Courage trade Darian Jenkins to Reign FC in exchange for 2019 first-round draft pick

NewsDecember 17

2018 Concacaf Awards nominations list

NewsDecember 17

Colaprico picks up first two USWNT caps in a busy offseason

FeatureDecember 13

Registration open for the 2019 NWSL College Draft

NWSL College DraftDecember 12

Notebook: Celia Jiménez Delgado signs with Reign FC; more offseason news

NewsDecember 12

Christine Sinclair named 2018 Canadian Player of the Year

NewsDecember 11

James Clarkson named head coach of the Houston Dash

NewsDecember 11

6 games to watch at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

WWC2019December 08

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw: Complete results

WWC2019December 08

U.S. to face familiar foe Sweden in Group F, along with Thailand and Chile at the Women’s World Cup

WWC2019December 08

Alex Morgan Voted 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

NewsDecember 07

Pots finalized for Women’s World Cup Draw

WWC2019December 07

Schedule set for U.S. women’s national team ahead of the Women’s World Cup

NewsDecember 06

What to watch for: 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

WWC2019December 05

Charting a course to coaching

FeatureDecember 04

What you need to know: FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw

WWC2019December 03

Ada Hegerberg wins Ballon d’Or; Marta and Kerr finish in Top 5

NewsDecember 03

New Zealand clinches final spot in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

WWC2019December 01

Q&A: Jenn Hildreth previews the College Cup

Q&ANovember 30

NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer College Cup Guide

NewsNovember 29

2019 season to begin weekend of April 13-14; schedule details announced

NewsNovember 28

Six NWSL players nominated for 2018 Canadian Player of the Year

CANWNTNovember 28

South Africa and Nigeria qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

WWC2019November 27

Off the Crossbar

Best of 2018November 26

CAF, OFC Women’s World Cup qualifiers

WWC2019November 26

Orlando City SC parts ways with GM Niki Budalic

NewsNovember 26

NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer Tournament Guide

NewsNovember 21

Ertz, Heath, Horan, Morgan, Rapinoe nominated for U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

USWNTNovember 20

Registration for NWSL College Draft opens Monday; Eligibility rules amended

NWSL College DraftNovember 16

NWSL, NWSLPA reach voluntary recognition agreement

NewsNovember 15

Morgan scores as U.S. picks up 1-0 win over Scotland

USWNTNovember 13

Schedule & Results: NWSL on international duty

NewsNovember 13

2019 NWSL College Draft to take place on Jan. 10 at 12 p.m. ET

NWSL College DraftNovember 08

McDonald’s first international goal gives U.S. 1-0 win over Portugal

USWNTNovember 08

Ubogagu scores for England in her international debut

NewsNovember 08

Players of the Week

Best of 2018November 07

Watch full games from the 2018 NWSL season

Full GamesNovember 05

Players of the Month

Best of 2018November 02

Orlando City SC announces new training complex set for July 2019

NewsNovember 02

John Walker named Dash and Dynamo president of business operations

NewsNovember 01

NWSL announces partnership with Soccerex

NewsNovember 01

Header and Free Kick Goals

Best of 2018October 31

Chioma Ubogagu called up by England for November friendlies

NewsOctober 30

Ellis calls in 23 NWSL players for U.S. games in Portugal and Scotland

USWNTOctober 26

Houston Dash president Chris Canetti resigns

NewsOctober 26

The NWSL guide to the W-League

NWSL AbroadOctober 24

U.S. to travel to Portugal and Scotland for November road friendlies

USWNTOctober 23

O’Hara out 8-12 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic ankle procedure

NewsOctober 23

Goals and Saves of the Week

Best of 2018October 19

U.S. wins Concacaf Women’s Championship with 2-0 win over Canada

ConcacafOctober 17

Courage trade Darian Jenkins to Reign FC in exchange for 2019 first-round draft pick

With the trade, the Courage now have the fifth, ninth, 14th and 36th picks in the 2019 NWSL College Draft

Jenkins played 13 games for the Courage this past season. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

The North Carolina Courage have traded the rights to forward Darian Jenkins to Seattle Reign FC in exchange for Seattle’s first-round draft pick (ninth overall) in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, the clubs announced on Monday. Following the trade, the Reign signed Jenkins for the 2019 season.

The trade means that the Courage now have the fifth, ninth, 14th and 36th picks in the 2019 NWSL College Draft, and that the Reign no longer have any picks in the upcoming draft. The draft will be held on January 10 at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago, Illinois.

Last January, Seattle sent defender Merritt Mathias and a second-round draft pick to North Carolina in exchange for their first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft. This trade now returns the first-round pick to the Courage. Full 2019 NWSL College Draft order

After being selected in the first round in the 2017 NWSL College Draft out of UCLA, Jenkins didn’t make her professional debut until 2018 after spending her true rookie season rehabbing from a leg injury. In 2018, Jenkins appeared in 13 matches for the Courage and helped the Courage capture the inaugural Women’s International Champions Cup by scoring the game-winner over Paris Saint-Germain to send her team to the ICC final. Jenkins’ NWSL debut was against Portland Thorns FC on March 24 where the Courage went on to defeat the Thorns 1-0.

 

 

 

2018 Concacaf Awards nominations list

Voting closes January 8

United States/Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan (left) and Canada/Seattle Reign FC forward Adriana Leon (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The 2018 Concacaf Awards nominations have been announced and several NWSL players have made the list. Voting is open to Concacaf national team head coaches, Concacaf national team captains, select media and fans. Voting closes Tuesday, January 8. The link to vote can be found in all categories can be found here and links directly to each category are listed below.

The award spans the time period from January 1, 2018 to December 10, 2018. (Rules and eligibility requirements)

Here are the NWSL players nominated in each category:

 

Female Player of the Year | Vote

 

Female Goalkeeper of the Year | Vote

 

Female Best XI – Defenders | Vote

 

Female Best XI — Midfielders | Vote

 

Female Best XI — Forwards | Vote

 

Goal of the Year | Vote

Colaprico picks up first two USWNT caps in a busy offseason

Colaprico made her first two USWNT appearances in November

Danielle Colaprico made her USWNT debut on November 8 vs. Portugal. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The stillness of the NWSL offseason is in effect for some. While for others, it can be just as busy and filled with opportunity as ever. For Danielle Colaprico, it has been filled with an array of emotions, thousands of miles traveled, and her first caps at the U.S. senior level.

In late October, the U.S. women’s national team announced the roster for the final pair of friendlies of 2018 in Europe versus Portugal and Scotland – and that roster included Colaprico.

The news came just as she had settled in Australia for the W-League season.

Colaprico got the confirmation that she had been invited into camps just 48 hours after landing in Australia, and thought maybe it was the jet lag kicking in when she learned the news. “I thought I was dreaming to be honest. I was like – ‘Is this actually happening?’” the Chicago Red Stars midfielder said.

The W-League in Australia has become a viable option for NWSL players looking for a professional game environment in their NWSL offseasons. Colaprico had played for Adelaide in previous years, but this season she wanted the chance to challenge herself in with another team in Sydney FC. Little did she know that an even bigger challenge would come knocking.

“Getting called [into camps] was a little bit of a shock, but obviously very exciting and I’m very grateful for that,” Colaprico said. This call-up meant Colaprico would have to tell her new club and new head coach that she would be leaving for two weeks.

“I had to ask [Sydney FC head coach Ante Juric] if I could get away for two weeks and with asking that I had to miss a game. Which I didn’t like because I had made a commitment to this team and I don’t like making commitments and then backing out. Our coach was super understanding of the situation and I’m very thankful for that because it was a huge opportunity to go into this camp and potentially get my first cap.”

With the pair of friendlies being in Europe, Colaprico would now have to travel even more miles during the offseason – but seeing the supportive reaction from back home to the roster announcement helped alleviate some of the travel burden.

“Honestly, just reading all the tweets and posts from all the fans, especially the ones in Chicago, just made me smile over here a whole bunch and made me really happy to know that they are so supportive of the whole team in Chicago and everyone on the Red Stars and that’s what makes [playing there] so special.”

While the recent call up wasn’t Colaprico’s first at the senior level, it was her first in two years. Colaprico was named NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2015 and was first invited into camps that December through January 2016. She received her second call up in October of 2016.

She admits that she struggled with an injury through those camps initially, and when called into a second camp, she faced some mental hurdles. “I just had really bad patella tendonitis and it was an injury that you could play though or you can sit out. Obviously getting called into the national team, like every athlete would, they want to participate, they want to be part of it,” Colaprico said.

Now, two years later and a veteran player on the Red Stars, she said her approach to this camp was different and that she has grown as a player from years prior. “Going into these camps my focus was just to be the best player I could be.”

On the way to the game against Portugal on November 8, Colaprico knew that she would dress and be available for selection. After some first game nerves on the bus, she gave herself a small pep talk in the locker room, and once warm ups began, she felt immediately at ease.

“After warm ups, after touching the ball and realizing that it was just a soccer game … this is my job. I do this every day. That was kind of reassuring to myself. To know that this is what I train for every day. Just believing in yourself and knowing that you are a great player and the people that called you into this camp believe in you and that’s why you’re here.”

Third camp was a charm. As the second half began vs. Portugal, Colaprico subbed on and earned her first cap with the U.S. women’s national team. With Portugal looking for an equalizer, the frantic second half was not unfamiliar for Colaprico, and in fact played into the type of athlete she is on the pitch.

Colaprico has typically played as a defensive midfielder for the Chicago Red Stars — a role that isn’t usually viewed as flashy, but is a crucial link between the defense and the offense. Her presence on the Red Stars has brought a sense of stability though moments of chaos.

“We were in a game with Portugal where I thought the game was very hectic. So for me I thought, ‘As long as you can go in the game, get on the ball, calm the game down, it’ll be OK.’”

Colaprico then earned her second cap versus Scotland five days later, subbing on in the 76th minute. The two caps for Colaprico came after a strong season in the NWSL that saw her lead the league in chances created with 48. She also ranked among the league leaders in assists, duels won, tackles won and total touches as the Red Stars made the playoffs for the fourth straight season.

“Being on the Chicago Red Stars has helped me so much. I owe a lot of credit to Rory [Dames, Red Stars head coach] who believed in me in the first place in drafting me to the Red Stars,” she said. “Chicago is a second home for me now. It’s amazing going to work every day and you’re playing with a team that is so good and everyone wants to get better every day and you don’t have that in most environments.”

Team culture, team chemistry and team environment with the Red Stars is something Colaprico directly attributes to her growth as a player over the last few years. “That makes it a lot easier to develop as a player each year. I think that’s something important.”

“I owe a lot of credit to the Red Stars for helping me get to where I am as a player. I don’t think I would be the player I am today if I didn’t have those teammates and the coaching staff that I do at the Red Stars.”

 

Registration open for the 2019 NWSL College Draft

The 2019 NWSL College Draft will take place on Jan. 10 at 12 p.m. ET

Registration is now open for the 2019 NWSL College Draft.

The link to register and eligibility requirements can be found here: http://www.nwslsoccer.com/collegedraft

The 2019 NWSL College Draft order can be found here.

To follow all the action of the 2019 NWSL College Draft, use #NWSLDraft and follow the NWSL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Full details about the 2019 NWSL College Draft, including the amended eligibility requirements are below from the league’s official news release.

 

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2019 NWSL COLLEGE DRAFT OPENS ON MONDAY

CHICAGO (Nov. 16, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will open registration for the 2019 NWSL College Draft on Monday, Nov. 19. The 2019 College Draft will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 at 12 p.m. ET at the United Soccer Coaches Convention at McCormick Place in Chicago.

 In addition, the NWSL has amended the eligibility rules for a player to register for the 2019 College Draft, allowing more players the ability to enter the draft and determine the right time for them to pursue a professional career.

 In order to be eligible for the 2019 NWSL College Draft, a player must:

  • Be a player who will forego any remaining college eligibility or must have exhausted their eligibility during the 2018/2019 academic year, and
  • Be at least 18-years-old during the College Protected Period (which ends at the conclusion of the 2019 season), and
  • Register for the draft with the NWSL by the deadline at 4 pm ET on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

 The League will review each College Draft registration form. No player may be selected who has not registered for the College Draft; unregistered and ineligible players will not be included on the list of interested players provided to the teams on the day of the College Draft.

Interested players can access the online registration on Monday via the following link: http://www.nwslsoccer.com/collegedraft.

The draft will be held in the Skyline Ballroom at McCormick Place and will be open to the public and media. In addition, NWSL will once again live stream the draft with more details to be announced.  

The latest order for the 2019 College Draft and all past results from the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 drafts can be found on NWSLsoccer.com.

 The United Soccer Coaches Convention will take place Jan. 9-13, 2019 in Chicago — bringing thousands of coaches, administrators and other soccer enthusiasts together in one place. For a complete schedule of events and more information about the convention, please visit the official website at unitedsoccercoachesconvention.org

 

Notebook: Celia Jiménez Delgado signs with Reign FC; more offseason news

The latest news from the NWSL offseason

Seattle Reign FC announced the club has signed Celia Jiménez Delgado for the 2019 NWSL season. (Photo credit: Urszula Striner/FC Rosengård)

Seattle Reign FC has signed Spanish national team defender Celia Jiménez Delgado for the 2019 season, the club announced on Wednesday.

Delgado was selected by the Reign as the 36th overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft out of the University of Alabama. She trained with the Reign throughout the season while also playing for Seattle Sounders Women and later joining FC Rosengård in Sweden where she recorded six starts and scored one goal. At the international level, Delgado has earned 19 caps for the Spanish national team.


Delgado was the most recent signing, however several players across the league have been re-signed by clubs. The Washington Spirit announced earlier this month the re-signing of forward Estefanía Banini

Banini appeared in 12 games for the Spirit this season, earning 11 starts and scoring one goal. Banini has spent the NWSL offseason on a loan with Spanish club Levante Unión Deportiva in Liga Femenina Iberdrola.

Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe also re-signed with the Spirit earlier this offseason. Bledsoe led the NWSL in saves with 108 and also earned four shutouts.


The reigning NWSL champion North Carolina Courage re-signed captain Abby Erceg to a new contract. Erceg was named the 2018 NWSL Defender of the Year. “Re-signing was an easy decision,” said Erceg in a press release earlier this year. “Taking into consideration our success, the culture of the team and the support we receive, it left me very little option other than to sign for as long as I possibly could. I’m excited for the seasons ahead.”


In November, Orlando Pride forward Sydney Leroux announced her pregnancy on Twitter.

 

 

Christine Sinclair named 2018 Canadian Player of the Year

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named the Canadian Player of the Year

Sinclair has 177 international goals. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair has been named the Canadian Player of the Year, Canada Soccer announced on Tuesday.

Sinclair takes home the award for the 14th time in her 19 years with the national team. The Canadian Player of the Year is voted by Canadian media and Canadian coaches.

In 2018 Sinclair led Canada in goal scoring with eight goals in addition to two assists over 12 international games. She also helped Canada qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup by chipping in two goals in Canada 7-0 win over Panama on October 14. Sinclair has 177 international goals to date, which is second place in all-time goal scoring behind just former U.S. women’s national team forward Abby Wambach (184 goals.)

In the NWSL, Sinclair scored nine goals and added six assists in 2,160 minutes played for Portland Thorns FC. She also led her team to their second consecutive NWSL Championship. Her six assists were tied for third-best in the league and she was second in scoring for the Thorns, behind the NWSL’s 2018 Most Valuable Player, midfielder Lindsey Horan (13 goals).

Six NWSL players were also also nominated for 2018 Canadian Player of the Year, Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC) and Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride). Also on the list was former Sky Blue FC forward Janine Beckie, who transferred to Manchester City FC during the 2018 season.

James Clarkson named head coach of the Houston Dash

Clarkson was introduced at BBVA Compass Stadium on Tuesday

James Clarkson was introduced as head coach of the Houston Dash on Tuesday. (Photo credit: Houston Dash)

The Houston Dash named James Clarkson head coach on Tuesday afternoon, at a press conference at BBVA Compass Stadium. Dash managing director Brian Ching introduced Clarkson at a press conference with the media on Tuesday afternoon in Houston.

Clarkson spent 2007 to 2018 with the Houston Dynamo Academy, most recently as director of youth development. He helped launch Brazos Valley Cavalry FC, Houston’s Premier Development League affiliate and served as head coach of the team from 2017 to 2018. Clarkson also organized the Dash’s summer scrimmage with Rayadas de Monterrey, the first NWSL/Liga MX Femenil scrimmage, the Dash said in a news release announcing his hiring.

Clarkson and the Dash said the technical staff would now include two full-time assistants and a full-time goalkeeping coach and that the full staff is expected to be announced in the coming days. Clarkson said he had already spoken with almost every player on the team.

We want to create the right sort of culture, the right environment. We want it to be competitive. We want them to compete Monday to Friday, and ultimately have a real impact on a Saturday. I want the players to come to training every day feeling that they’ve got a chance to making the starting XI,” he said.

Clarkson’s tenure comes following the departure of Vera Pauw on September 20 after Pauw was the head coach of the team in 2018. He takes over a Houston Dash side that had its best-ever season in 2018, finishing with a 9-10-5 record, 32 points and 35 goals scored, all franchise bests. Dash forward Rachel Daly finished fourth in the league in scoring, with 10 regular season goals. Despite the strong season, the Dash missed out on the playoffs, and have never made the postseason in their five seasons in the NWSL.

Both Ching and Clarkson spoke about building on what Pauw accomplished in 2018.

“Haven’t really gotten a chance to publicly thank Vera Pauw for her service to the club over the past year. I think she’s done a fantastic job of really getting us organized and really bringing this team to a point where I think that we’re going to start competing for the playoffs as we move forward,” Ching said.

I thought Vera did a terrific job. She laid down a fantastic foundation that I’m fortunate enough to be able to inherit and the squad is strong. They’re a great group of players and they want to win,” Clarkson said.

Clarkson will be the third full-time head coach of the Dash, joining Pauw and inaugural head coach Randy Waldrum. Omar Morales served as interim coach in 2017.

[Clarkson] really understands the game. He’s lived the game, breathed the game, from his beginnings basically. A lot of that came though, in every conversation I had, more and more. One of the things that we really wanted to do was find a coach that could make that right connection with the players. I think that’s something that we’ve lacked in the past. I think we’ve had great coaches who had great soccer minds, but I think that connection with the players wasn’t quite where it needed to be,” Ching said.

Clarkson praised last year’s attacking presence — the team ranked fourth in goals scored — but noted that the Dash conceded a lot of goals — second most in the NWSL.

“Maintaining that attacking play while trying to avoid conceding as many goals and getting a little bit stingier at the back is vitally important,” he said. “For me, my philosophy has always been [that] I want to attack. I think it’s entertainment. So we’ve got to try to put a product on the field that’s going to be entertaining and that’s usually scoring goals and attacking, so that’s what I want to do.”

The first task of the 2019 season for Clarkson and the Dash will be the NWSL College Draft on January 10 in Chicago. The Dash have six picks in the draft — four in the second round and two in the third round.

This season also presents a challenge as national team players miss games due to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. The Dash have players with national team experience for Women’s World Cup participants South Africa, Canada, England, the United States and Australia.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do. Preparing for the draft. Getting ourselves organized. Especially with the World Cup coming up, it’s going to be really important for us to fill out the roster and make sure we’ve got depth and we’re competitive, especially when our national team players are away,” Clarkson said.

“Hopefully they’re away for a long time. They’re on teams that have a chance and could go a long way in the tournament, so we may miss them for a large number of games, but we want them to be successful because it’s a fantastic opportunity to play in the World Cup.”

Clarkson holds a UEFA A License, USC Advanced National Diploma, USSF ‘A’ and National Youth and Academy Director License.

6 games to watch at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup begins on June 7

Portland Thorns FC and Brazil midfielder Andressinha (left) and Chicago Red Stars and Australia forward Sam Kerr (right) in action earlier this year. (Photo credit: Bill Barrett/isiphotos.com)

The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup draw took place on Saturday and the group stage games are set. Here are just a few of the games we’re most looking forward to.

The full schedule for the tournament is available on FIFA.com: Group Stage | Knockout Rounds

Results of the draw can also be found here.

 

Sweden vs. United States

June 20

Stade Océane; Le Harve

It wouldn’t be a group stage at the FIFA Women’s World Cup without a game between the United States and Sweden. This summer’s tournament will be the fifth consecutive group stage meeting between the two sides, and sixth overall group stage game (1991, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019). They have never met in the knockout stage of the Women’s World Cup.

They have, however, met in the knockout stage of the Olympics — Sweden beat the United States in penalty kicks in the quarterfinal of last year’s Olympics, to send the U.S. to their earliest exit ever in a major tournament. That game will be fresh on everyone’s minds when Sweden and the United States meet again on June 20 in the final group stage game for Group F.

 

Australia vs. Brazil

June 13

Stade de la Mosson; Montpellier

There’s always drama in the air when Australia and Brazil meet. Australia sent Brazil home in the Round of 16 in 2015 on a late stunner from Houston Dash forward Kyah Simon, and then Brazil returned the favor at the 2016 Olympics with a quarterfinal win in penalty kicks. They also met in the 2011 WWC group stage and the 2007 WWC quarterfinal, both games won by Brazil. They’ll meet in the second group stage game of Group C on June 13. There’s also the matter of Orlando Pride and Brazil forward Marta needing just two goals to set the all-time World Cup record, for women’s or men’s tournaments.

Read More: What to Watch for at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

 

Japan vs. England

June 19

Stade de Nice; Nice

England will face Japan in Group D, a rematch of the dramatic 2015 Women’s World Cup final, which saw England suffer a heartbreaking loss on a 92nd minute own goal. Japan captured the 2-1 win to advance to their second-straight Women’s World Cup Final. The two teams also met in the group stage of the 2007 and 2011 Women’s World Cups.

 

England vs. Scotland

June 9

Stade de Nice; Nice

Former Seattle Reign FC midfielder and 2014 NWSL MVP Kim Little and Scotland will make their Women’s World Cup debuts with a big game vs. their neighbor and rival England in the first game of Group D. England comes into the tournament with high expectations after finishing third in 2015. Group D has an average world ranking of 17, the highest of all the groups.

Netherlands vs. Canada

June 20

Stade Auguste-Delaune; Reims

Canada vs. Netherlands will be a big test for Canada, currently ranked No. 5 in the world. Canada took the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, and is hoping to carry that momentum into a strong showing next summer. The Netherlands claimed Europe’s final spot in the tournament by winning the play-off round and have jumped up to the No. 7 ranked team in the world. They won the Euros in 2017 and forward Lieke Martens claimed the title of FIFA The Best Women’s Player that year as well. Canada and Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair is also chasing the all-time career goal scoring record, which could be set in next summer’s tournament.

 

Germany vs. Spain

June 12

Stade du Hainaut; Valenciennes

Germany is ranked No. 2 in the world and won the 2016 Olympics. But they suffered a shock loss to Iceland in Women’s World Cup qualifying, and fell in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Euros. Gone is head coach Steffi Jones, who replaced Silvia Neid after the Olympics, with former Switzerland head coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg now set to take over. Spain, meanwhile, went 8-0 through their qualifying group, the only team to do so. They were led on offense by Jennifer Hermoso’s 7 goals and 9 assists in qualifying. Their youth teams have also had recent success, winning the U-17 Women’s World Cup, and finishing second at the U-20 tournament.

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw: Complete results

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup begins June 7

2019 FIFA Women's World Cup Draw (Photo credit: Maya Vidon-White/isiphotos.com)

The draw is complete and the groups are set for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, which begins on June 7 with France hosting Korea Republic at Parc des Princes in Paris. The draw was conducted on Saturday at Le Seine Musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia were the seeded teams in the draw in Pot 1, and sorted into Groups A through F.

The United States, defending champion and world No. 1, was drawn into Group F, along with Thailand, Chile and Sweden. It’s the fifth straight time the United States will meet Sweden in the group stage and is a rematch of the 2016 Olympic quarterfinal, won by Sweden.

Portland Thorns FC and United States midfielder Tobin Heath appeared on Fox Sports’ coverage of the draw to react to the matchups. “Obviously Sweden, there,” she said, when asked what stands out to her about the United States’ group. “Especially after the last Olympics. But it’s an interesting group for us. I think it’s a different kind of group than we’ve faced in the past.”

Canada was drawn into Group E, along with Cameroon, New Zealand and the 2017 European champion Netherlands.

Australia is in Group C with Italy, Brazil, Jamaica. Australia vs. Brazil will be a rematch of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Round of 16 game, won by Australia, and the 2016 Olympic quarterfinal, won by Brazil.

England was drawn into Group D with Scotland, Argentina and Japan. England vs. Japan will be a rematch of the 2015 Women’s World Cup semifinal, won by Japan on a late England own goal. Group D has an average world ranking of 17, the highest of all the groups.

France is joined in Group A by Korea Republic, Norway and Nigeria. Germany is in Group B with China PR, Spain and South Africa.

Read More: 6 games to watch at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

The full schedule for the tournament is available on FIFA.com: Group Stage | Knockout Rounds

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Groups

Group A: France, Korea Republic, Norway, Nigeria

Group B: Germany, China PR, Spain, South Africa

Group C: Australia, Italy, Brazil, Jamaica

Group D: England, Scotland, Argentina, Japan

Group E: Canada, Cameroon, New Zealand, Netherlands

Group F: United States, Thailand, Chile, Sweden

  • Seven teams have qualified for every Women’s World Cup: Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, United States
  • Four teams are making their Women’s World Cup debuts: Chile, Jamaica, Scotland, South Africa
  • FIFA’s latest women’s world rankings

The United States will face Sweden in the final Group F game on June 20. Sweden knocked the United States out of the 2016 Olympics in penalty kicks in the quarterfinals.

“Immediately when they got put in our group, it was the memories of 2016 coming back and just knowing that we need to get a little bit of redemption,” U.S. and Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara said on Major League Soccer’s live Twitter stream ahead of the 2018 MLS Cup in Atlanta on Saturday night.

U.S. to face familiar foe Sweden in Group F, along with Thailand and Chile at the Women’s World Cup

The U.S. will meet Sweden for the sixth time in the group stage of the Women's World Cup

The U.S. and Sweden last met in a friendly in June of 2017. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

They’ve already met in five of the past seven group stages, so it’s no surprise that the United States and Sweden were both drawn into Group F of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but the game carries some extra attention this time around following the 2016 Olympics.

On August 12, 2016, in the quarterfinals of the Olympics in Brazil, Sweden beat the United States in penalty kicks to send the U.S. to their earliest exit ever at a major international tournament. Next summer, they’ll be meeting in the group stage for the fifth consecutive Women’s World Cup and sixth time overall.

“Sweden is a good matchup for us in terms of just probably anticipating a team that’s going to slow the tempo a little bit and maybe sit in a little bit. Again, I think we are further along in the track in terms of being able to manage that scenario if it’s presented [to] us with our personnel,” U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis said in a conference call with reporters on Saturday following the draw.

“They obviously have a different coach [from 2016]. They have some new faces. They have some familiar faces, as do we. So I think it’s going to be a game that’s pretty tactical in terms of that.”

Sweden head coach Peter Gerhardsson replaced Pia Sundhage following the 2017 Euros, so it’ll be his first time facing the United States.

“It’s history. Even if I don’t have a history [with the U.S.], but many people have a history. My players have a history,” Gerhardsson told ussoccer.com after the draw. “It’s going to be a big game, an interesting game, and, of course, important game.”

Sweden was seeded into Pot 2, along with the Netherlands, Japan, Brazil, Spain and Norway, meaning that no matter which team was drawn into Group F, it would’ve presented a challenge for the United States. “That second group of six teams, there’s not one you’d really pick,” Ellis said.

Joining the United States and Sweden in Group F are Thailand and Women’s World Cup debutants Chile. The United States will begin defense of their 2015 title on June 11 vs. Thailand at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims (3 p.m. ET). They’ll then face Chile on June 16 at Parc des Princes in Paris (9 a.m. ET), before the meeting with Sweden on June 20 at Stade Océane in Le Havre (3 p.m. ET).

One player in particular who is excited about the game in Paris: Portland Thorns FC and U.S. midfielder Lindsay Horan, who started her professional career in France, playing for Paris Saint-Germain.

“Of course, if I make the team, playing in Paris would be surreal for me. I might actually start crying getting back to where it all started for me,” she said in comments shared by U.S. Soccer.

The United States and Sweden have met in the group stage in 1991, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, and now will do the same in 2019. Ellis said she told Swedish media before the draw that the U.S. would be drawn with Sweden.

“It’s like a rule now that we have to face them every time in the opening round,” Seattle Reign FC and U.S. forward Megan Rapinoe said in comments shared by U.S. Soccer.

“I just knew they were going to be in our group,” Sky Blue FC/U.S. midfielder Carli Lloyd said in the U.S. Soccer news release. “I think obviously, looking back to the last big tournament, we have that bad taste in our mouth from the last time we played them. For us, it’s even more motivation.”

Sweden vs. United States will be the final group stage game for both sides, like it was in 2011, when Sweden won, dropping the U.S. to second in the group and setting up the epic quarterfinal win over Brazil in Dresden, Germany.

“Obviously Sweden, there,” Portland Thorns FC and USWNT midfielder Tobin Heath said on Fox Sports when asked what stands out to her about the United States’ group. “Especially after the last Olympics. But it’s an interesting group for us. I think it’s a different kind of group than we’ve faced in the past.”

Utah Royals FC and USWNT defender Kelley O’Hara, speaking with Major League Soccer ahead of the 2018 MLS Cup in Atlanta, said she thought of the 2016 loss when Sweden was added to Group F. “Immediately when they got put in our group, it was the memories of 2016 coming back and just knowing that we need to get a little bit of redemption,” she said.

On paper, Group F is one of the weaker groups in the tournament, based on world rankings. Sweden is ranked No. 9 in the world, and are the Olympic silver medalists. But Chile is ranked No. 38 and making their Women’s World Cup debut. Thailand is ranked No. 29 and appearing in their second Women’s World Cup after debuting in 2015.

I think you can spin it either way in terms of your group. I think last time around we were in, people labeled it I think the Group of Death. … I think ultimately it all falls on us to be ready and this group knows how to kick that switch in terms of knowing when it’s the knockout. Regardless of who we play in our group, I think we know what’s at stake when it’s win or go home,” Ellis said.

“Whatever teams were rolled out in front of us, you’ve got to play and you’ve got to prepare. I think we will be really locked on because we do know we’ve got to get points in those games. Having played Chile twice [in 2018], it certainly helped, because they were a complete unknown.”

Though United States won it all in 2015, Ellis said it’s not about defending a title, it’s about attacking a new one in 2019.

“Some of these players that are going to play in this World Cup weren’t on that team. So they’re not really defending a trophy. They are going to attack a new one. That’s going to be our mindset about this World Cup. Sure, we are quote/unquote the defending champions, but we have to approach this like we are a team that has a unique opportunity. I think we’re incredibly talented. A lot of good things have to fall into place to win a World Cup. It’s really about what’s in front of us than what we’ve done previously,” Ellis said.

For now, the focus is on Game 1 vs. Thailand.

“The most important game is the first one,” Ellis said. “I know everybody says that, but it is because you want to have that good feeling going into that second game, so I think we will come full throttle in the first opening match.”


More coverage of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup:

Alex Morgan Voted 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

Morgan scored 18 goals in 19 games this year for the U.S. national team

The Orlando Pride forward has won U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year twice. (Photo credit: Robin Alam/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan is the 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, U.S. Soccer announced on Friday.

The award was voted on by U.S. women’s national team coaches, national team players who appeared in 2018, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer’s Athletes’ Council, NWSL head coaches, former players and administrators, select college coaches and select members of the media.

The other four nominees for the award included Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz, Portland Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns forward Tobin Heath and Seattle Reign forward Megan Rapinoe.

Morgan led the USWNT in scoring this year with 18 goals in 19 games. She also picked up three assists. This is the second time she has earned the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award; she earned her first in 2012.

Morgan had six multiple-goal games this year. On July 26 against Japan in the Tournament of the Nations, she scored a hat trick that moved her to third place all-time in the U.S. for multiple-goal games. She has 26 multiple-goal games in her career which is tied with Michelle Akers (26), and behind just Mia Hamm (38) and Abby Wambach (45).

After her performance in 2018, Morgan is just two goals shy of reaching 100 career goals with the national team.

In the NWSL, Morgan helped the Orlando Pride by scoring five goals and earning two assists in 1,500 minutes played over 19 games. Morgan had 25 chances created for the Pride and also won 94 duels, 56 of which were aerial duels, good for 12th in the NWSL.

“It was an incredible year for the U.S. Women’s National Team, going undefeated, and there were a lot of players that stepped up and played essential parts in leading this team,” Morgan said in U.S. Soccer’s release. “Of the five of players nominated, any one was deserving, so I am incredibly honored to have won this award.”

In addition to the announcement of the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award, U.S. Soccer also awarded the Young Female Player of the Year award on Friday, recognizing Stanford University junior defender  Tierna Davidson.

Pots finalized for Women’s World Cup Draw

The draw for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup will take place on December 8

Australia and the United States are among six teams seeded into Pot 1 for Saturday's Women's World Cup Draw. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

With one day to go before the draw for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the pots are finalized for the 24 qualified teams. The pots are based on the latest world rankings, released on Friday. Teams from the four pots will then be drawn into six groups on Saturday from Le Seine Musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

 

Pot 1: France, United States, Germany, England, Canada, Australia

Pot 2: Netherlands, Japan, Sweden, Brazil, Spain, Norway

Pot 3: Korea Republic, China PR, Italy, New Zealand, Scotland, Thailand

Pot 4: Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Jamaica

 

Read More — What you need to know: FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw

When

Saturday, December 8, at 12 p.m. ET, from Le Seine Musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

Where To Watch

For viewers in the United States, the draw will air on FS2, the Fox Sports app, Telemundo, Universo and the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app. More details. Coverage on FS2 and the Fox Sports app begins at 11:30 a.m. ET, and users who subscribe to FS1 will be able to watch on the app, even if they don’t get FS2. Coverage on Telemundo and Universo, as well as the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app will begin at 11:55 a.m. ET.

FIFA.com will also be streaming the draw, with certain restrictions depending on the user’s country.

How the Draw Works

The twenty-four teams will be divided evenly across four pots, based on world rankings. The top six teams will be seeded into Pot 1, based on FIFA’s women’s world rankings, the next six teams will be in Pot 2, and then Pots 3 and 4 after that. Pot 1 will include host nation France, who are automatically assigned to Group A. As teams are drawn, they will be be added to groups alphabetically, Groups A through F. Pot 1 teams will be placed in the No. 1 position in those groups. When the draw is complete, each group will contain four teams.

Other than countries from Europe, no two teams from the same confederation can be drawn into the same group. Europe has nine teams, so there is a minimum of one and a maximum of two European teams for the groups.

Schedule set for U.S. women’s national team ahead of the Women’s World Cup

The USWNT will play 10-games in 10-cities ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

The U.S. went unbeaten in 2018. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The schedule leading up to next summer’s 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup is set for the U.S. women’s national team, U.S. Soccer announced on Thursday. The USWNT will play in 10 games in 10 cities as a part of their “Countdown to the Cup” tour. The games will run from January until May, with the USWNT set to play two games in Europe and eight domestic matches ahead of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, which runs from June 7 to July 7.

The TV broadcast information for all of the pre-World Cup matches in 2019 will be announced next year, but in the meantime you can watch the 2019 World Cup Draw on Saturday, December 8 (12 p.m. ET; FS2 and FOX Sports App, Telemundo.) [What you need to know: FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw]

First up on the schedule, the USWNT will travel abroad to face France and Spain in January. The USWNT will get to experience one of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup venues right off the bat when they take on France at Stade Oceane in Le Havre, France on January 19. On January 22, the USWNT will take on Spain, another team that will be competing in the Women’s World Cup this upcoming summer.

After the two games abroad, the USWNT will play in the 2019 SheBelieves Cup against Japan on February 27 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania, England on March 2 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, and Brazil on March 5 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Japan and Brazil, regulars at the Tournament of Nations, are new teams for the SheBelieves Cup, replacing France and Germany. There will be no Tournament of Nations this summer, as it is only played in years without a Women’s World Cup or Olympics.

On April 4, they will face Australia at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado and then Belgium on April 7 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California. The USWNT will close out the tour with a three-match send-off series against South Africa on May 12 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, a to-be-determined team on May 16 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, and Mexico on May 26 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

“This schedule checks a lot of important boxes in our preparation for the World Cup,” USWNT head coach Jill Ellis said in a press release. “We’ll get to experience a variety of teams in regard to their strengths and styles of play and almost all of the countries will be in their World Cup preparation as well. We are playing tough games in Europe, which is vitally important, and also get to play quality opponents in front of our home fans at venues all across the USA. It will go fast, but these games will be a major factor in pushing us to be at our peak once we arrive in France next summer.”


2019 USWNT Schedule (all times Eastern)
Jan. 19 vs. France | 2:30 p.m. | Stade Océane; Le Havre, France
Jan. 22 vs. Spain | 2:30 p.m. | Estadio José Rico Perez; Alicante, Spain
Feb. 27 vs. Japan (SheBelieves) | 7 p.m. | Talen Energy Stadium; Chester, Pennsylvania
Mar. 2 vs. England (SheBelieves) | 4:30 p.m. | Nissan Stadium; Nashville, Tennessee
Mar. 5 vs. Brazil (SheBelieves) | 8 p.m. | Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Florida
Apr. 4 vs. Australia | 9 p.m. | Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colorado
Apr. 7 vs. Belgium | 9 p.m. | Banc of California Stadium; Los Angeles, California
May 12 vs. South Africa | 4:30 p.m. | Levi’s Stadium; Santa Clara, California
May 16 vs. TBA | 8 p.m. | Busch Stadium; St. Louis, Missouri
May 26 vs. Mexico | 12 p.m. ET | Red Bull Arena; Harrison, New Jersey

What to watch for: 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

An early look at what to watch for at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

(Left to right) Portland Thorns FC/Canada forward Christine Sinclair, Chicago Red Stars/Australia forward Sam Kerr and Seattle Reign FC/United States forward Megan Rapinoe (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

We’re just days away from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw, when we’ll find out all the games for the group stage of next summer’s tournament in France. We’re very excited and have been running simulations for the draw daily, thanks to FIFA.com.

What you need to know: FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw

We’ll have plenty of coverage and time to discuss more things we’re looking forward to over the next six months, but for now here are just some of the things we can’t wait to see this summer.

 

NWSL Stars in Action

Players who were named to Women’s World Cup qualifying rosters for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, England, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa and the United States all appeared on NWSL rosters in 2018, with players coming from all nine NWSL teams. There will likely plenty of NWSL talent to follow over the summer in France.

 

The Defending Champions

Only once in the history of the Women’s World Cup has a team successfully defended their title — when Germany won in 2007 after winning in 2003. The United States will be attempting to defend their 2015 title, earned with a 5-2 win over Japan in the final thanks to Sky Blue FC forward Carli Lloyd’s epic hat trick and a shutdown defense.

The No. 1 ranked team in the world boasts the reigning NWSL MVP in Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan, as well as MVP finalist Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe. They’ve also got Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan — who scored a stunning 18 goals in 19 games in 2018 for the USWNT — leading the forward line. Almost all of the U.S. women’s national team plays in the NWSL.

Records

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair has 177 career international goals, just seven behind U.S. legend Abby Wambach’s record of 184. Wambach is the only player, man or woman, to have scored more international goals than Sinclair. If things go well in the first half of the year for Sinclair, she could very well set the record during the Women’s World Cup.

Orlando Pride forward Marta is already the Women’s World Cup all-time leading scorer, with 15 career goals in 17 matches. With two more goals, she will become the World Cup all-time leading scorer, man or woman, passing Germany’s Miroslav Klose’s record of 16 in 24 matches.

 

Sam Kerr

France 2019 will be Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr’s third Women’s World Cup, but her first since breaking a host of NWSL and Australia scoring records. The reigning two-time NWSL Golden Boot winner — and NWSL’s all-time leading scorer — leads the front line of an Australia team with high hopes for this summer’s tournament.

 

Future Stars

One of the best parts of each year’s tournament are finding out who the breakout stars will be, and there are already several players making their case to be that player next summer.

South Africa will be making its Women’s World Cup debut, led by the goal scoring performance of Thembi Kgatlana. The Houston Dash forward scored five goals during the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations to clinch a Women’s World Cup berth for South Africa and was named Player of the Tournament.

Forward Khadija “Bunny” Shaw of Jamaica, currently a senior at the University of Tennessee, scored 19 goals in 12 games to lead all goal scorers in World Cup qualifying, in any confederation. Shaw could be a top pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft on January 10.

Several NCAA college stars could find their onto Women’s World Cup rosters. UCLA senior Hailie Mace, also a likely top NWSL draft pick, has seen time with the U.S. women’s national team this year, as has Stanford junior defender Tierna Davidson, who could decide to leave school early and head to the NWSL draft, following changes to the eligibility requirements. UCLA forward Jessie Fleming and University of Florida forward Deanne Rose are two of several college players who could make their mark for Canada this summer.

We’re also hoping that North Carolina Courage midfielder Debinha will show off some of her skills for Brazil this summer.

Old Friends

This summer’s tournament will also be a chance to see former NWSL players on our televisions again. Former Seattle Reign FC midfielder — and 2014 NWSL MVP — Kim Little could be a key part of Scotland’s squad as they make their Women’s World Cup debuts. Little has been injured this fall, but should be recovered in time for France.

Among the other former NWSL players we could see next summer: France midfielder Amandine Henry, who won a title with Portland in 2017, as well as Australia’s Lisa DeVanna (Sky Blue FC/Boston Breakers/Washington Spirit/Orlando Pride) and Canada’s Janine Beckie (Houston Dash/Sky Blue FC) and Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit).

 

France as Host Nation

From the opening match in Paris to the semifinals and final in Lyon, France will surely put on a show. France’s highest Women’s World Cup finish was fourth in 2011. This year, the No. 4 ranked team in the world — led by Henry and striker Eugénie Le Sommer — will have their sights set on becoming the tournament’s fifth-ever champion. They’ll find out their group stage opponents on Saturday.

 

Host cities and venues

  • Parc des Princes in Paris
  • Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon
  • Stade des Alpes in Grenoble
  • Stade Océane in Le Havre
  • Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier
  • Allianz Riviera in Nice
  • Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims
  • Roazhon Park in Rennes
  • Stade de Hainaut in Valenciennes

 

 

 

Charting a course to coaching

NWSL players work towards C License this offseason

Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger is one of 21 players taking the C License course this offseason. (Photo credit: Al Sermeno/isiphotos.com)

It may be the offseason for most NWSL players, but nearly two dozen of the league’s best have been hard at work for the last two months in an attempt to earn their C License through U.S. Soccer.

Starting in late September, 21 players representing every team in the league met up in Salt Lake City to kick off the effort. First came a full week of 12-hour sessions, which was then followed by 10 weeks of homework assignments and practicums. This week, the course will culminate with the players meeting up in Utah once again for their final assessment.

Part of a joint partnership between the NWSL, U.S. Soccer, Utah Royals FC and U.S. Soccer donors, the class was offered to the players free of cost and represented an effort to increase the number of women coaches. Utah Royals FC and owner Dell Loy Hansen also helped arrange housing in the team’s apartments and a nearby hotel, as well as meals and rental cars for the players while they were in town.

“We’ve had to kind of take our player hat off and put our coaching hat on,” said Orlando Pride defender Ali Krieger. “I can say I respect my coaches a little bit more now that I’ve been through the course. It’s pretty demanding, yet very rewarding. We’re learning a lot. Our instructors are super-knowledgeable. They’re inspiring and now have become some of our mentors throughout this process.”

“We need more female coaches in the world, especially in the NWSL and in youth development,” she added. “With us having all the knowledge that we have from playing at the highest level and going through different levels throughout our careers, I think we already have that advantage over a lot of other coaches who might just be starting out. And I think we need to start being willing to take these courses and give back in a way.”

North Carolina Courage midfielder Heather O’Reilly explained that she took the course as a first step in her coaching journey and is interested in pursuing her B License and maybe even her UEFA badges in the future.

“I wanted to take the class because I’m really interested in coaching and managing at a high level,” said O’Reilly. “I think I’m at the point in my career, obviously, where I’m in my latter years, I suppose, and looking to the future of what I’m going to be doing after my playing days are wrapped up.”

Utah Royals FC goalkeeper Abby Smith hopes to use the course as a springboard in her own coaching career down the road. Having already completed half of her master’s degree in education, she wants to work in a high school or middle school and coach at the youth level.

“I actually want to be a teacher when I’m done [playing] just because I like the thought of giving back to kids that aren’t in the best situations and don’t necessarily have everything that is provided for them,” she said.

In that role, Smith’s goal is to build confidence in players who might otherwise be overlooked. She also thinks it’s important to make sure young players remember to enjoy the game.

“I feel like now it’s so competitive, it’s so driven — to a point where there has to be an endgame of, ‘I have to play in college,’ or ‘I have to be in [Division 1],’ or ‘I have to get a scholarship.’ At the end of the day, I feel like kids need to have fun and really enjoy what they’re doing,” said Smith. “I also want to be able to give them the confidence that they may not have and also show them that sport can be an avenue for them to really grow as a person and better themselves.”

All three players said they picked up different lessons from the course with O’Reilly noting that she particularly appreciated the parts that dealt with how to plan out and break down an entire season of training sessions to “shape it with player loads and physical demands.”

“I am a very eager player who wants results right away and that will be a challenge for me to sort of have a little bit more long-term plan and patience,” she said.

O’Reilly also praised the tactical aspects of the course. “[There’s] a big emphasis on decision-making and I think that’s where our country sort of still lacks,” she explained. “Certainly in my development, I’ve had wonderful coaches and wonderful playing environments, but I do think that in comparison to some other parts of the world, the areas of decision-making and problem-solving is maybe where we sort of lack in the U.S., so I think that’s where we have to spend some time trying to catch up.”

Krieger has high ambitions for her coaching career, explaining that she would be interested in coaching at the professional level, or even the U.S. national team. Yet, she also understands the value of youth development, stressing that kids deserve coaches who understand the game, know how to lead, and are willing to work hard — all values reinforced throughout the course.

“Not all great players are good coaches, so you have to really practice,” said Krieger. “You have to study. You have to put yourself in uncomfortable situations out on the field teaching kids. It’s about teaching.”

She added: “It’s our duty as a coach to impact so many young kids’ lives. … I think that the best part about it—that you’re not only impacting them on the field and teaching them about the game, but you’re teaching them life skills that they can carry on.

“A lot of us can say that about our youth coaches because we had a certain connection with them when we were young and they knew that they could impact us with their experiences — and so incredibly at a young age — and mold us into good people and good players.”

All three players acknowledged that the United States, despite being a world leader in women’s soccer for decades, still has a significant gender imbalance in the coaching ranks at all levels. In 2018, three of nine NWSL head coaches were women and three of the 16 teams to make it to the Division 1 NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament Round of 16 were coached by women. In 2015, 32% of women’s college soccer coaches were women. They’re hoping this course can be a first step in moving the needle in the opposite direction.

“I think [the lack of women coaches] could be because there’s a misconception that it’s hard to coach and have a family, or it’s hard to prioritize what is needed, so people think that you can’t be an elite coach while being a female,” said Smith. “I don’t think that’s true. … It’s traditionally been a male-dominant field and I think that’s something that we’re trying to change.”

Krieger says that women need to recognize what they can contribute to the game through coaching. She argues that many women, especially those in the NWSL and those with national team experience, are more knowledgeable than many of those currently in the coaching field.

“We are just as knowledgeable, if not more knowledgeable than a lot of the male counterparts and coaches,” she said. “We need more female, badass coaches in the world and I know that a lot of the women who are going through the NWSL and the national team, we have experienced so much and we can use that to give back to the youth.”

O’Reilly explained that there are many reasons women haven’t gotten into coaching in the past, including a lack of representation that has created a self-perpetuating problem.

“There’s not one reason why [there aren’t more women coaches],” said O’Reilly. “Some of it is due to women wanting to have families, some of it is due to confidence. Some of it is due to people that we’ve seen in those spots before and that gets you in a rut of thinking that that’s what a coach looks like or acts like.

“I certainly think my generation of players, there’s so many of my peers that are interested in coaching, so hopefully, those numbers go up soon.”

All three also agreed that providing the course cost-free was a major incentive and likely to help more women get into the coaching profession.

“Sometimes you have to break some cycles by doing things like that and being bold and taking big steps and that’s what they did,” said O’Reilly.

“We’re super thankful that the league and U.S. Soccer provided [the course] for us because a lot of us, [coaching is] kind of something that we’re still trying to push for,” Smith said. “[It’s] making it a little bit easier for us to access that side just because our league is still growing.”

What you need to know: FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw

The draw for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup will take place on December 8

NWSL players from Australia, Brazil, Canada and the United States will be among those focused on Saturday's draw for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

What you need to know for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup draw.

 

When

Saturday, December 8, at 12 p.m. ET, from Le Seine Musicale in Boulogne-Billancourt, France.

 

Where To Watch

For viewers in the United States, the draw will air on FS2, the Fox Sports app, Telemundo, Universo and the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app. More details. Coverage on FS2 and the Fox Sports app begins at 11:30 a.m. ET, and users who subscribe to FS1 will be able to watch on the app, even if they don’t get FS2. Coverage on Telemundo and Universo, as well as the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo app will begin at 11:55 a.m. ET.

FIFA.com will also be streaming the draw, with certain restrictions depending on the user’s country.

 

How It Works

The twenty-four teams will be divided evenly across four pots, based on world rankings. The top six teams will be seeded into Pot 1, based on FIFA’s women’s world rankings, the next six teams will be in Pot 2, and then Pots 3 and 4 after that. Pot 1 will include host nation France, who are automatically assigned to Group A. As teams are drawn, they will be be added to groups alphabetically, Groups A through F. Pot 1 teams will be placed in the No. 1 position in those groups. When the draw is complete, each group will contain four teams.

The pots will be finalized when the final rankings are released on December 7. The teams currently set for Pot 1 are unlikely to change: Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany and the United States.

Other than countries from Europe, no two teams from the same confederation can be drawn into the same group. Europe has nine teams, so there is a minimum of one and a maximum of two European teams for the groups.

The current world rankings can be found on FIFA.com, and will be updated there on December 7. FIFA women’s world rankings

FIFA.com has a simulator that you can play now.


Countries

AFC: Australia, China PR, Japan, Korea Republic, Thailand

CAF: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa

UEFA: England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden

Concacaf: Canada, Jamaica, United States

OFC: New Zealand

CONMEBOL: Argentina, Brazil, Chile

  • Seven teams have qualified for every Women’s World Cup: Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, United States
  • Four teams are making their Women’s World Cup debuts: Chile, Jamaica, Scotland, South Africa
  • After just missing out in 2011, Italy is back at the Women’s World Cup for the first time since 1999.
  • Forward Khadija Shaw of Jamaica, currently a senior at the University of Tennessee, scored 19 goals in 12 games to lead all goal scorers in World Cup qualifying, in any confederation.
  • NWSL players will likely feature across many teams in France. Players who were named to Women’s World Cup qualifying rosters for Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, England, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Scotland, South Africa and the United States all appeared on NWSL rosters in 2018.

FIFA Women’s World Cup History

In seven FIFA Women’s World Cups, four teams have won it all, and all four appear in the tournament once again. The United States leads the way with three titles: 1991, 1999, 2015. Germany has two: 2003 and 2007. Norway won in 1995 and Japan won in 2011. Brazil, China PR and Sweden have all finished as high as second. England’s best finish was third in 2015.

The only two active Women’s World Cup Golden Ball winners play in the NWSL: Carli Lloyd of Sky Blue FC, who won the honor in 2015 following her Women’s World Cup Final hat trick in the United States’ win, and Marta of the Orlando Pride, who won the Golden Ball and Golden Boot in 2007 to lead Brazil to the final. Marta is the all-time leading goal scorer in Women’s World Cup history.

Other winners of the award, which is given to the tournament’s best player, are retired legends Homare Sawa of Japan (2011), Birgit Prinz of Germany (2003), Sun Wen of China (1999), Hege Riise of Norway (1995) and Carin Jennings of the United States (1991).

Several other current NWSL players have achieved individual accolades at the Women’s World Cup. Caitlin Foord of Portland Thorns FC was named Young Player of the Tournament in 2011 after playing in her first World Cup at the age of 16. In 2015, Rumi Utsugi, Elise Kellond-Knight, Julie Ertz, Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe were named to the team of the tournament. Kellond-Knight was also named to the team in 2011. Marta was named to the team of the tournament in 2007 and 2011.

Ada Hegerberg wins Ballon d’Or; Marta and Kerr finish in Top 5

Five NWSL players were nominated for 2018 Women’s Ballon d’Or

Ada Hegerberg and Olympique Lyon played against the North Carolina Courage at the ICC Tournament earlier this year. (Photo credit:

Ada Hegerberg has won the 2018 Women’s Ballon d’Or, France Football magazine announced on Monday in Paris. The Olympique Lyonnais striker makes history as the first woman presented with this award.

According to France Football, the award is chosen by select journalists, with one representative per country. The award is voted on according to three main criteria: individual and team performance during the year, player talent and fair play, and the player’s career. More about Ballon D’Or can be found here.

Five NWSL players were on the 15-player shortlist for the award: Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC/United States), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars/Australia), Marta (Orlando Pride/Brazil), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC/United States) and Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC/Canada).

Marta earned fourth place in the voting with Kerr in following in fifth place. Rapinoe earned ninth place. Horan finished in 10th place and Sinclair finished in 15th place.

 

Ballon d’Or Results:

  1. Ada Hegerberg (Olympique Lyon)
  2. Pernille Harder (VfL Wolfsburg/Denmark)
  3. Dzsenifer Marozsán (Olympique Lyon/Germany)
  4. Marta (Orlando Pride/Brazil)
  5. Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars/Australia)
  6. Lucy Bronze (Olympique Lyon/England)
  7. Amandine Henry (Olympique Lyon/France)
  8. Wendie Renard (Olympique Lyon/France)
  9. Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC/United States)
  10. Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC/United States)
  11. Lieke Martens (FC Barcelona/Netherlands)
  12. Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyon/Japan)
  13. Amel Majri (Olympique Lyon/France)
  14. Fran Kirby (Chelsea/England)
  15. Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC/Canada)

New Zealand clinches final spot in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

The 24-team field is now set for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

Utah Royals FC midfielder Katie Bowen. (Photo credit: Bryan Byerly/isiphotos.com)

The field is complete! New Zealand clinched the final spot in next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France on Saturday with an 8-0 win over Fiji in the final of the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup.

Katie Bowen (Utah Royals FC), Rebekah Stott (Sky Blue FC) and Rosie White (Chicago Red Stars) feature on New Zealand’s roster, and all three started Saturday’s game. White scored the game’s first goal in the first minute and the final goal in the 91st.

Former Pride head coach Tom Sermanni is New Zealand’s new head coach, and this qualifying tournament marked his first games with the team. New Zealand’s win at the OFC Women’s Nations Cup also qualifies them for the 2020 Olympics.

Cameroon earned the second-to-last spot on Friday with a 4-2 win over Mali in the third-place game of the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations.

Full list of qualified countries for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China PR, England, France (host nation), Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea Republic, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.

The draw for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will take place on Saturday, December 8, at 11:30 a.m. ET. It will air on FS2, the Fox Sports app, Telemundo, and Universo. The pots for the draw will be finalized when the new world rankings are released on December 7. We’ll have more coverage of the draw next week.

 

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Teams

CAF: Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa

AFC: Australia, China PR, Japan, Korea Republic, Thailand

UEFA: England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden

Concacaf: Canada, Jamaica, United States

OFC: New Zealand

CONMEBOL: Argentina, Brazil, Chile

Seven teams have qualified for every Women’s World Cup: Brazil, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway, Sweden, United States

Four teams are making their Women’s World Cup debuts: Chile, Jamaica, Scotland, South Africa

Q&A: Jenn Hildreth previews the College Cup

Hildreth will be announcing her third College Cup this year

The top seeded Stanford Cardinal are the reigning NCAA division 1 women's soccer national champions. (Photo credit: Erin Chang/isiphotos.com)

The 2018 NCAA Division 1 Women’s College Cup kicks off at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., home of the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage on Friday night. The four remaining teams are Stanford, Florida State, Georgetown and North Carolina. Ahead of the semifinal matches, NWSL Media had the chance to speak to NWSL Game of the Week on Lifetime play-by-play announcer Jenn Hildreth. Hildreth will be announcing her third Division 1 Women’s Soccer College Cup for ESPN this weekend and will be joined by Julie Foudy on the broadcast for the College Cup.

The first match-up is Stanford vs. Florida State at 5 p.m. ET on ESPNU followed by Georgetown vs. North Carolina at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU. The championship match will take place on Sunday, December 2, at 1 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

Q: What excites you the most about this year’s College Cup?

Jenn Hildreth: Honestly, I think were going to get some really good games. The teams here are just so good! Of course it is somewhat unique that we do have all four number one seeds for the first time since 2011. I just think to look at these matches, Florida State vs. Stanford is probably the one with a little more flash to it, but you can’t overlook North Carolina and their 21 national championships getting to play in their own backyard. And then, Georgetown. I think on the national scale people probably know the least amount [Georgetown] and they are going to take that underdog role and run with it.

Q: Who do you think has the edge out of the four teams?

JH: I think you have to go with the defending champs and the team that hasn’t lost in 45-straight matches, Stanford. That said, all four teams are capable of winning. We spent all day today, the day before the semifinals, talking to all of the teams and you get a really good sense of how the teams are feeling coming in and this year. You truly can look at these four teams and you think any of them can win it. Stanford does have the edge because they are such a complete team and no one has found a way to beat them in the last two years — not since Florida did it in the 2017 season, so they have the edge, but that is not a guarantee or a given by any means.

Q: All of these teams have been on this stage before, but for Florida State, they haven’t been here since 2014. What do you think about them this year?

JH: I think what you see with Florida is a team that is finally coming together literally and figuratively. They are so internationally based with their roster. They had a ton of players out on international duties this season; be it youth World Cups or with senior teams training with them and playing in games. I found out they took their team photo right before the ACC tournament because it was the first time they had all of their players together. It gives you a pretty good indication that this team, only maybe in the last month, has been playing to its full potential and that is pretty scary because they keep the ball really well and they have so many different and great individual talents and such a great a mixture of what they bring to the field. Whether it’s Deyna Castellanos from Venezuela, or Gloriana Villalobos from Costa Rica, and then you’ve got the ACC Freshman of the Year Yujie Zhao from China! The big question for this match up though, is their goalkeeper Brooke Bollinger being injured, a redshirt freshman, but she started the majority of the season for the Seminoles. Head coach Mark Krikorian said it will be a game-time decision whether she plays or not. He truly appeared to believe that when we talked to him today, but says she has been training. She hasn’t played in the NCAA tournament yet, but I think when you’re playing the nation’s number one overall seed and the number one offense in the country [Stanford], you’re going to feel a lot better if you’ve got your number one goalkeeper to do it.

Q: On the Cardinal side, who are some players to watch?

JH: You have to start with Catarina Macario. She is such an phenomenal talent. Talking to Stanford head coach Paul Ratcliffe, he said she may be one of the best he has ever seen. And to think about the talent that he has seen come through that program is really saying something. She is just at a different level. And by the way, has her heart set on playing for the U.S. Macario was born in Brazil, but wants to play for the U.S. and is in the process of trying to make that happen. If you have watched her play, you should be rooting for that to happen. Alana Cook is another one. She’s a great leader and I love spending time with her. This is the second-straight year I got to talk to her. She really makes that backline so difficult to break down and she had to do it without Tierna Davidson next to her. There is a chance Davidson could play, by the way, but you probably won’t see her on the backline if that happens. Cook has started every game of her career and was just named a first team All-American. And then Jordan DiBiasi. She just scores big goals it seems like. She was big in the NCAA tournament last year.

Q: What about this Georgetown team? They also have players that can score big goals it appears — Caitlin Farrell in particular with 18 goals this season!

JH: When we talked to Dave Nolan and we talked to her today, we talked about what lightbulb went on for her this year, because she had 12 goals in her first three years. He said confidence. She just believes she can do it now. It’s not that simple, she’s put in a lot of the work too, but she also knew she was going to have to step up this year. This Georgetown team entered this season having lost their entire midfield. Rachel Corboz for so long was one they could rely on for the ball in the back of the net. That was a huge question coming into the season; who would play those midfield roles to help set up those players like Farrell? Farrell stepped up and finished. Also a really interesting situation on this team is with Kyra Carusa, who won the national championship with Stanford last season and is now a graduate transfer student playing for Georgetown. I can’t even imagine what that might feel like for her. She has had a terrific year for them, just in setting players up and also putting goals away herself, but if both of those teams should advance I can imagine that will be a difficult situation for her, although exciting at the same time.

Q: With North Carolina it doesn’t appear that they have any one specific player who has poured out goals. What have you seen in their team this year?

JH: There is no one big dog when it comes to scoring for North Carolina. Freshman Brianna Pinto does have the six goals and eight assists, but they are truly a really balanced team. When you think North Carolina traditionally you think pressure. They put teams under pressure and they force you to make decision quickly. This team can still do that, but they added an element this year. They play a little more. They break down lines and that has to do with the players in the midfield, Pinto being one of those players, along with Taylor Otto and Dorian Bailey. Those three have really been the key to North Carolina being a different looking North Carolina team this season.

Q: Spending time with all four teams today, what has the general feel been? Excitement? Nerves?

JH: I would say for the most part excited. It really is enjoyable, but as excited as they were, you did also feel that they knew they were here to get the job done. A big difference that [Georgetown] talked about today was that when they were here two years ago, they admitted they were just happy to be here because it was the first time in program history that Georgetown had made it to the College Cup. This time, they don’t want to just be here, they want to win it. They actually talked about that they have 27 goals that they wrote down as a team and they have them up in their locker room. And one thing they did after going through conference play unbeaten, they changed one of those goals. It had been that they wanted to get to the Elite Eight, get to the quarterfinals, and they changed it to win a national championship, because at that point they believed they truly had what it takes to do that.

NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer College Cup Guide

The 2018 National Championship is Sunday at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC

The 2018 College Cup will take place at Sahlen's Stadium, home of the North Carolina Courage. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

Stanford, Florida State, Georgetown and North Carolina punched their tickets to the 2018 Women’s College Cup. The Final Four action kicked off on Friday, November 30 at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina — home of the North Carolina Courage — In the first semifinal match-up, North Carolina defeated Georgetown 1-0 with a double-overtime goal by Julia Ashley. Florida State then shutout Stanford 2-0 with goals from Gabby Carle and Malia Berkeley. The Tar Heels will face the Seminoles in the national championship on Sunday, December 2 at 1 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

All four teams advancing to the College Cup have been here before. Stanford, for the eighth time in 11 years, will be playing in the Final Four. The Cardinal punched their ticket with a 2-0 victory over Tennessee in the NCAA quarterfinal. The Cardinal had a 45-game unbeaten streak before Florida State knocked them out from a back-to-back championship appearence on Friday night.

Florida State blanked Penn State 1-0 last Friday to advance to the College Cup for the 10th time in school history, however this will be their first time back since 2015. It was sophomore Gabby Carle who turned up for the Seminoles in the semifinal, scoring first for her side and being the first player to score against Stanford in this year’s tournament. Malia Berkeley then doubled the lead for Florida State not long after. Florida State will meet North Carolina for the third time this season. The Seminoles beat the Tar Heels 3-2 for the ACC Championship on November 4.

For the second time in three years, Georgetown returned to the College Cup. The Hoyas topped Baylor 3-0 in the NCAA quarterfinal to advance on and improve their undefeated record to 21-0-3. The Hoyas fell in double-overtime to the Tar Heels on Friday night.

The North Carolina Tar Heels defeated the UCLA Bruins in penalty kicks to advance on to the College Cup. The Tar Heels and Bruins played to a 2-2 tie after 110 minutes of regulation and then the Tar Heels won in the shootout, 4-2. This will be the Tar Heels 28th appearance at the College Cup, their last appearance was in 2016. The Tar Heels will appear in their 25th NCAA national championship thanks to a double-overtime goal from senior Julia Ashley.

By The Numbers

 

Florida State (19-4-3)

 

Deyna Castellanos (junior): 10 goals, 6 assists

Yujie Zhao (freshman): 7 goals, 5 assists

Dallas Dorosy (sophomore): 6 goals, 2 assists

Brooke Bollinger (redshirt freshman): 38 saves, 9 goals against, 10 shutouts

 


North Carolina  (21-3-2)

 

Brianna Pinto (freshman): 6 goals, 8 assists

Julia Ashley (senior): 6 goals, 10 assists

Alessia Russo (sophomore): 6 goals, 4 assists

Samantha Leshnak (senior): 34 saves, 7 goals against, 7 shutouts

 


2019 season to begin weekend of April 13-14; schedule details announced

The 2019 NWSL Championship will take place on October 26

The 2019 NWSL regular season will open the weekend of April 13-14. (Photo credit: Rob Gray/isiphotos.com)

The 2019 NWSL regular season will begin the weekend of April 13-14 and the postseason will conclude with the 2019 NWSL Championship on October 26, the NWSL announced on Wednesday.

For the the third straight year, teams will play a 24-game schedule, with 12 home games and 12 away games.

Preseason will begin on March 4 and the regular season will begin the weekend of April 13-14. The league will take a break from June 3-14 for the group stage of 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and return the weekend of June 15-16. The regular season will conclude the weekend of October 12-13. The 2019 NWSL Championship, the seventh in NWSL history, will take place on October 26.


2019 NWSL Schedule Key Dates
January 10 | 2019 NWSL College Draft
March 4 | Preseason begins
April 13-14 | Opening weekend
June 3-14 | Break for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup
October 12-13 | Regular season ends
October 19-20 | 2019 NWSL Playoffs Semifinals
October 26 | 2019 NWSL Championship

The 2019 NWSL Championship will take place later in the calendar year than any final in the league’s history, falling near the end of October.

“We are excited to extend the season to provide our fans more opportunities to experience the best players in the world,” NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy said in the league’s announcement. “This move will allow the league’s clubs more Saturday night home games during a season in which women’s soccer and NWSL’s players will be on the world’s biggest stage with the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.”

The first item up on the calendar for the NWSL in 2019 is the NWSL College Draft, which will take place on January 10 in Chicago. More info on the College Draft can be found here.

Six NWSL players nominated for 2018 Canadian Player of the Year

The winner will be announced December 11/12

Canada has qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Six NWSL players have been nominated for 2018 Canadian Player of the Year, Canada Soccer announced on Wednesday.

Allysha Chapman (Houston Dash), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Rebecca Quinn (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (Utah Royals FC), Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC) and Shelina Zadorsky (Orlando Pride) are on the 12-player list. Also on the list is former Sky Blue FC forward Janine Beckie, who transferred to Manchester City FC during the 2018 season.

The winner will be announced December 11/12. Canadian media and coaches will vote for the award, which is based on national team and club performance. Last month, Canada qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Full list of nominees:

South Africa and Nigeria qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

Twenty-two of 24 teams have clinched a spot in the tournament

Houston Dash forward Thembi Kgatlana (left) and Washington Spirit forward Francisca Ordega. (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

South Africa and Nigeria booked their tickets to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Tuesday, with semifinal wins at the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations.

Twenty-two of 24 countries are now qualified for next summer’s Women’s World Cup: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China PR, England, France (host nation), Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea Republic, Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.

Nigeria clinched their spot after beating Cameroon in penalty kicks on Tuesday. They join Brazil, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United States as the only teams to qualify for every edition of the tournament. Spirit forward Francisca Ordega started for Nigeria in the game.

South Africa beat Mali 2-0 in their semifinal game to earn their first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup. Houston Dash forward Thembi Kgatlana, starting for South Africa alongside her Dash teammate Linda Motlhalo, scored the opening goal of the match and leads the tournament with five goals. Motlhalo was named Woman of the Match.

Two spots remain in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, with both to be decided this week.

On Friday, Cameroon and Mali will meet in the third-place game of the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations for CAF’s final spot.

Then the winner of the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup will earn the final spot at next summer’s tournament. That tournament will have its semifinals on Wednesday with New Zealand vs. New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea vs. Fiji. The final will take place on Saturday.

Off the Crossbar

Highlights from the 2018 NWSL season

Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe jumps for a shot off the crossbar vs. the Courage. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The crossbar and the post came up with big defensive plays in 2018.

Watch the highlights below, and check out our Best of 2018 Playlist on YouTube, with more videos coming soon.

 

CAF, OFC Women’s World Cup qualifiers

The final four teams will qualify for France over the next two weeks

Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana of the Houston Dash (left) and Rosie White of the Chicago Red Stars (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

The field is almost complete! Twenty of 24 countries have booked their tickets to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France so far: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China PR, England, France (host nation), Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea Republic, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.

The remaining teams will be decided in two tournaments that begin this weekend: the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations and the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup. NWSL players will feature in both tournaments.

This page will be updated with results and highlights as they become available. Links to live streams, if available, will also be added. Live scores are available on FIFA.com.


CAF: 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations

The tournament will take place in Ghana from November 17 to December 1, with eight teams divided into two groups, followed by semifinals and a third-place game and final. The top three teams in the tournament will advance to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Equatorial Guinea has been banned from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup for fielding ineligible players, so their performance in this tournament will not qualify them for next summer. (Details) Equatorial Guinea was initially left out of the Africa Women Cup of Nations, and replaced by Kenya, but were reinstated to the tournament, and Kenya removed, on November 7. (Details)

 

NWSL players will feature on three teams:

Ghana: Elizabeth Addo (Seattle Reign FC) [Full Roster]

Nigeria: Francisca Ordega (Washington Spirit) [Full Roster]

South Africa: Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo (Houston Dash) [Full Roster]

 

Following the group stage action, Nigeria and South Africa, along with Cameroon and Mali, have moved onto the semifinals for a chance at the three Women’s World Cup berths. Ghana has been eliminated.

The semifinals took place place on Tuesday — Cameroon vs. Nigeria and South Africa vs. Mali — with Nigeria and South Africa qualifying for the Women’s World Cup. Cameroon and Mali will meet in the third-place game for CAF’s final berth. [More info]

Nigeria has a chance to become the seventh team to have qualified for all eight Women’s World Cups. If they qualify, they would join the Brazil, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United States as the only teams to qualify for every edition of the tournament. South Africa has never qualified for the Women’s World Cup.

 

Tournament Schedule

 

Group A

November 17: Ghana 1 – Algeria 0 (Recap); Mali 1 – Cameroon 2

 

November 20: Ghana 1 – Mali 2 (Recap); Cameroon 3 – Algeria 0

Seattle Reign FC’s Elizabeth Addo converted from the penalty spot, but it wasn’t enough for Ghana as they fell 2-1 to Mali in their second group stage game.

 

November 23: Cameroon 1 – Ghana 1; Algeria 2 – Mali 3

 

Group B

November 18: Nigeria 0 – South Africa 1 (Recap); Zambia 5 – Equatorial Guinea 0

Houston Dash forward Thembi Kgatlana scored the game’s only goal in the 88th minute as South Africa beat Nigeria in their first game of the group stage.

 

November 21: Nigeria 4 – Zambia 0; Equatorial Guinea 1 – South Africa 7

 

November 24: Equatorial Guinea 0 – Nigeria 6; South Africa 1 – Zambia 1

 

November 27 — Semifinals: Cameroon 0 – Nigeria 0 (Nigeria wins 2-4 in penalties); South Africa 2 – Mali 0

November 30 — Third Place Game: Cameroon 4 – Mali 2

December 1 — Final: Nigeria 0 – South Africa 0 (Nigeria wins 4-3 in penalties)


OFC: 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup

The tournament will take place in New Caledonia from November 18 to December 1, with eight teams divided into two groups, followed by semifinals and a third-place game and final. The winner of the tournament will advance to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After each team came up with big wins in their semifinal games, New Zealand and Fiji will meet in the final on Saturday for the last spot in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. New Zealand has appeared in four prior Women’s World Cups.

New Zealand is the OFC Women’s Nations Cup defending champion and features: Katie Bowen (Utah Royals FC), Rebekah Stott (Sky Blue FC) and Rosie White (Chicago Red Stars). [Full Roster]

New Zealand also has a new head coach, former Pride head coach Tom Sermanni.

 

 

Tournament Schedule

 

Group A

November 18: Samoa 0 – Papua New Guinea 5; Tahiti 2 – New Caledonia 4

November 21: Tahiti 5 – Samoa 5; New Caledonia 2 – Papua New Guinea 6

November 24: Papua New Guinea 3 – Tahiti 1; New Caledonia 2 – Samoa 0

Group B

November 19: New Zealand 11 – Tonga 0; Cook Islands 0 – Fiji 3

November 22: Tonga 0 – Fiji 12; New Zealand 6 – Cook Islands 0

November 25: Tonga 1 – Cook Islands 0; Fiji 0 – New Zealand 10

 

November 28 — Semifinals: New Zealand 8 – New Caledonia 0 (Recap); Papua New Guinea 1 – Fiji 5

December 1 —

Third Place Game: Papua New Guinea 7 – New Caledonia 1

Final: Fiji 0 – New Zealand 8

 

 

Orlando City SC parts ways with GM Niki Budalic

The club announced the move on Monday morning

(Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Orlando City SC announced Monday morning that it had parted ways with general manager of soccer operations Niki Budalic. Budalic had been the GM for the Orlando Pride and Orlando City of MLS since December 2016.

“I would like to thank Niki for these past three seasons with us and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” CEO Alex Leitão said in a statement released by the Pride.

“We start a new year with many projects to look forward to, including strengthening our soccer operations department for the MLS and NWSL teams, opening a new training complex as well as kicking off the season with a revamped Academy structure and OCB sitting at the top of the player development pyramid in the USL League One. We welcome all 2019 has to offer with open arms and look forward to a great year with our staff, players and supporters.”

Earlier this offseason, the Pride also parted ways with head coach Tom Sermanni.

 

 

 

NCAA D1 Women’s Soccer Tournament Guide

The Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament is on Friday

UCLA senior forward Hailie Mace helped the USWNT defeat Panama 5-0 during the group stage of the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship. (Photo credit: Tony Quinn/isiphotos.com)

The Quarterfinal stage is set for the NCAA division 1 women’s soccer tournament. The second and third rounds concluded this past weekend, and now just eight teams remain. The four winning teams will get to punch their ticket to the 2018 College Cup at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina on Friday, Nov. 30.

As the NWSL season takes a break for the offseason, the teams have started to shift their focus towards the 2019 NWSL season. The first order of business: the 2019 NWSL College Draft. From conference tournament play, to the NCAA Tournament and College Cup, these are always exciting platforms to scope out the future talent in the NWSL.

Here’s your guide to the NCAA Tournament, including who’s playing who, when and what players to be on the look out for:


Tournament Schedule

All quarterfinal games are being played on Friday, Nov. 23 or Saturday, Nov. 24. NWSL on Lifetime editorial director Jen Cooper has been keeping track of where to watch all the games.

 

No. 1 Stanford vs. No. 2 Tennessee |TBD

No. 1 Georgetown vs. No. 2 Baylor| TBD

Penn State v. No. 1 Florida State | TBD

No.  2 UCLA vs. No. 1 North Carolina | TBD

 

View the full bracket

 

 

The quarterfinals feature four single-elimination games at non-predetermined sites. The winning teams advance to the College Cup on Friday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 2 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC.

 


Players to Watch

Last season, Stanford won the College Cup, beating UCLA 3-2. Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan went on to be the first overall draft pick at the 2018 NWSL College Draft and was selected by the Washington Spirit. This year, will another senior out of Stanford go No. 1 at the NWSL College Draft?

In the second and third rounds of the NCAA Tournament, Stanford first beat Ole Miss 4-1 and then blanked Wisconsin 1-0. Cardinal defender Alana Cook is a player to watch. The senior has led Stanford to an unbeaten 20-0-2 record this year. Cook contributed an assist in both wins.

Stanford teammate Catarina Macario is also a face to watch. The sophomore forward has 13 goals and seven assists this season. Macario scored her 13th goal of the season against Ole Miss and also added an assist in the same game.

Before clinching their fifth-straight Pac-12 title, Macario did this against Washington State:

UCLA is another team in the Pac-12 conference that flew through the first, second and third rounds. The Bruins soared past San Jose State, Minnesota and North Carolina State, all by a score of 5-0, to advance to the quarterfinals.

Senior forward Hailie Mace made her first U.S. women’s national team senior cap on April 8 vs. Mexico and is a potential top 2019 NWSL College Draft pick as we approach January. Mace has seven goals and six assists this season. Mace chipped in two assists against San Jose State in the NCAA first round.

Other Bruins worth noting are junior Jessie Flemming and sophomore Ashley Sanchez. Flemming, like Mace, was competing at the Concacaf Women’s Championship in October and helped Canada punch a ticket to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Sanchez has also had quite the run this season, scoring 10 goals and adding 14 assists. Flemming has five goals and five assists this season and scored twice in the Bruins 5-0 result against NC State.

[Read more: Canada, U.S. qualify for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup]

The North Carolina Tar Heels continue to be one of the most dominant programs in women’s college soccer, and holding down the backline and all over the field this season is senior defender Julia Ashley. Ashley led her team to an undefeated ACC record and an impressive overall record of 20-3-1. The Tar Heels clinched the ACC regular season title and are headed to the quarterfinals after a 3-0 result against Virginia Tech in the third round. Ashley made an assist on the opening goal against Virginia Tech, which puts her at 10 assists this season. Ashley has also scored four times.

Tennessee forward Bunny Shaw first led Jamaica to their first Women’s World Cup berth last month at the Concacaf Championship with a shutout win over Panama, and now the Volunteer senior is wrapping up her final collegiate season. Shaw has scored 13 goals and made six assists this year for Tennessee. Shaw, right after returning from her national team duties, scored the overtime game-winner over LSU on Oct. 18 — and then delivered again for her college side, adding two assists and a goal against Texas A&M three nights later. Most recently, Shaw chipped in two assists to help her team cruise past Texas A&M 3-0 in the third round of the NCAA Tournament and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in program history.

Georgetown dominated the Big East this season and is undefeated to date at 20-0-3. Graduate student Kyra Carusa made a different name for herself this season, having played the previous three college seasons for Stanford. This past weekend, Caruso scored and made an assist in the NCAA third round to lead her team past Duke 4-1. Caruso has scored nine goals and made ten assists.

Deyna Castellanos out of Florida State has been a name on everyone’s radar since she joined the Seminoles two years ago. Castellanos, a junior forward this year and a member of the Venezuelan national team, is cruising heading into the postseason. Castellanos helped Florida State win the 2018 ACC Championship. The Seminoles defeated USC in penalty kicks (5-4) to advance to the quarterfinals.

For the second-straight year, Baylor has moved on to the Elite Eight. The Bears defeated Virginia 2-1 on Sunday to earn their 13th win at home this season, without a loss. Senior midfielder Julie James led the way for the Bears, scoring her 10th goal of the season against Virginia. James is tied for first in scoring on her team with junior forward Camryn Wendlandt.

Penn State senior forward Marissa Sheva’s goal pushed the No. 14 Nittany Lions past Wake Forest 1-0 to advance to the quarterfinals. This was Sheva’s third game-winning goal of the season and her fourth on the year.

 

Ertz, Heath, Horan, Morgan, Rapinoe nominated for U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year

The nominees were announced on Tuesday

Julie Ertz, Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have been nominated for the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Julie Ertz, Tobin HeathLindsey HoranAlex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are the five nominees for the 2018 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.

The award is voted on by U.S. women’s national team coaches, national team players who appeared in 2018, members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer’s Athletes’ Council, NWSL head coaches, former players and administrators, select college coaches and select members of the media. Voting opened on Tuesday and will close on Dec. 3 at 11:59 p.m. ET. The winners will be announced the first week of December.

All five players played key roles for the U.S. women’s national team this year, as the team went 18-0-2 and qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Morgan scored 18 goals in 19 games to lead the United States. Ertz won the Golden Ball at the Concacaf Women’s Championship, awarded to the tournament’s best player. Rapinoe led the USWNT in assists with 12 and scored seven goals. Horan scored three goals and eight assists for the United States. After making her 2018 debut for the U.S. on June 12, Heath scored seven goals and had six assists.

In NWSL play, Horan was named 2018 NWSL MVP after scoring 13 goals in the regular season, third in the NWSL. Rapinoe was also a finalist for the award after tallying seven goals and six assists. Horan, Rapinoe and Heath were named to the 2018 NWSL Best XI. Ertz was named to the Second XI, and also nominated for Defender of the Year. Morgan registered five goals and two assists for the Pride in 2018.

Ertz was named U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2017. Heath won in 2016 and Morgan won in 2012.


More NWSL stats for each player:

 

Julie Ertz, Chicago Red Stars 

Chicago Red Stars defender Julie Ertz played 1,126 minutes over 14 regular season appearances in 2018. She recorded 54 clearances, 8 blocks, 22 interceptions, 9 tackles won and 63 duels won. She held a passing accuracy of 67.1% (468 passes).


Tobin Heath, Portland Thorns FC

In 17 games, Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath finished the regular season with seven assists (tied for second-best in the NWSL) and seven goals in 17 shots on target. She also recorded 28 chances created and 26 successful crosses/corners, while holding a passing accuracy of 76.4% (534 passes).


Lindsey Horan, Portland Thorns FC

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan played 1,980 minutes over 22 regular season games as the Thorns went 12-6-6 (42 points) and finished second in the NWSL. She scored 13 goals (3rd in the NWSL) and added two assists, scoring at a rate of 152.3 minutes per goal in 30 shots on target. She led the league in total touches (1,852) and duels won (297), including aerial duels (141), which was also first in the league. She also had 47 tackles won (tied for 4th in the NWSL), 42 headed clearances (3rd). She recorded 25 chances created and held a passing accuracy of 75.2% (1,293 passes). Horan also scored the game-winning goal for the Thorns in their semifinal win over the Reign to advance to the 2018 NWSL Championship.


Alex Morgan, Orlando Pride

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan played 1,500 minutes over 19 regular season games in 2018. She scored five goals, two assists and 25 chances created for the Pride. She also won 94 duels, 56 of which were aerial duels, good for 12th in the NWSL.


Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC

Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe played 1,315 minutes over 16 regular season games for the Reign as they finished third in the NWSL with an 11-5-8 record and 41 points. She scored seven goals (tied for 10th) and had six assists (tied for 4th in the league). She scored at a rate of 187.9 minutes per goal in 37 shots on target. Her 41 chances created ranked 8th in the NWSL and 27 successful crosses/corners ranked 6th in the NWSL. She won 114 duels, 31 in the air.

 

 

Registration for NWSL College Draft opens Monday; Eligibility rules amended

The 2019 NWSL College Draft will take place on Jan. 10 at 12 p.m. ET

The Chicago Red Stars hold the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft. (Photo credit: Jose L. Argueta/isiphotos.com)

Registration for the 2019 NWSL College Draft will open on Monday, November 19, the league has announced. The league announced that the eligibility rules have been amended, with full details below in the league’s official news release.

The registration link will be available here on the NWSL site and shared on NWSL social channels on Monday. To follow all the action of the 2019 NWSL College Draft, use #NWSLDraft and follow the NWSL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The 2019 NWSL College Draft order can be found here.

 

REGISTRATION FOR THE 2019 NWSL COLLEGE DRAFT OPENS ON MONDAY

CHICAGO (Nov. 16, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) will open registration for the 2019 NWSL College Draft on Monday, Nov. 19. The 2019 College Draft will be held on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019 at 12 p.m. ET at the United Soccer Coaches Convention at McCormick Place in Chicago.

 In addition, the NWSL has amended the eligibility rules for a player to register for the 2019 College Draft, allowing more players the ability to enter the draft and determine the right time for them to pursue a professional career.

 In order to be eligible for the 2019 NWSL College Draft, a player must:

  • Be a player who will forego any remaining college eligibility or must have exhausted their eligibility during the 2018/2019 academic year, and
  • Be at least 18-years-old during the College Protected Period (which ends at the conclusion of the 2019 season), and
  • Register for the draft with the NWSL by the deadline at 4 pm ET on Wednesday, January 9, 2019.

 The League will review each College Draft registration form. No player may be selected who has not registered for the College Draft; unregistered and ineligible players will not be included on the list of interested players provided to the teams on the day of the College Draft.

Interested players can access the online registration on Monday via the following link: http://www.nwslsoccer.com/collegedraft.

The draft will be held in the Skyline Ballroom at McCormick Place and will be open to the public and media. In addition, NWSL will once again live stream the draft with more details to be announced.  

The latest order for the 2019 College Draft and all past results from the 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 drafts can be found on NWSLsoccer.com.

 The United Soccer Coaches Convention will take place Jan. 9-13, 2019 in Chicago — bringing thousands of coaches, administrators and other soccer enthusiasts together in one place. For a complete schedule of events and more information about the convention, please visit the official website at unitedsoccercoachesconvention.org

 

NWSL, NWSLPA reach voluntary recognition agreement

The NWSL and the NWSLPA announced the news on Thursday afternoon

On Thursday afternoon, the NWSL announced that the league and the NWSL Players Association have reached a voluntary recognition agreement. The league officially recognizes the NWSLPA, which was formed in May of 2017, as the exclusive bargaining representative of the NWSL Players.

Full details in the NWSL’s official release about the news:

 

NWSL AND NWSLPA REACH VOLUNTARY RECOGNITION AGREEMENT

CHICAGO (Nov. 15, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that it officially recognizes the NWSL Players Association (NWSLPA) as the exclusive bargaining representative of the NWSL Players.

The NWSL Players Association is an independent labor union run by and for current and future NWSL Players who are currently employed by and have current signed Standard Player Agreements with the NWSL.

“Our decision to voluntarily recognize the NWSL Players Association as the official representative of NWSL players marks an important step in the continued growth and development of the league and our relationship with our players,” said NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy. “We look forward to collaborating with the Players Association as the league continues to mature, to benefit the players, teams, our partners and our fans.”

The NWSLPA represents the interests of players and works together with the league to foster its long-term sustainability and growth.

“We’ve now achieved official status as a labor union, but we intend to approach our relationship with the league in a very different way than what comes to mind with traditional labor relations,” said NWSL Players Association President Yael Averbuch. “The NWSLPA is glad to continue a collaborative relationship with the League, with the health and sustainability of the League central to the ongoing relationship.” 

Players who are under contract with the U.S. Soccer Federation (i.e. allocated players) will continue to be represented by the U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association (USWNTPA) with respect to their employer, the U.S. Soccer Federation. The NWSL, NWSLPA and USWNTPA will continue to work closely with one another to achieve goals common to all players in the NWSL and women’s soccer in general. The NWSLPA has also enjoyed strategic support from the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA).

The Players Association is led by President Yael Averbuch, Vice President McCall Zerboni, Treasurer Emily Menges, and Secretary Nicole Barnhart, and 32 Player Representatives across the nine teams of NWSL. NWSLPA is represented by former player and attorney, Meghann Burke, of Brazil & Burke, P.A. in Asheville, NC.

 

About NWSL Players Association

The NWSL Players Association is the official players association of Players in the National Women’s Soccer League. It was founded in May of 2017 and represents all Players on NWSL rosters who are employed by and sign Standard Player Agreements with NWSL. For more information about the Players Association, contact Meghann Burke at 828.350.3812 or nwslplayers@gmail.com.

 

About NWSL

The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a nine-team Division-I women’s professional soccer league featuring national team players from around the world. The clubs are the Chicago Red Stars, Houston Dash, North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, Sky Blue FC, Utah Royals FC and the Washington Spirit. Based in Chicago, the NWSL is supported by Canadian Soccer and U.S. Soccer. For more information about the NWSL, log on to the league’s official website at www.NWSLsoccer.com.

 

Morgan scores as U.S. picks up 1-0 win over Scotland

The U.S. won their final game of 2018 to finish off an unbeaten year

Mallory Pugh and Alex Morgan celebrate during the United States' 1-0 win over Scotland. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The United States finished off 2018 with a 1-0 road win over Scotland, to complete an unbeaten calendar year. It’s the second straight 1-0 win for the U.S., after last week’s 1-0 win on the road in Portugal. Both Scotland and the United States have qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, so the meeting was a bit of a preview of the tournament as the two teams could meet on the field again in France next summer.

Pride forward Alex Morgan scored the game’s only goal, the 98th of her international career. Thorns defender Emily Sonnett started the play, finishing Spirit forward Mallory Pugh down the right sideline. Pugh crossed into the middle of the box, finding Morgan open for the right-footed volley finish.

The starting lineup featured ten NWSL players: Ashlyn Harris, Emily Sonnett, Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Rose Lavelle, Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd and Alex Morgan. University of North Carolina defender Emily Fox started at left back as Dunn shifted into the midfield.

Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie wore the captain’s armband for Scotland.

Danielle Colaprico, Adrianna Franch, Allie Long, Jessica McDonald, Megan Rapinoe and Andi Sullivan started the game as available subs for the United States. Alyssa Naeher, Merritt Mathias and Casey Short were not in the 18 for the game.

McDonald was the game’s first sub in the 68th minute. McDonald replaced Sonnett and went up top, sending Dunn to left back as Lloyd dropped into the midfield. Colaprico replaced Fox in the 76th minute. Long replaced Morgan in the 88th. Mewis came on for Lloyd in the final moments of the match.

The United States had a good chance to double the lead in the 63rd minute after Pugh was fouled in the box by Scotland defender Kirsty Smith. Lloyd took the penalty, but her shot rattled off the top of the crossbar.

The U.S. had a limited amount of chances in the game as Scotland sat back and forced the U.S. to find their way through a crowded offensive half of the field. One of the best U.S. chances came in the 53rd minute after a combination play between Lloyd, Morgan and Ertz, but Scotland goalkeeper Shannon Lynn made a kick save on Ertz’s deflected shot.

Lynn subbed in at halftime to replace Lee Alexander as Scotland swapped goalkeepers.

In the 76th minute, Scotland’s Erin Cuthbert and Lana Clelland combined on an impressive cut through the center of the U.S. midfield. Sauerbrunn cleared the effort out for a corner, and the U.S. also cleared that out of danger as well.

Clelland again was in the attack in the 80th minute, sending a hard left-footed shot that Harris pushed out for a corner kick. Harris punched away a dangerous in-swinging corner on the follow-up as Scotland continued to press for the equalizing goal.

Cuthbert continued her dangerous second half as well, drawing a foul in the 91st minute, but the free kick was blocked by the United States wall.

Corsie was named Scotland’s Player of the Match.

“I don’t feel like this was our strongest performance by any means, but I do have to give credit to Scotland. I feel like they played very well. Pretty physical team. First half, there was a lot of times where they dominated play. It’s a team we could very well see in the World Cup,” Morgan said on FS1 after the game.

Schedule & Results: NWSL on international duty

UEFA, Concacaf/CONMEBOL play-offs for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup

(Left to right) Orlando Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu, Portland Thorns FC forward Ana-Maria Crnogorčević and Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

An overview of how to keep up with and follow the players of the NWSL taking part in international games in the first two weeks of November. This page will be updated with results and highlights as they become available. Live scores are available on FIFA.com.

Twenty of 24 countries have booked their tickets to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France so far, with the Netherlands and Argentina qualifying on November 13. They join: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China PR, England, France (host nation), Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea Republic, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States. The remaining teams will be decided between now and December 1, with the draw for the tournament taking place on December 8.

 

2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifiers Schedule

UEFA Play-Off

Netherlands qualifies for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

November 9: Netherlands 3 | Switzerland 0 — Recap

November 13: Switzerland 1 | Netherlands 1 — Recap

NWSL Players on roster:

Switzerland: Ana-Maria Crnogorčević (Portland Thorns FC) [Full Roster]

 

Concacaf/CONMEBOL Play-Off

Argentina qualifies for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup

November 8: Argentina 4 | Panama 0 Recap

November 13: Panama 1 | Argentina 1 Recap

NWSL players on roster:

Argentina: Estefanía Banini (Washington Spirit) [Full Roster]

 


The 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations, CAF’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the 2018 OFC Women’s Nations Cup, OFC’s qualifying tournament, will begin on November 17 and November 18, respectively, and run through December 1. Three teams will qualify from CAF and one from OFC. We will share the full schedule and rosters for NWSL players in those tournaments later this week.


Additionally, a number of friendlies will take place over the first two weeks of November featuring NWSL players. Countries are listed in alphabetical order.

Australia

Schedule

  • November 9: Australia 2 | Chile 3Recap
  • November 13: Australia 5 | Chile 0Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Caitlin Foord (Portland Thorns FC), Elise Kellond-Knight (Seattle Reign FC), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Clare Polkinghorne (Houston Dash), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride), Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC) [Full Roster]


Bosnia and Herzegovina

Schedule

  • November 13: Poland 4 | Bosnia and Herzegovina 0

NWSL players on the roster:

DiDi Haracic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) [Full Roster]


Brazil

Schedule

  • November 10: France 3 | Brazil 1 — Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Monica (Orlando Pride), Poliana (Orlando Pride), Andressinha (Portland Thorns FC), Camila (Orlando Pride), Debinha (North Carolina Courage) [Full Roster]


England

Schedule

  • November 8: Austria 0 | England 3 — Chioma Ubogagu made her international debut, and scored her first international goal to kick off the scoring in England’s 3-0 win over Austria. Rachel Daly scored the game’s final goal. Recap
  • November 11: England 0 | Sweden 2Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Rachel Daly (Houston Dash) and Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride) [Full Roster]


Ghana

Schedule

  • November 3: Zambia 3 | Ghana 2  
  • November 7: Kenya 1 | Ghana 1
  • November 11: Ghana 1 | South Africa 0Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Elizabeth Addo (Seattle Reign FC)


Japan

Schedule

  • November 11: Japan 4 | Norway 1Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Rumi Utsugi (Seattle Reign FC) and Nahomi Kawasumi (Seattle Reign FC) [Full Roster]


Scotland

Schedule

  • November 13: Scotland 0 | United States 1Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Rachel Corsie (Utah Royals FC) [Full Roster]


South Africa

Schedule

  • November 11: Ghana 1 | South Africa 0Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo (Houston Dash) [Full Roster]


United States

Schedule

  • November 8: Portugal 0 | United States 1Recap
  • November 13: Scotland 0 | United States 1Recap

NWSL players on the roster:

Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage), Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC), Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit),  Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) [Christen Press and Tobin Heath were originally named to the roster, but withdrew due to a family commitment and a personal commitment, respectively, U.S. Soccer said last week. Following the win over Portugal, Lindsey Horan withdrew due to a personal commitment, U.S. Soccer said. Full Roster]

2019 NWSL College Draft to take place on Jan. 10 at 12 p.m. ET

The 2019 NWSL College Draft will take place at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago

The 2019 NWSL College Draft will take place on Thursday, January 10, at 12 p.m. ET at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Chicago.

The draft will open to the public and media and will be held in the Skyline Ballroom at McCormick Place. It will be live streamed with details to be announced at a later date. The United Soccer Coaches Convention will take place Jan. 9-13, 2019 in Chicago. More details can be found here: unitedsoccercoachesconvention.org.

2019 NWSL College Draft
United Soccer Coaches Convention
McCormick Place – West Building
2301 S. King Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60616
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019
Start time: 12 p.m. ET
Room: Skyline Ballroom

To follow all the action of the 2019 NWSL College Draft, use #NWSLDraft and follow the NWSL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Check out the 2019 NWSL College Draft Order below. View past NWSL College Draft results.


2019 NWSL College Draft Order (updated on Dec. 17)

Round 1

No. 1 | Chicago Red Stars *
No. 2 | Sky Blue FC
No. 3 | Sky Blue FC #
No. 4 | Washington Spirit &
No. 5 | North Carolina Courage @
No. 6 | Chicago Red Stars
No. 7 | Chicago Red Stars *
No. 8 | Washington Spirit ^
No. 9 | North Carolina Courage ^^^ **

Round 2

No. 10 | Sky Blue FC
No. 11 | Sky Blue FC #
No. 12 | Houston Dash ##
No. 13 | Houston Dash
No. 14 | North Carolina Courage &&
No. 15 | Chicago Red Stars
No. 16 | Houston Dash @ **
No. 17 | Portland Thorns FC
No. 18 | Houston Dash @

Round 3

No. 19 | Sky Blue FC
No. 20 | Washington Spirit
No. 21 | Houston Dash @@
No. 22 | Houston Dash
No. 23 | Utah Royals FC
No. 24 | Chicago Red Stars
No. 25 | Orlando Pride ^^
No. 26 | Chicago Red Stars ***
No. 27 | Utah Royals FC &&

Round 4

No. 28 | Sky Blue FC
No. 29 | Washington Spirit
No. 30 | Orlando Pride
No. 31 | Washington Spirit ###
No. 32 | Utah Royals FC
No. 33 | Chicago Red Stars
No. 34 | Sky Blue FC &&&
No. 35 | Portland Thorns FC
No. 36 | North Carolina Courage

 

^^^ On December 17, 2018, the North Carolina Courage acquired Seattle Reign FC’s first-round pick (originally acquired by the Courage from the Reign in the trade for Merritt Mathias **) in exchange for Darian Jenkins.

** Seattle Reign FC acquired the North Carolina Courage’s natural first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for Seattle’s natural second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft and Merritt MathiasDetails

* The Chicago Red Stars acquired the No. 1 overall pick and the No. 7 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft from Utah Royals FC in exchange for the rights to Christen Press. Utah Royals FC received the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft when they entered the league and acquired the No. 7 overall pick from the Orlando Pride (via Seattle Reign FC). Details

# Sky Blue FC received a conditional first-round and natural second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft from the Washington Spirit in exchange for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL dispersal draft. Details

& The Washington Spirit acquired the Orlando Pride’s natural first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft and Aubrey Bledsoe in exchange for Shelina Zadorsky. Details

@ The North Carolina Courage acquired the Houston Dash’s natural first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for two second-round draft picks in the 2019 NWSL College Draft and Allysha ChapmanDetails

^ The Washington Spirit acquired Portland Thorns FC’s natural first-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for a 2018 international roster spot and future considerations. Details

## The Houston Dash acquired the Orlando Pride’s natural second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for defender PolianaDetails

&& The North Carolina Courage acquired Utah Royals FC’s natural second-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft and the rights to Heather O’Reilly in exchange for Makenzy Doniak and North Carolina’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft. Details

@@ The Houston Dash acquired the Orlando Pride’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for Lotta ÖkvistDetails

^^ The Orlando Pride acquired Seattle Reign FC’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft and Haley Kopmeyer in exchange for Jasmyne Spencer. Details

*** The Chicago Red Stars acquired Portland Thorns FC’s natural third-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for the 29th pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. Details

### The Washington Spirit acquired the Houston Dash’s natural fourth-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for Tiffany Weimer. Details

&&& Sky Blue FC acquired Seattle Reign FC’s natural fourth-round pick in the 2019 NWSL College Draft in exchange for Adriana Leon. Details

McDonald’s first international goal gives U.S. 1-0 win over Portugal

McDonald makes first international start and Colaprico makes first appearance

Jessica McDonald scored the game's only goal. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The U.S. women’s national team earned the 500th win in their history on Thursday, 1-0 over Portugal at the Estadio António Coimbra da Mota in Estoril, Portugal.

North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald, the 2018 NWSL Championship MVP, earned her first-ever start and scored her first international goal in the 42nd minute. The game was just her second career cap, after earning the first on November 10, 2016 vs. Romania.

Courage teammate Crystal Dunn, starting at left back, shifted up into the midfield and charged forward on a run down the right sideline. Dunn played a square ball right into the middle of the box and to the feet of McDonald. McDonald’s first shot was saved by Portugal goalkeeper Patrícia Morais, but McDonald stayed with it, and knocked in the rebound for the game’s only goal.

In the first half, the only two U.S. shots on goal were the shots that McDonald took to score. In the 34th minute, McDonald was open in the box, but hit her shot wide. 

At the start of the second half, Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico entered for her first international appearance. She replaced Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan, who was making her first appearance since April 2018. Colaprico played the final 45 minutes of the match.

It was a game short of chances for both teams. Portugal’s best opportunity came in a string of corner kicks at the end of the first half, but Tatiana Pinto’s header skipped wide as Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher dove for it.

Morgan had a chance for her 98th international goal in the 74th, but Morais made a point-blank kick save.

The U.S. will play their final game of the year on Tuesday vs. Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie and Scotland at The Simple Digital Arena in Paisley, Scotland (2 p.m. ET, FS1 & UDN).


– U.S. Women’s National Team Match Report –

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Portugal

Date: November 8, 2018

Competition: International Friendly

Venue: Estadio António Coimbra da Mota; Estoril, Portugal

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET (5 p.m. local)

Attendance: TBD

Weather: 57 degrees; clear

Scoring Summary:   1          2          F

USA                            1          0          1

POR                            0          0          0

USA – Jessica McDonald       42nd minute

Lineups:

USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 25-Emily Fox (10-Carli Lloyd, 63), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 19-Crystal Dunn; 6-Andi Sullivan (22-Danielle Colaprico, 46), 16-Rose Lavelle (8-Julie Ertz, 82), 9-Lindsey Horan; 11-Mallory Pugh (2-Emily Sonnett, 73), 21-Jessica McDonald (13-Alex Morgan, 46), 15-Megan Rapinoe (capt.)

Substitutes not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris, 3-Sam Mewis

Head Coach: Jill Ellis

POR: 12-Patrícia Morais; 5-Matilde Fidalgo, 4-Sílvia Rebelo, 15-Carole Costa, 2-Mónica Mendes; 17-Vanessa Marques, 11-Tatiana Pinto (13-Fátima Pinto, 86), 14-Dolores Silva (capt.); 16-Diana Silva, 18-Carolina Mendes (6-Adreia Norton, 63), 20-Jéssica Silva (10-Ana Leite, 86)

Substitutes not used: 1-Inês Pereira, 22-Rute Costa, 3-Diana Gomes, 7-Vânia Duarte, 8-Laura Luís, 9-Ana Capeta, 19-Ana Santos, 21-Monique Gonçalves, 23-Telma Encarnação

Head Coach: Francisco Neto

Stats Summary: USA / POR

Shots: 13 / 13

Shots on Goal: 5 / 4

Saves: 2 / 4

Corner Kicks: 7 / 3

Fouls: 13 / 15

Offside: 4 / 2

Misconduct Summary:

USA – Andi Sullivan (caution)            31st minute

POR – Jéssica Silva (caution)            48

USA – Crystal Dunn (caution)            69

Officials:

Referee: Rebecca Welch (ENG)

Assistant Referee 1: Sian Massey (ENG)

Assistant Referee 2: Helen Byrne (ENG)

4th Official: Vanessa Gomes (POR)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Abby Dahlkemper

Ubogagu scores for England in her international debut

Ubogagu and Daly score in 3-0 England win

Chioma Ubogagu scored four goals for the Orlando Pride in 2018. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu made her international debut and scored her first international goal as England beat Austria 3-0 on Thursday.

Ubogagu scored in the 26th minute, cleaning up a loose ball after a challenge in the box from Toni Duggan.Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly subbed in for Ubogagu in the second half, and scored the game’s final goal in the 81st minute.

Ubogagu was named to England’s roster on October 30 ahead of the road friendly vs. Austria and a home meeting with Sweden. Before moving to the United States, Ubogagu was born in London after her parents immigrated to England from Nigeria. Ubogagu had played for United States youth national teams, but had not made an appearance on the senior level. She received her first-ever U.S. senior call up last fall, but did not play in the two friendlies vs. Canada in November 2017.

Players of the Week

Every player voted Player of the Week in the 2018 NWSL season

Sky Blue FC forward Katie Johnson was voted Week 21 Player of the Week in 2018. (Photo credit: Mike Lawrence/isiphotos.com)

2018 NWSL Players of the Week


The NWSL Players of the Week and Players of the Month are selected by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Watch full games from the 2018 NWSL season

Watch full games

Utah Royals FC hosted the Chicago Red Stars in their inaugural home opener on April 14, 2018. (Photo credit: Bryan Byerly/isiphotos.com)

Full games from the 2018 NWSL season:

 

Week 1

North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

Orlando Pride vs. Utah Royals FC

Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit

Houston Dash vs. Chicago Red Stars

 

Week 2

Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals FC

North Carolina Courage vs. Sky Blue FC

Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC

 

Week 3

Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage

Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride

 

Week 4

North Carolina Courage vs. Seattle Reign FC

Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash

Portland Thorns FC vs. Washington Spirit

North Carolina Courage vs. Utah Royals FC

Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC

Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash

 

Week 5

Houston Dash vs. North Carolina Courage

Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars

Orlando Pride vs. Seattle Reign FC

Utah Royals FC vs. Portland Thorns FC

 

Week 6

Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride

Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash

Utah Royals FC vs. Washington Spirit

North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars

 

Week 7

Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns FC

Utah Royals FC vs. Orlando Pride

Portland Thorns FC vs. Orlando Pride

North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit

Chicago Red Stars vs. Houston Dash

Seattle Reign FC vs. Sky Blue FC

 

Week 8

Utah Royals FC vs. Houston Dash

Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns FC

Sky Blue FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Seattle Reign FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

 

Week 9

Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC

Houston Dash vs. Seattle Reign FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Chicago Red Stars vs. Orlando Pride

Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit

 

Week 10

Portland Thorns FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Sky Blue FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars

Houston Dash vs. North Carolina Courage

Seattle Reign FC vs. Orlando Pride

 

Week 11/12

Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit

Washington Spirit vs. Seattle Reign FC

North Carolina Courage vs. Utah Royals FC

Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC

Chicago Red Stars vs. Portland Thorns FC

 

Week 13

Houston Dash vs. Portland Thorns FC

Seattle Reign FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Washington Spirit vs. Orlando Pride

Chicago Red Stars vs. Utah Royals FC

 

Week 14

Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash

Utah Royals FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC

Orlando Pride vs. North Carolina Courage

Utah Royals FC vs. Sky Blue FC

Seattle Reign FC vs. Portland Thorns FC

Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit

 

Week 15

North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars

Portland Thorns FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Orlando Pride vs. Washington Spirit

Seattle Reign FC vs. Houston Dash

 

Week 16

North Carolina Courage vs. Washington Spirit

Houston Dash vs. Orlando Pride

Seattle Reign FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Sky Blue FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Utah Royals FC vs. Orlando Pride

Chicago Red Stars vs. Seattle Reign FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Houston Dash

 

Week 17

Utah Royals FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Orlando Pride vs. Seattle Reign FC

Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC

 

Week 19

North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC

Houston Dash vs. Utah Royals FC

Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit

 

Week 20

Utah Royals FC vs. Washington Spirit

Chicago Red Stars vs. North Carolina Courage

Utah Royals FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash

Orlando Pride vs. Portland Thorns FC

 

Week 21

Seattle Reign FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

Houston Dash vs. Washington Spirit

Sky Blue FC vs. Utah Royals FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

North Carolina Courage vs. Orlando Pride

 

Week 22

Seattle Reign FC vs. Houston Dash

Washington Spirit vs. Utah Royals FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC

Seattle Reign FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Orlando Pride vs. Chicago Red Stars

Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns FC

Houston Dash vs. Sky Blue FC

 

Week 23/24

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC

Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC

Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride

Utah Royals FC vs. Chicago Red Stars

North Carolina Courage vs. Houston Dash

 

Playoffs

Portland Thorns FC vs. Seattle Reign FC

North Carolina Courage vs. Chicago Red Stars

 

2018 NWSL Championship

North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

 

 

 

Players of the Month

Every player voted Player of the Month in the 2018 NWSL season

Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly was voted May Player of the Month in the 2018 NWSL season. (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

2018 NWSL Players of the Month


The NWSL Players of the Week and Players of the Month are selected by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.

Orlando City SC announces new training complex set for July 2019

Details of the new training facility

Rendering of the new Pride locker room at the new training facility. (Image courtesy of Orlando City SC)

The Orlando Pride and Orlando City of MLS will be moving to a brand new training complex in July 2019, Orlando City SC announced Thursday. The new facility will be at Osceola Heritage Park, formerly the Houston Astros’ (MLB) spring training complex.

The new training complex will house both the Pride and Orlando City and feature four full-size grass fields and locker rooms for each team. It will also have a players’ lounge and dining area, film review room and a fitness, training and recovery center.

“The training complex is the heart of our soccer operations. It’s where our product on the field reports to work every day, where they eat and recover, and most importantly, where they build the team culture and attitude that carries over to the stadium on match days,” Orlando City SC CEO Alex Leitão said in a team press release announcing the new training complex.

“We’ve worked hard to secure the best opportunity to support both player development and the recruitment of top talent over the past four seasons with the establishment of a top-notch soccer stadium in 2017 and now the addition of a new state-of-the-art training complex in 2019,” Leitão said

 

John Walker named Dash and Dynamo president of business operations

Walker was introduced by club majority owner Gabriel Brener at a press conference on Thursday

BBVA Compass Stadium (Photo credit: Wilf Thorne/isiphotos.com)

On Thursday afternoon, the Houston Dash and Dynamo announced that John Walker has been named president of business operations. The club said that Walker will oversee all aspects of the club’s business operations and all of its entities — the Dash and Dynamo, and BBVA Compass Stadium and Houston Sports Park.

Walker joins the Dash and Dynamo after spending the last three years as executive vice president of business operations for the Memphis Grizzlies of the NBA. Walker was introduced by club majority owner Gabriel Brener at a press conference at BBVA Compass Stadium on Thursday.

Walker joins the organization following the announcement earlier this week that Dash and Dynamo president Chris Canetti will resign effective at the end of 2018.

Dynamo & Dash owner to make major announcement

Dynamo and Houston Dash Majority Owner Gabriel Brener to make a major announcement.

Posted by Houston Dash on Thursday, November 1, 2018

“I’m humbled to have the opportunity to build upon the legacy that Oliver Luck started and Chris Canetti developed with the Dynamo and Dash organization. The club has made an incredible impact on the soccer community locally, nationally and internationally and has developed a loyal and passionate fan base,” Walker said in a club news release. “Mr. Brener and the ownership group are committed to building a winning team, growing the fanbase and continuing that legacy. The future is promising on all fronts and I’m excited to get started.”

“I’m proud to welcome John Walker to the Houston Dynamo and Dash. He is a highly respected leader in the sports industry whose breadth and depth of experience in multiple sports, leagues, and areas of the business will help our club continue to grow,” Brener said in comments released by the club. “He has proven the ability to not only generate tremendous financial results, but to build a team-focused culture that leads to success across an organization. His energy, enthusiasm and ideas will help drive our club forward, and I am excited to begin this new chapter in our club’s history.”

NWSL announces partnership with Soccerex

The NWSL will participate in the Soccerex USA business conference on November 15-16 in Miami

On Thursday, the NWSL announced a partnership with Soccerex and that the league will be participating in the Soccerex USA business conference on November 15-16 in Miami. At the conference, NWSL managing director Amanda Duffy and Portland Thorns FC president Mike Golub will be featured on the panel: “How Can Women’s Soccer Realize Its Commercial Potential?” The panel will discuss the recent growth of women’s soccer, the impact of next summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, and more.

The league’s news release:

“NWSL ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH SOCCEREX

CHICAGO (Nov. 1, 2018) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today a formal relationship with Soccerex, a global networking leader in the football industry.  As part of the agreement, NWSL will be participating in the upcoming Soccerex USA business conference on Nov. 15-16 at Marlins Park in Miami as part of a panel of women’s soccer experts that will analyze the recent growth, assess the possible impact of the upcoming 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup and evaluate what needs to be done for women’s soccer to realize its full potential in the U.S. and around the world.

“We are very excited to formalize a relationship with Soccerex, and to participate on a panel discussing the growth of the women’s game at the upcoming Soccerex USA event,” said NWSL Managing Director Amanda Duffy. “It is a unique opportunity to showcase the women’s game and NWSL in particular with global leaders and influencers.”

The panel will feature the NWSL’s Amanda Duffy as well as Portland Thorns President Mike Golub, Concacaf Head of Women’s Football Karina LeBlanc, and La Liga Women’s Football Director Pedro Malabia, and will be moderated by Equalizer founder Jeff Kassouf.

“We are delighted to have NWSL’s support for our event in Miami. Women’s soccer is such a massive part of the industry in the US and NWSL are at forefront of its continuing growth. Amanda’s vision and commercial acumen have been central to the League’s development and her insights are a valuable addition to the Soccerex USA programme,” said Soccerex Marketing Director David Wright.

Soccerex USA will provide two days of unrivaled commercial, networking and learning opportunities for thousands of soccer business professionals. It is sponsored by the London Football Exchange (LFE) and with the support of an Advisory Board including senior members of Concacaf, U.S. Soccer and Major League Soccer. The conference will include more than 1,400 delegates, 80 exhibitors, 400 rights holders, and 40 expert speakers from over 40 countries.

For more information and to register for the conference, click here: https://nwsl.us/2OM8DjY.

About Soccerex

Soccerex has been bringing together the global football industry to network in a unique commercial environment for over twenty years. From hosting industry leading networking events across the globe to our market insight campaigns, we provide a platform to connect your business with the game’s key stakeholders. We are committed to growing the beautiful game around the world and our love of football is truly at the heart of everything we do. Go to www.soccerex.com/usa for more information.”

Header and Free Kick Goals

Highlights from the 2018 NWSL season

Chicago Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato (left) and North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Watch every 2018 NWSL header goal and free kick goal.

 

Header Goals


Free Kick Goals

 

Chioma Ubogagu called up by England for November friendlies

Daly also named to England roster

Chioma Ubogagu scored four goals for the Orlando Pride in 2018. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Orlando Pride forward Chioma Ubogagu has been called up by England for their upcoming friendlies vs. Austria and Sweden. She joins Houston Dash forward Rachel Daly on the roster for the two games. [Full Roster]

Before moving to the United States, Ubogagu was born in London after her parents immigrated to England from Nigeria. Ubogagu has played for United States youth national teams, but has not made an appearance on the senior level. She received her first-ever U.S. senior call up last fall, but did not play in the two friendlies vs. Canada in November 2017.

Ubogagu is one of three first-time call ups for England’s senior team on this roster as they continue their preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup next summer in France. Ubogagu is currently in Australia competing in the W-League on loan with Brisbane Roar.

England will play on the road vs. Austria on November 8 and then host Sweden on November 11.

 

Ellis calls in 23 NWSL players for U.S. games in Portugal and Scotland

The United States will take on Portugal on Nov. 8 and Scotland on Nov. 13

(Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 24-woman roster that will travel to Portugal and Scotland early next month for a pair of road friendlies on November 8 and 13. U.S. Soccer announced the roster on Friday and it features 23 NWSL players. Ellis will name 18 players to the gameday roster for each match.

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico, North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald and Washington Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan are among the players named to the roster. Seattle Reign FC midfielder Allie Long is back after dealing with a right knee sprain at the end of the NWSL season.

It’s Colaprico’s first call-up since October 2016. She and Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch are two of three uncapped players on the roster, alongside University of North Carolina sophomore Emily Fox. McDonald was last called up for the 2017 SheBelieves Cup and Sullivan was most recently called in for friendlies in April 2018.


U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position; Caps/Goals

GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 18/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 37/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (North Carolina Courage; 28/0), Crystal Dunn (North Carolina Courage; 73/24), Emily Fox (University of North Carolina; 0/0), Merritt Mathias (North Carolina Courage; 1/0), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 147/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 27/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 24/0)

MIDFIELDERS (7): Danielle Colaprico (Chicago Red Stars; 0/0), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 71/18), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 61/7), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 18/6), Allie Long (Seattle Reign FC; 39/6), Samantha Mewis (North Carolina Courage; 40/8), Andi Sullivan (Washington Spirit; 10/0)

FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 142/25), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 263/105), Jessica McDonald (North Carolina Courage; 1/0), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 151/97), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 106/46), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 41/12), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 144/41)


The United States will face Portugal on Nov. 8 at Estadio António Coimbra da Mota in Estoril (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and then Scotland on Nov. 13 at The Simple Digital Arena in Paisley (2 p.m. ET, FS1 & UDN). They’ll be the first road games for the U.S. since June 2017 in Sweden and Norway and the final two games of the 2018 calendar year.

Earlier this week, U.S. Soccer announced that Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara would miss the trip to Europe after undergoing ankle surgery. She will be out 8-12 weeks.

The United States and Scotland have both qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Earlier this week, Scotland announced their roster for the game vs. the United States. It will feature Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie — but will not feature former Seattle Reign FC midfielder and 2014 NWSL MVP Kim Little, who suffered a broken fibula earlier this month.

 

Houston Dash president Chris Canetti resigns

Canetti will become president of the Houston World Cup Bid Committee

Houston Dash president Chris Canetti at the 2018 NWSL College Draft. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/isiphotos.com)

Houston Dash and Dynamo president Chris Canetti has resigned, the club announced Friday. Canetti will become president of the Houston World Cup Bid Committee which is working to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to Houston.

Canetti has been Dynamo president since 2010, and led the Dash joining the NWSL as an expansion team in 2014. He will continue as president of the Dynamo and Dash until the end of this year, and move on to his new role in January 2019.

“Today, I am filled with mixed emotions.  I love this club, cherish my time here, and feel sadness about it coming to an end,” Canetti said in comments released by the club.

“But I am confident that is the right time to move on to the next challenge. And with this next challenge comes the opportunity to work on something vitally important to the game of soccer and our community, and that’s ensuring that Houston secures World Cup matches in 2026.”

The NWSL guide to the W-League

The W-League begins Oct. 25

Reign FC goalkeeper Lydia Williams and Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr return to the W-League this season. (Photo credit:

The Westfield-W League is almost underway in Australia for its 11th season. Over thirty-five NWSL players across all nine NWSL teams have been announced by W-League teams to be playing in Australia this offseason. A few of those player loans are still pending NWSL approval, and those are noted in the full list at the bottom of this post.

On Thursday, Oct. 25, Western Sydney Wanderers vs. Sydney FC will kick the season off, followed by a full weekend of games in Round 1. The regular season includes 14 rounds, followed by the postseason’s semifinals and Grand Final match in February 2019.

Utah Royals FC defender Sydney Miramontez, midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta and Seattle Reign FC midfielder Elizabeth Addo will represent the Western Sydney Wanderers in the opening game. Sydney FC has Washington Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, Houston Dash midfielder Sofia Huerta, Orlando Pride defender Alanna Kennedy and Thorns FC forward Caitlin Foord. On Thursday, Sydney FC released their roster for the game, and it also includes Chicago Red Stars midfielder Danielle Colaprico. Sky Blue FC also announced on Thursday that Savannah McCaskill will be joining Sydney FC on loan.

As opening weekend continues, Chicago Red Stars forward Yuki Nagasato, Houston Dash defender Clare Polkinghorne, Orlando Pride defender Carson Pickett and forward Chioma Ubogagu, as well as Portland Thorns FC forward Hayley Raso and midfielder Celeste Boureille, will be part of the Brisbane Roar as they face Perth Glory on Saturday night (ET). The Chicago Red Stars have four players on the Perth Glory roster; forward Sam Kerr, defender Katie Naughton, midfielder Alyssa Mautz and midfielder Nikki Stanton. Also playing for Perth Glory this season is Orlando Pride’s Rachel Hill.

The W-League’s first weekend — Round 1 — closes with two games early Sunday morning (ET). First up, Canberra United vs. Melbourne City, followed by Melbourne Victory vs. Adelaide United. The full W-League schedule can be found here — and fans can convert the schedule into their own time zone.

Portland Thorns defender Ellie Carpenter, Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie and North Carolina Courage midfielder Denise O’Sullivan will play for Canberra United this season. For Melbourne City, seven Seattle Reign FC players are on the roster: defenders Steph Catley, Lauren Barnes and Theresa Nielsen, midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight, forwards Jodie Taylor and Jasmyne Spencer, and goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Houston Dash midfielder Kyah Simon will also suit up for them this season. On Thursday, Sky Blue FC announced that Rebekah Stott has signed a one season contract with Melbourne City FC.

Orlando Pride midfielders Christine Nairn and Dani Weatherholt will play for Melbourne Victory along with Utah Royals FC defender Samantha Johnson, and representing Adelaide United are Utah Royals FC midfielder Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir and Houston Dash defender Amber Brooks and forward Veronica Latsko

The Newcastle Jets have a bye in the first week and include Utah Royals FC forward Katie Stengel, Orlando Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond, Washington Spirit defender Taylor Smith and Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom.


About the W-League

The Westfield W-League has nine clubs: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Canberra United, Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers. The regular season includes 14 rounds, followed by the postseason’s semifinals and Grand Final match in February 2019.

Melbourne City has won the last three Grand Finals. Last year, Sam Kerwon her second-straight Golden Boot. She and Clare Polkinghorne both won the Julie Dolan Medal, awarded to the league’s most valuable player.

Seventeen W-League games will broadcast on ESPN+ this year, ESPN’s subscription service. More info can be found here and here. Additional info on how fans in Australia can watch the W-League can be found here.

You can follow the W-League on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.


NWSL Players in the W-League

Below is a list of every NWSL player who has been announced by W-League teams to be joining their squads this season. Players whose loans are still pending NWSL approval are noted with an asterisk.

As more players are announced, this list will be updated.

 

Chicago Red Stars

Danielle Colaprico | Sydney FC *

Sam Kerr | Perth Glory

Alyssa Mautz | Perth Glory *

Yuki Nagasato | Brisbane Roar *

Katie Naughton | Perth Glory

Nikki Stanton | Perth Glory

 

Houston Dash

Amber Brooks | Adelaide United

Sofia Huerta | Sydney FC

Veronica Latsko| Adelaide United

Clare Polkinghorne | Brisbane Roar

Kyah Simon | Melbourne City

 

North Carolina Courage

Denise O’Sullivan | Canberra United

 

Orlando Pride

Rachel Hill | Perth Glory

Alanna Kennedy | Sydney FC

Christine Nairn | Melbourne Victory

Carson Pickett | Brisbane Roar FC

Chioma Ubogagu | Brisbane Roar FC

Emily van Egmond | Newcastle Jets FC

Dani Weatherholt | Melbourne Victory

 

Portland Thorns FC

Celeste Boureille | Brisbane Roar FC

Ellie Carpenter | Canberra United

Britt Eckerstrom | Newcastle Jets

Caitlin Foord | Sydney FC

Hayley Raso | Brisbane Roar

 

Seattle Reign FC

Elizabeth Addo | Western Sydney Wanderers

Lauren Barnes | Melbourne City FC

Steph Catley | Melbourne City FC

Elise Kellond-Knight | Melbourne City FC

Theresa Nielsen | Melbourne City FC

Jasmyne Spencer | Melbourne City FC

Jodie Taylor | Melbourne City FC

Lydia Williams | Melbourne City FC

 

Sky Blue FC

Savannah McCaskill | Sydney FC

Rebekah Stott | Melbourne City FC

 

Utah Royals FC

Rachel Corsie | Canberra United

Samantha Johnson | Melbourne Victory

Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir | Adelaide United

Lo’eau LaBonta | Western Sydney Wanderers

Sydney Miramontez | Western Sydney Wanderers

Katie Stengel | Newcastle Jets

 

Washington Spirit

Aubrey Bledsoe | Sydney FC

Taylor Smith | Newcastle Jets

 

* = Pending NWSL approval

U.S. to travel to Portugal and Scotland for November road friendlies

The U.S. will play the two road friendlies on November 8 and 13

Utah Royals FC defenders Rachel Corsie and Becky Sauerbrunn will be on opposite sides of the field when Scotland hosts the United States in November. (Photo credit: Rob Gray/isiphotos.com)

The U.S. women’s national team will travel to Portugal and Scotland next month for a pair of friendlies, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday. They’ll be the first road games for the U.S. since June 2017 in Sweden and Norway.

The United States will face Portugal on Nov. 8 at Estadio António Coimbra da Mota in Estoril (1 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and then Scotland on Nov. 13 at The Simple Digital Arena in Paisley (2 p.m. ET, FS1 & UDN).

The United States and Scotland are both qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. The U.S. had originally scheduled games in the Netherlands and Switzerland, but both teams will now be meeting in November in the play-off for UEFA’s final spot in the World Cup.

Also on Tuesday, Scotland announced their roster for the game vs. the United States. It will feature Utah Royals FC defender Rachel Corsie — but will not feature former Seattle Reign FC midfielder and 2014 NWSL MVP Kim Little, who suffered a broken fibula earlier this month.

O’Hara out 8-12 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic ankle procedure

O'Hara will miss the USWNT's trip to Europe in November

Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O'Hara in action in 2018. (Photo credit: Rob Gray/isiphotos.com)

Utah Royals FC defender Kelley O’Hara has undergone an arthroscopic ankle procedure, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday. U.S. Soccer said the surgery was done to remove loose bodies in her right ankle and that she will be out for 8-12 weeks.

O’Hara will miss the U.S. women’s national team’s trip to Portugal and Scotland in November, the final games of 2018 for the USWNT.

“It’s all good. These kinds of things come with the territory,” O’Hara said in a U.S. Soccer news release.

“This is just the best time to get the procedure done so I’m one hundred percent heading into 2019 and physically ready to perform at the level I want to and need to. It’s a bummer that I won’t get to Europe, but the most important thing is to be healthy for next year.”

Goals and Saves of the Week

Every Goal and Save of the Week

Orlando Pride forward Marta (left) and Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch (Photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Watch the 2019 NWSL Goals of the Week and Saves of the Week, as voted on by fans.

Goals of the Week


Saves of the Week

 

U.S. wins Concacaf Women’s Championship with 2-0 win over Canada

The U.S. finished the tournament with five wins, 26 goals for, 0 goals against

The United States won all five games at the Concacaf Women's Championship. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The United States beat Canada 2-0 to win the Concacaf Women’s Championship on a rainy night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The United States scored in the first two minutes of the game, and then in the final two minutes of the game to pick up the win. The U.S. finished the tournament with a 5-0 record, 26 goals scored and 0 goals conceded.

Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz won the Golden Ball, awarded to the best player of the tournament. The United States won the Fair Play Award.

Washington Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle scored her sixth international goal, and her third goal of this tournament, in the 2nd minute. After an attempted clearance by Pride defender Shelina Zadorsky for Canada, the ball went to Lavelle, who sent a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner to put the U.S. up 1-0.

Morgan sealed the win in the 89th minute with a left-footed tap in after a cross from Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan. After an initial clearance by Canada, Courage midfielder Crystal Dunn found Horan out wide to restart the play. Replays showed Morgan was offside on the goal, but it was not called and the goal stood.

The goal clinched the Concacaf Women’s Championship Golden Boot for Morgan, who finished the tournament with seven goals. It’s her 97th international goal and her 17th of 2018. She has 24 goals in her last 24 games.

“It’s not without my teammates. I mean honestly, the service is just incredible,” Morgan said in a postgame interview with Fox Sports’ Alex Curry on FS1. “So many players had an amazing tournament.”

As expected, it was a physical match between the two sides, with Canada picking up four yellow cards, and the United States picking up one.

“It’s another title. That’s what we’re all about. We want to win. Obviously, we hate Canada. They hate us. That was very apparent on the field today,” Reign forward Megan Rapinoe told Curry. “It was a good performance for us. Really just all tournament. I feel like we took it up another notch.”

Both teams created chances, but couldn’t find the back of the net in between the Lavelle and Morgan goals.

Canada’s Kadeisha Buchanan had a chance in the 24th minute, but Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher pushed the header out for a corner kick.

Zadorsky blocked a shot from her Pride teammate Morgan in the 59th minute, after Stephanie Labbé came off her line on a Morgan breakaway. Labbe was forced to make a diving save on a left-footed shot from distance by Rapinoe.

Dunn played a pass to Morgan in the box in the 80th minute, but Morgan’s shot trickled just wide at the far post.

It’s the 26th consecutive game without a loss for the United States. They’ve gone 23-0-3 in those games. They are now 49-3-7 all-time vs. Canada.

Canada finished the tournament with 24 goals scored and three goals conceded.


Panama 2 | Jamaica 2 | Jamaica wins 2-4 in penalties

Earlier Wednesday, Jamaica topped Panama in penalty kicks to advance to their first-ever World Cup. Panama will face Argentina in a two-leg play-off for a spot in France.

Khadija Shaw scored to give Jamaica the lead in the 13th minute, but Panama got a late equalizer from Natalia Mills in the 73rd to send the game to extra time. In the 95th minute, Jamaica took the lead on a goal by 16-year-old Jody Brown, but again Panama tied the match. Lineth Cedeño scored in 115th minute to send the game to penalty kicks.

Jamaica swapped goalkeepers for the shootout and the move paid off as Nicole McClure, who replaced Sydney Schneider, made two stops in the shootout. Jamaica sent all four of their penalties past Panama’s Yenith Bailey to book their spot in France.

After the game, Bailey was awarded the Golden Glove as the tournament’s best goalkeeper. Brown was named Best Young Player.

Eighteen of 24 countries have booked their tickets to France so far: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China PR, England, France (host nation), Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea Republic, Norway, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Thailand and the United States.