Japan Welcomes the USWNT and Canada/Brazil Coverage

The USWNT is prepping for its turn in the first edition of the Women’s Kirin Challenge Cup. The team appears to be getting all-star treatment. Hope Solo and Abby Wambach appeared on a Japanese talk show (video) and later spent time with a robotic robot.

Our man in Japan Hal Edmonson will be providing exclusive insight into the tournament. He’ll be present at the U.S.’s two matches against Japan and Brazil.

Undeterred by a pesky language barrier, Hal has generously sent along some interesting bits of news. Homare Sawa is officially out of Japan’s squad through vertigo. The reigning Ballon d’Or winner is suffering from “acute positional vertigo”, which sounds rather unpleasant.

Here is Japan’s official squad: (The U.S.’s squad was unveiled a few days ago; it features the same 23 players from the Algarve Cup).

Perhaps most interestingly, Hal also shed light on a possible link between L-League club INAC Kobe and Abby Wambach. Wambach appeared at an INAC Kobe training session to wish Sawa well (brief video here). The team’s chairman told a reporter that he was interested in attempting to acquire Wambach after the Olympics.

Per this article:

“SportsNavi has learned that INAC Kobe is targeting USWNT star forward Abby Wambach following the 2012 Olympics. Wambach dropped in on the INAC Kobe training camp in Kagoshima on Wednesday to pay respects to Nadeshiko midfielder Homare Sawa, who is still suffering from acute positional vertigo.”

During her visit to the Kagoshima camp, Wambach briefly joined the practice, trading passes and joking with Nadeshiko Japan players Shinobu Ono and Yukari Kinga as the team’s chairman, Honson Mun, looked on eagerly. “We’ll have to have a discussion with her after the Olympics. Two years ago, it would have been difficult, but now with the American pro league gone, the landscape is perfect for a transfer,” Mun said. “If things go well, she could be a centerpiece of INAC in the second half of the campaign. I think she could fit in well here with our players.”

According to other press reports, Wambach didn’t exactly play down the speculation saying, “If WPS re-launches, I’ll sign there, but if that doesn’t happen, it’s possible that Sawa and I could be teammates.”

Wambach and Sawa were Washington Freedom (WPS) teammates from 2009 to 2010.

Fanciful rumor? Overblown speculation? Either way, a Wambach and Sawa reunion would be pretty awesome.


Also, as you likely know, Canada will meet Brazil in a friendly today in the Boston area (which seems to be the epicenter of women’s soccer in the U.S.). The match will precede the New England Revolution/Portland Timbers match.

Our man Ray Curren is on the beat, so check back later for post-match coverage.

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