Monthly Archives: March 2011

Notables For March 31st, 2011

  • WPS published the opening rosters for each team. Rosters can still change between now and April 9, however. Chris’ updated wallchart to come.

 

  •  A few observations: Atlanta have four goalkeepers as part of the team’s 22-player roster. The Beat also picked up a few rookies discarded by other teams in preseason such as Bianca D’Agostino, Katie Fraine, and Analisa Marquez (Marquez was briefly with the Breakers last year).  Elli Reed has jumped ship from the WNY Flash to Boston where she joins 2008 U-20 world champions Keelin Winters, Nikki Washington, Alyssa Naeher, and coach Tony DiCicco. Leah Blayney - a total goal machine in the WPSL last year – also made Boston’s final cut.  magicJack evidently did not release their opening day roster (or they made no changes from their previous roster). Draft picks Caitlin Farrell and Jen Stoltenberg did not make the cut in Philadelphia. Prolific Spanish striker Adriana joins Sky Blue FC and apparently hand-picked the club after being pursued by two other teams. Kristin Arnold and Lindsey Johnson each also made the final roster, which is quite impressive as both were undrafted free agents. Forwards Rose Augustin and Mele French were released by the WNY Flash. Additionally, Maurine is nowhere to be found.

 

  • Former FC Gold Pride Director of Communications Crystal Fukomoto will be replacing outgoing Rob Penner as WPS’ Communications Specialist. Fukomoto has worked in public relations with the Los Angeles Dodgers and will be based out of Los Angeles.

 

  • Terry Foley tweeted that the WPSL’s Orange County Sol have agreed to terms with Natalie Spilger. This comes days after the team announced the signing of Brittany Klein. FYI: The team is one of the WPSL’s two pro teams.

 

  • Women’s soccer will be returning to the Maryland SoccerPlex. The Examiner has a report on D.C. United’s move to field a team in the W-League in conjunction with the Northern Virginia Majestics.  

 

  • Former Chicago Red Star and current Arsenal player Katie Chapman has opted to retire from international play at the age of 28. Chapman cites family commitments as being her reason. She retires with 82 caps and a World Cup appearance to her name.

 

  • Karen Bardsley dreams of beating the U.S. on Saturday, as per The Guardian. Meanwhile, the BBC has quotes from captain Faye White and head coach Hope Powell ahead of the clash.

 

  • Steffi Jones and Mia Hamm were in D.C. as part of the FIFA Women’s World Cup welcoming tour.

 

  • We’ve given France’s Feminine Division an unintentional cold shoulder this season (apologies), but Olympique Lyonnais have won their fifth consecutive league title, despite still having three games to play. The team retains a 100% record after 18 games that shows no draws, no losses, 84 goals against, and 4 conceded. Yet, Laetitia Tonazzi of Juvisy remains the league’s top goal scorer with 17 goals in the books so far.

 

  • Wolfsburg have snatched up striker Conny Pohlers. Pohlers has been with Frankfurt since 2007 and finished the 2010-11 Frauen-Bundesliga as the league’s top goal scorer, above the likes of Inka Grings and Birgit Prinz. The 32 year-old was notably absent from Silvia Neid’s World Cup squad.

 

  • Lyon and France WNT defender Sandrine Dusang will miss the duration of the Feminine Division season, the Champions League, and the World Cup after sustaining a serious knee injury.  

 

  • According to The Vancouver Sun, the CSA has sent a proposal to Carolina Morace in hopes of coaxing her to stay on as head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team through to the 2012 Olympics.

 

  • The CSA deem Vancouver’s BC Place a suitable venue to host 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup matches, despite plans that call for the installation of articial turf. 

 

 

  • The Albany Alleycats and SoccerPlus CT Reds (who will play in New Haven) will be returning to the WPSL’s East Conference this season. The New York Fury (not to be confused with the Long Island Fury) will be the Philadelphia Independence’s reserve team.

 

  • WLS has appointed Ian McMahon as the league’s first commissioner. McMahon played professionally in England before he moved on to become managing director of Hull City F.C. He also spent time coaching  in the USL’s PDL.

 

  • The Canine Pitch Invader continues to make the rounds (nearly 320,900 views now!).  The NBC Sports blog included it as an addendum to their comprehensive preview of Sky Blue FC’s 2011 WPS season that doesn’t exist. 

 

  •  Chris Henderson was in attendance for the Atlanta Beat’s preseason win against Georgia on Tuesday. Check his Twitter for a review of his play-by-play account of the proceedings.

 

  • Yael Averbuch recounts her experience at the England/Ghana friendly at Wembley on the NYTimes Goal blog.  

 

 [vsw id="xTxP1-gNZNo" source="youtube" width="450" height="450" autoplay="no"]

 

  • A hint at tomorrow’s 20 Questions participant. As you can see, she’s pretty modest.

Q: You could very well become the face of the USWNT over the next few years. Does that freak you out a bit?

A: I don’t really see that happening! I mean I hope I do well and I set really high goals for myself, but I don’t think ahead too much. One day, one week, one game at a time.

 

  • And if you’re considering attending the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup don’t forget to visit ProActive Travel for all your travel needs.

For all you US and Canadian Women’s National team fans, come support your teams in stadiums throughout soccer crazed Germany with ProActive Soccer Tours. This one of a kind World Cup fan experience lets you, your friends, and your family follow the teams for 8 days and 5 games (2 US, 2 Canada, 1 Other), and is the perfect summer vacation. This fully guided tour includes the 5 game tickets, tours of the German host cities, daily cultural activities around Germany, 3 to 4 star hotels, private transportation, and even a meet and greet with a star from the Women’s World Cup, all for only $1290! To be a part of this extraordinary event go to proactivesoccertours.com, or give us a call at 540-908-3279 to reserve your place today!

An Interview With Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra

This offseason, Jim Gabarra left the post he assumed for 10 years as head coach of the Washington Freedom and joined the 2009 WPS champions Sky Blue FC. Gabarra’s presence is sure to usher in stability to a club that has seen five coaches arrive and depart in just two short seasons.

In the second of our preseason interview series with WPS head coaches, Gabarra explains why the team is equipped to deal with the World Cup issue,  how he wound up as head coach of the team, the uncertainty at the outset of the season, and of course, the magicJack situation.

 

AWK: The team just arrived in New Jersey from Turkey. How’s preseason been so far?

JG: It’s been good. There have been times when we’ve kind of been short on numbers but that’s just an exercise of what we’re going through this year. We had a really good camp in Turkey and had all of our internationals together with the exception of Tobin [Heath] and HAO and the team came together pretty quickly. It was a good chance to play in a competitive environment against good opponents and spent some good time off the field together trying to get know each other and overall, that was very successful. Players we’ve had here consistently have worked pretty hard and we had a pretty decent game against UVA even though we had an entirely new back four. I think we’re still fatigued from the trip and not quite acclimated, usual preseason bumps and bruises and soreness but overall it’s been good.

 

AWK: Sky Blue recently traveled to Turkey to take part in the Alanya International Tournament of Champions where the team ended up finishing second. What’s your assessment of the team’s performance in the tournament?

JG: We were very happy with it. I think there was some good combination play. We really got to know each other in a short amount of time without a whole lot of training time together. Hjorring had given us a harder game than we had imagined and we were lucky that we had gotten through on penalties to make it to the final and Malmo is a team that has largely been together for two years. They’ve been training since January 10 and we basically played in a final on three or four days training together so I was very happy with how we played. We had some defensive lapses but that’s kind of where we are right now in preseason where we’re going to make mistakes and we have to work through the mistakes and get to know each other’s tendencies and what to expect from each other. Overall, we were really happy with the way we played. People are disappointed that we lost which is a good habit to get in from the start. Nobody likes to lose and it was nice to see the group doesn’t like losing and is just going to accept it.

 

AWK: You were appointed head coach of Sky Blue FC shortly after the 2010 season ended. Talk a bit about how you arrived with the team and what compelled you to take the job.

JG: I really wasn’t looking for anything. I was just going to stay in the D.C. area and maybe just continue to coach the youth teams we had with the Freedom. I was actually driving my son to a PDA event up [in New Jersey] and Gerry [Marrone, former team G.M.] called me and asked if I had a minute to talk. And that was literally 45 minutes away from their office and I just thought I’ll swing by and meet with you and it wasn’t something I was actively pursuing. They wanted to meet and I said I would consider it. And after interviewing Gerry and Thomas [Hofstetter, team owner] I came to the conclusion that I still wanted to coach in the league. With the number of free agents and the amount of changes that would be happening, it was a good opportunity to bring in all the players I wanted to bring in. Even though they had a lot of new players, they still had a solid base so there were some good pieces here.

 

AWK: The organization essentially cleared house in the offseason and ushered in a new GM, a boatload of new players, and a new coach. How has everyone been getting on in the new environment?

JG: It’s been good. Everything’s positive and we’re all looking forward to getting started with the season. Change can be good and along with every other team in the league, every game is going to be very competitive. I don’t know if it’s a fragile place that the league is in, but it’s certainly been a trying time for everybody involved and for everybody that passionately supports and works for women’s professional soccer.

 

AWK: Sky Blue’s time in WPS has been marked by many changes at the head coach position. People get the sense that you’ll bring both experience and consistency to the team. How important is that for you?

JG: I think I can bring stability and that’s something that they were looking for. I wouldn’t have taken it if I didn’t think I couldn’t commit to it for the whole year, and they were committed to me. It’s kind of been publicized with the tough times they’ve gone through with coaches but I’m here and I’m going to do my best to make them successful as a club.

Continue reading

Is This What the USWNT Will Be Wearing For the Next Year? (Updated)

Still waiting on the official word, but according to Nike’s website, these are the USWNT’s 2011/12 home/away jerseys. Click here for a much larger image to admire or – perhaps more accurately - abhor.

Thoughts?

 

UPDATE

As of Thursday afternoon, the link to the jerseys directs you to text that reads “Product was not found or is no longer available”.

Confirmation was requested from two separate U.S. Soccer officials but neither responded. This leads one to believe that a.) no one wants to take responsibility for the hideous thing or b.) Nike jumped the gun on the release.

So what are we to think now? The USWNT plays England on Saturday and will presumably be wearing some kind of Nike kits. We’ll know then.

All White Kit’s Always Untitled Podcast – Episode 2 A.K.A. Episode 15

And it’s here! Lauren Barker and I finally got our proverbial stuff together and have produced the next installment of AWK’s Always Untitled podcast. Topics discussed include the magicJack saga, WPS’ scheduling issue come World Cup time, and the first recipients of the inaugural Carli Lloyd Person of the Week. Enjoy!

(Note: We recorded before Jeff Rusnak’s article in the Sun-Sentinel about magicJack’s conflict with WPS over overhead costs was released)

Right click and press “save target as ” to save the file as an .mp3

AWK Is A Year (And A Day) Old Today

What kind of person misses their own stinkin’ anniversary? Well, this person, I guess. And who is this person, one might ask. Well, it’s a person who has been gob smacked and humbled by everything that has transpired over the course of the year. That includes the personal relationships that have developed,  the fantastic people I’ve encountered, the miles traveled, the events (good and bad) that have been documented, etc. – all within the past year (and a day).

I know I tend to do this every three months or so, but I can only offer a sincere thank you to everyone who’s been along for the ride. That goes for those who have come and gone and those who have stuck with us.  

Thanks to everyone for their support and continued readership. To be sure, life has gotten considerably more fun.

And a tremendous thanks to those who have hopped on board in the past year (and a day) with their brilliant contributions including Chris Henderson, Lauren Barker, Lissa Tan, Julie Logan, and Carmen Wales.

Things have gotten a bit weird in WPS world in past months. It will likely remain that way for awhile. With this in mind, it’s nice to know that there’s a women’s soccer community out there who remains as invested as ever. It may be a sparsely populated community, but it’s a community nonetheless. Small, but mighty.

At this moment, it’s hard to ask for much more.

Updated WPS Wallcharts – 03/26/11

Nothing too earth shattering about the latest round of cuts, although it does seem a team or two is going to come in under the twenty-four player limit come the beginning of the season.

Atlanta Beat

Added – Bianca D’Agostino
Released – Mercede Koning

Boston Breakers

Added – Ashley Phillips
Released – Michelle Betos, Tara Macdonald, Whitney Palmer

Philadelphia Independence

Added – Mary Casey, Brittiny Rhoades
Released – Bianca D’Agostino, Jennifer Jeffers

Sky Blue FC

Released – Kim Newsome, Kika Toulouse

TAFKAT Washington Freedom

Released – Diane Caldwell, Ashlee Elliott, Katie Fraine, Shannon Myers

WNY Flash

No Changes

20 Questions With Cat Whitehill

Time to get our reverence on. This week, AWK welcomes long-time USWNT mainstay, faithful Tar Heel, and former Washington Freedom co-captain (and occassional goalkeeper) Cat Whitehill. This season, Cat will be tasked with helping lead a young Atlanta Beat team from the back. The commanding center-back and diehard college football fan talks about the mentality in the Beat camp at the moment, her USWNT playing days, SEC football (of course), and many other things. Enjoy!

 

The Atlanta Beat's New Southern Belle

 

AWK: The Atlanta Beat are having an excellent preseason so far. What’s the mentality in camp like and what do you say to those who have been so dismissive of the team?

CW: We have had an excellent preseason.  It has been a lot of hard work, but it will be worth it once the season starts.  I think the mentality in this camp is that we will outwork our opponents and do the basic skills properly, so we can play beautiful soccer.  We know that if we can put those two pieces together, then we can be a great team.  

As for what people are saying about us, I just think their words inspire us to work even harder and to become better soccer players.  We may not have the “best” team on paper, but I am excited for everyone to see who we are as a team on the field.  We are going to be a strong unit with what we are doing now, and being a “team” is going to be extremely important to us.  

 

AWK:  From an on-the-field standpoint, what were some of the factors that enticed you to join the Beat this season?

CW: There are a lot of things that enticed me to join the Beat.  As for the on-the-field aspects, I am excited to continue learning why I am here.  I had heard lots of great things about the coach James Galanis as he has coached national team players like Carli Lloyd, Heather Mitts, and Tina Ellertson and that definitely excited me.  I could see the vast improvement of the team once he took over last year and I was impressed at how he brought the team together.  There are a lot of new players that have come to the Beat. I had the great honor of playing with Lori Chalupny at UNC and on the national team, to gain another opportunity to play with her was very appealing to me.  Again, I am still learning why I am here and so far I love it!!

 

AWK: It seems like you’re the prohibitive leader in a young Atlanta Beat squad. Do you have a different role with the Beat than you had with the Washington Freedom?

CW: Fortunately I was a co-captain with Abby Wambach on the Freedom so I learned a lot of what it takes to be a leader in the WPS.  Right now Lori is the captain, so my role has changed in that aspect.  But, I feel like I am still a leader on this team with my age and experience.  I want to help these young women learn what it takes to be a professional on and off the field, and I want to help these young women become the best players they can be.  I like my role on this team right now, and I hope to become a better person, leader, and soccer player by the end of the year.

 

AWK: Who’s the one Beat player that’s particularly impressed you this offseason?

CW: I guess I am somewhat confused by this question.  Most of these players are new to me so I didn’t really know a lot about them before preseason.  I just don’t have a lot to base my answer on for this.  If you want improvement from last season, I guess I have been most impressed with India Trotter.  She came into this preseason fit and ready to return to the player that we all know she can be.  I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her play everyday and I love her new spirit and take on life.  She is just refreshing to be around.

 

AWK: How are head coach Jim Galanis’ defensive formations taking shape and where do you fit in the back line? 

CW: Well, he loves defense and I love that of course!  We are really trying to work on many different styles of play so we can play any formation any given day.  We want to be great defensive players first and once we become great at that, then our offense will start to fall into place.  I am just trying to help every teammate around me become a better player.  Fortunately, I have a lot of experience and I am going to try my best to use that to its fullest.  

 

AWK: You’re one of the most capped USWNT members with 134 appearances to your name. What’s your fondest memory with the USWNT?

CW: I would have to say my fondest memory with the National Team was winning the gold medal in 2004.  I had the amazing opportunity to be on a team with some of the greatest women soccer players of all time like Mia Hamm, Julie Foudy, Kristine Lilly, Bri Scurry, Joy Fawcett, and so on.  We had the opportunity to and send them off on the right note.  To stand on the podium is obviously an amazing honor, but to stand on the podium with women who I grew up watching was something very special to me.

 

AWK: You slotted in for an injured Brandi Chastain during the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and wound up playing every minute of every match in the tournament. What was that experience like?

CW: Honestly, I think when I stepped in for Brandi, it was a total blur.  I was so young, and I didn’t realize what was actually going on.  Fortunately I was able to stay in the lineup and help the team as much as I could.  I sure learned a lot on the day I filled in for her, and I am very fortunate that I had some amazing players around me who helped me the rest of the tournament.

 

AWK: You scored 11 goals for the USWNT – quite the record for a defender. Which was your most memorable?

CW: I would have to say my most memorable was when I scored two goals in the World Cup game against North Korea.  I later learned that no defender has ever scored two goals in a World Cup match so that is pretty cool.  My boyfriend at the time (who is now my husband), my parents, and my grandparents were all there so it was nice to be able to celebrate that with them.

 

AWK: Did you keep tabs on the USWNT during CONCACAF Women’s World Cup qualifying this past October and what did you make of the team’s harder-than-expected journey to the World Cup?

CW: I did keep tabs on the team. I still have a lot of friends on that team, and I wanted to see how they were doing.  I am not going to lie, but I was definitely surprised that it was as hard as it was even though I knew the team would come through.  It’s something about Americans; we know how to find a way to win.  I think it’s in our blood, and I am proud of the team for staying composed and qualifying.

 

Continue reading

Notables For March 25th, 2011

  • The semifinals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League has been set as Turbine Potsdam and Duisburg are set to reunite in the same stage as last year. Arsenal and Lyon will meet in the other match-up. Potsdam thwacked Juvisy 6-2, winning the match-up 9-2 on aggregate.

 

  • Duisburg remained in control of the series against Everton and ran out 2-1 winners on the day with goals by Simone Laudehr and Inka Grings. The team returns to the semifinals after a comfortable 5-2 aggregate win.

 

  • Lyon edged past Zvezda Perm as substitute Lara Dickenmann scored the only match in the series to take last year’s finalists through to the semifinals stage.

 

  • It was a repeat of the Round of 32 match-up against Rayo as Arsenal slipped past Linkoping by the slimmest of margins. Katie Chapman played the hero once more and a former Chicago Red Stars teammate also got on the board. Arsenal took a 1-1 draw away to Linkoping and went a goal down after Linda Sallstrom put the home side up after 17 minutes. Rachel Yankey then earned the equalizer in the 40′ but Kosovare Asllani put Linkopings up once again. With 10 minutes to go, Katie Chapman converted a goal from distance, giving Arsenal the tie and, crucially, the win on away goals. (Video here)

 

  •  In a video interview with the Potomac Soccer Wire, Dan Borislow states that Puma and WPS wanted magicJack to play all of the team’s home games in South Florida. This echoes something that Borislow said in an email exchange with us early this week:

“It was the league and Puma who insisted we do not play any games in Washington.I stand here willing to do so.”

AWK has reached out to Puma for an official statement on the matter. No word yet.

 

  • If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that Dan Borislow himself commented on Lauren Barker’s magicJack preview on World Soccer Reader. (Also check out the array of Lauren’s other team previews)

 

  • Speaking of which, Lauren’s adorable canine pitch invader video has gone all viral and stuff. First it was Dirty Tackle, then it was The Spoiler and now it’s Deadspin.   

 

  • Jeff Kassouf recently broke the news that Caroline Seger is working on obtaining U.S. residency which should secure the arrival of Brazilian international Maurine.   

 

  • The Western New York Flash will play Syracuse University on Saturday and Ohio State University on Sunday.

 

  • The Boston Breakers just got finished defeating Boston College 5-1. Keelin Winters scored two goals (impressive). Kelly Smith, Taryn Hemmings and Katie Schoepfer also scored.

 

  • On FIFA.com, Ali Krieger talks about being a secret agent and Colombian legend Carlos Valderamma offers his blessings to the Colombian women’s national team. 

 

  • Steffi Jones will be in Harlem today hosting a soccer clinic. The DFB website has a short article about the amount of pub’s she gotten from various American media outlets.

 

  • Beau Dure offers a rundown of the variety of new women’s soccer teams around the D.C. area.  

 

  • Several members of the Yale women’s soccer team held a soccer clinic in Kenya.

 

  • Potomac Soccer Wire has a video interview with Tiffany Roberts in which the former USWNT player discusses her role as a scout for the national team youth system.

 

  • The U-17′s are in the midst of a Jill Ellis-led training camp at the Home Depot Center. The team will also play an exhibition match against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday. The U-15′s also have a camp running simultaneously.

 

  • Barnet defeated Nottingham Forest in penalties to win the Premier League Cup. ESPN pulled the plug on airing the match although the reason is unclear. The Guardian article also states that some FA WSL matches are expect to attract only a couple hundred fans. Yikes.

 

  • But some good news. Eurosport has renewed its television contract with UEFA through to 2013. The contract includes the broadcast rights for the annual editions of the U-17 and U-19 European championships, the UEFA Women’s Champions League and the UEFA Women’s European championship and qualifiers.

 

  • And then some more bad news. Most depressing tweet of the week? Try this.  

 

  • AWK bids a reluctant farewell to WPS’ PR Consultant Rob Penner. On April 5, Rob will be departing for the Spanish shores to work TV and communications for the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race. In addition to being the sharpest dressed member of the league’s front office, Rob was a constant reassuring and professional presence during times of uncertainty. You’ll be greatly missed!

 

  • Lastly, if you’re considering attending the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup don’t forget to visit ProActive Travel for all your travel needs.

For all you US and Canadian Women’s National team fans, come support your teams in stadiums throughout soccer crazed Germany with ProActive Soccer Tours. This one of a kind World Cup fan experience lets you, your friends, and your family follow the teams for 8 days and 5 games (2 US, 2 Canada, 1 Other), and is the perfect summer vacation.  This fully guided tour includes the 5 game tickets, tours of the German host cities, daily cultural activities around Germany, 3 to 4 star hotels, private transportation, and even a meet and greet with a star from the Women’s World Cup, all for only $1290!  To be a part of this extraordinary event go to proactivesoccertours.com, or give us a call at 540-908-3279 to reserve your place today!

An Interview With WNY Flash Head Coach Aaran Lines

The WNY Flash franchise and the team’s head coach Aaran Lines are both newcomers to WPS but they arrive in the league with heightened expectations. That’s what a stacked squad with the likes of Marta, Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan will get you. And that’s just the team’s front line.

In the first of a series of exclusive interviews with WPS head coaches ahead of the kick-off of the 2011 WPS Season, the former New Zealand international spoke with AWK about a broad array of issues including the team’s loaded roster, the origins of the Marta deal, coping with the anticipated loss of the Flash’s World Cup players and his transition into head coaching.

 

AWK: The team just opened preseason camp. How is the squad coming together so far?

AL: The squad’s coming together nicely. I’m happy with we’re at at this point. We’ve played three or four games and the squad’s getting to know each other. It was a quiet first week. A lot of the girls were pretty quiet but they’re definitely starting to come out of their shells a little bit more and are really progressing, I feel.

 

AWK: Talk about the training facilities at Sahlen’s Sports Park in Buffalo and the team’s home venue at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester.

AL: We have a wonderful training facility. We train every day at Sahlen’s Sports Park in Buffalo. It’s a phenomenal facility to train out of. We’ve got a full-sized indoor field, two other big fields. We’ve got a gym to train in inside of the facility with a strength and conditioning coach. The Western New York Flash have been given all the tools to succeed with the set-up. It’s a really professional environment. We also have Scott Vallow as our assistant coach. He was a teammate of mine with the Rochester Rhinos and just retired from his professional career in MLS. Buffalo is only an hour’s drive from Rochester where Sahlen’s Stadium is located so that’s nice too. It’s a great set-up for both us and WPS as well.

 

AWK: The Flash will be an expansion team this year but you have one of the best squads in the league. The squad was assembled pretty quickly this offseason. Did you get a sense of the players you wanted to sign going as far back as last season?

AL: We were a W-League team the last few years but I also had an eye on WPS. Being a professional W-League team we wanted to get the best possible players on our club and a lot of our players were involved in WPS camps. And as they got bumped out I would try to pick them up for the Buffalo Flash.  So I was very aware of the league and the level and the individual players so every player that has been signed by the Western New York Flash we wanted to be here at the club and were hand-selected.

 

AWK: It seems like the Flash benefitted from the folding of FC Gold Pride. Was it a conscious effort to get as many players from that team as possible?

AL: No, it wasn’t. We went into an expansion draft that didn’t have as many players and simply because the league was going into its third year and a lot of those players were coming off one-year contracts with one-year options or two-year contracts. We knew it was going to be in free agency and was nice to go through a big list with all the information I had from catching all the games I could throughout the W-League season so it was nice to go in there and pick the players that I wanted at the club and for the style that I want to play in. We got every player we wanted outside of one or two players so we’re happy with where we are now. We’re progressing and we’ll continue to do so.

 

AWK: In addition to Alex Morgan, the team drafted Elli Reed, Ashleigh Bowers, and Rose Augustin in the 2011 Draft. Do you think they’ll be competing for first team action or is it too early to tell?

AL: Those players that have come in were very quiet the first week, first 10 days but they’re starting to come out of themselves more. They’re good, young, talented players that I expect to push the more experienced players in training every day. It’s important to have good, hungry, young players who are pushing in the background and we’ve got the right fit with those girls. Good players, good characters as well.

 

AWK: The team recently signed Gina Lewandowski from Frankfurt. Did you guys have your eye on her for awhile or did the deal happen quickly?

AL: I played in the Bundesliga myself as a player so I have contacts in Germany and it was a big thing to have a player who could play in all 18 games who could play in a key position. She’s been in Germany since 2008, has won everything there is to win in Europe. She’s an interesting player, she knows what it takes to be a pro in a very good Bundesliga. We’re excited to have her. She’ll come in after this weekend when she plays with Frankfurt in the German Cup final on the 26th and she’ll be here with us on the 30th.

 

AWK: The Flash made perhaps the most surprising signing in league history with the acquisition of Marta. Can you talk about how that move came about and if it was put together as quickly as it seemed?

AL: Emma Hayes, our Technical Director, and I were happy with the team we had put together. Joe [Sahlen], our owner, and myself and Emma always thought Marta is a wonderful player. We heard good things about her character. Joe came to us and asked us if we were happy with where we’re at and I said, “yeah, we’ve got a very good squad.” And he asked, “what are your thoughts on Marta? I’d like to bring her in.” No coach in the world’s going to say no to that. [laughs] We had the chance to take care of her contract. And yeah, we always had an eye to see what was going to happen with Marta and I think it’s a benefit to everyone to have Marta in the league. Our owner came in and made that happen. We’re certainly happy to welcome her here to Western New York and integrating her in the team and we’re hopeful that we can get her visa information all squared away in the next few days and the next step is getting her here.

 

Continue reading

Need A Wednesday Night Pick-Me-Up?

It was the final of the Alanya International Tournament of Champions in Turkey between Sky Blue FC and LdB Malmo when suddenly, well, the name of the video says it all.

[vsw id="79FEeop7N7c" source="youtube" width="600" height="600" autoplay="no"]

Apparently all it needed was someone to rub its belly.

 

(Thanks, LB).