Equalizer Soccer http://womens.soccerly.com The No. 1 Source for Women's Professional Soccer News Fri, 28 Nov 2014 00:45:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Miedema lifts Dutch to first Women’s World Cup http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/27/vivianne-miedema-lifts-dutch-netherlands-to-first-womens-world-cup/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/27/vivianne-miedema-lifts-dutch-netherlands-to-first-womens-world-cup/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 23:46:47 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17691 Vivianne Miedema (right) scored twice on Thursday to lift the Dutch into their first-ever Women's World Cup. (Getty Images)

Vivianne Miedema (right) scored twice on Thursday to lift the Dutch into their first-ever Women’s World Cup. (Getty Images)

The Netherlands are headed to the Women’s World Cup for the first time in history after beating Italy, 3-2 on aggregate in the UEFA qualifying playoff final. Vivianne Miedema scored twice on Thursday to lift the Netherlands past Italy, 2-1 in the second leg in at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi in Verona, Italy.

Miedema scored the lone goal for the Dutch in the 1-1 draw on Saturday in the first leg. On Thursday she scored in the 9th and 43rd minutes. The 18-year-old Dutch forward finishes qualifying as Europe’s top scorer, having found net 16 times in 13 appearances.

Italy have not qualified for the Women’s World Cup since 1999, when they went out in the group stage. Italy made it to the quarterfinals at the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991. This is the second straight World Cup qualification in which Italy lost in a playoff final. The Azzurre missed out on the 2011 World Cup after losing to world No. 1 USA in a home-and-home playoff late in 2010.

Twenty-three of the 24 spots at the 2015 Women’s World Cup are now determined. Trinidad and Tobago or Ecuador will claim the final spot in next year’s World Cup, to be determined on Tuesday in the second leg of their intercontinental playoff. Neither of those teams have ever been to a Women’s World Cup.

The qualified teams are:

UEFA (8): England, France, Germany, Netherlands*, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland*
AFC (5): Australia, China, Japan (holders), South Korea, Thailand*
CAF (3): Cameroon,*, Ivory Coast*, Nigeria
CONCACAF (4): Canada (hosts), Costa Rica*, Mexico, United States
CONMEBOL (2): Brazil, Colombia
CONMBEOL-CONCACAF play-off (1): Ecuador v Trinidad & Tobago (first leg 0-0, return Tuesday in Port of Spain)
OFC (1): New Zealand

*Debutant

The World Cup draw takes place on Dec. 6 at noon ET in Ottawa.

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Sinclair ends drought as Canada ties Sweden http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/26/sinclair-ends-drought-as-canada-ties-sweden/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/26/sinclair-ends-drought-as-canada-ties-sweden/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 03:17:42 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17689 Canada and Sweden tied 1-1 on Wednesday at Long Beach State University in the second closed-door friendly in three days between the two teams.

Lisa Sembrant opened the scoring for Sweden just after halftime, but Christine Sinclair soon equalized for Canada. The goal is the first for Sinclair in a Canada jersey since the Cyprus Cup in March.

On Monday Canada defeated Sweden, 1-0 behind a goal by Jonelle Filigno.

Both matches are considered official FIFA matches despite being closed-door, per an agreement between the teams.

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France beats Brazil; Norway defeats New Zealand http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/26/france-beats-brazil-friendly-le-sommer-goal-watch/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/26/france-beats-brazil-friendly-le-sommer-goal-watch/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 00:01:11 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17694

World No. 4 France defeated Brazil, 2-0 on Wednesday in Lyon for another Les Bleues win over a top world opponent. Last month France defeated second-ranked Germany, and earlier this year the French picked up a draw against world No. 1 USA.

Eugénie Le Sommer gave France the lead in the 31st minute on Wednesday, heading in the ball from a Louisa Nécib. The goal came five minutes after Marta missed a left-footed shot that would have given Brazil the lead.

Nécib nearly extended the French lead in the 51st minute on a right-footed rip that forced a save, but it was Kenza Dali who doubled the French advantage 10 minutes later.

New Zealand tie, lose to Norway

New Zealand drew Norway, 1-1 on Tuesday before losing 2-0 to the same opponent on Thursday in Randaberg. Alexandrine scored in the 81st minute and Ada Hederberg doubled Norway’s lead in the 86th minute on Thursday.

Norway also scored late on Tuesday to earn a draw in the first match between the two World Cup-bound teams. Isabell Herlovsen found net in the 82nd minute on Tuesday to equalize after Amber Hearn gave the visitors the lead in the 34th minute.

On Saturday New Zealand lost to France, 2-1.

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Four-time USL W-League champs LA Blues fold http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/pali-la-blues-usl-w-league-fold/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/pali-la-blues-usl-w-league-fold/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 22:49:05 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17679 The LA Blues (better known as Pali) are no more after folding. (Photo Credit: Jane Gershovich)

The LA Blues (better known as Pali) are no more after folding. (Photo Credit: Jane Gershovich)

The USL W-League’s LA Blues Soccer Club has folded.

The Blues, previously and often better known as the Pali Blues, won four W-League championships in seven seasons as a flagship second-division franchise.

The Equalizer learned that Ali Mansouri and family, who financed the franchise since its inception in 2008, would now like to focus their resources solely on the Orange County Blues FC.

The Pali Blues SC and LA Strikers FC joined forces last fall on Nov. 11, 2013, to become one team, and formed the LA Blues SC. This season the LA Blues SC won the 2014 W-League Championship and compiled a 15-0-0 record while outscoring opponents 62-6. The previous championship titles came in 2013, 2009, and 2008 as the Pali Blues.

A source who wished to remain anonymous said the financials didn’t match the on-field success.

“Yes, we’ve won a lot of championships in a short amount of time, and our players countless accolades, they’ve gone on to do great things professionally and internationally, but we need to be successful off the field too, as a business, for this organization to be truly successful. That plays a major role in these decisions.”

Reached Tuesday, longtime Blues manager Charlie Naimo echoed that, saying the news should be “an eye-opener” for those who want a professional team in Southern California. “The reality is there’s a big disconnect in this country with on-field success and off-field success.”

Naimo was also involved with the professional Los Angeles Sol in 2009, but the club folded after one WPS season following AEG’s planned departure. He was recently named technical director of the NWSL’s Western New York Flash.

Blues players and staff were notified last week and have now begun the process of looking for new clubs to play for in 2015. Some of the college players will enter the 2015 NWSL College Draft, while others are now unattached.

Several elite players have developed and grown into the players that they are today because of the playing time, guidance, and opportunities they had at one point with the Los Angeles franchise. The list of players includes Alex Morgan, Lauren Holiday, Tobin Heath, Kelley O’Hara, Whitney Engen, Christen Press, Mele French, Liz Bogus, Amy LePeilbet, Ali Riley, Ashlyn Harris and Karen Bardsley.

French, the 2014 W-League MVP and LA Blues SC leading scorer, is glad she had the opportunity to play for the franchise and to contribute to the championships and overall growth of the organization during her time with the club.

“I enjoyed my experience with Pali Blues and LA Blues,” she said. “I have seen fantastic growth and talent come out of this organization and I’m proud to have been a part of three of its four championships. 2014 was a great way for me to end my season with LA Blues, with a clean record, and awards by the league which I’m very grateful for! I look forward to my next journey with my next team in 2015.”

The club’s departure is sure to shake-up the USL W-League, which is currently transitioning commissioners after Amanda Duffy’s move to work for USL-PRO side Louisville City FC.

Mia Hamm, co-owner of 2017 MLS expansion franchise LAFC, recently said the NWSL in Los Angeles “just makes sense.” The NWSL didn’t think it made sense geographically when the league launched in 2012, and it will obviously have to make financial sense.

Additional reporting by Jeff Kassouf.

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World Cup draw on FS1; seed procedure unclear http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/womens-world-cup-draw-tv-fox-format-2015-canada/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/womens-world-cup-draw-tv-fox-format-2015-canada/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:45:36 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17677 The draw for the 2015 World Cup will be on TV, but which teams will be seeded remains unclear. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

The draw for the 2015 World Cup will be on TV, but which teams will be seeded remains unclear. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

The 2015 Women’s World Cup draw on Dec. 6 will be televised in the United States on Fox Sports 1 at noon ET. Fox Sports says it is the first time since the 1999 World Cup draw that the event is being shown in English in the United States.

Which six teams will be seeded, however, remain mysteries.

The 24 World Cup teams will learn their fates at the draw but it is unclear still how the teams will be separated. There will be six groups of four teams each, and seeding for World Cups in the past have used the FIFA world rankings to determine seeds.

Ensuring a position as one of the seeded teams can be critical to obtaining a more favorable path to the World Cup title, since all six will be in separate groups.

Asked by The Equalizer to clarify the process, a FIFA spokesperson said Tuesday the the draw procedure and seeded teams will be revealed during the press conference the day prior to the draw. By contrast, the draw for the 2014 men’s World Cup saw the seeded teams announced almost two months prior.

Geographic considerations are always in play for seeded teams. Canada will be one of the seeded teams as hosts, leaving the top five as the presumed next five seeded teams. But three of the top five teams in the world — Germany, France and Sweden — hail from Europe, something that could cause FIFA to skip over No. 5 Sweden and give No. 6 Brazil a spot as a seeded team. So the seeded teams could potentially be Canada, U.S.A., Germany, Japan, France and Brazil, but that won’t be fully known until Dec. 5.

Fox’s hour-long studio show will be hosted by Rob Stone and it will feature reports from on-site in Ottawa from Heather Mitts, Ariane Hingst and England’s Kelly Smith. Awful Announcing reports that Tony DiCicco and Grant Wahl will also join the show.

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NWSL College Draft confirmed for Jan. 16 in Philly http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/nwsl-college-draft-january-16-philadelphia/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/nwsl-college-draft-january-16-philadelphia/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:17:03 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17687 The NWSL confirmed that the 2015 College Draft will take place on Friday, Jan. 16 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. Just like every previous NWSL and WPS draft, the event is in conjunction with the NSCAA Convention, the largest annual gathering of soccer coaches in the country.

The draft will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.

The Equalizer will be providing live, on-site updates as always. Fans will also be able to follow the draft on NWSLsoccer.com as well as on Twitter (@NWSL) and Facebook.

The latest draft order can be found here.

Several College Cup stars are sure to be selected at the draft. The NCAA Division I women’s tournament is down to the Elite Eight.

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Canada beats Sweden for first win since March http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/canada-beats-sweden-for-first-win-since-march/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/25/canada-beats-sweden-for-first-win-since-march/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:51:53 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17674

Canada on Sunday won its first match since March, beating Sweden 1-0 in a closed-door friendly in Los Angeles behind a goal from forward Jonelle Filigno.

There was a hint of Filigno being offside as she sneaked in behind Sweden’s defense and collected a ball from Sophie Schmidt for the finish in the 44th minute.

Canada had not won a game since March 12, when the 2015 World Cup hosts beat Ireland in the 5th place match at the Cyprus Cup. Since then, the Canadians have lost twice to world champions Japan and once to Germany. They tied the United States in May.

Sweden and Canada will play again on Wednesday — in another closed-door match — at Long Beach State University. The matches are considered official FIFA matches, per an agreement between the two teams, and thus count toward official caps and rankings. Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod wore the captain’s armband on Monday in honor of her 100th cap.

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Flash trade Australian Kerr to Sky Blue FC http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/24/wny-flash-trade-sam-kerr-sky-blue-fc/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/24/wny-flash-trade-sam-kerr-sky-blue-fc/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 20:28:34 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17661 Sam Kerr has been traded to Sky Blue FC. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Sam Kerr has been traded to Sky Blue FC. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Australian forward Sam Kerr is headed to Sky Blue FC in the latest trade made by the Western New York Flash. In exchange for Kerr’s rights, the Flash receive the No. 4 overall pick in January’s NWSL College Draft as well as the rights to midfielder Elizabeth Eddy.

Western New York now owns four of the top seven picks in the 2015 draft: third, fourth, sixth and seventh. But that comes at the price of one of the Flash’s best players, Kerr, who scored nine goals and added four assists in 2014.

“Parting ways with Sam was a tough decision, but what it came down to was making the best business decision for the club,” Flash general manager and head coach Aaran Lines said. “We view this deal as a 3-for-1. We are now bringing in a player in Elizabeth Eddy, who I think very highly of, the fourth overall pick in the draft and the ability to sign an international player.”

Earlier this fall the Flash traded top player Carli Lloyd to Houston, then sent defender Katherine Reynolds and midfielder Angela Salem to Washington and Amy Barczuk to Boston. Most recently the Flash sent former captain McCall Zerboni and defender Kathryn Williamson to Portland for midfielder Amber Brooks and swapped goalkeepers with Washington.

Kerr, 21, will miss a significant part of the 2014 season with Australia for the World Cup and preparations. Kerr is currently playing for Perth Glory in the Australian W-League. Her Matildas teammate and friend Caitlin Foord played with Sky Blue FC in 2013 and 2014, and the two wanted to play on the same team in 2015, sources say.

“This is a huge acquisition for Sky Blue FC,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said. “Sam is one of the most promising young players in the world and has been at the top of our list of players we have attempted to acquire. She has great pace combined with incredible and versatile attacking qualities that make her one of the elite forwards in our league.”

Sky Blue FC still holds the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft.

Eddy, 23, was selected in the fourth round (No. 33 overall) of the 2014 NWSL College Draft by Sky Blue FC. She played with the LA Blues (formerly Pali) from 2010-14.

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South Carolina shocks UNC to make Elite Eight http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/23/ncaa-tournament-elite-8-set-south-carolina-upsets-north-carolina/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/23/ncaa-tournament-elite-8-set-south-carolina-upsets-north-carolina/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 23:41:25 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17666 South Carolina is into the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division I women’s soccer tournament after shocking their neighbors to the north — the North Carolina Tar Heels — on Sunday in Chapel Hill. The No. 3 Gamecocks are the lowest seed remaining, with every No. 1 seed and the three other No. 2 seeds advancing.

Junior Raina Johnson’s goal in the 23rd minute was the difference for South Carolina. It was South Carolina’s first goal of the tournament after the Gamecocks won their first two matches of the tournament on penalty kicks after 0-0 draws. Watch the highlights here.

No. 1 seed Florida State — College Cup finalists last year — will serve as South Carolina’s opponents on Friday. The Seminoles advanced to the Elite Eight with a 1-0 win over UCF behind Kristin Grubka’s goal in the 60th minute.  Watch the highlights here.

“We worked on the play in practice,” Grubka said. “The players (tonight) executed it very well. I saw it go back behind me so I just turned to try and find a rebound and luckily it came to me. I just tried to hit it on frame and it went in.”

On the other side of the top half of the bracket, defending champion UCLA stayed undefeated (21-0-2) and advanced with a 1-0 victory over No. 4 seed Pepperdine.

“Sam Mewis is such a great finisher,” said UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. “She’s has such a good presence in there; it’s hard to take the ball off of her. When you have her get the ball inside the 18, there’s a great chance she’s going to score.”

UCLA will play Virginia after the Cavaliers smacked No. 3 seed Kentucky, 7-0. Junior Makenzy Doniak set the school record for points in a game with eight, recording three goals and two assists, while senior Morgan Brian added two goals and two assists in her final game at Klöckner Stadium.

“You don’t go into a game like this, against an opponent as good as Kentucky, and expect a result like this,” Virginia head coach Steve Swanson said.

In the bottom half of the bracket, No. 2 Penn State will take on No. 1 Texas A&M in the Elite Eight on Saturday, while No. 2 seed Florida will play No. 1 Stanford on Friday.

Florida beat No. 3 seed Texas Tech, 3-2 on Saturday to advance. Annie Speese broke the deadlock for Florida in the 81st minute.

Stanford won a second straight decision by a 1-0 score, beating No. 4 seed Washington, 1-0 behind Lo’eau LaBonta’s first-half goal, a rebound finish after her own penalty kick was saved.

No. 1 Texas A&M, meanwhile, beat Notre Dame 2-1. senior Kelley Monogue scored her sixth goal of the tournament for the Aggies.

And Penn State took down Virginia Tech on Sunday to advance, with Raquel Rodriguez opening the scoring and Mallory Weber scoring the game-winner in the 71st minute.

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Germany dominate England on big day at Wembley http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/23/germany-dominate-england-on-big-day-at-wembley/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/11/23/germany-dominate-england-on-big-day-at-wembley/#comments Sun, 23 Nov 2014 21:24:13 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17656

Celia Sasic scored twice for Germany in a 3-0 win over England. (Getty Images)

Celia Sasic scored twice for Germany in a 3-0 win over England. (Getty Images)

Germany ruined England’s debut at Wembley Stadium, beating the hosts 3-0 behind a pair of goals by Célia Šašić.

What was nearly a dream start quickly turned into a nightmare for an England side trying to prove it can compete with the world’s best going into the 2015 World Cup.

England midfielder Jordan Nobbs stole the ball from the opening kickoff — taken by Germany — and fired a shot off the crossbar 15 seconds into the match to electrify the Wembley crowd of over 45,000.

But Germany went ahead in the 6th minute, courtesy of an own goal by England defender Alex Scott. Melanie Behringer whipped in a corner kick toward Simone Laudehr, who just missed the ball with her head. But the ball skipped off of Scott’s head and into the net.

By the 12th minute, it was 2-0 as Fara Willims gave the ball away near midfield and Šašić led the counterattack for Germany. England defender Lucy Bronze failed to step to Šašić in time, and the German forward calmly slotted the ball past goalkeeper Karen Bardsley.

Šašić scored her second goal of the match right before halftime, heading in a cross from Tabea Kemme.

“We need to correct our defensive errors but we have to remember we’ve got six months or so before the World Cup starts – it doesn’t start in December, it starts in June and we’ll learn some valuable lessons from today,” England coach Mark Sampson said.

Williams had a chance to pull England closer four minutes earlier, but her half-volley didn’t give goalkeeper Almuth Schult much trouble.

England settled into the match in the second half — partly a result of Germany taking its foot off the gas and making several substitutions — but the home side never looked threatening in the match after that opening opportunity.

England midfielder Karen Carney earned her 100th cap, playing all 90 minutes. It was Šašić’s 99th appearance for Germany.

A crowd of 55,000 was expected, but around 10,000 fans didn’t turn up amid bad weather and local transport closures. Attendance had been capped at 55,000 due to preexisting transport issues.

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