Monthly Archives: April 2011

WPS Team News – Week Four

MagicJack (1-0-0, 3 pts.) vs Philadelphia Independence (0-0-1, 1 pt.) – Sunday, 4 PM EST

It’s very much as you were for MagicJack after their victory over Boston in the season opener in Boca Raton last weekend. Despite a strong performance from Jillian Loyden last week in goal, Hope Solo is likely to make her season debut after returning from suspension from twitter comments at the end of last season. It may be the only change in a team that topped the Breakers, 1-0, last weekend. Canadian Sophie Schmidt is still listed as unavailable to the squad, while Johanna Rasmussen is also still among the inactive players. Amanda DaCosta is not among the inactive players listed and could be in line for a debut off the bench along with fellow rookie Meghan Klingenberg.

MagicJack (from) – Solo (GK), Dalmy, Moros, Rampone, Sauerbrunn, Huffman, Boxx, Masar, Tarpley, Wambach, Press, Loyden (GK), Ellertson, Schnur, De Vanna, White, Klingenberg, Marshall

It’s been a long three weeks since Philadelphia has seen the pitch in a competitive match, enough time to see Danesha Adams recover from injury, although the forward is not amongst the traveling party for Paul Riley. Long-term injury victim Allison Falk is still out, while Veronica Boquete is still preoccupied with club duties abroad. Fellow Spaniard Laura Del Rio is among the players not included in the group traveling to Florida. After her brilliant cameo in Philadelphia’s first match, Amy Rodriguez could feature from the start in the Independence attack.

Philadelphia (from) – Barnhart (GK), Johnson, McNeill, Krzysik, Robinson, Buczkowski, Farrelly, T. DiMartino, Sanderson, Kai, Rodriguez, Henderson (GK), Lohman, Lindsey, Fowlkes, Magnusdottir, Rapinoe
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20 Questions With Alex Scott

Boston Breakers right-back and England international Alex Scott was kind enough to take part in this week’s edition of 20 Questions. Enjoy!

Alex Scott; premier right-back, Breakers staple, and former teacher. What’s not to love?

 

AWK: How do you assess the Breakers’ performance against magicJack last weekend?

AS: We need to learn to win ugly and adjust earlier in games when things are not going our way. By this I mean, the field magicJack play their soccer on is 63 yards wide and is by far the worst field you could wish to play soccer on. In fact, there is not much soccer being played on that field, so we need to adjust not 45 minutes into a game but straight away. We need to be able to fight and win balls and win the game sometimes when the soccer is not pretty.

 

AWK: The Breakers are currently on a two game winless skid. What’s the biggest thing the team needs to do to get back to winning ways?

AS: We need to keep working as individuals every day to get better, then the team will get better overall. It’s early in the season, but we need to be more aggressive as a team in games.

 

AWK: How has the Breakers defense been getting on in this early stage of the season?

AS: In the last two games, we have had to do a lot of defending, more than normal I would say, but we have done OK. We cannot be fully happy until we start coming away with clean sheets and shutouts. Our defense is a very experienced back line. We are going to have to use this to great effect this season.

 

AWK: How are the Breakers’ young players fitting into the squad, and which rookie do you think is going to have a breakout season?

AS: The young players are doing well. They work hard, and they always want to prove what they are about, which is good. They have been willing to listen to the coach’s comments and players that have been there and done it to help improve there games, which is refreshing. I have already been so impressed with Keelin Winters. She is going to be a big player for us this season, even more so now with the loss of Jordan Angeli. Keelin has good, quick feet, she can pick out a pass, and she can compete and win things in midfield. You could tell from preseason she was ready to step into this Breakers team and claim a starting place.

 

AWK: Last season Boston struggled to find winning ways until July before surging to the playoffs. Was there a particular moment you can look back on and determine the tipping point?

AS: Well, the coach says it was the All-Star break. We really picked up a momentum when we came back off the break. As players, we like to put it down to us getting some really loud speakers for our locker room and really being loud and being more relaxed going into games. We stopped putting so much pressure on ourselves to get the win.

 

AWK: What does it mean to you to have such a passionate fanbase like The Riptide?

AS: As a player it means a lot. You know (that) when things are not always going right for you, you have your fans. The Riptide are always backing you and cheering you on. They have been great from the moment I arrived in Boston, and as a team we are very lucky to have fans like them.

 

AWK: England are expected to excel in Group B of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. How do you rate England’s chances this year compared to 2007?

AS: Every game in a World Cup is hard; there are no easy games. Everybody thought we had no chance in the 2007 World Cup, and we surpassed everyone’s expectations then by getting to the quarterfinal stage. It seems that everyone is now looking at England and taking note of us, which is good. We know we are a team capable of making things happen.

 

AWK: Which American player on the Breakers would you most want in the England squad?

AS: Amy LePeilbet for sure. I have always said that Amy is one of the best defenders I have ever played with. She will fight and win the ball when you think it’s not possible. She has that calm presence on the ball. She is just a player you always want on your team no matter what, even if its just a 5-a-side game on the training field.

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Notables For April 28th, 2011 (Updated Friday morning)

News that really isn’t news anymore:

  • Kierstan Dallstream is at the center of WPS’ first trade of the season as Sky Blue FC traded the defender/forward to Boston in exchange for their second round draft pick in the 2012 WPS draft. The addition of Dallstream brings the Breakers’ total of 2008 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup champions to four. Tony DiCicco helmed the team, of course. (For the record, of the 20 players in that squad, 12 are currently in WPS, three were drafted and subsequently released by WPS teams, and the remaining five are still in college.)

 

  • The official attendance for the Atlanta/Western New York is being reported as 3,075 which seems a little generous. Perhaps that figure is coming from the same source that told Match Tracker that Keelin Winters has only taken one shot all season and Jillian Loyden made just three saves last weekend, despite the fact that Boston had 13 shots on goal.

 

  • Jeff Kassouf reviews week three in WPS in his SI.com column.  

 

  • Ian Darke and Julie Foudy have been confirmed as ESPN’s lead commentators for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

 

  • Alli Lipsher becomes the first player in league history to win WPS Player of the Week honors in two consecutive weeks.

 

  • Pretty, pretty goals from the week gone by: 

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And now for stuff you may or may not know about:

 

  • Atlanta Beat head coach James Galanis (deservedly) praising his team after earning four unexpected points from their two most recent matches, as in the Marietta Daily Journal.

 

  • The Philadelphia Independence announced that ACME, Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Company, and Hershey’s reGen have all come on board as local sponsors.

 

 

 

  • Marta aims to be a WPS champion and a world champion by the end of the year, as per Jacqueline Purdy’s article on espnW.

 

  • CanadaSoccer.com will profile a different CanWNT player every three days. First up is goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc. Canada’s “1a” goalkeeper reminisces about the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup and more in this article.  

 

  • Oregon State forward Chelsea Buckland will reportedly be on Canada’s World Cup squad. The 21 year-old will depart to Rome for the third time in three months before joining the team in Germany for Canada’s final preparations. Buckland is waiting to earn her first senior cap with the national team.

 

  • The University of Memphis nabbed central midfielder Natalia Gómez-Junco. The 18 year-old made one substitute appearance for Mexico in the quarterfinals 2010 U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup and scored her team’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss against South Korea.

 

  • Canadian Women’s National Team member Chelsea Stewart is apparently transferring from Vanderbilt to UCLA.  

 

  • In addition to acquiring the services of Tiffany Weimer and Sydney Leroux, the Vancouver Whitecaps signed blue chip collegians Ranee Premji, Amber Brooks (both UNC), Julie Armstrong (Oregon), and Jenna Richardson (Oregon State) for the team’s 2011 W-League season.

 

  • Here’s a sneak peek of Notre Dame’s documentary about a 2010 season that started with uncertainity and ended with a national championship.

 

  • Portland Pilot outside back Kendall Johnson has reportedly torn her ACL and MCL and has been replaced by Michigan midfielder Meghan Toohey on the current U-23 roster.

 

 

  • Australia native and current Boston Breaker Leah Blayney is one step closer to fulfilling her dream of playing pro soccer in the U.S.

 

  • Here’s a lengthy, but interesting article about former Sky Blue FC midfielder and Australian Women’s National Team member Collette McCallum and her experiences of being the only girl in an elite boy’s club, rebounding from two ACL injuries, failing to find her feet in WPS, and preparing for his summer’s World Cup.  

 

  • The U.S. State Department and U.S. Soccer have teamed up to send UCF head coach Amanda Cromwell and current magicJack GM Briana Scurry on a goodwill mission in Germany from May 1-7.

 

  • Our Game has the Japanese roster for the team’s friendlies against the USWNT.

 

  • Swedish center-back Stina Segerström will miss rest of the Damallsvenskan season as well as the Women’s World Cup after tearing her achilles tendon in a league match last weekend. This article states former Philadelphia Independence central defender Sara Larsson could step in to take her place in the national team.

 

  • Capital One Cup update: in the women’s standings, Stanford has the lead after finishing strong in the basketball and swimming and diving championships with 82 points. Meanwhile Cal and Notre Dame are tied for second with 76 points. Following the spring athletics season a men’s and a women’s athletic program will be crowned the Capital One Cup winners and be awarded a trophy and $200,000 scholarship for post-graduate education in July at the ESPYs. To keep up with the race for the Capital One Cup throughout the rest of the academic year please visit CapitalOneCup.com or check us out on Facebook (http://www.Facebook.com/CapitalOneCup) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/capitalonecup).

 

  • Women’s football will benefit most from a Great Britain Olympics team in the 2012 London Olympics, according to the LA Times.

 

 

  • The Arsenal/Birmingham City match also featured the second best attendance of the season as 789 people made it out to Boreham Wood on a Thursday night. Now for an FA WSL attendance check after two weeks of action:

Chelsea: 2,510, 273 = 1391.5 (-89% decrease from first game to second)

Lincoln: 750

Birmingham City: 602, 446 = 524

Liverpool: 835, 300 = 567.5 (-64% dip from opening match to second)

Everton: 230 (Worst figure of the season…hearkens back to FA Women’s Premier League gates)

Arsenal: 655, 789 = 722

Bristol Academy: 707

Doncaster: 578

 

Average attendance: 723

Median: 629

 

  • A sample question from tomorrow 20 Q’s interview:

AWK: Before coming to Boston, you were a sports science studies teacher back at home. Were you cool and laid back or strict and no nonsense?

X: I think I was a little of both. I think my students felt they had a good connection with me so I rarely had to put anyone in their place. I would say I am quick-witted, so when a student would try to be smart, I could quickly come back with something and normally they would not try it again. My students knew what I expected of them, and they hardly ever disappointed me or let me down. Maybe I got the best of the bunch, ha.

 

  • 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!

Chicago Red Stars Mark Return, Join WPSL For 2011

The Chicago Red Stars officially announced the team will compete in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) for the 2011 season. The club was among the seven founding franchises in WPS. In December 2010, the organization announced it would be taking a hiatus during the 2011 WPS season “to shore up its investment group”.

Several familiar faces will return to the club including Jackie Santacaterina, Elise Weber, Michele Weissenhofer, and former Saint Louis Athletica forward Amanda Cinalli. 2011 All-Big East Conference First Team midfielder Bri Rodriguez, former Chicago Red Eleven midfielder Kara Kabellis, and recent University of Illinois defender Julie Ewing are among the players set to fill out the preliminary squad. Eclipse Select Soccer Club’s Director of Coaching and Player Development Rory Dames will coach the team.

The 2011 WPSL season will run through June and July, and the Red Stars will play two home games on July 2 and July 10 in Lisle, Illinois. Fans are encouraged to visit http://www.ChicagoRedStars.com for more information.

The WPSL is set to have a momentous season in 2011. The Chicago Red Stars announcement comes on the heels of the developments regarding the league’s first ever pro teams the Bay Area Breeze and the Orange County Waves. Former high-profile WPS players like Tiffeny Milbrett, Brittany Klein, and Natalie Spilger will appear for the Bay Area Breeze this season. The league will also see the addition of a women’s team affiliated with MLS’ FC Dallas.

The Red Stars’ renaissance is also a positive sign for fans of the franchise and women’s soccer alike. Chicago opted to sit out the 2011 WPS season after failing to secure the appropriate investment (including a proposed partnership with Santos) this past offseason. The Red Stars had a unique ownership model in the landscape of WPS. The team’s ownership group was composed of a variety of stakeholders, rather than one or two wealthy benefactors. Former team President and C.E.O. Peter Wilt’s Pitch Invasion piece on the importance of community outreach and good customer service is a must-read.

Perhaps a stint in the WPSL will prepare the Red Stars for a return to WPS in 2012.

5 Things That Happened In WPS Week 3

magicJack made full use of the narrow field.

magicJack supposedly took advantage of the narrowness of the Florida Atlantic University Soccer Field. According to reports, head coach Mike Lyons tailored his formation to employ three defenders. The three-back system squeezed the Boston Breakers out of the game for much of the first half. Boston failed to find an equalizer to match Ella Masar’s 26th minute goal. Breakers manager Tony DiCicco said the slender field and warm weather were partially to blame for the team’s loss. Was it a display of tactical astuteness or were the Breakers genuinely hard done by the puny pitch? It might be impossible to know, as FSC won’t be televising any matches from mJ HQ. Maybe they can finish in the top three and earn the right to host a playoff game. Then we can see for ourselves.

P.S. Other than the diminutive looking field, what else do you notice about this photo? Or, perhaps more accurately, what do you not notice? Signboards belonging to WPS sponsors, maybe?

Image courtesy of John Dorton/ISI photos

 

 

The Boston Breakers’ attack continues to lack a cutting edge.

Boston failed to break through with a game-changing goal for the second week running. The team got off to a flying start two weeks ago against the Atlanta Beat, but have seemed anemic since. It doesn’t seem to be for a lack of trying either. The Breakers put forth 13 shots on Saturday, all of which were on target. Jill Loyden was forced to make 12 saves, including warding off a gilded chance courtesy of Keelin Winters in the 78th minute. Entering the season, it was curious to see who would provide the goals once Boston’s first rate strike force was absent for the World Cup. Perhaps more topical question is where the goals will come from when those players are present.

 

 The Western New York Flash don’t deserve the “new FC Gold Pride” tag…yet.

The Flash appeared bizarrely disoriented in the first half of their tilt against Atlanta. Ali Riley and Kandace Wilson tore up the flanks and provided crosses but few – if any – found their intended targets, Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan failed to mesh with one another, ditto for Gemma Davison, and Caroline Seger’s distribution of passes didn’t flow as freely. Granted, much of the Flash’s lack of cohesion in the final third was down to Atlanta’s oppressive tactics (and Cat Whitehill’s stout defending). The Beat packed the box with numbers and prevented the Flash from finding any seams. Atlanta relented slightly in the second half, as Carli Lloyd and Lori Chalupny occupied more permanent attacking roles. Still though, the Flash never quite lived up to their billing, even after Marta’s header. The team is still coalescing, and kinks are undoubtedly still being ironed out. Consistency will be key this season, and that’s the one thing this squad won’t have.

 

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Myth No More? magicJack 1, Boston Breakers 0

It seems the uncertainty that has clouded magicJack for so many months has finally cleared as the team claimed a 1-0 victory against the Boston Breakers at Florida Atlantic University. In the 26th minute, Abby Wambach connected with Ella Masar and the former Chicago Red Star gave magicJack the lead, and eventually the victory.

According to the Breakers’ press release, Boston struggled with the narrow field early on but eventually improved. “We took over the game after [Masar's goal],” asserts head coach Tony DiCicco. The team settled and had some decent chances in the second half, but magicJack goalkeeper Jillian Loyden prevented opportunities for an equalizer.

As per Match Tracker, the shots rained in from both teams throughout the entire match. Again, according to Match Cast, magicJack finished with 23 total shots while Boston mustered 13, all of which were on target. That averages out to a shot every two and half minutes. Loyden came up with 12 saves while Alyssa Naeher had eight to her name.

It’s impossible to determine if the person operating Match Tracker had a rather liberal definition of a “shot” or if both teams really did come out guns a-blazing. There is one thing that one can indeed glean from the match, however, and that’s that magicJack are a solid team – and why wouldn’t they be with the talent in that squad.

Masar’s early burst out of the starting blocks is a good sign for magicJack, as she’ll be heavily relied upon to produce the goods while many of her USWNT teammates are occupied by the World Cup this summer. It appears to be the reverse situation for the Breakers, as this marks the team’s second loss in as many games. With USWNT camp currently underway, another slow start is exactly what the Breakers need to avoid.

The couple hundred, one thousand, 2,500, 1,224 Floridians taking in the game “festival style” (i.e. on the grass or standing) were likely treated to a good match between two quality sides. Perhaps an attendee or two can offer a photograph or video evidence that confirms the team’s existence, because when it comes to magicJack, you never quite know what to believe.

 

Jeff Rusnak’s word is as good as any. His post-match report includes a quote from Abby Wambach and an explanation for the lack of bleacher seating.

5 Questions Ahead of WPS Week 3

Will the Boston Breakers’ attack show more bite?

The Breakers front four looked disjointed against the Western New York Flash last weekend. Lauren Cheney and Kelly Smith each had limited time on the ball, and Kelley O’Hara couldn’t place her shots on frame. Perhaps another week of solid practice would have given the offense more time to adjust, particularly considering it took about three months before it truly coalesced last season. The Breakers don’t have that luxury, however, as the USWNT players spent the week training in Florida. That plus the lack of scouting of Boston’s opponents will make improvisation necessary this evening.

 

magicJack? magicJack! Pt. II

The most mysterious team in all the land are set to make their season debuts at home tonight. The game could provide flashbacks of the Saint Louis Athletica (for the one thousand and change people in the stands at least) as magicJack’s kits bear a striking resemblance to those of the Athletica last year. Hope Solo will be serving her one-match suspension but that still leaves four former Athletica players on the traveling roster. Judgment about the quality of Mike Lyons’ team must be deferred until we can actually see them play. Tonight will be a good start though, provided the game doesn’t get postponed.

 

Will Match Tracker be up and running for the game?

Communication from the team has been non-existent. With the team’s bare cupboard front office in mind, question began to get raised about whether anyone would be on site to operate Match Tracker. As per the league, we should expect Match Tracker to function but there could be delays thanks to the internet connection on the FAU campus (and that certainly wouldn’t be a first for WPS venues). Who will provide press credentials and grant post-match interviews? That’s another question.

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20 Questions with Tiffany Weimer and Jenna Pel

Leave it to Tiffany Weimer to mix things up. The Editor of Our Game Magazine/current Vancouver Whitecap player and ambassador/women’s soccer media mogul suggested we try tweaking the 20 Questions format slightly with something fun and different. We began by chatting about our respective Connecticut upbringings (the bit at the end) and then followed that up with 10 questions for each other. Results below, and you can blame the Ocho for this.

 

JP: You recently signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps. What are you most looking forward to this W-League season?

TW: I’m looking forward to a few things – one winning a W-League Championship (something I’ve never done) two, becoming a better player and three getting to know the city of Vancouver.

 

TW: What would you be doing if you weren’t involved in soccer?

JP: I’d likely be putting my degree to good use and teach world history to 9th graders, and I’d probably be miserable. No offense to the 9th grade world history teachers out there, of course.

 

JP: Has Carmelina Moscato helped you brush up on your Canadian? Any favorite phrases?

TW: Carm hasn’t helped me too much, but here’s a text convo we had the other day:

Carm- what are you doing in my country

Tiff- taking it over

Carm- you would!

Tiff- Obvi

Carm- wish I was there to witness it

 

TW: What motivated you to start AWK ? Where did the name come from?

JP: Sometime in 2009 I went through a really odd period and just felt really disconnected from a lot of things. I missed that feeling of belonging to a community of some kind. Thus, I quickly fell in love with the sport – and culture – of soccer. I then came to know the American soccer blogosphere (Pitch Invasion, Match Fit USA, Fake Sigi, The Global Game, Run of Play, From A Left Wing, Inside Minnesota Soccer etc.). Soccer’s “independent media” was so integrated in the culture of American soccer. The mainstream profile of the men’s game (be that the USMNT or MLS) has risen dramatically since then, so I’m not sure that still applies like it used to. Still though, some of the most engaging, interesting, influential soccer writing is produced by people who have full-time jobs, families to support, and no formal journalistic training. They do it because they love it, and they know it’s what binds the community together. It took about a year before I decided to take a leap of faith, register a blog with WordPress, write some stuff about women’s soccer, and see if anyone would ever read it.

As for the name, I’ve always thought a simple all white kit was just the epitome of cool. Be that Real Madrid or Santos or the ’99 WWC winning team. It’s just very classic and stylish. When I needed a name for the blog I rummaged through one of my old notebooks and discovered some doodlings of an all white kit, and the name just kind of stuck. “All White Strip” was also considered but the idea was axed for obvious reasons. I also liked the AWK acronym.

 

JP: What about you? What first motivated you to start Our Game Magazine?

TW: Khaled El-Ahmad had the initial idea to start the magazine – knowing about my background in Journalism of course.  When presented with the idea I saw the ultimate path to combine the two things I love the most: writing and soccer. I really enjoy the magazine and definitely hope it’s something I can continue for a longggg time.

 

TW: What is your background in soccer? Did you play? At what level?

JP: I only have three distinct soccer memories that aren’t directly related to writing about soccer: I remember my (former footballing) dad trying to teach me tactics with salt and pepper shakers as a child. A year later, I played one game of rec soccer, stubbed my toe, and never went back. Some time after that, I watched the USWNT win the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup. It felt like such an epic moment back then, and for good reason.

So in much fewer words, no background in playing soccer whatsoever.

 

JP: What would you still like to accomplish most in your playing career?

TW: I would like play for a club for more than a year and be an impact player at the highest level.

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