goal in the 64′ but by then it was well over. It’s a shame that we won’t be seeing this South Korean team for at least another two years as they sadly missed out on qualifying for next year’s World Cup.

 

And in the other semifinal, again it’s safe to assume what went down according to the score line. Fortune was smiling down upon the Nigerians as the team scored an early goal. Colombia pressed and attacked but were unable to deal with Nigeria’s physicality. Nigeria won 1-0.

All credit to the Lady Super Eagles (if that’s their official nickname) for becoming the first African team to ever qualify for the final of this tournament. The final will likely play out fairly predictably: Germany will try to threaten  with its 27 different weapons. Nigeria will try to outmuscle and physically intimidate the Germans. Alexandra Popp will inevitably score at least one goal. Nigeria will likely equalize with a brilliant shot from distance. And then Germany will go on to dismantle them, laughing and hollering the whole way.

Another Note On the Leroux/Morgan Thing

Sorry to bang on about this topic but from here it’s gonna work like this: more sad bits about WPS = more happy bits about Leroux & Morgan saving revitalizing women’s soccer.

 

Anyways, remember back in 2008 when Alex Morgan scored that beautiful goal in the U-20 WWC Final and all the Chileans/South Americans went bonkers over her from there on out? The same thing has apparently happened with Leroux and folks from the African continent, particularly Ghanians and Nigerians.

 

They’re living in parallel universes, I say.

 

WPS Restructuring Means Loss of Jobs, Move Towards Decentralization

Women’s Professional Soccer issued a public release on Monday evening stating, “League staff has been restructured…while league marketing resources have been shifted to the team level in order to focus locally on attendance and ticket sales.”

 This restructuring has brought upon the elimination of several league front office jobs. The positions cut include New Media Manager, League Office Manager/Assistant to the Commissioner, in addition to jobs in marketing. The release also points to consolidation within operations and shifting some of those duties to the team level.

Although the move was publicly announced on Monday, it can be exclusively revealed that the final day of employment with WPS for said individuals was Friday of last week. According to a source close to the situation, the decision was reached “several weeks ago”.

Per the press release and with confirmation from sources, this course of action was determined upon by the Board of Governors; a sitting committee that is composed of both team owners and league officials. Sources have also disclosed that league officials have been supportive in the employment search for those who have been laid off.

WPS spokesman Robert Penner commented, “With two months left in the 2010 season, it was important for the Board and the Commissioner to look ahead to 2011 and provide the best structure for continued growth of the teams with an emphasis on attendance increases and franchise development. That has led to the decentralization of a few functions outlined by the Board to the teams.”

Among the positions eliminated is New Media Manager, previously held by Amanda Vandervort. Vandervort was a key figure in making Women’s Professional Soccer more accessible to social media users. Under her guidance, WPS has nearly 250,000 followers on Twitter while the number of Facebook fans has grown 156% since last year, according to the league’s press release. Vandervort is a familiar face in the women’s soccer community, as she was previously a college coach and serves as Women’s Committee Chair in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

The move comes as a result of a shift in marketing strategy. It has been widely reported that ticket sales this season are down 15% from last year. Last weekend’s Washington Freedom home game against FC Gold Pride was attended by 4,809 people. The figure was likely helped by the presence of Mia Hamm who was in town for a charitable event. It was the highest gate total since 5,645 attendees were on hand for the Chicago Red Stars/Philadelphia Independence game on May 15.

Explosion in goals, indeed

Things learned from WPS midweek matches:

 

  • WPS is becoming more predictable – but not in a bad way. Pick the streaky teams and expect there to be goals. Tons and tons of goals.

 

  • Atlanta is going to clip Chicago for sixth place momentarily.

 

  • Amy Rodriguez is boss. We <3 you, A-Rod. Of all the American females that currently play soccer in the world right now, you’re by far the best.

 

  • Chicago…eh, Chicago. Just when things were starting to look promising. That’s three games without a win now, right? That bye week has really effed them up. Momentum killed.

 

  • The Washington Freedom…eh, the Washington Freedom. Perhaps I’m starting to come around to the idea of a Freedom team that does not have Jim Gabarra as its coach. But wait, I know that the moment I publish that the Freedom will go on this miraculous winless streak and everything will be jolly. Btw, have I mentioned how well Boston and Atlanta have been doing lately?

  

  • Johanna Rasmussen! How I love you, you fine Danish winger, you. You always score Atlanta’s first goals and it’s wonderful. Thank you for instilling hope in the Atlanta Beat. And look at that, you’re neither a former Athletica player or named Ramona Bachmann!

 

  • Monica Ocampo…um, hi? Welcome to WPS, girl! Where have you been hiding!?

 

  • 3,339 in Atlanta is not good enough. It’s painful, I know, but that number has to change soon. Somehow. Thank God they’re not paying me to make it change though. *sad, defeated shrug*

 

  • Lastly. Man United fans take heart: That boy Cleverley (sp.?) is quality. And Macheda? He’s coming through. And those up-and-coming prospects Giggs and Scholes? REMEMBER THE NAMES.

Wait, There's WPS Tonight?

Suh-weeet. Here are some predictions that will inevitably look very foolish by the time you likely read this.

 

First, here’s Scott Reynolds:

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Philadelphia Independence 2, Chicago Red Stars 1 - Amy Rodriguez will score. So will Ella Masar. And then a Philadelphia player not named Amy Rodriguez will score. Because seemingly everyone is capable of it. Chicago will not be able to overcome the deficit. They will then be on a three game losing streak. Few people will witness it, however.

 

Atlanta Beat 1, Washington Freedom 0. I am willing to put a fiver on this. Even though Washington has won the previous two meetings, they suck now. And Erin McLeod has ruined her knee, sadly. The Atlanta Beat will make it three in a row. Eniola Aluko Someone else will score. Washington will now be winless in nine. The Beat will then be just one point away from CRS.

 

Sorry for the interruption in normal programming. I’ll be seeing you tomorrow, however.

 

Who Is Sydney Leroux?

 

Well, who exactly is this young, athletically-gifted, eye-catching forward? Is she the future of the United States Women’s National Team? The next Mia  Hamm, perhaps? Is she the future of women’s soccer as a whole?

Or is she merely style over substance? A national traitor, even? She was born mere miles away from the hometown of would-be strike partner Christine Sinclair, after all. She could have been the face of Canadian soccer – men or women’s.  

Only a player with as much potential as Leroux is worthy enough to spark such division. So who is she?

The 20 year-old’s back story may help: At just 14, She was Canada’s youngest player in the 2004 U-19 Women’s World Cup. Then at age 16 she switched allegiances to the country of her estranged father. She had a rough year and was told she was not going to get selected for the U-16 USWNT training camp. She earned her keeps, however, and played with the U-17 USWNT in Germany in 2006. She was the recipient of the Golden Shoe in the 2008 U-20 Women’s World Cup and helped guide her adopted country to the title. She attended UCLA that Fall where she would play alongside Kara Lang and Lauren Cheney, both potential future strike partners in parallel universes. Her five goal performance at the 2010 U-20 Women’s World Cup elevated her to a different stratosphere. The botched penalty that sent her team home brought her back down to earth.

Perhaps the question should probably be framed as ‘What is Sydney Leroux?’ as in what is she capable of being.

 She can be one of the most clinical finishers in the women’s game. Although she may lack the vision for combination play, she’s absolutely deadly in 1 v. 1 situations. She may be the natural heiress to Abby Wambach’s throne. Both forwards are ultimately lone strikers; they operate best in front of goal, unperturbed by a partner. 

She can be a talking point. Whether it’s the back story or the tattoos or the ‘heart, meet sleeve’ attitude or the Hollywood good-looks, Leroux is interesting. She can stir up interest for things that have nothing to do with which foot she can score goals best with. She’s seemingly got a keen interest in the dramatic, as was exhibited in her tear-soaked reaction after skying her penalty kick.

She would be like Mia Hamm but a hundred times more intriguing. I think both players would be okay with that characterization.

Professionally, Leroux’s personality and goal-scoring prowess will inevitably benefit a WPS team, both on the field and off of it. Hopefully there will still be a league for her to be drafted into by the time she graduates college in 2012.

If marketed correctly and honestly, she could attract potential cross-over fans. Perhaps some of them will like what they see and become converted fans of women’s soccer at large. She could be a face, a personality, a presence that casual fans can latch on to. That’s not something that’s been done since the days of the ’99-ers. There is some irony in that all it will take for the USWNT to become relevant again is a Canadian.

This is all hopeful speculation, of course. Pia Sundhage would be crazy not to call her up to residency for the Gold Cup later this year. While the USWNT has been effective under the Pia Sundhage, it’s also been a little dry. Leroux could inject a bit of life into a program that will frankly be struggling for attention at next summer’s Women’s World Cup. 

And perhaps WPS could try to encourage her to forego her last year at UCLA and enter the 2011 Draft. (Would that be the WPS equivalent to tapping up?) Anything to spur more interest in the league at this point is probably wise.

It’s impossible to tell what the future holds for Sydney Leroux. It’s a safe bet that she’ll continue to be both a provocateur and a world-class performer in equal measure. And she’ll probably be just fine with that.

W-League Semifinals Set With Buffalo/Atlanta and Vancouver/Hudson Valley

Central Conference Semifinals

 Buffalo Flash 3, Toronto Lady Lynx

The Flash came out on top at Vero Boquette scored the opening two goals. W-League regular season goal leader Kelly Parker then scored the final goal in the 69′.

 

Chicago Red Eleven 0, Ottawa Fury 2

The Fury took the early lead as Michelle Evans scored off of a free kick in the 11′. Then in the final minute of the 45′ Amber Hearn scored off of an Evans corner kick.

 

Central Conference Final

Buffalo Flash 1, Ottawa Fury 0

 

Eastern Conference Semifinal

Charlotte Lady Eagles 3, Washington Freedom 2

Freedom Future Megan Lanazyk broke the deadlock as she scored in the 69′. Megan Bellingham then equalized in the 81′ after Jessica Rostedt (omg remember her!?) set her up. The game went to overtime and Fortuna Velaj struck first for Washington in the 109′. Then Bellingham again tied the game with a shot from outside the box in stoppage time of extra time. Charlotte then bested Washington in penalty kicks as they won 6-5.

 

Atlanta Silverbacks 5, New Jersey Wildcats 1

Atlanta thumped New Jersey as Katy Triesman scored a brace in the opening 38 minutes. Alexa Newfield then contibuted two assists and scored a goal of her own to complete the rout.

 

Eastern Conference Final

Atlanta Silverbacks 1, Charlotte Lady Eagles 0

The Silverbacks have won the Eastern Conference Championship and will now appear in the Final Four. In the 44′ of play, Bailey Powell nodded home a Kelli Corless corner to give Atlanta the edge.

 

The Silverbacks will now face the Buffalo Flash in the Final Four.

 

Western Conference Final

Vancouver Whitecaps 2, Pali Blues 1

The ‘Caps have prevented the Blues from winning its third straight W-League title. Melissa Tancredi scored the opening goal before setting up Amy Vermuelen just six minutes later. The Pali Blues got one back in the 61′ from Italian international Sara Gama but were unable to equalize. The Whitecaps have previously won the league in 2004 and 2006.

 

The Whitecaps will now face regular season champions Hudson Valley Quickstrike Lady Blues in the W-League Semifinals.