Women's Soccer USA

Coverage of women's soccer in the US. If it's not here...it's not important...

October 26, 2007

WPSL adds team in New Jersey

The Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) has announced the addition of the Millburn Magic as an expansion team for the 2008 season. The Millburn Magic will play in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the East Conference alongside teams such as the Philadelphia Liberty and two-time division winners Atlantic City Diablos.

October 25, 2007

Cal goalkeeper fights cancer with help from her friends

The diagnosis came a few weeks ago for California goalkeeper Jorden LaFontaine-Kussmann - lymphoma.
Now the 18-year-old freshman is about to undergo her second round of chemotherapy to attack a large mass in the middle of her chest. When she told her friends on the men's soccer team she will soon be bald, they beat her to it: They shaved their heads in support.

October 23, 2007

Prediction: Sundhage

Prediction: Sweden's Pia Sundhage will be named the new US WNT coach.

October 22, 2007

The End

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati announced today that the contract of U.S. Women's National Team head coach Greg Ryan will not be renewed when it expires at the end of 2007, ending his nearly three-year tenure as the team’s head coach.

Greg Ryan

U.S. Soccer has called a media conference call for Monday at 4 p.m. ET at which time President Sunil Gulati and Secretary General Dan Flynn will address the status of U.S. women's national team coach Greg Ryan.
Ryan's absence from the conference call raises speculation that his contract will be not be renewed for 2008. The conference call comes two days after the USA tied Mexico, 1-1, in its final game of 2007.

October 21, 2007

from Sideline Views

I wrote before the three-game series versus Mexico that the games would probably be more useful for that squad than for the U.S. It certainly seems that the female El Tri team learned some important lessons - they managed a tie versus the U.S. for the first time in 22 matches.
Granted, the U.S. squad was greatly affected by defensive injuries, and the game was a meaningless friendly, but it doesn't bode well for the US team and their Olympic dreams that a non-World Cup team could play them even.

October 20, 2007

UCLA 2, Stanford 0

The top-ranked UCLA women's soccer team won the battle between the nation's top two teams on Friday, posting a 2-0 victory over No. 2 Stanford in front of a capacity crowd at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium. With the win, the Bruins improve their record to 10-1-2 overall and 3-0 in the Pac-10. The Cardinal fall to 10-2-1 and 1-1 in conference action.

October 18, 2007

FC Indiana joins W-League

United Soccer Leagues announced Wednesday that FC Indiana, a successful and established women’s team in the United States, has acquired the W-League franchise rights for Indianapolis and will begin play in the 2008 season in the Midwest Division.

October 17, 2007

Who's sorry now?

Shortly before the U.S. women's national team played Mexico last weekend in St. Louis, U.S. Soccer distributed a four-paragraph news release to assembled media. It was a statement from goalkeeper Hope Solo.
“I would like to apologize to my teammates, coaches and everyone else adversely affected by my comments at the Women's World Cup,” it said. “This public apology comes later than it should have, but I hope that it does not diminish the fact that I am truly sorry.”
Which prompts the question: Why?

Why is Solo apologizing again? Why, indeed, is she apologizing at all?
And if we're truly operating in the spirit of reconciliation, why isn't U.S. coach Greg Ryan issuing a public apology for suddenly benching Solo before the World Cup semifinals and for all the other bone-headed decisions he made along the way to the team's worst performance in a major international tournament?

Why isn't the federation apologizing for hiring him in the first place when a half-dozen other candidates had far more impressive résumés?

Why isn't Kristine Lilly, soccer's all-time caps leader for men or women and the team's current captain, apologizing for disappearing for long stretches of World Cup matches?

Why isn't the rest of the team apologizing for its lackluster and unimaginative play throughout the entire event?

What we have here is an inexperienced, immature team and an equally ill-equipped coach trying to mask their embarrassment at being party to the worst loss in the 22-year history of the women's program – and heaping their frustrations on a 25-year-old goalkeeper who didn't play in it. If Solo did anything wrong when she stared into a TV camera and launched a 28-second tirade after the 4-0 loss to Brazil, it's that she tossed Ryan and his beleaguered team a lifeline.
In the military, they call it diversionary tactics. You blow up something somewhere else to divert attention from the primary focus of the mission.

Ryan quickly rounded up his team leaders, turned them against Solo and built a constituency to vote her off the island. They kicked her off the team bus, then threw her under it.
Solo was not allowed to eat meals with the team in China, not allowed to attend meetings with the team, not allowed to sit on the bench with the team for the third-place game, not allowed to collect her bronze medal with the team, not allowed to fly home with the team.

First she apologized in person to her replacement in the Brazil game, Briana Scurry, as well as other teammates. Then she posted a lengthy, heartfelt apology on her myspace.com site.

Apparently that wasn't good enough. Last week in St. Louis came the formal, public, written apology issued through the federation, which, those close to Solo have suggested, looked suspiciously like someone else authored it and demanded she endorse it.
Again, for what?

Solo's defense is that she spoke the truth while representing a nation that prides itself on its First Amendment. She said Ryan's decision to bench her for the semifinal after going 3-0-1 in the first four games and replace her with a goalkeeper who hadn't started in three months was “the wrong decision, and I think anybody who knows anything about the game knows that.” And indeed, anyone who knows anything about soccer has called it exactly that, both before and after the fact.
Solo also said, “There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves.”

Everyone keeps forgetting, but Scurry once said something eerily similar about Siri Mullinix, who started ahead of her in the 2000 Olympics. The Americans reached the final and lost 3-2 to Norway in overtime; two of the Norwegian goals were directly attributable to Mullinix gaffes.

After regaining the starting position, Scurry said she blamed herself for the Americans not winning the gold medal because she had let herself get out of shape in the glow of the 1999 World Cup victory – ultimately losing her spot to Mullinix.
“I honestly believe that in my heart, yes,” Scurry said in an interview before the 2003 World Cup. “I knew I could have made a difference in that match.”
Any way you spin it, she is ripping Mullinix, her teammate, and piercing that supposedly sacred veil of trust.
We're still waiting for her formal, public, written apology.

Scurry surely didn't intend to demean her teammate, just as Solo didn't intend to demean Scurry. The difference is that in 2003 Scurry played on a veteran team with veteran leadership. The 2007 team has Lilly, who was about No. 6 in the leadership pecking order a few years ago, and Abby Wambach, whose abrasive, in-your-face style often rubs players, several privately admit, the wrong way.

And you have Ryan, a man scrambling madly to keep his $175,000-a-year job.

Understand that Ryan did not include Solo on the roster for the post-World Cup exhibition tour out of some magnanimous gesture. He included her because he had to under terms of the contract between the federation and its national-team players. They are guaranteed $10,000 for the three-game series against Mexico, which continues tonight in Portland and concludes Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M.

October 16, 2007

W-League expands to Palisades in LA

It was announced today that the Pacific Palisades in the greater Los Angeles area will be the home of the newest W-League expansion team, the Pali Blues. California businessmen Ali Mansouri and Rudi Bianchi announced that they have secured the rights to the new team, which will be headed up by successful W-League coach Charlie Naimo.

October 06, 2007

Wambach played with a broken toe

She (Wambach) scored the 83rd goal of her international career in China and hit the century mark in caps (international appearances). All that with a broken big toe, which she hid from the media and other teams to avoid being targeted.

This is professionalism

"AC Milan star Kaka says team-mate Dida was "wrong" to react the way he did after being struck by a Celtic fan.
The goalkeeper collapsed dramatically after being hit in the face by the home supporter towards the end of Wednesday's 2-1 defeat at Celtic Park.
He was eventually stretchered off but has been criticised for overreacting.
"He made his choice and we will support him even though what he did was wrong. It was a difficult moment for him," Kaka told the club's official website."

This is how big boys act and how big girls should act.

October 04, 2007


Ms. Lilly said the team didn’t react as strongly as the media when Mr. Ryan announced he was benching Ms. Solo and starting Ms. Scurry against Brazil.
“We didn’t really have a problem with it,” she said.


Greg Ryan should’ve been fired on the plane ride home. Forget the stupid comments goalkeeper Hope Solo made. That, to me, is an expected consequence of an indefensible decision by Ryan to replace her with Brianna Scurry as the starting keeper for the semifinal. Scurry’s a fine keeper, but replacing Solo, who had started every
game up until then, would be like if the Beatles had replaced Ringo Starr before going on “The Ed Sullivan Show.”

Wanted: competent head coach

This game wasn't the only example of poor decision-making skills exhibited by Ryan. Commentators also routinely criticized the lack of substitutes used throughout the tournament. The incident involving Solo is just the final straw.
We should all be thanking Solo for her outburst, not kicking her off the team. The real person that needs to be replaced is Greg Ryan.
My vote for a replacement? Santa Clara's own Jerry Smith.

October 03, 2007


SOUNDBITE (English) "I feel like the job's not done. I'd love to stay on. I like myself and so I would pick me."

SUPERCAPTION: Greg Ryan (on his desire to remain USA head coach)

Heifetz circles the wagons

Aaron Heifetz, the press officer for the USWNT, was not amused that I'd sent the squad's goalkeeper coach, Phil Wheddon, an email asking for an interview.
All the cast and crew are on vacation right now, though, so Aaron isn't setting up any interviews.

October 02, 2007

Phil Wheddon

On October 29th we have asked whether or not Phil Wheddon agreed with the keeper change.
It turns out that Wheddon was strongly opposed to dropping Solo.
The plot thickens... stay tuned.

They simply folded

The U.S. women's soccer team has been the leader of promoting women's athletics on the national and international levels for a decade now.
Until now.

Today, they're an embarrassment and have a lot work to do to regain respect.
The embarrassment was caused by the decision to shun Hope Solo by of a bunch of thin-skinned players who acted like little girls with hurt feelings instead of real athletes.
Solo might not have shown herself to be the best teammate, but the rest of the team didn't show any more class.
The team could have rallied around each other in spite of Ryan's decision and in spite of Solo's comments. They didn't. They simply folded.

October 01, 2007

Will Solo agree to appear on “Late Show with David Letterman”?

Producers of “Late Show with David Letterman” are discussing booking Hope Solo for the show next week.

Broadcasters strike gold in final coverage

It was not just defending champions Germany that struck gold on Sunday. The TV broadcasters for the two finalists of the FIFA Women's World Cup China 2007, ZDF in Germany and Rede Bandeirantes in Brazil, set new records in spite of unfavourable time differences.
Rede Bandeirantes reached the extraordinary rating of around 15 points, three times above the average of an entire Sunday and way beyond the channel's expectations.
Germany's national channel ZDF achieved an audience of 9.05 million viewers representing a market share of 50.5 per cent. The broadcast rights holder, who shared the event broadcast over the three weeks with ARD, was delighted with these results which beat the highest UEFA Champions League audience from the 2005/06 season (8.1 million viewers for the live primetime coverage of the Milan - Bayern Munich tie).

Dorrance sexual harassment lawsuit

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition Monday to hear arguments in the sexual harassment case against the women's soccer coach at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, knocking down the final legal barrier to a jury trial.

Former player Melissa Jennings first sued coach Anson Dorrance in 1998, saying the decorated coach maintained a hostile environment filled with sexual harassment. The former backup goalkeeper said the abuse violated Title IX by denying her the benefits of collegiate sports.

U.S. District Court Judge N. Carlton Tilley Jr. in Greensboro had dismissed Jennings' lawsuit in October 2004, but the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resurrected the case earlier this year, saying Jennings deserved a trial to hear the harassment claims. The Supreme Court order Monday puts the case back in Tilley's court.

"The delays are over," said Jennings' attorney, Daniel Konicek of Geneva, Ill. "Now she's prepared more than ever to see it through."

Ryan wants to hang on

"I want to continue on as the head coach," declared Greg Ryan. "I don't feel like my job is yet done with this team."

This hype won't revive WUSA

Can a 2008 version of the WUSA survive?
Not if it's hoping to draw the crowds of dozens that tuned in to watch the games live on ESPN2.