Equalizer Soccer http://womens.soccerly.com The No. 1 Source for Women's Professional Soccer News Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:34:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Canada confirms November games in LA vs. Sweden http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/31/canada-sweden-los-angeles-games-november-herdman-sundhage/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/31/canada-sweden-los-angeles-games-november-herdman-sundhage/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 18:34:30 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17380 John Herdman will lead Canada against Sweden twice in November. (USA Today Images)

John Herdman will lead Canada against Sweden twice in November. (USA Today Images)

Canada will play Sweden in two closed-door friendly matches in Los Angeles in late November, the Canadian Soccer Association announced on Friday. The matches, as reported by The Equalizer’s Jeff Kassouf, will take place on Nov. 24 and Nov. 26, with venues and times to be determined.

Sweden coach Pia Sundhage said Canada picked the venues. Sundhage wants her team to get used to the jet lag of flying and playing on short rest, since they could face similar conditions at next year’s World Cup in Canada.

Canada automatically qualified for the World Cup as hosts, skipping the recently concluded CONCACAF Women’s Championship and instead playing two friendlies against reigning world champion Japan at two of the 2015 World Cup venues. Japan won 3-0 in Edmonton on Saturday and 3-2 on Tuesday in dramatic fashion in Vancouver.

[MORE: Canada searching for Sinclair's strike partner  |  Schelin sets Sweden scoring mark]

Sweden, now ranked No. 5 in the world, and Canada, down to No. 8, last met at the 2012 London Olympics, where they tied, 2-2. Melissa Tancredi scored twice for Canada to erase a 2-0 deficit and give Canada the point it needed to advance to the knockout stage. Canada went on to win the bronze medal.

Twenty-two of the 24 teams are set for the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Trinidad and Tobago will play Ecuador in a home-and-home playoff in November and early December to determine the final berth from the Americas, and the Netherlands takes on Italy in a home-and-home playoff in late November for the final European berth.

Qualified thus far for the 2015 Women’s World Cup are: Canada (host), Brazil, Colombia, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, England, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Mexico, the United States and New Zealand.

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Nigeria says it has avoided FIFA ban http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/31/nigeria-says-it-has-avoided-fifa-ban/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/31/nigeria-says-it-has-avoided-fifa-ban/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 13:09:51 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17376 ABUJA, Nigeria — The Nigeria Football Federation says it has avoided a long-term ban by FIFA after in-fighting over the leadership of the football body was ended through intervention by the country’s president.

The NFF says Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has ensured “a truce” and a faction challenging new NFF President Amaju Pinnick’s election last month has “discontinued” legal action against him.

The world body gave Nigeria until midday Friday local time (1100 GMT) to withdraw a court order nullifying the Sept. 30 football elections. FIFA endorsed Pinnick’s election and viewed the order as interference in football matters against its rules.

If Nigeria does not meet the deadline, FIFA said it would be banned until at least May, disqualifying the defending champion from next year’s African Cup of Nations. The Women’s World Cup begins June 6.

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Corral shines for Mexico at CONCACAF qualifying http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/31/charlyn-corral-mexico-concacaf-qualifying-star/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/31/charlyn-corral-mexico-concacaf-qualifying-star/#comments Fri, 31 Oct 2014 12:45:53 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17368 Charlyn Corral was Mexico's star at World Cup qualifying, scoring twice in the third-place match to clinch a berth to Canada 2015. (USA Today Images)

Charlyn Corral was Mexico’s star at World Cup qualifying, scoring twice in the third-place match to clinch a berth to Canada 2015. (USA Today Images)

Mexico’s women’s national team found itself in a position in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship that few would have predicted prior to the tournament.

On three separate occasions, the team needed a result to reach the ultimate objective – securing an automatic bid to next year’s World Cup. Against Jamaica, the team needed at least a draw to emerge from the group. Then there was the win-and-in semifinal against the United States (which Mexico lost, 3-0). And on Sunday, a win over Trinidad and Tobago saw Mexico secure the final automatic CONCACAF bid. Both against Jamaica and T&T, forward Charlyn Corral came up big for her side, scoring two goals in each affair.

“She’s phenomenal,” Mexican defender Ari Romero said of Corral after the win over Trinidad and Tobago. “She goes 110 percent and as a teammate, we feed off of that. When we see someone like her go at a player who is 10 feet taller than her there’s no limit. We thrive off her energy and her soccer skills. There are people like me that want to be just like her you know, attacking, taking people on 1v1 and coming in scoring those goals that we need.”

In truth, Corral’s all-tournament team performance during qualifiers should have been far from surprising. After all, she was given the nickname “Prodigy Girl.” She represented Mexico in three youth World Cups and was a member of Mexico’s 2011 World Cup team. The forward, whose calm finishing and hold up play drew attention during the tournament, also holds the record for youngest player to score at a World Cup event. She accomplished that feat in 2006 at 14 years old.

For two years, she played collegiately in the United States for the Louisville Cardinals in 2012 and 2013. Corral put up impressive numbers in that period averaging 10.5 goals and 8 assists per year. She also accrued an impressive list of accolades, including Big East Midfielder of the Year and 1st team All Big East her junior year. She won American Athletic Conference midfielder of the year in 2013 and was also the only unanimous selection to the All-AAC 1st team.

After her senior season, Corral entered the 2014 NWSL draft but wasn’t selected. Although, the decision by NWSL teams to pass up on the technically gifted player was probably based largely on the league’s international restrictions, two rookies that required international spots were taken. If teams were willing to take a shot at a rookie who’d take up an international spot, surely Corral’s resume was worthy of such a risk.

America’s loss was Finland’s gain as Corral signed with Merilappi United in the top division last June. She called her experience in Finland “awesome” and says she’d like to play for another professional team in Europe. In the immediate, Corral’s No. 1 priority is her national team as next year’s World Cup draws near.

After her performance in qualifiers, women’s soccer fans will certainly watch out for the forward next summer. It seems likely her name’s been added to an NWSL team’s discovery list. How any team is just making this “discovery” remains a mystery.

Perhaps teammate Bianca Sierra summed it up best:

“She’s always been the type of player that she is and if people (over)look her then they do, but don’t think they will anymore after they’ve seen what she’s done in this tournament.”

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Italy-Netherlands to decide final UEFA spot in Canada http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/30/italy-netherlands-to-decide-final-uefa-spot-in-canada/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/30/italy-netherlands-to-decide-final-uefa-spot-in-canada/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 23:19:27 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17365

Melania Gabbiadini scored important goals in both legs to keep Italy's World Cup hopes alive. (Getty Images)

Melania Gabbiadini scored important goals in both legs to keep Italy’s World Cup hopes alive. (Getty Images)

The Netherlands defeated Scotland, 2-0 on Thursday to move to the brink of their first appearance at the Women’s World Cup.  Second-half goals by Lieke Martens and Manon Melis made it a 4-1 win on aggregate that puts Netherlands into a final, two-leg playoff against Italy in November.  The Italians, absent from the World Cup since USA 1999, required some second half road magic to salvage a draw in Ukraine on Wednesday and a 4-3 win on aggregate.

Italy reached the quarterfinals of the inaugural Women’s World Cup in 1991 and then crashed out in the group stage in 1999.  They have not been back since including the last cycle when they lost the final playoff to the United States.  On Wednesday they fell behind 2-0 to Ukraine who rode the coattails of 20-year old Vira Dyatel and her two goals.  But Melania Gabbiadini struck eight minutes later to level it on all fronts and former Sky Blue forward Patrizia Panico won it with a goal in the 79th.  From there Ukraine needed two to overcome their deficit in away goals and the Italians were able to hold on and advance.

The Netherlands-Italy playoff will open November 22 or 23 with the return match November 26 and 27.  The loss by Scotland means 2014 NWSL MVP Kim Little will not be featured in next summer’s World Cup.  Little played all 180 minutes and scored Scotland’s only goal—from the spot—in the home leg at Tynecastle.

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France, South Korea bid for 2019 Women’s World Cup http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/30/france-south-korea-bid-for-2019-womens-world-cup/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/30/france-south-korea-bid-for-2019-womens-world-cup/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:28:56 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17362 French players belive their recent experiences will make them World Cup contenders. (Photo France FF)

French is one of two bidding nations for the 2019 World Cup, along with South Korea. (Photo France FF)

ZURICH — Football delegates from France and South Korea have handed over their bid documents to FIFA for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

France and South Korea are also bidding for the 2018 under-20 women’s World Cup, with FIFA’s executive committee to decide on one winner for both competitions in March.

FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter says “I’m a very happy to see these two big football nations competing for these two women’s competitions.”

Blatter noted how both nations recently hosted the men’s World Cup – France in 1998 and South Korea in 2002 with Japan.

[Lawyers: French players threatened with reprisal for legal action against FIFA]

Blatter says “it’s really great to see now their interest shifting towards women’s competition. … I’m really confident that either will be fantastic organizers.”

The bidding process for the 2019 World Cup began with five declarations of intent to bid in May, but in June both New Zealand and England dropped out. South Africa did not follow through with submitting a bid.

Next year’s women’s World Cup will be held in Canada.

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Hamm named part-owner of new LA MLS team http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/30/mia-hamm-owner-los-angeles-mls-lafc-as-roma-board/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/30/mia-hamm-owner-los-angeles-mls-lafc-as-roma-board/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:08:40 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17359 Mia Hamm is part-owner of the new Los Angeles MLS team. (USA Today Images)

Mia Hamm is part-owner of the new Los Angeles MLS team. (USA Today Images)

It’s been a busy week for United States women’s soccer legend Mia Hamm, who on Thursday was unveiled as one of 22 owners of the new Los Angeles MLS team set to begin play in 2017. Other owners include NBA legend Magic Johnson, Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan and former MLB player Nomar Garciaparra, who is Hamm’s husband. Hamm is the only woman.

Earlier in the week, Hamm was nominated to the board of directors of one of Italy’s most famous clubs, AS Roma.

The 42-year-old Hamm helped the United States to two World Cup titles, including the inaugural edition in 1991 in China, and won the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year award in 2001 and 2002 – the first two times that honor was given.

Hamm is not a club investor, Roma said.

On Thursday, Major League Soccer announced revealed the ownership of its new LA team, which will replace CD Chivas USA after 10 tumultuous seasons. Chivas USA played its final game as a franchise on Sunday — a 1-0 win over San Jose — before MLS officially announced the club will cease operations immediately.

The club is currently operating under the name LAFC, but that is a holder name. The team’s name and brand identity will be revealed at a later date. It is in search of a site to build a soccer-specific stadium in the Los Angeles area. Chivas USA spent all 10 years at the StubHub (formerly the Home Depot Center) in Carson, Calif., as the second tenant to the LA Galaxy, for whom the stadium was built in 2003.

Some have wondered why Hamm isn’t investing in an NWSL club. She says the timing wasn’t right when the league started.

“I would probably say when the NWSL started, I probably wasn’t ready to make that commitment,” Hamm said, via SB Nation.

“That would be awesome in my opinion. We haven’t talked about that, quite yet. I think our focus is, every step, making this the best club possible. But I think that would be wonderful, and especially [as] we continue to grow the NWSL, and this is a great spot. So many girls are playing in the greater Los Angeles area. It would make sense to have that.”

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Schelin sets Swedish scoring mark in loss to Germany http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/schelin-sets-swedish-scoring-mark-in-loss-to-germany/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/schelin-sets-swedish-scoring-mark-in-loss-to-germany/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:36:03 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17347 Lotta Schelin set Sweden's all-time scoring mark, but Germany prevailed, 2-1.

Lotta Schelin set Sweden’s all-time scoring mark, but Germany prevailed, 2-1. (Getty Images)

Lotta Schelin broke Sweden’s all-time scoring record with her 73rd international goal on Wednesday, but it wasn’t enough for Sweden in a 2-1 loss to Germany in Orebro.

Schelin opened the scoring in the 68th minute, deceptively charging toward Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer to intercept a backpass from an unsuspecting Jennifer Cramer. Schelin tapped the ball around Angerer on her first touch and calmly side-footed it into the back of the net to give Sweden the 1-0 lead.

But seven minutes later, Dzsenifer Marozsán rocketed the ball into the net on a free kick from 20 yards out, knuckling the ball through a Sweeden wall that broke apart.

With momentum then their favor, the Germans quickly found the game-winner. Luisa Wensing sent in a cross to Alexandra Popp, who beat Sweden defender Nilla Fischer to the ball and redirected it into the net with the outside of her right foot from 12 yards out.

Angerer preserved the win for Germany in stoppage time, saving Fridolina Rolfö’s shot with her knee.

Cramer nearly put Germany ahead midway through the first half, driving a left-footed shot off the crossbar.

Therese Sjögran also played in her 200th match for Sweden, becoming just the third European player to reach the milestone.

The match was played on artificial turf in Orebro as the teams prepare for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, slated to take place on artificial turf.

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FIFA gives Nigeria last chance to avoid ban http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/fifa-gives-nigeria-last-chance-to-avoid-ban/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/fifa-gives-nigeria-last-chance-to-avoid-ban/#comments Thu, 30 Oct 2014 00:13:26 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17345 Nigeria is headed to the World Cup for a seventh straight time. (Photo Courtesy: CAF)

Nigeria is headed to the World Cup for a seventh straight time. (Photo Courtesy: CAF)

ABUJA, Nigeria — FIFA has given Nigeria one last chance to avoid a “lengthy” ban that would prevent the reigning champion from defending its title at next year’s African Cup of Nations.

FIFA wants a court order nullifying recent Nigeria Football Federation elections to be rescinded by midday Friday Nigerian time, regarding it as government interference in football, which isn’t allowed under the world body’s rules.

FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press that Nigeria has until the deadline to prove the court order has been withdrawn and the elected NFF leadership is able to work “without any hindrance.” If Nigeria doesn’t comply, FIFA said it will be banned from international football at least until FIFA’s Congress in Zurich on May 28-29 next year. The Women’s World Cup, which Nigeria qualified for, starts on June 6.

That long of a ban would mean Nigeria is thrown out of the ongoing African Cup qualifying campaign ahead of the start of the finals in January. None of Nigeria’s national or club teams would be able to play in international tournaments under a FIFA suspension.

Nigeria’s football federation has been in turmoil for months and it has been warned repeatedly.

The country – which made the last 16 of the World Cup in Brazil – was already suspended from internationals for nine days in July after previous NFF President Aminu Maigari was detained by security forces on his return from the World Cup and ousted from office. A new leadership was then installed in government-backed elections that were not recognized by FIFA. Maigari was reinstated and oversaw proper elections on Sept. 30, when Amaju Pinnick was voted in as new NFF president.

But FIFA said the Nigerian government is interfering again after “persons claiming to have been legitimately elected previously went to occupy the offices of the NFF.”

“We also have been informed that security forces prevented the (new) NFF President from travelling to Namibia where he was supposed to represent the NFF at the final match of the African Women’s Championship,” FIFA said.

Nigeria is also the African women’s champion after winning the title last weekend, but was nearly prevented from playing in that game because of the federation problems, the NFF said. The African women’s final only went ahead after Confederation of African Football President Issa Hayatou, who is also a FIFA vice president, pleaded with his FIFA colleagues to give Nigeria one more chance, according to the NFF.

According to the federation, Hayatou also met with Nigeria sports minister Tammy Danagogo at the African women’s championship in Namibia and told the minister that “FIFA and CAF have had it up to their neck with Nigeria.”

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FIFA: Men’s World Cup could be on turf ‘sooner rather than later’ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/jerome-valcke-mens-world-cup-artificial-turf-sooner-not-later/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/jerome-valcke-mens-world-cup-artificial-turf-sooner-not-later/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 21:38:07 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17339 Jerome Valcke says a men's World Cup could be on grass "sooner rather than later." (Photo: FIFA.com/AFP)

Jerome Valcke says a men’s World Cup could be on grass “sooner rather than later.” (Photo: FIFA.com/AFP)

The men’s World Cup could be played “sooner rather than later” on artificial pitches, FIFA said Wednesday in the latest defense of its decision not to stage the 2015 women’s tournament in Canada on grass.

World football’s governing body is on the defensive after a discrimination case was launched by some female players, who claim that men would never be asked to play matches at the sport’s biggest event on anything but real grass.

But FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke maintains that the Canadian climate — and not gender — was behind the decision on the playing surface.

“It would be very difficult to ensure solid natural-grass pitches at all venues,” Valcke said in an interview with FIFA’s website. “This is not a question of money, or of differences between men’s and women’s events, but it is a matter of the natural conditions in Canada: we want to guarantee consistent top-level playing conditions for all 24 teams during the event.”

[MORE: Complete coverage of the 2015 Women's World Cup Turf War]

Valcke pointed to the FIFA rules permitting any tournament to be played on artificial grass if it is of the “highest quality” and used at every venue.

“It could well be that sooner rather than later the men’s World Cup will also be played on artificial pitches,” Valcke said.

FIFA turf consultant Prof. Eric Harrison said the severe Canadian winter made artificial pitches more suitable to that climate.

“During the long winter months, the natural turf is dormant and only can begin the recovery process after winter is over,” Harrison said on FIFA’s website.

“The effects of frost … can leave many natural turf surfaces uneven, requiring extensive re-leveling,” he added. “Often, it is not until July/August that the natural turf has recovered sufficiently to be deemed to be in optimum condition.”

Canada’s bid for the event stipulated that the final be played at Vancouver’s BC Place, which seats 55,000 and has an artificial turf. Every match at the June 6-July 5 tournament has to be played on the same surface.

The Canadian Soccer Association on Tuesday denied allegations that it pressured players to drop their lawsuit. FIFA is yet to acknowledge the legal claims of gender discrimination or more recently of reprisal. Lawyers claim players were threatened with suspension and other repercussions for participating in legal action.

Hampton Dellinger, the attorney for the female players who filed the gender-equity case in Canadian court, pointed out that the next two World Cups – Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022 – will be played on natural grass.

He said that Valcke’s climate argument “is astounding given that Russia and Qatar boast their own equally, or even more, difficult weather conditions. The natural grass pitch at BMO Field in Toronto certainly appears to do just fine during the summer months when the World Cup is staged.”

Canada’s bid for the event stipulated that the final be played at Vancouver’s BC Place, which seats 55,000 and has an artificial turf. Every match at the June 6-July 5 tournament has to be played on the same surface.

The Canadian Soccer Association on Tuesday denied allegations that it pressured players to drop their lawsuit. Dellinger has accused the CSA of relegating the world’s best female players to “game-changing, dangerous and demeaning conditions.”

The group of players who filed a human rights complaint against FIFA and the CSA includes Germany’s Nadine Angerer, Japan’s Yuki Ogimi and Americans Shannon Boxx, Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach.


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Canada midfielder Matheson has torn ACL http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/canada-midfielder-matheson-has-torn-acl/ http://womens.soccerly.com/2014/10/29/canada-midfielder-matheson-has-torn-acl/#comments Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:55:05 +0000 http://womens.soccerly.com/?p=17324 Diana Matheson has a torn ACL, putting her World Cup in doubt. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Diana Matheson has a torn ACL, putting her World Cup in doubt. (Photo: Canada Soccer)

Canada midfielder Diana Matheson has a torn ACL, the Canadian Soccer Association announced on Wednesday, putting Matheson’s World Cup hopes in question.

Canada hosts the 2015 World Cup, which begins on June 6. Matheson is one of the key pieces of the team, an engine in the midfield who can play-make both centrally and out wide. The 5-foot tall, 30-year-old Matheson has suffered an ACL injury before, undergoing surgery before the 2012 Olympics but returning in time to help Canada win a bronze medal.

“Unfortunately a little déjà vu from before London where I was dealing with a knee injury,” Matheson said through a statement. “I had surgery the November before that, as well. Hopefully I can make a similar comeback. Obviously I want to be in a World Cup so that’s my goal.”

Matheson left Saturday’s loss to Japan in the 78th minute with the injury. She missed Tuesday’s rematch against Japan, which Canada lost, 3-2 after scoring a stoppage-time equalizer and then conceding the game-winner a minute later.

Matheson has 15 goals in 161 appearances for Canada. She tallied 16 goals and nine assists in 42 games for the Washington Spirit in the first two seasons of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Her injury took place on the turf at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium, one of the six World Cup venues next year. A group of 60 international players has taken legal action to have next year’s World Cup played on grass, not turf, arguing that the artificial surface causes greater risk for injury.

A look at the Matheson injury, via @ProtagonistasDJ:

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