Six NWSL players nominated for Canada’s Player of the Year Award

CANWNTDecember 06

2018 Algarve Cup groups announced

NewsDecember 06

Briana Scurry named Washington Spirit assistant coach

NewsDecember 06

Lydia Williams re-signs with Seattle Reign FC

NewsDecember 06

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

USWNTDecember 05

Utah Royals FC name, logo, season ticket information revealed

NewsDecember 01

Re-signings continue across the league during offseason

NewsDecember 01

Highlights: NWSL on international duty

NewsNovember 29

Sam Kerr named AFC Women’s Player of the Year

NewsNovember 29

Four NWSL players called in for U.S. U-23 training camp

NewsNovember 29

USWNT to open 2018 vs. Denmark in San Diego

USWNTNovember 29

Houston Dash name Vera Pauw as new head coach

NewsNovember 28

Sinclair nets goal No. 169 in Canada’s 3-2 comeback win over Norway

CANWNTNovember 28

Laura Harvey named head coach of Utah’s new NWSL team

NewsNovember 27

Jodie Taylor to join Seattle Reign FC

NewsNovember 21

10 NWSL players named to Canada roster ahead of friendly vs. Norway

CANWNTNovember 21

NWSL announces that FC Kansas City will cease operations

NewsNovember 20

NWSL heads to Rio Tinto: Real Salt Lake enters the league for 2018

NWSL in UtahNovember 16

Real Salt Lake enters the league swinging for the fences

NWSL in UtahNovember 16

Sky Blue FC taps Denise Reddy as new head coach

NewsNovember 15

USWNT closes out 2017 with 3-1 win over Canada

Game RecapNovember 13

U.S. and Canada ready for round two in San Jose

NewsNovember 12

Canada earns draw vs. USA in Vancouver friendly

CANWNTNovember 10

USA and Canada ready for home-and-home series; 34 NWSL players on rosters

Game PreviewNovember 09

Shake-up in Seattle: Laura Harvey steps down, Vlatko Andonovski steps in as head coach

NewsNovember 07

12 NWSL players named to Canada roster for friendlies vs. USWNT

CANWNTNovember 02

22 NWSL players named to USWNT roster for friendlies vs. Canada

USWNTOctober 31

Boston Breakers sign Swedish defender/midfielder Lotta Ökvist

NewsOctober 31

Nora Holstad announces retirement

NewsOctober 30

The NWSL guide to the W-League

NWSL AbroadOctober 30

Andressinha, Bruna Benites, Francisca Ordega to play in Brazil, Spain on loan this offseason

NewsOctober 30

2018 NWSL College Draft to take place on Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. ET

NewsOctober 26

Highlights & Results: NWSL players on international duty

NewsOctober 24

No players selected off NWSL Re-Entry Wire

NewsOctober 24

NWSL teams exercise contract options

NewsOctober 24

Eight NWSL players available on the Re-Entry Wire

NewsOctober 23

Six goals for the USWNT, first cap for Zerboni in shutout win over Korea Republic

USWNTOctober 23

NWSL MVP: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC

NWSL AwardsOctober 20

McCall Zerboni called up to USWNT ahead of Sunday’s friendly

USWNTOctober 20

Ertz, Morgan, Rapinoe score in 3-1 USWNT win over Korea Republic

USWNTOctober 20

Defender of the Year: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage

NWSL AwardsOctober 19

Goalkeeper of the Year: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC

NWSL AwardsOctober 18

Rookie of the Year: Ashley Hatch, North Carolina Courage

NWSL AwardsOctober 17

Thorns celebrate NWSL Championship win in style

NWSL ChampionshipOctober 17

Paul Riley voted NWSL Coach of the Year

NWSL AwardsOctober 16

Smith, Heath ruled out of upcoming USWNT friendlies

NewsOctober 16

Sonnett and Menges lead Portland to shutout win over North Carolina

NWSL ChampionshipOctober 14

Lindsey Horan named MVP as Thorns win NWSL Championship

NWSL ChampionshipOctober 14

What to Watch For: Courage vs. Thorns in the NWSL Championship

NWSL ChampionshipOctober 13

Watch: NWSL Championship Preview Press Conference

NWSL ChampionshipOctober 13

Six NWSL players nominated for Canada’s Player of the Year Award

The winner will be announced in the second week of December

Janine Beckie and Christine Sinclair in action for Canada in 2017. (Photo credit: Canada Soccer)

Janine Beckie, Stephanie Labbé, Adriana Leon, Desiree Scott, Christine Sinclair and Shelina Zadorsky are among the 11 women’s nominees for Canada’s Player of the Year Award, Canada Soccer announced.

The award is voted on by media and coaches, and Canada’s Players of the Year (women’s and men’s) will be announced on December 14 and 15.

Sinclair has won the award 13 times in her career. In the NWSL this season, she started every game and scored eight regular season goals as the Thorns went on to win their second NWSL Championship. In Canada’s final international game of the year, Sinclair scored her 169th international goal, good for second all-time as she continues to chase Abby Wambach’s record of 184.

Beckie scored twice and added an assist for the Dash this season. She scored a hat trick for Canada on June 11 in Toronto. The feat came in the first 21 minutes of Canada’s 6-0 win over Costa Rica. Leon tallied six goals and six assists in 24 games for the Breakers in 2017. Her six assists were tied for second in the NWSL. Most recently, Leon scored the equalizing goal for Canada in a 1-1 draw with the United States in Vancouver on November 9.

Labbé made 66 saves and earned two clean sheets in 17 starts for the Spirit this season. Scott anchored FC Kansas City’s midfield in 2017, playing in 21 games and was one of the league’s best passers with an 82.7% passing accuracy. Zadorsky made 101 clearances while appearing in 21 games on the backline for the Spirit.

2018 Algarve Cup groups announced

Canada, Australia, Japan and more are set for the 12-team tournament

Australia forward Sam Kerr in action vs. Japan at the 2017 Tournament of Nations. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The official 2018 Algarve Cup groups were announced Wednesday for the 12-team tournament that will take place in Portugal early next year. The tournament will take place from February 28 to March 7.

Group 1 features Australia, Norway, South Korea and Portugal. Australia won the 2017 Tournament of Nations earlier this summer with wins over the  United States, Japan and Brazil. The Matildas are flying high after a strong end to the season and reigning NWSL MVP in Sam Kerr’s scoring streak.

In Group 2, we’ll see Sweden, Canada, China and Russia. Canada finished second in 2017 after winning the tournament in 2016. Canada is coming off a comeback 3-2 win over Norway in Spain earlier this month as Thorns forward Christine Sinclair scored her 169th international goal

Rounding out the tournament in Group 3: the Euro 2017 champion Netherlands, as well as Japan, Denmark and Iceland.

Group 1

Australia

Norway

South Korea

Portugal

Group 2


Sweden

Canada

China

Russia

Group 3


Netherlands

Japan

Denmark

Iceland

Briana Scurry named Washington Spirit assistant coach

The 2017 National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee will be on the Spirit sideline in 2018

Briana Scurry served as honorary captain for the Spirit at a game in 2016. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Women’s World Cup champion Briana Scurry is joining the Washington Spirit coaching staff, the club announced Wednesday. Scurry will be first assistant coach for the Spirit and the technical advisor for the Spirit Academy in Maryland and Virginia.

“I’ve always been a loyal fan of the Washington Spirit and now I have the wonderful opportunity to truly be a part of the team,” Scurry said in a Washington Spirit news release. “I’m excited to bring my experiences and knowledge to our players, and to contribute in an effective and positive manner to the culture of the team and organization as a whole.”

The former U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper was inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame this year. She won two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2004) and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 1999. She competed in the WUSA as a member of the Atlanta Beat and spent two WPS seasons with the Washington Freedom.

“We could not possibly be more excited and grateful to have Bri join our Spirit family,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in the release. “Bri brings an immense level of resources and experience that will help our players grow and develop. I look forward to working with her and helping her in her own personal growth and development.”

Scurry joins the Spirit coaching staff following the departure of Denise Reddy, who left last month to become head coach of Sky Blue FC.

Lydia Williams re-signs with Seattle Reign FC

Williams was acquired in a trade with the Dash during the 2017 season

Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Lydia Williams allowed two goals in three games for the Reign in 2017. (Photo credit: Jane Gershovich/isiphotos.com)

Lydia Williams is headed back to Seattle Reign FC. The club announced on Tuesday that the Australian goalkeeper has been re-signed for the 2018 season.

Williams is currently playing in the W-League in Australia for Melbourne City. In a team news release, new Reign FC head coach Vlatko Andonovski called re-signing Williams one of the “main goals” for the club. 

“I’m excited to be joining the Reign right from the beginning for the 2018 season,” Williams said in the team’s official announcement. “The club has a specific direction in mind, and I think we will play an entertaining style of football. We will be ready to compete from day one.”

Williams joined the team near the end of the season after a trade with the Dash. She immediately started the next three games for the Reign. She recorded one shutout and allowed two goals in those games.

Williams is the fourth international to be re-signed by the team in the last two weeks. Of the six players listed as having been extended new contract offers at the end of the season, only Lauren Barnes and Carson Pickett remain not yet re-signed.

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

All five players had strong NWSL seasons

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz celebrates her goal for the USWNT in New Orleans. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Julie Ertz, Lindsey HoranSamantha Mewis, Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe are the five nominees for the 2017 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year award, U.S. Soccer announced Tuesday.

The award is voted on by national team coaches/staff, USWNT players who appeared in 2017, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors, U.S. Soccer’s Athlete Council, NWSL coaches, select college coaches and select members of the media.

In league play, Mewis was named to the NWSL Best XI and was also a finalist for NWSL MVP in 2017. Mewis scored six goals and added three assists while appearing in every game as the Courage made it to the NWSL Championship. Rapinoe was also an MVP finalist, and was named to the NWSL Second XI. Despite missing time because of an injury late in the season, Rapinoe scored 12 goals and one assist in 18 games for the Reign.

Ertz, Horan and Morgan were all named to the NWSL Second XI in 2017 and all three made the NWSL Playoffs. Moved into a midfield role for the Red Stars, Ertz tallied four goals and three assists. Horan started every game for the Thorns and contributed four goals and two assists in the midfield. Morgan, who the award in 2012, was named August Player of the Month after a blistering stretch for the Pride in which she scored seven goals in five games. Morgan finished the season with nine goals and four assists in 13 appearances after rejoining the Pride midway through the season.

On the national team side, Mewis started every game and finished second on the USWNT in minutes. Morgan led the team with seven goals in 2017 and Ertz finished second with six. In assists, Rapinoe (five) and Horan (four) led the way.

Utah Royals FC name, logo, season ticket information revealed

Utah Royals FC will play their first home game in April 2018 at Rio Tinto Stadium

Utah Royals FC. That’s the name for the new Real Salt Lake team, joining the NWSL for the 2018 season, the club announced Friday. Utah Royals FC will play their home games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

In addition to the team name, Utah also announced season ticket information and their logo. The news capped off a week in which the Royals also revealed their inaugural head coach — former Seattle Reign FC coach Laura Harvey.

The logo — in colors of gold, red and blue — features a Lioness head and the Delicate Arch in Arches National Park, with a crown resting atop of the crest. The club said the first batch of t-shirts with the new logo will go on sale in two stores in Utah on Saturday (locations) and that more merchandise would be revealed this month. They also said the new home and away NIKE jerseys would be revealed prior to the 2018 NWSL College Draft on January 18, along with additional roster and front office moves.

For fans wishing to check out the new NWSL team in person, the club announced Friday that Real Salt Lake season ticket members who have signed up at www.RSL.com/NWSL will gain access to priority seat locations at Rio Tinto Stadium for one week, beginning on Monday, December 4. The general public sale will begin on Monday, December 11. Season ticket prices start at $120 for 12 games, beginning in April 2018.

The Utah Royals FC Supporters Group section will be behind the north goal at Rio Tinto Stadium and season ticket prices will be $120 for the 2018 season.

Full season ticket information can be found at www.utahroyalsfc.com and on the team’s new social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Re-signings continue across the league during offseason

The latest re-signings from a busy NWSL offseason

Jess Fishlock, Rumi Utsugi and Nahomi Kawasumi celebrate during Seattle Reign FC's comeback win over the Chicago Red Stars in 2017. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Here’s a look at all the latest re-signings around the NWSL:

Seattle Reign FC

The final week of November has been a busy one for new Reign coach Vlatko Andonovski as the team has moved to re-sign three of the key internationals on the team for next season:

Rumi Utsugi

Utsugi appeared in 20 games in 2017 and was named Reign team MVP. She scored a goal and added two assists for Seattle.

“Rumi is probably one of the most creative players in the league,” Andonovski said in the team’s official announcement. “Her decisions in the build-up phase are superb. She is very comfortable on the ball and is always an option for her teammates. She’ll have a crucial role in establishing the style of play.”

Jess Fishlock

Fishlock finished the season with seven goals and two assists in 20 games for the Reign. She was named to the NWSL Best XI for her season, and also appeared in her 100th career NWSL game.

“It is an honor to re-sign with this club. Seattle Reign is in my heart and I am excited for the future,” Fishlock said when the Reign announced the news. “I hope to bring this club back to its prior success – it is a dream of mine.”

Nahomi Kawasumi

Kawasumi led the league in assists with nine, just one short of the record of 10, set by Tobin Heath in 2016. She set an NWSL record with four assists in one game, in a 6-2 win over the Spirit in May. She also set a record in that game as the first player to be directly involved in five goals in one game.

“Naho has been successful in this league for several years – her service and technical abilities will always be welcome on our team,” Vlatko Andonovski said in the announcement. “I think that she will fit in perfectly with our style of play and we’re all very excited to have her back for another season.”


Houston Dash

The Dash re-signed Rachel Daly ahead of the of the 2018 season, the team announced last week. In 2017, her second year in the NWSL, Daly scored five goals (winning Goal of the Week twice) and had two assists.


Boston Breakers

In her second season in the league, Christen Westphal played in 13 games for the Breakers in 2017. She recorded an assist, before missing the end of the season with right foot nerve damage. The team announced her re-signing on November 14.

“Christen was having an excellent season for us until she got injured and she was a big loss,” Breakers coach Matt Beard said in Boston’s official release. “She had done so well last year, and I’m delighted that she has re-signed as I feel she has a big future at Boston and in soccer.”

Earlier this offseason, the Breakers also announced the re-signing of four players: Angela Salem, Brooke Elby, Katie Stengel and Tiffany Weimer.

Highlights: NWSL on international duty

Big goals and big wins in the final international games of 2017

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr, Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair and North Carolina Courage forward Denise O'Sullivan (photo credit: isiphotos.com)

Another international break is in the books and it saw no shortage of NWSL players making the scoresheets across the globe. Sam Kerr (who else?) scored four goals and added an assist. Denise O’Sullivan and Ireland came away with a huge point in their World Cup qualifier vs. the Netherlands, the reigning Euro champs. Christine Sinclair scored her 169th international goal. Marta notched a goal and three assists.  Debinha returned to the field and scored a goal after being injured in the NWSL playoffs.

Plus, Spirit midfielder Estefanía Banini represented Argentina at the 2017 Women’s Futsal World Cup. Banini scored nine goals and three assists as Argentina finished second in the tournament. Read more

It’s been a busy two weeks of international games for NWSL players. Here’s a look at all the highlights and results.


Wednesday, November 22

Australia vs. China

Sam Kerr continued her strong 2017 as the reigning NWSL MVP scored twice for Australia in a 3-0 win over China. Highlights

NWSL players on Australia’s roster: Steph Catley (Orlando Pride), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Larissa Crummer (Seattle Reign FC) and Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC)


Friday, November 24

Wales vs. Kazakhstan (Women’s World Cup Qualifier)

Wales scored the game-winning goal in the 83rd minute of their World Cup qualifier vs. Kazakhstan. Reign midfielder Jess Fishlock started for Wales in the 1-0 win. Match report

NWSL players on Wales’ roster: Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign FC)


England vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Women’s World Cup Qualifier)

England topped Bosnia and Herzegovina 4-0 in their Women’s World Cup qualifier. Jodie Taylor, recently signed by Seattle Reign FC, did not feature in the match. Match report

NWSL players on England’s roster: Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign FC)


Jordan vs. Japan

Japan beat Jordan 2-0 in a friendly. Match report

NWSL players on Japan’s roster: Rumi Utsugi (Seattle Reign FC)


Saturday, November 25

Costa Rica vs. Mexico

Raquel Rodriguez scored the game-winner in the 90th minute as Costa Rica topped Mexico 3-2.

NWSL players on Costa Rica’s roster: Raquel Rodriguez (Sky Blue FC)


Chile vs. Brazil

Marta converted a penalty kick and added an assist in Brazil’s 4-0 win over Chile. Andressinha also tallied an assist and Debinha, who dislocated her left elbow in the Courage’s 1-0 NWSL semifinal win in October, returned to the field.

NWSL players on Brazil’s roster: Andressinha (Houston Dash), Debinha (North Carolina Courage), Marta (Orlando Pride) and Monica (Orlando Pride)


Thailand vs. New Zealand

New Zealand and Thailand played to a 0-0 draw in Bangkok. Match report

NWSL players on New Zealand’s roster: Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC) and Katie Bowen (new Utah NWSL team)


Sunday, November 26

Australia vs. China

Another game, another brace for Sam Kerr. After falling behind early, Australia rallied to beat China 5-1 in their final game of the year. Kerr also added an assist and Lydia Williams made several big saves for Australia. The Matildas finished off a strong 2017 with seven straight wins. Highlights

NWSL players on Australia’s roster: Steph Catley (Orlando Pride), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Larissa Crummer (Seattle Reign FC) and Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC)


Monday, November 27

Costa Rica vs. Mexico

Costa Rica fell to Mexico 2-0 in the second of two friendlies between the teams. Match report

Tuesday, November 28

Bosnia and Herzegovina vs. Wales (Women’s World Cup Qualifier)

A 1-0 win for Wales in their World Cup qualifier vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina. With three wins and a draw through four games, Wales sits on top of their qualifying group. Match report

NWSL players on Wales’ roster: Jess Fishlock (Seattle Reign FC)


Netherlands vs. Republic of Ireland (Women’s World Cup Qualifier)

Denise O’Sullivan and Ireland earned a 0-0 draw on the road vs. the Netherlands, the reigning Euro champs. Match report

NWSL players on Ireland’s roster: Denise O’Sullivan (North Carolina Courage)


England vs. Kazakhstan (Women’s World Cup Qualifier)

England topped Kazakhstan 5-0 in their World Cup Qualifier. Match report

NWSL players on England’s roster: Jodie Taylor (Seattle Reign FC)


Chile vs. Brazil

Brazil topped Chile 3-0 in their final game of the year. Debinha scored and Marta assisted on Brazil’s first two goals in the win.

NWSL players on Brazil’s roster: Andressinha (Houston Dash), Debinha (North Carolina Courage), Marta (Orlando Pride) and Monica (Orlando Pride)


Canada vs. Norway

Canada fell behind 2-0 in the first half, but rallied to beat Norway 3-2. Christine Sinclair scored international goal No. 169 in the win, Canada’s seventh of the year. Janine Beckie and Adriana Leon also scored. Maegan Kelly earned her first international assist. Match report

NWSL players on Canada’s roster: Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit), Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit), Adriana Leon (Boston Breakers), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (new Utah NWSL team), Janine Beckie (Houston Dash), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash) and Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC).


Thailand vs. New Zealand

Katie Bowen scored a goal and earned a penalty kick for the Ferns as New Zealand beat Thailand 5-0. Match report

NWSL players on New Zealand’s roster: Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC) and Katie Bowen (new Utah NWSL team)

Sam Kerr named AFC Women’s Player of the Year

The 2017 NWSL MVP wins another award this year

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr in action for Australia at the Tournament of Nations this summer. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The 2017 NWSL MVP can add another award to her shelf. Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the Asia Football Confederation’s Women’s Player of the Year. Kerr received the honor on Wednesday in Bangkok, Thailand, at the AFC Annual Awards.

Kerr has scored in six straight games for Australia, tallying 11 goals over that span. She recently finished off the year with braces in back-to-back games vs. China. Earlier this year, Kerr scored a hat trick vs. Japan in the Tournament of Nations, where the Matildas finished in first place. In the NWSL, Kerr won the Golden Boot and was named MVP after scoring a league-record 17 goals this season. Kerr was also named the MVP of the W-League in Australia for the 2016/2017 season.

“Firstly, I’d just like to say congratulations to the two other nominees on a great year. Secondly, thanks to AFC for this wonderful night,” Kerr said as she accepted the award, in remarks shared in a Sky Blue FC news release. “It’s been a bit of a crazy year, but I just want to say thank you to every one of my support staff that helped me throughout this year; they know who they are. And most importantly to my teammates because without them none of this would have been possible, so thank you.”

Four NWSL players called in for U.S. U-23 training camp

It's the final training camp of the year for the Under-23 team

Four NWSL players have been called in by head coach B.J. Snow for the U.S. Under-23 women’s national team’s final training camp of 2017. The camp will take place in Orlando, Florida, from Nov. 28  to Dec. 4.

The four NWSL players are goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland (North Carolina Courage), defender Sydney Miramontez (new Utah NWSL team), forward Darian Jenkins (North Carolina Courage) and forward Michele Vasconcelos (Chicago Red Stars). View the full roster

Rowland earned eight shutouts for the Courage this year and was one of three finalists for the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year award. She was named to the 2017 NWSL Second XI. Miramontez joined FC Kansas City late in the season, playing every minute of all five of her starts for the Blues.

Jenkins was drafted by the Courage with the seventh overall pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, but missed the season because of a left ankle dislocation/fracutre. The Red Stars drafted Vasconcelos with the first pick in the second round (11th overall), but she missed last season due to the birth of her child.

USWNT to open 2018 vs. Denmark in San Diego

The game will take place on January 21

The U.S. women's national team in action earlier this year. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The U.S. women’s national team’s first game of 2018 will be vs. Denmark on January 21 at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium in San Diego, California (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN). Ticket info

Denmark finished second at the 2017 UEFA Women’s Euro tournament last summer, falling in the final to the host nation Netherlands. It’s the first meeting between the two teams since a 5-3 Denmark win at the 2014 Algarve Cup. The USWNT is 16-5-3 all-time vs. Denmark.

Denmark will likely feature a player familiar with NWSL fans in Nadia Nadim, the former Portland Thorns FC forward who joined Manchester City this offseason. Nadim scored twice in six games for Denmark at the Euro tournament this summer.

Houston Dash name Vera Pauw as new head coach

Former Dutch international most recently coached South Africa in the 2016 Olympics

Vera Pauw, formerly the head coach of South Africa as pictured here, is the newest head coach of the Houston Dash. (Photo credit: Robin Alam/isiphotos.com)

Additional reporting by Jacqueline Purdy

On Tuesday, the Houston Dash made their new head coach official. The Dash named Vera Pauw as the second head coach in team history.

Pauw comes to Houston with a wealth of international coaching experience, most recently with the South African women’s national team. She guided Banyana Banyana through the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, as well as the 2014 Confederation of African Football Women’s Championship. Before that, she served as the technical director for the Russian women’s national team – as well as a brief stint as an interim head coach for Russia – as well as the head coach for her home nation of the Netherlands and Scotland.

“I’m very excited. It’s just a dream come true, isn’t it? To be able to be coach and play in facilities like BBVA Compass Stadium and in such a competitive league,” Pauw said in Houston’s official press release. “Soccer is an evolving sport here in the U.S. with a unique background, and I am very excited about the opportunity ahead to work with a very talented roster. We have a solid core of players that will be key in reaching our goals for 2018 and beyond.”

Pauw joins new Utah head coach Laura Harvey and Sky Blue FC’s Denise Reddy as the only women head coaches in the league this year.

“We have a vast experience and we bring as much if not more than the male applicants,” she said on a conference call with the media, mentioning Reddy and Harvey. “That’s a good sign because it means that there’s a future in the USA for women to become a coach as a profession. Not only at university level, but also at the pro league.”

Before joining the team, Pauw said that she spoke with Dash forward Carli Lloyd to discuss her training style, which she says is different from what the players are used to. Since arriving in Houston, she said she’s been able to talk to more of the players on the phone and that they are all “willing and happy to step into this new process.”

In her playing days, Pauw earned 89 caps for the Netherlands as a defender before retiring in 1998. She was the first woman to earn a UEFA Pro License from the Royal Dutch Football Association, passing in 2005 with the highest rates ever. Twelve years later, she was honored by that same association as a Knight prior to the 2017 UEFA Women’s Championship for her contributions to the game.

In 2016, Pauw made the shortlist of 10 candidates for the 2016 edition of the Best FIFA Women’s Coach, thanks to the Olympic qualification of South Africa.

While she has not coached at the club level before, she said it will be similar to her time with South Africa, as the team was in camp for nine months leading up to the Olympics. Pauw also said she is looking to bring in a “very experienced” assistant coach with a knowledge of American players as she prepares for the January NWSL College Draft.

“I think this team has enthusiasm to show to everybody; because of the qualities that we have in the team, the diversity that we have in the team and we can bring something to soccer in the United States,” Pauw said as a message to Dash fans.“We need to emit that to Houston and the rest of the league. What I would like from the fans is to support us in that, because together we can create a soccer fest of it. A year in which things are developing to a stage where people want to come, not only the fans that have always supported us, but you create a new fan base as well. If there is a full-stadium for the Dynamo like last night, then why not for the Dash? It’s our task to show people that it is worthwhile to come and that you can become as passionate as we are to win this league, maybe not this year, but very soon.”

Pauw said she was attracted by the NWSL’s competitive balance. “There’s no easy game at all in the whole league. Every single minute is competitive,” she told the media on the conference call. “I am very much fond of [the salary cap rules] and maybe that surprises people, but I think that is necessary for a competitive league that is sustainable into the future. But that means also that my salary is not what I got in other places. But I’m not coming for the salary. I’m coming for the challenge. That is why I think players want to be there.”

And for Houston Dash defender Janine Van Wyk, the new head coach means a reunion. “I have worked with Vera Pauw for two and a half years and she is probably the best coach I have ever worked with in my career,” Van Wyk said in comments released by the Dash. “What I admire most about her is her professionalism, organization and her knowledge of the game. She is able to bring out the best in every single player. I’m excited to work with her again.”

With Houston’s hire, the final open coaching spot has now been filled for the 2017-2018 off-season. Pauw and her staff will now turn their focus to the 2018 NWSL College Draft. The Dash have six picks in January, including the third overall selection.

“We are thrilled to have Vera as the next Dash head coach and look forward to her making positive contributions to the club,” Dash president Chris Canetti said in the team’s release. “She brings a wealth of experience at the highest level, a strong record of success, and a passion for the game. She also has a strong desire to be a part of our club and believes in what we are building here in Houston.”

Sinclair nets goal No. 169 in Canada’s 3-2 comeback win over Norway

Canada went 7-3-2 in 2017

Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair prior to a USA vs. Canada game in San Jose, California. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Christine Sinclair scored her 169th international goal as Canada came from behind to beat Norway 3-2 in a friendly in Marbella, Spain. With the win, Canada finishes 2017 with a 7-3-2 record.

Canada fell behind 2-0 after conceding first half goals to Ina Gausdal and Caroline Graham Hansen and needed a big second half to turn things around.

And it didn’t take long for the comeback to start.

Canada got on the scoresheet for the first time in the 52nd minute thanks to their captain. Sinclair capitalized on a bad back pass from the Norwegian defense and made no mistake with her right-footed shot. The goal was Sinclair’s 169th career international goal. The Thorns forward is the world’s second all-time leading scorer, and sits just 15 behind the retired Abby Wambach’s record of 184.

In the 64th minute, Dash forward Janine Beckie took advantage of another defensive giveaway by Norway to even the game at 2-2.

Canada took the 3-2 lead just two minutes later. Ashley Lawrence passed to Maegan Kelly (new Utah NWSL team) streaking down the right sideline. Kelly’s cross into the box was right to Breakers forward Adriana Leon, who buried it to complete the comeback.

The assist is Kelly’s first international assist. She made her debut for Canada just two games ago vs. the United States in Vancouver, nearly scoring in her first cap.

The win wrapped up the year for Canada, and was their seventh of the campaign. Their only losses this year were to the United States, Germany and Spain. Canada  finished second at the Algarve Cup at the beginning of this year.

Laura Harvey named head coach of Utah’s new NWSL team

Harvey will be the first head coach in Utah's NWSL history

Laura Harvey on the sidelines for Seattle Reign FC in 2017. (Photo credit: Jane Gershovich/isiphotos.com)

Former Seattle Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey has been named the first head coach of Utah’s new NWSL team, Real Salt Lake announced Monday. At the official announcement of Real Salt Lake’s entry into the NWSL, the team said they had one candidate in mind and they have now gotten their first choice.

Harvey is a two-time NWSL coach of the year (2014, 2015) after spending five years with the Reign. She resigned as coach of the Reign earlier this month.

“Thought you got rid of me, but you didn’t,” Harvey joked on a Monday conference call to introduce her as coach. “Wasn’t necessarily the direction that I originally planned on, and I think when I resigned, Salt Lake wasn’t even in the mix at this stage. Definitely wasn’t planned. I’m really excited about it. Really stoked to get out there and get my feet on the ground and get back to work real quick.”

On the call, Harvey also said she was looking forward to being in the state of Utah. “I’m an avid skier, so I’m also excited about that. I won’t lie.”

After leaving Seattle, Harvey had been reported by Richard Farley of FourFourTwoUSA to be taking a larger role with U.S. Soccer. There was also the matter of England’s search for a coach after firing Mark Sampson earlier this year. Harvey said there had been some conversations with England, but said she wouldn’t share more details. Harvey said she was not ruling out working in the international game in the future, but right now her focus is on club soccer.

“Visiting with [RSL owner] Dell Loy Hansen, [general manager] Craig Waibel, [RSL MLS head coach] Mike Petke and others and having the chance to see their vision for the club locally and the sport nationally and internationally, it was impossible not to get excited about what RSL looks to do for women’s soccer,” Harvey said in the team’s official release. “The facilities and environment that we will be able to offer our players are world-class. This is a great place for me to continue to develop as a coach, and I believe we will be able to make a huge stamp on women’s soccer not just in Utah but nationwide.”

Harvey stepped down as Reign coach and GM on November 7 and was immediately replaced by former FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Adonovski, who she called the “perfect choice” to replace her in Seattle. Over the following two weeks, RSL entered the NWSL and FC Kansas City ceased operations, with FCKC player contracts being taken over by the new Utah NWSL team.

“It will be weird playing against the Reign. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s professional sport. It is what it is. I’m just super happy that I could help Vlatko transition at the Reign for a little bit before, obviously, any of this even came to fruition. I will always wish him and the team and the club Bill and Teresa [Predmore] well and that will never change,” Harvey said.

There’s quite a history between the two coaches — Harvey and the Reign lost back-to-back NWSL Championships to FC Kansas City and Adonovski in 2014 and 2015, despite winning the NWSL Shield both seasons.

“In some ways it’s funny. It is the ultimate trade. We’ve basically traded spots. And we’ll see what happens. Who knows in this league? I’ve always said the NWSL is the best league in the world. It’s the most competitive. It’s the craziest. It’s the most entertaining on and off the field in my opinion. And I think this adds another little spice to what that looks like,” she said.

Harvey will inherit the FC Kansas City roster — which includes Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy Rodriguez, Desiree Scott, Shea Groom, Nicole Barnhart and Sydney Leroux — and said she will be speaking with all the players over the next few days about the transition to Utah and the new coach.

We have a group of players that one — know how to win. This group of players has won championships. And two — have experience with what the league is about. I think that’s important, not just for this league to survive, but this team to thrive,” she said. “This team’s been together now for awhile. I think it’s going to be nice fresh face from their perspective, having a new coach. I’m excited to work with some new players.”

After five NWSL seasons with the Reign, Harvey holds an all-time record of 51-33-26.

“Laura’s record of excellence has been proven on both sides of the pond, and she obviously possesses a vast knowledge not only of the NWSL, but of international players all over the world,” Waibel said. “Much has been made of our whirlwind entry into NWSL over the last 10 days, but we have targeted Laura since the outset as the top candidate for this opportunity. She’s certainly the right fit given our club culture and how she sees the game and wants it to be played.”

In 2014, Harvey and the Reign set a record for most wins in a season with 16 after starting the season 13-0-3. The 16-game unbeaten streak is the longest in NWSL history. Before her time in the NWSL, she coached Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League and was named coach of the season in 2011.

“Our goal is to build the very best women’s sports organization in America, and we were advised from the outset that Laura Harvey was the very best coach on the market,” Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen said in the release. “Only 25 days ago was I asked to look into this opportunity, and we knew we not only wanted to join the NWSL as quickly as possible and participate, but we believe that our current infrastructure as well as the development initiatives on the RSL horizon align perfectly with Laura’s vision for how she wants to build a program – again, with the goal of being the best around. Our community is already passionate about women’s sports, and we believe that empowering and advancing the women’s game accelerates the change to build a better Utah.”

Harvey is one of two women head coaches in the NWSL heading into 2018, joining Denise Reddy, who recently took over at Sky Blue FC. The hiring leaves just one NWSL head coaching position open — the Houston Dash. Omar Morales took over as interim coach midseason after Houston parted ways with Randy Waldrum.

Jodie Taylor to join Seattle Reign FC

Taylor won the Golden Boot at the Euro 2017 tournament

England forward Jodie Taylor in action at the SheBelieves Cup in 2017. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

England forward Jodie Taylor has signed with Seattle Reign FC, the club announced Tuesday, pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

Taylor won the Golden Boot at this summer’s UEFA Women’s Euro tournament, scoring five goals for England as they advanced to the semifinals. She opened the tournament with a hat trick in England’s 6-0 win over Scotland and scored the only goal in the quarterfinal win over France. She has 15 goals in 30 international appearances.

Taylor has spent the past two years with Arsenal in the FA Women’s Super League. The Reign said she is expected to play for Melbourne City in the W-League before joining Seattle in 2018. Before playing for Arsenal, Taylor spent two seasons in the NWSL. In 2014 while with the Washington Spirit, she finished third in the league with 11 goals. She scored three goals in 2015 as a member of Portland Thorns FC.

It’s the first major move for new Reign coach Vlatko Andonovski, who took over as the second coach in Seattle’s club history on November 7.

“Jodie is a world-class player who will add experience and quality to our attack,” Andonovski said in the Reign’s news release about the signing. “Throughout her career Taylor has been a consistent goal scorer for club and country, and she has demonstrated se can be a threat that demands a reaction from the competition. We’re excited to add her to the squad.”

“I am really excited to be joining Reign FC,” Taylor said in Seattle’s announcement.”I’ve spent a lot of time playing in America, and I’m really pleased to be coming to Seattle. They’re a top club that I’ve admired, and the core values of the team are quite evident from the outside.”

10 NWSL players named to Canada roster ahead of friendly vs. Norway

Canada will take on Norway on November 28

Houston Dash forward Janine Beckie in action for Canada (Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Coach John Herdman has named 10 NWSL players to Canada’s roster for their upcoming friendly vs. Norway. The game will take place in Marbella, Spain, on Tuesday, November 28.

Houston Dash forward Janine Beckie and Boston Breakers forward Adriana Leon, who both scored earlier this month vs. the United States, lead the way on the roster.

They are joined by Maegan Kelly (new Utah NWSL team), who earned her first two caps for Canada in those games. Kelly earned her first cap on November 9, entering as a substitute in the 71st minute and nearly scored her first international goal shortly after, but her effort hit the post. She earned her first start on November 12 in Canada’s second game vs. the United States.

Also on the roster: Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit), Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (new Utah NWSL team), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash) and Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC).

The game vs. Norway, ranked No. 14 in the world, will be Canada’s final match of 2017.

“I think Norway are genuinely one of Europe’s elite, so we are expecting to come up against a well organised, physical team, who are adopting a different style of play that is more possession based as opposed to direct and counter-attacking, so it will be a real tough match and exactly what we want to close the year out,” Herdman said in Canada’s official release.

Canada Soccer Women’s National Team Roster

GOALKEEPERS: Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit), Erin McLeod (FC Rosengård)

FULLBACKS: Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Ashley Lawrence (Paris Saint German), Shannon Woeller (FF USV Jena)

CENTERBACKS: Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Kadeisha Buchanan (Olympique Lyonnais)

MIDFIELDER/FULLBACK: Maegan Kelly (new Utah NWSL team)

MIDFIELDERS: Desiree Scott (new Utah NWSL team), Sophie Schmidt (FFC Frankfurt)

FORWARDS: Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Janine Beckie (Houston Dash), Adriana Leon (Boston Breakers), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Jordyn Huitema (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre), Jenna Hellstrom (FC Rosengård), Amelia Pietrangelo (FF USV Jena)

Pending availability due to NCAA action: Rebecca Quinn (Duke), Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Jessie Fleming (UCLA)

NWSL announces that FC Kansas City will cease operations

Current members of FC Kansas City roster will be transferred to new Real Salt Lake club

Game action from a 2017 home game for FC Kansas City. (Photo: Amy Kontras/isiphotos.com)

On Monday, the NWSL announced that it has re-acquired FC Kansas City LLC’s membership interest in the league. Effectively immediately, the NWSL is ceasing operations of the club.

“First, we’d like to recognize and thank Elam Baer and FC Kansas City LLC for their efforts this past year. We appreciate his commitment in helping the NWSL move forward,” said NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy in the official release. “As the league moves on, and as difficult as it is to share this news about FC Kansas City, we feel it is in the best interest of the league and the players at this time.

“Most importantly, we would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank all the fans and the city of Kansas City for their support of this club, the league and the sport over the past five years.”

As previously announced, the new club owned by Real Salt Lake will replace Kansas City and play its home matches at Rio Tinto Stadium. This new club will play in the 2018 season, the sixth season of the National Women’s Soccer League.

FC Kansas City’s players currently on the roster will be transferred to the new Salt Lake City club before the start of the 2018 season. In addition, Salt Lake will also receive Kansas City’s picks in the 2018 NWSL College Draft, as well as their spots in the Discovery and Waiver Tie-Breakers and Distribution Ranking Order.

Real Salt Lake’s club will also receive the No. 1 overall pick in the first round of the 2019 College Draft.

“This is the best and necessary decision for the future of the league and the players who have impressively represented NWSL and Kansas City over the past five years,” said Elam Baer, former owner of FC Kansas City, in the official release.

Over their five years in the league as one of the eight founding members, FC Kansas City earned plenty of success, including 47 wins and 27 draws across the five seasons, good enough for third most wins all-time in the NWSL.

After they hosted Portland Thorns FC in the NWSL’s inaugural match on April 13, 2013, they also made the playoffs in all three of the first three years of the league. They won back-to-back NWSL Championships in 2014 and 2015.

The Blues also picked up league awards, especially in 2013. Lauren Holiday scored 12 goals that year, leading the league, and earned the 2013 Most Valuable Player award. That inaugural year, Nicole Barnhart also won Goalkeeper of the Year, Erika Tymrak won Rookie of the Year, and Vlakto Andonovski won Coach of the Year. Becky Sauerbrunn also began her three-year reign as Defender of the Year in 2013 through 2015.

Sauerbrunn also was voted to the NWSL Best XI in all five seasons of the league. Barnhart owns the record for most shutouts in league history with 38, and forward Amy Rodriguez scored the game-winning goal in both of KC’s back-to-back championships.

“I will always be a fan of the game, the league, our players and, above all, our fans,” Baer said. “I wish the NWSL a bright future and our former FC Kansas City players continued success in their careers on and off the field.  I am sure the players will add another championship to the two they already brought to Kansas City.”

NWSL heads to Rio Tinto: Real Salt Lake enters the league for 2018

Team launched at press conference at Rio Tinto

On Thursday, the NWSL welcomed Real Salt Lake into the league for the 2018 season. Home matches will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

The National Women’s Soccer League is heading to Rio Tinto Stadium. On Thursday, the league announced that Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer will launch a new club for the 2018 season, with home matches to be played at Rio Tinto Stadium.

“We are very excited to welcome Dell Loy Hansen and Real Salt Lake into the NWSL family as the newest member of our league,” NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy said. “During our discussions in this process, Real Salt Lake has demonstrated their unquestionable desire and commitment to bring the highest level of professional women’s soccer to all fans of the game in Salt Lake City and Utah. Real Salt Lake will immediately be able to hit the ground running on the business side as well as provide the players with a top-notch training ground and one of the best game venues in the country.”

The club was formally announced at a press conference in Utah at 1 p.m. ET on Thursday at Rio Tinto, with Duffy, as well as Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen and Utah Governor Gary Herbert were in attendance.

While the new team is being announced today, there’s also plenty more on the way. There will be announcements on the team’s name and brand identity, tickets, broadcast options and corporate opportunities, coaching and formation over the next few days and weeks.

Real Salt Lake just finished its 13th season in Major League Soccer, and it has reached the top of the league with club’s 2009 MLS Cup win. They have over 14,000 season ticket holders. In addition to their MLS side, the organization also added a USL team in 2015, the Real Monarchs.

Real Salt Lake also just added a new world-class training facility, the Zions Bank Real Academy, which also includes a 5,000 seat stadium that hosts the USL team. The $73 million facility will open in a matter of weeks.

“Our goal is build the very best women’s sports organization in America,” Hansen said. “Only 15 days ago was I asked to look into this opportunity, and as we learned about the NWSL vision from the league office and met with A&E executives as well as U.S. Soccer about their aspirations on and off the field, we knew we not only wanted to join as quickly as possible and participate, but we believe that our current infrastructure as well as the development initiatives on the RSL horizon align perfectly. Our community is already passionate about women’s sports, and we believe that empowering and advancing the women’s game accelerates the change to build a better Utah.”

For more information on Real Salt Lake’s entry in the league, visit their website, or follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can also follow the National Women’s Soccer League on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Real Salt Lake enters the league swinging for the fences

Highlights from the RSL press conference on Thursday

Real Salt Lake GM Craig Waibel, NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy, and RSL Owner Dell Loy Hansen after Thursday's press conference at Rio Tinto Stadium.

On Thursday, the National Women’s Soccer League welcomed Real Salt Lake to the league, as they launch a new club to enter for the 2018 season. Home matches will be played at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.

Despite the whirlwind process by which RSL joined the league, at Thursday’s press conference in Utah, they were confident about the club they will put on the field as well as their new presence in the NWSL.

Here are just some of the highlights from Thursday’s press conference, with the full video archived below.

[More | NWSL heads to Rio Tinto: Real Salt Lake enters the league for 2018]

Dell Loy Hansen, Owner, Real Salt Lake

“We honestly are two years ahead of schedule. We really thought two years from now, we would be able to address this. And the opportunity came. It was amazing; we looked and said, ‘We really don’t have anything else to do, do we? Why don’t we go do this?'”

Gary Herbert, Governor of Utah

“We recognize having a sports franchise here helps our economy. It does a lot of things for our community. It brings us together, we’re unified, we cheer for the same team, we have a shared experience that we all build upon. We have memories that we create with our families that, again, endure way beyond the sporting event itself.”

Amanda Duffy, NWSL Managing Director of Operations

“When we look at the keys to success with any organization, we start with the ownership. Certainly welcome the quality ownership that we have in [Hansen] and the support and staff that he’s built here with RSL to make sure that this a first class operation and organization.

“We also look at the support from the community and how that’s going to get behind on how the team will be able to integrate the players into the community and gather that support, gain momentum. We’re excited about that. We certainly feel like that’s here.

“And with the venue itself. With Rio Tinto Stadium, a venue that’s state-of-the-art, one of the best in the United States. To be able to bring National Women’s Soccer League into this venue, help propel the league forward on and off the field. We couldn’t be more excited to have RSL part of NWSL going forward.”

Craig Waibel, General Manager, Real Salt Lake

“To the women that are going to don our jersey next year, March, April, January when they check in: We can’t wait to have you. We can’t wait to make you part of our family. You’re going to be treated as professionals, play in amazing stadium, train at an amazing grounds, have a locker room that’s equipped for the quality that you bring.”

Andy Carroll, Chief Business Officer, Real Salt Lake

“We’re going to launch a team in four months, which most people certainly would not take on that endeavor, but Dell Loy was just like, ‘Oh yeah, of course we will.’ We look very forward to it. Failure is not an option. This will be the most successful club. Portland can hear us coming, although they invited us in, to be fair.”


Watch the archived press conference via Real Salt Lake’s Facebook:

For more information on Real Salt Lake’s entry in the league, visit their website, or follow them on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

You can also follow the National Women’s Soccer League on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Sky Blue FC taps Denise Reddy as new head coach

Reddy previously an assistant coach with Washington, but plenty of head coaching experience on her résumé

Denise Ready will be a little further up 95, as she will take over head coaching duties at Sky Blue FC after her time as an assistant coach with the Washington Spirit. (Photo: Jose Argueta/isiphotos.com)

Sky Blue FC has found their new head coach. On Wednesday, the club announced that New Jersey-native Denise Reddy will return to her home state to take the reins in Piscataway.

“Words cannot describe how excited and honored I am to be the Head Coach of Sky Blue FC,” Reddy said in the club’s official release. “This is where my coaching career started, and it feels great to be back in Jersey and part of such a professional organization. I am looking forward to starting this journey with such top-class players and cannot wait to get on the pitch.”

Reddy has a UEFA Pro License, and most recently served as the assistant coach of the Washington Spirit. She has previous head coaching experience in New Jersey, with USL W-League side Jersey Sky Blue in 2007. The next year, she joined the coaching staff of the Chicago Red Stars during the WPS era, before heading to Europe.

After starting as an assistant coach with Linköpings FC in Sweden in 2011, Reddy then assumed head coaching duties of that club, before moving on to B93/HIK/Skjold in Denmark for two years, then back to Sweden for another two years with Vittsjö GIK.

In her own playing days, Reddy played for 11 years in Sweden with Umeå IK and Malmö FF, including captaining Malmö for seven seasons and a UEFA Champions League semifinals appearance in 2004.

Reddy is also no stranger to Yurcak Field, home of Sky Blue FC. She played her college soccer for Rutgers University.

On Sky Blue FC’s conference call with media announcing her hire, Reddy said that the team’s roster is young and exciting, and full of quality. She promised, “I’m also looking forward to growing our fanbase with an on-field product that everyone can be proud of. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Cloud 9 supporters group, and the work they do to build the supporting culture at the matches.”

In addition to her responsibilities as an assistant coach for the Spirit, Reddy also served as the technical director of the Spirit Academy – Baltimore Armour U.S. Soccer Girls’ Development Academy program.

“When Denise came to the Spirit, we were all aware of and supported her ambition to become a head coach in the NWSL,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra, after the club announced her departure. “She has been a tremendous resource for our club the past two seasons and instrumental to our success. This is a great opportunity for her, and we wish her the best of luck with Sky Blue.”

Right now it’s too early for a lot of the finer details of what Reddy has in store for Sky Blue, from tactics to the 2018 NWSL College Draft strategy, to even her own coaching staff.  “Right now, our preparations have already begun for the 2018 season on all fronts,” Reddy said on the call. “We just had to get this announcement out, and then I’m going to start – along with the organization – put together my coaching staff.”

Tony Novo, Sky Blue’s President and GM, spoke highly of Reddy’s experience in the team’s official release. “She has been a part of the fabric that is New Jersey soccer for many years, and she also brings a coaching outlook that holds various elements from throughout the world. We feel strongly that Denise is the perfect candidate to assume leadership of Sky Blue FC, and we are very excited to see what the future holds for her.”

USWNT closes out 2017 with 3-1 win over Canada

Ertz, Morgan, Lloyd scored for the U.S.; Beckie for Canada

Carli Lloyd works the crowd after scoring in the 80th minute for an insurance goal in the win over Canada. (Photo: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The U.S. women’s national team closed out their 2017 campaign with a statement win over Canada in front of 17,960 fans. Julie Ertz scored in the first half, and despite an equalizer from Janine Beckie for Canada in the 50th minute, the U.S. immediately answered via Alex Morgan in the 56th minute. Carli Lloyd entered the match as a sub, and almost immediately bagged the insurance goal to ensure the win on American soil.

At first, Beckie’s goal in the 50th minute seemed to promise a replay of Thursday night’s draw between these two same teams – as Boston Breakers forward Adrianna Leon had scored in the 56th minute to earn a 1–1 draw in Vancouver.

“They let the U.S. impose themselves just a bit too much,” said Canada head coach John Herdman about the first half, “and some of our key players weren’t really looking to get on the ball in moments they could’ve. They all held their hands up, so that second half, them coming out was fantastic. They looked the team that they looked like in Vancouver. The equalizer, I thought that was going to turn the game.”

It only took six minutes, however, for Morgan to undo the damage. Her goal was not just her 80th career goal for the U.S. national team, but her seventh goal in seven games for the red, white and blue.

That response and the win meant the U.S. national team finished 2017 with a 12-3-1 record, and a result in eight of their last matches of the year (7-0-1). “I  definitely feel a lot better,” Sam Mewis said on Sunday night, comparing it to the general vibe after Thursday’s draw. “I think we performed better. We really came together as a group. I think we were able to move the ball a lot better.

“I give the coaching staff a lot of credit; they were really able to break down what the problem was, and I think we also did a lot of problem solving on the field. I’m really proud of the group. It feels really good to go out on a high note, and I think it’s been a really important year of growth for this team.”

And much like Mewis and her own media availability before the final match, Jill Ellis also took the much larger view of Sunday’s game into the bigger picture of the campaign for 2019.

There was one key part for Ellis: “From the last game to this game, I think we grew.”

With the process underway, the win was a sign that things are heading in the right direction, even if all the pieces aren’t firmly locked into place.

“There’s more to come,” Ellis said after the match. “We’ve got to build on this. In truth, I felt this, we’re scratching the surface of where I think this team can end up.”

Watch all four of the goals from Sunday night’s game:

The U.S. women’s national team is now off until a camp in January, but Canada still has one final match before their year is done. They’ll face Norway later this month, with the game to be played in Spain.


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

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: Nov. 12, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.
Kickoff: 6 p.m. PT
Attendance: 17,960
Weather: 64 degrees, clear

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                              1          2          3                                              
CAN                              0          1          1

USA – Julie Ertz (Megan Rapinoe)                   11th minute
CAN – Janine Beckie (Nichelle Prince)              50
USA – Alex Morgan (Christen Press)                56
USA – Carli Lloyd (Alex Morgan)                       80

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 22-Taylor Smith (14-Casey Short, 66), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 5-Kelley O’Hara; 8-Julie Ertz (6-Andi Sullivan, 75), 9-Lindsey Horan, 3-Samantha Mewis (10-Carli Lloyd, 75); 23-Christen Press (12-Lynn Williams, 82), 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe
Subs not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris; 16-Emily Sonnett, 20-Allie Long
Head coach: Jill Ellis

CAN: 1-Stephanie Labbe; 2-Allysha Chapman, 4-Shelina Zadorsky, 5-Rebecca Quinn; 11-Desiree Scott (24-Ariel Young, 71), 17-Jessie Fleming, 20-Maegan Kelly (22-Lindsay Agnew, 60); 6-Deanne Rose (15-Nichelle Prince, 31), 12-Christine Sinclair (9-Jordyn Huitema, 60), 16-Janine Beckie (23-Julia Grosso, 90), 19-Adriana Leon (14-Jayde Riviere, 71)
Subs not used: 18-Sabrina D’Angelo, 21-Kailen Sheridan
Head coach: John Herdman

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 12 / 8
Shots on Goal: 6 / 2
Saves: 1 / 4
Corner Kicks: 10 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 12
Offside: 1 / 0

Misconduct Summary:
CAN – Jayde Riviere (caution)                    79th minute

Officials:
Referee: Karen Abt (USA)
Assistant Referee 1: Felisha Mariscal (USA)
Assistant Referee 2: Deleana Quan (USA)
4th Official: Christina Unkel (USA)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Lindsey Horan

U.S. and Canada ready for round two in San Jose

Match set for 9 p.m. ET on Sunday at Avaya Stadium

There's more NWSL on NWSL on tap, with the U.S. set to close out their 2017 campaign against Canada on Sunday. (Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — “Canada gave us some great challenges, some that we haven’t seen in this year,” U.S. national team and Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz told media on Saturday, ahead of the second of two friendlies between the USA and Canada on Sunday. But while some might see the 1-1 draw as a lacking performance from the U.S. national team, Ertz was only taking away positives. 

That’s what we want to learn from and take away from. They came out really intense, they came out with a plan that worked really well. It was kind of fun to take a step back and watch some film, and hopefully come out on Sunday learning from those.”

As for the person responsible for those challenges, Canada head coach John Herdman, he’s under no illusion that Sunday’s rematch at Avaya Stadium will feature some adjustments from the Americans. But ultimately, there’s only one thing he wants to see from his players: progress.

“There was some good progress, I thought the other night,” he said after Canada’s training session on Saturday. “Statistically, that’s the best performance in our history against the U.S. Outshooting them by almost double, that’s nothing Canada has ever seen before. We’ve just got to just keep that momentum going through. I think we know that the U.S. will be fired up in their home stands, and for us, just step forward.”

Herdman isn’t the only coach taking the bigger picture view out of these two friendlies. Jill Ellis spoke with media on Saturday mostly about the bigger picture, as the national team’s year comes to a close. She spoke less about the specifics of Sunday’s match, and more about this one game’s place in the team’s bigger journey to repeating as FIFA Women’s World Cup champions.

“What’s the narrative?” she asked, echoing one reporter’s question. “The narrative is you cannot live, in this period in 2017, it was about making sure we’re ready for 2019. That’s the narrative. So at times, that is not having it look perfect. It’s trying players that are maybe in a little over their head at that particular moment. It’s putting players in uncomfortable situations. So the narrative in 2017 is preparing us for 2019. And like I’ve said – yes, does that mean we’ve lost some games? Yes. And would I put that on me, at times? Yes, because I’m committed to playing these players because I believe in the process that we’re doing.”

So if things look painful from the outside – ending the year with three losses and a draw, even with the 11 wins in 2017 – that’s an acceptable part of Ellis’s process. Playing teams such as Canada is a key piece to being ready for not just the World Cup, but qualifiers in 2018 as well.

Well painful is relative, right? I mean, for me, if it’s growing pains, it should be a struggle,” Ellis said. “And without a struggle, you’re not going to learn anything about you. If we play the 28th team in the world every single match, there’s no challenge in terms of us finding out where we have to get better. So I think if you look at our players, they’re elite. And the thing about elite people, they constantly want to improve and get better. So I think if you asked our players, would they rather go out and play Canada, or would they rather go out and play the 35th team in the world, every single time they’re going to pick a top-five opponent – which Canada is – because that’s the way we hone ourselves and get better. The decisions have to be faster, they have to be on point, everything we do has to be better.

“So we’re 18 months out from our World Cup. I can assure you, we will have all those things nailed down.”


How to watch

Where: Avaya Stadium in San Jose

When: Sunday, November 12, at 9 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: FS1

Follow along on social media

Follow the NWSL on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for coverage of the two friendlies – including live, on-site coverage from Avaya Stadium for the second match of the series.

Sunday’s match is the final one for the U.S. women’s national team in 2017. As for Canada, they’ll close out their year with a friendly against Norway on November 27.

Canada earns draw vs. USA in Vancouver friendly

Boston Breakers forward Adriana Leon scored the equalizer; Morgan scored her 79th for the USWNT

Team Canada celebrates an Adriana Leon goal during Thursday night's friendly against the United States. (Photo: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Alex Morgan struck first, but Adriana Leon would answer for Canada, and the U.S. women’s national team would have to settle for a 1–1 draw in front of 28,017 fans at BC Place against their northern neighbors.

Morgan scored in the 31st minute, with her sixth goal of the year for the national team and her 79th career goal for the U.S. Her six goals this year lead the USWNT.

Canada’s equalizer via Leon in the second half ensured the home crowd wouldn’t leave too disappointed. Leon subbed on in the first half for Canada in the 31st minute after Morgan’s goal, and the Breakers forward quickly made an impact.

Her goal in the 56th minute came after quite the sequence from a Canada corner kick, with Rebecca Quinn striking the crossbar, but the rebound falling right to Christine Sinclair, who lobbed it back over her shoulder. Leon was at the far post to poke it past USWNT goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

FC Kansas City’s Maegan Kelly subbed on in the 71st minute for Canada, replacing Nichelle Prince. She nearly scored the go-ahead goal for Canada in the 85th minute. her FCKC teammate Desiree Scott saw Kelly had split the seam between American defenders Taylor Smith and Abby Dahlkemper, but Kelly’s shot went off the post — much to the dismay of the home crowd.

For the second game of the series, the U.S. will get their chance to close out 2017 at home. They’ll host Canada on Sunday night at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif. at 9 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on FS1.


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

 

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Canada
Date: Nov. 9, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: BC Place; Vancouver, BC, Canada
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT
Attendance: 28,017 (sellout)
Weather: Indoors

 

Scoring Summary:      1          2          F
USA                                      1           0          1                                 
CAN                                      0          1          1

USA – Alex Morgan (Casey Short)                     31st minute

CAN – Adrianna Leon (Christine Sinclair)           56th minute

Lineups:
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 5-Kelley O’Hara, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (capt.), 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 14-Casey Short (22-Taylor Smith, 66); 8-Julie Ertz (6-Andi Sullivan, 74), 9-Lindsey Horan, 3-Samantha Mewis (10-Carli Lloyd, 65); 12-Lynn Williams (20-Allie Long, 87), 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe (23-Christen Press, 66)

Subs not used: 24-Ashlyn Harris, 16-Emily Sonnett

Head coach: Jill Ellis

 

CAN: 1-Stephanie Labbe; 2-Allysha Chapman, 4-Shelina Zadorsky, 5-Rebecca Quinn, 6-Deanne Rose (19-Adrianna Leon, 31), 10- Ashley Lawrence, 11-Desiree Scott, 12-Christine Sinclair (capt.), 15-Nichelle Prince (20-Maegan Kelly, 71), 16-Janine Beckie (9-Jordyn Huitema, 90), 17-Jessie Fleming

Subs not used: 18-Sabrina D’Angelo, 21-Kailen Sheridan, 14-Jayde Riviere, 22-Lindsay Agnew, 23-Julia Grosso, 24-Ariel Young

Head coach: John Herdman

 

Stats Summary: USA / CAN
Shots: 11 / 19
Shots on Goal: 4 / 8
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 4 / 5
Fouls: 13 / 14
Offside: 2 / 1

 

Misconduct Summary:
CAN – Janine Beckie (caution)                    59th minute

CAN – Maegan Kelly (caution)                     79th minute

 

Officials:
Referee: Marianela Araya Cruz (CRC)

Assistant Referee 1: Elizabeth Aguilar (SLV)

Assistant Referee 2: Kimberly Moreira (CRC)

4th Official: Melissa Perez (PAN)

 

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Becky Sauerbrunn

USA and Canada ready for home-and-home series; 34 NWSL players on rosters

Friendlies set for for Nov. 9 in Vancouver, Nov. 12 in San Jose

Allysha Chapman of the Boston Breakers/Canada squares off against Carli Lloyd of the Houston Dash/USA the last time these two teams met during CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/ISI Photos)

The United States and Canada are set for two friendlies this week in a home-and-home series to help close out the 2017 year. First up, the U.S. women’s national team’s return to BC Place in Vancouver on Thursday night for the first time since winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. For their part, Canada expects a packed stadium with over 23,500 tickets sold as of last week. The second match will take place on Sunday, Nov. 12, at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, Calif.

How to watch

Where: BC Place in Vancouver

When: Thursday, November 9, at 10 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ESPN2, UDN (Canada: TSN1)


Where: Avaya Stadium in San Jose

When: Sunday, November 12, at 9 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: FS1

What you need to know

  • The USWNT is 47-3-6 all-time against the CanWNT. The last time these two teams met was in the 2016 CONCACAF qualifying tournament for the Olympics, with the U.S. winning 2–0 over Canada thanks to goals from Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan. Notably, Canada is currently tied with China for the team that the U.S. has faced the most in its history with 56 matched played, but this series will move Canada into the number one spot overall at 58 matches played.
  • The USWNT is 11-3-0 this year, with those three losses coming to England, France and Australia at home. Since the 1–0 loss to Australia during the Tournament of Nations, however, the team has won six in a row, outscoring their opponents 24 to 5. U.S. Soccer rightfully touts their difficult schedule for an off year in the international calendar, facing seven of the nine other top teams in the world.

[READ MORE: 22 NWSL players named to USWNT roster for friendlies vs. Canada]

  • Canada is currently ranked fifth in the world according to FIFA World Rankings, but head coach John Herdman is aiming even higher. Picking up a pair of upsets against the top-ranked Americans would provide plenty of fuel for his players, and also put France in risk of slipping out of the top four. Currently, Canada is only three points behind France, and 10 points behind No. 3-ranked England on the FIFA World Rankings.
  • Canada’s roster is a young on, with six teenagers on the roster. Herdman also has 12 NWSL players on his roster, including a first call-up for FC Kansas City’s Maegan Kelly. While U.S. head coach only missed out on selecting Crystal Dunn thanks to league play in Europe, Herdman acknowledged that those restrictions mean bigger opportunities for others. As he said in the Canada Soccer release, “With some of our core players unavailable for selection outside FIFA windows due to league play in Europe, it will also be an opportunity for some of the younger members of our core, like Rebecca Quinn, Janine Beckie, Jessie Fleming and Shelina Zadorsky, to step up and take greater leadership roles.”

[READ MORE: 12 NWSL players named to Canada roster for friendlies vs. USWNT]

Follow along on social media

Follow the NWSL on TwitterFacebook and Instagram for coverage of the two friendlies – including live, on-site coverage from Avaya Stadium for the second match of the series.

Rosters

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 11/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 102/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 133/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 17/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 5/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 12/0), Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride; 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 55/13), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 41/4), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 244/97), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 32/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 32/7), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 5/0)

FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 132/18), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 132/78), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 94/44), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 127/34), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 13/4)

Canada Soccer Women’s National Team Roster

GOALKEEPERS: Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit), Sabrina D’Angelo (North Carolina Courage), Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC)

FULLBACKS: Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Jayde Riviere (Markham Soccer Club & Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

CENTERBACKS: Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Rebecca Quinn (Duke), Ariel Young (Ottawa Fury and Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

MIDFIELDER/FULLBACK: Maegan Kelly (FC Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS: Jessie Fleming (UCLA), Julia Grosso (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre), Desiree Scott (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS: Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Janine Beckie (Houston Dash), Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Adriana Leon (Boston Breakers), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Jordyn Huitema (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

Shake-up in Seattle: Laura Harvey steps down, Vlatko Andonovski steps in as head coach

Official word from Seattle Reign FC that Andonovski is in as head coach with two-year contract

Laura Harvey and Vlatko Andonovski share a moment before a 2016 NWSL match. (Photo credit: Jane Gershovich / ISI Photos)

Seattle Reign FC announced on Tuesday that head coach and general manager Laura Harvey has resigned her position, but also immediately laid to rest any questions about the coaching vacancy by announcing they have signed Vlatko Andonovski to a two-year contract. Andonovski, who has won two championships with FC Kansas City, will also serve as the executive director of Reign Academy. Harvey will stay on with the Seattle front office through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition for Andonovski.

“I am deeply appreciative of all Laura gave to our organization over the past five years. She is a brilliant coach, but more importantly, she is a tremendous individual – there is nobody I would have rather worked with to build the club,” Reign FC owner Bill Predmore said in the team’s official release. “Laura’s impact will be felt long after she departs, as she helped establish the enduring values that define what it means to be a part of our organization. Teresa and I will be her lifelong friends and fans, as well as her biggest advocates as she pursues her next opportunity.”

As for what’s next for Harvey, there’s no official word yet. In the release, she said, “I’m going to take a little bit of time to reflect and decide what the best next move is for me. I hope that an opportunity comes my way and I will decide if it is the right one. It’s been a tough decision to make but I feel like it’s the right one for me and for the club.” But Richard Farley of FourFourTwo USA reports that Harvey is in line to take an expanded role with U.S. Soccer.

Until Tuesday, both head coaches had been with their respective clubs since the first season of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Under Laura Harvey’s guidance, the Reign went from their dismal start in 2013 to back-to-back NWSL Shield-winning seasons in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, the Reign finished with 16 wins (a record only matched this year by the North Carolina Courage), including the NWSL’s longest unbeaten streak at 16 games. And if it weren’t for Vlatko Andonovski’s FC Kansas City side, they may have added some stars above their crest. Andonovski led FCKC to three playoff appearances and back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.

“We thank Vlatko for all he has done for this club and we wish him the best of luck in the future,” said FC Kansas City owner Elam Baer in the team’s official confirmation that Andonovski would not return next season.

As of Tuesday, there’s no additional word from FC Kansas City about their search for a new head coach.

Andonovski passed his thanks along to his players, front office, and the fans of FC Kansas City via The Blue Testament. “Without going into any details on the circumstances,” he wrote,“I just want to say that it will not be easy without the FCKC logo and the 2 stars on my shirt, but I will always be one of their biggest fans.”

As for the two coaches, it was nothing but mutual admiration between Harvey and Andonovski in their quotes provided to the Reign.

“For me, Vlatko was the perfect choice to build on what I’ve worked so hard to create in Seattle,” Harvey said. “I have a massive amount of respect for all he accomplished in KC, know that he will work well with Bill and the technical staff, and believe he can get the most out of our squad. I wish him the best of luck with the team and will do all I can to support him as he takes on this challenge.”

“Laura [Harvey] is one of the best coaches in the game,” Andonovski said. “I’ve always admired her and the job she’s done in Seattle. She’s someone that had a hand in changing the landscape of women’s soccer in this country. Having her endorsement in this is an honor to me. I hope I can continue her work and the unique culture she created.”

12 NWSL players named to Canada roster for friendlies vs. USWNT

Maegan Kelly earns her first call-up to Canada's women's national team

FC Kansas City's Maegan Kelly after scoring vs. the Red Stars (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

Canada coach John Herdman has announced the roster for the upcoming friendlies against the United States next week and it features 12 NWSL players.

FC Kansas City forward Maegan Kelly earns her first call up to Canada’s women’s national team, and could earn her first international cap in either of the games.

Kelly’s father is from Toronto, Ontario. She is listed as a midfielder/full back on Canada’s roster. Drafted in 2014, Kelly didn’t play her first minutes for the Blues until 2017. She appeared in 22 games, starting four. Her five goals were tied for second best on the team this season. Kelly’s first career NWSL goal was an 84th minute game-tying header at home vs. the Reign in June.

Canada will first host the United States at BC Place in Vancouver on November 9 (10 p.m. ET, ESPN2) and then head to San Jose’s Avaya Stadium on November 12 for the second game (9 p.m. ET, FS1).

All three goalkeepers are from the NWSL: Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit), Sabrina D’Angelo (North Carolina Courage) and Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC).

Thorns captain Christine Sinclair, who just won an NWSL title, once again will captain the Canadian side. The world’s second all-time leading international scorer has 168 goals, just 16 behind Abby Wambach’s all-time leading 184.

Also on the roster: Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Desiree Scott (FC Kansas City), Janine Beckie (Houston Dash), Adriana Leon (Boston Breakers) and Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash).

Follow the NWSL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for coverage of the two friendlies – including live, on-site coverage from Avaya Stadium for the second match of the series.

Canada Soccer Women’s National Team Roster

GOALKEEPERS: Stephanie Labbé (Washington Spirit), Sabrina D’Angelo (North Carolina Courage), Kailen Sheridan (Sky Blue FC)

FULLBACKS: Lindsay Agnew (Washington Spirit), Allysha Chapman (Boston Breakers), Jayde Riviere (Markham Soccer Club & Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

CENTERBACKS: Shelina Zadorsky (Washington Spirit), Rebecca Quinn (Duke), Ariel Young (Ottawa Fury and Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

MIDFIELDER/FULLBACK: Maegan Kelly (FC Kansas City)

MIDFIELDERS: Jessie Fleming (UCLA), Julia Grosso (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre), Desiree Scott (FC Kansas City)

FORWARDS: Christine Sinclair (Portland Thorns FC), Janine Beckie (Houston Dash), Deanne Rose (University of Florida), Adriana Leon (Boston Breakers), Nichelle Prince (Houston Dash), Jordyn Huitema (Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre)

22 NWSL players named to USWNT roster for friendlies vs. Canada

Emily Sonnett and Adrianna Franch return to the national team, Ubogagu earns first call-up

NWSL highlights for the newest roster drop from the USWNT include Emily Sonnett and Adrianna Franch of the Portland Thorns, and a first call-up for Orlando's Chioma Ubogagu.

On Tuesday, U.S. women’s national team head coach Jill Ellis named her 23 player roster for two upcoming friendlies against Canada later this month, which features 22 players from the NWSL.

Emily Sonnett and Adrianna Franch, fresh off winning the 2017 National Women’s Soccer League Championship with Portland Thorns FC, both make their return to the national team. Sonnett has twelve caps for the USWNT, but her last was on Oct. 19, 2016 against Switzerland. Sonnett signed with W-League side Sydney FC during the NWSL offseason.

As for Franch, she was in national team camp this past January, but has yet to earn her first appearance for the USWNT. She’s coming off a stellar club season with the Thorns, keeping 11 clean sheets and she was voted the NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year.

Chioma Ubogagu got her first call-up from Ellis, and she will train as an outside back with the national team after seeing some time in that position with the Orlando Pride this season.

Finally, Portland’s Tobin Heath and North Carolina’s Taylor Smith are both back on the roster after they both missed the two Korea friendlies due to injuries.

The USWNT will square off against Canada in two friendlies to close out the 2017 calendar: first on Nov. 9 at BC Place in Vancouver (10 pm. ET on ESPN2) then on Nov. 12 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose (9 p.m. ET on FS1). Of the 23 players called into camp for the friendlies, only 18 will be rostered for each of the two games.

The Canada roster is expected later this week, and will also include plenty of NWSL talent. The Canadian women’s national team is currently ranked fifth in the world, thanks in part to winning bronze at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. The USWNT is 47-3-6 all-time against Canada.

Follow the NWSL on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for coverage of the two friendlies – including live, on-site coverage from Avaya Stadium for the second match of the series.

U.S. Women’s National Team Roster by Position (Caps/Goals):

GOALKEEPERS (4): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 0/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 21/0), Jane Campbell (Houston Dash; 2/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 14/0)

DEFENDERS (8): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 11/0), Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars; 3/0), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC; 102/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City; 133/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 17/0), Taylor Smith (NC Courage; 5/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 12/0), Chioma Ubogagu (Orlando Pride; 0/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 55/13), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 41/4), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash; 244/97), Allie Long (Portland Thorns FC; 32/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 32/7), Andi Sullivan (Stanford; 5/0)

FORWARDS (5): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 132/18), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 132/78), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars; 94/44), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 127/34), Lynn Williams (NC Courage; 13/4)

Boston Breakers sign Swedish defender/midfielder Lotta Ökvist

Ökvist played for Sweden’s U-19 and U-17 women’s national teams

The Breakers will have Swedish international Lotta Ökvist suiting up in Boston blue next season. (Photo: Tim Bouwer/isiphotos.com)

On Tuesday, the Boston Breakers announced they have signed Swedish defender/midfielder Lotta Ökvist, pending receipt of her P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate (ITC), for the 2018 season.

Ökvist, 20 years old, has Damallsvenskan experience under belt already – having featured for Piteå IF, with 25 appearances during the 2016/2017 season. She also earned 11 appearances with Umea during 2016. She also played for Sweden at the international level with two of its youth teams, the U-19 and U-17 sides. She was on the Swedish U-19 team that won the UEFA U-19 Women’s Championship in 2016.

“Lotta is a very technically gifted player with a wonderful left foot,” Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard said in the team’s official release. “She is a versatile player, who plays in defense and attack and will be a great addition to our roster.”

“I’m really excited to play in the NWSL, and I’m thankful I got the opportunity to play with the Boston Breakers,” Ökvist told the Boston Breakers. “I have a really good impression of the club, from the coach to the medical staff, the team, the whole organization, everyone seems really professional. I am a team player and a fighter. I love to win, so I will always give 100 percent for my team. I hope the fans come out and support us next season and help us reach our goal of making the playoffs.”

Nora Holstad announces retirement

The defender appeared in two games for the Courage this season

Courage defender Nora Holstad in action this season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

North Carolina Courage defender Nora Holstad officially announced her retirement on Monday.

Holstad signed with the Courage midseason and appeared in two games, starting the final game of the regular season. She joined the team after competing in the UEFA Women’s Euro tournament for Norway this summer.

“I want to thank the NC Courage and their loyal fans for letting me be a part of their family for the past couple of months. Thanks for giving me this experience and one last adventure before ending an amazing journey with the sport I love. The Courage organization has treated me as a part of their family from day one and my teammates have welcomed me with open hearts. I wish the club, the fans and the team all the best for the future, stay the COuRsE and keep playing and living with Courage,” Holstad said in a statement released by the Courage.

Holstad also posted a statement on Twitter, saying: “I’m ready to  leave the game that has given me more than I could have ever imagined.”

The NWSL guide to the W-League

Over 30 NWSL players will feature in the Australian season

The Westfield W-League has officially kicked off in Australia for its tenth season on Friday with big wins from Perth Glory Women and Brisbane Roar FC, and featured goals from Sam Kerr and Emily Sonnett, plus a brace from the Orlando Pride’s Rachel Hill.

And while even the W-League acknowledges the “Kerr Effect” and boost from the popularity of the Matildas after increased international success and sell-out games on home soil, long-time NWSL fans will know that the W-League’s schedule has always made it an offseason favorite for American players.

Every W-League club has at least one NWSL player on its roster, giving NWSL fans plenty of reasons to follow every match.

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 lasts 14 rounds, followed by a postseason culminating in a grand final match.

Melbourne City has won the last two grand finals, and five Seattle Reign FC players are returning to City to defend their title, including Jess Fishlock and Lydia Williams.

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

NWSL Players in the W-League

Nine of the 10 clubs in the NWSL are represented on W-League rosters during the offseason. Seattle leads the way with eight players heading to Australia, Portland Thorns FC has five players, and the Chicago Red Stars and Orlando Pride each have four on various W-League clubs.

Here’s the full list of every NWSL player on a W-League roster that’s been announced, by NWSL team.

Boston Breakers:

Natasha Dowie | Melbourne Victory
Amanda Frisbie | Perth Glory
Katie Stengel | Newcastle Jets

Chicago Red Stars:

Danielle Colaprico | Adelaide United
Arin Gilliland | Newcastle Jets
Alyssa Mautz | Adelaide United
Katie Naughton | Adelaide United

FC Kansas City:

Christina Gibbons | Melbourne Victory
Lo’eau Labonta | Western Sydney Wanderers

North Carolina Courage:

Makenzy Doniak | Adelaide United
Ashley Hatch | Melbourne City

Orlando Pride:

Steph Catley | Melbourne City
Rachel Hill | Perth Glory
Alanna Kennedy | Melbourne City
Toni Pressley | Canberra United

Portland Thorns FC:

Celeste Boureille | Brisbane Roar
Britt Eckerstrom | Newcastle Jets
Hayley Raso | Brisbane Roar
Emily Sonnett | Sydney FC
Ashleigh Sykes | Canberra United

Seattle Reign FC:

Lauren Barnes | Melbourne City
Larissa Crummer | Melbourne City
Jessica Fishlock | Melbourne City
Haley Kopmeyer | Canberra United
Kristen McNabb | Melbourne Victory
Carson Pickett | Brisbane Roar
Rebekah Stott | Melbourne City
Lydia Williams | Melbourne City

Sky Blue FC:

Sam Kerr | Perth Glory
Raquel Rodriguez | Perth Glory
Nikki Stanton | Perth Glory

Washington Spirit:

Tori Huster | Newcastle Jets

How to watch

There are two more games on deck for Saturday, between Melbourne Victory and Canberra United, and Newcastle Jets and Western City Wanderers before the first week of the regular season comes to a close. (Note: The W-League website also does international viewers a solid by allowing people to display match times in their own time zone.)

Fans in the U.S. and other countries outside of Australia can stream using OZ Live Sports, a new pay-per-view platform. Fans can either purchase individual game streams for $2.99 each, or subscribe to the platform on a monthly basis for $4.99 per month.

Andressinha, Bruna Benites, Francisca Ordega to play in Brazil, Spain on loan this offseason

The Dash, Spirit announced the moves last week

Houston Dash midfielder Andressinha in action this season. (Photo credit: Trask Smith/isiphotos.com)

In addition to a number of players heading to the W-League during the offseason, three NWSL players are headed elsewhere on loan this winter.

Houston Dash midfielder Andressinha and Bruna Benites will join Esporte Clube Iranduba da Amazônia in Brazil, the Dash said last week. Andressinha will be with the team through December for for their Campeonato Amazonense de Futebol Feminino campaign and Benites will remain with the team for the remainder of this year.

Also, Spirit forward Francisca Ordega will be part of Atlético Madrid in Spain. She joined the team on loan and will return to the Spirit in March, the Spirit said last week.

2018 NWSL College Draft to take place on Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. ET

The 2018 Draft will take place at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia

NWSL Managing Director of Operations Amanda Duffy at the 2017 NWSL College Draft. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

The 2018 NWSL College Draft will take place on Thursday, January 18, at 11 a.m. ET at the United Soccer Coaches Convention in Philadelphia, the league announced.

The draft will open to the public and media and will be held in the CC Grand Ballroom at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It will be live streamed with details to be announced at a later date.

2018 NWSL College Draft
United Soccer Coaches Convention
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018
Start time: 11 a.m. ET
Room: CC Grand Ballroom

Check out the 2018 NWSL College Draft Order below. View past NWSL College Draft results


2018 NWSL College Draft Order

Round 1

1. Washington Spirit

2. Boston Breakers

3. Houston Dash

4. FC Kansas City

5. Sky Blue FC

6. Washington Spirit**

7. Chicago Red Stars**

8. Portland Thorns FC

9. Portland Thorns FC

10. North Carolina Courage

Round 2

11. Washington Spirit

12. Houston Dash

13. Chicago Red Stars

14. FC Kansas City

15. Sky Blue FC

16. Washington Spirit

17. Boston Breakers

18. Chicago Red Stars

19. Chicago Red Stars

20. North Carolina Courage

Round 3

21. Washington Spirit

22. Boston Breakers

23. Orlando Pride

24. Houston Dash*

25. Sky Blue FC

26. Washington Spirit

27. Chicago Red Stars

28. Houston Dash

29. Chicago Red Stars

30. Houston Dash

Round 4

31. Washington Spirit

32. Boston Breakers

33. Houston Dash

34. FC Kansas City

35. Sky Blue FC

36. Seattle Reign FC

37. Chicago Red Stars

38. North Carolina Courage

39. North Carolina Courage

40. North Carolina Courage

Houston Dash will receive FCKC’s highest third round draft pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft to be set at the conclusion of the 2017 NWSL Season.

**Washington Spirit will receive Chicago Red Stars’ highest 2018 first round draft pick available on 8.21.2017 (CRS and SRFC’s natural pick) at the conclusion of the 2017 NWSL Season

Highlights & Results: NWSL players on international duty

Brynjarsdóttir scores twice in Iceland's upset of Germany

It may be the NWSL offseason, but there’s plenty of international duty for many NWSL players this week. Here’s a quick at look at the highlights and results from the latest round of international games.

October 24: Brazil 2 China 2 (2017 Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament)

Marta scored on a penalty kick for her fourth goal of the Four Nations Tournament as Brazil and China tied 2-2 in the final game. Brazil won the tournament with a 2-0-1 record. Four NWSL players were on Brazil’s roster for the tournament: Marta (Orlando Pride) and AndressinhaBruna Benites and Poliana of the Houston Dash.


October 24: Mexico 0 Korea DPR 1 (2017 Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament)

Mexico fell in their final game of the Four Nations Tournament, a 1-0 loss to Korea DPR. Reign forward Katie Johnson started for Mexico in the game.


October 24: Ireland 2 Slovakia 0 (2019 World Cup Qualifying)

Courage midfielder Denise O’Sullivan scored as Ireland won their World Cup qualifier 2-0 over Slovakia.


October 24: Wales 0 Russia 0 (2019 World Cup Qualifying)

Jess Fishlock (Reign FC) and Wales played to a 0-0 with Russia in World Cup Qualifying.


October 24: Iceland 1 Czech Republic 1 (2019 World Cup Qualifying)

Dagný Brynjarsdóttir scored as Iceland tied the Czech Republic 1-1 in their World Cup Qualifier.


October 24: Scotland 5 Albania 0 (2019 World Cup Qualifying)

Seattle Reign FC defender Rachel Corsie captained Scotland as they beat Albania to pick up another three points in World Cup Qualifying.


October 22: Japan 2 Switzerland 0 (Friendly)

Seattle Reign FC midfielder Rumi Utsugi and Japan topped Switzerland 2-0 on a friendly on Sunday.


October 22: South Africa 4 Brukina Faso (Friendly)

Dash defender Janine Van Wyk captained her side as South Africa won their friendly vs. Brukina Faso 4-0.


October 21 : Brazil 2 Korea DPR 0 (2017 Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament)

Marta scored both goals and Andressinha added an assist as Brazil won their second game of the Four Nations Tournament.


October 21: Mexico 2 China 3 (2017 Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament)

Katie Johnson started again for Mexico as they fell 3-2 to China in their second game of the Four Nations Tournament. Bianca Henninger, who was injured in the opening game, did not dress for the match.


October 20: Iceland 3 Germany 2 (2019 World Cup Qualifying)

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Dagný Brynjarsdóttir scored in the 15th and 58th as Iceland upset Germany 3-2 in a World Cup Qualifier. It’s Germany’s first World Cup qualifying loss since 1998.


October 19: Scotland 2 Belarus 1 (2019 World Cup Qualifying)

With Seattle Reign FC defender Rachel Corsie captaining the squad, Scotland won their World Cup Qualifier vs. Belarus by a score of 2-1. It’s the opening game of their road to France 2019. Match Report


October 19: Brazil 3 Mexico 0 (2017 Yongchuan Four Nations Tournament)

Orlando Pride forward Marta scored a goal and added an assist as Brazil beat Mexico 3-0 in the opening game of the Four Nations tournament in China. After Marta scored the opening goal of the game in the 54th minute, Houston Dash defender Bruna Benites headed in a Marta free kick to make it 2-0 in the 59th.

Dash goalkeeper Bianca Henninger started in goal for Mexico, but left due to injury in the 55th minute. Match report

Houston’s Poliana and Andressinha started for Brazil in the game. Seattle Reign FC forward Katie Johnson started for Mexico.


No players selected off NWSL Re-Entry Wire

The eight players are now discovery eligible

The NWSL official ball before a match. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following news release on Tuesday:

CHICAGO (Oct. 24, 2017) – The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced today that no players were selected off the NWSL Re-Entry Wire as part of the End of Season Process.

The following players cleared the Re-Entry Wire and are now discovery eligible (with previous team in parentheses):

McKenzie Berryhill (Orlando Pride), Jocelyn Blankenship (Orlando Pride), Kelly Conheeney (Houston Dash), Line Sigvardsen Jensen (Washington Spirit), Kendall Johnson (Portland Thorns FC), Natasha Kai (Sky Blue FC), Jordan O’Brien (Orlando Pride) and Stephanie Ochs (North Carolina Courage).

NWSL teams exercise contract options

Teams also extend contract offers to players

(Photo credit: Daniel Bartel/isiphotos.com)

On Monday, NWSL teams announced which players have had contract options exercised and which players had been extended new contract offers.

Additionally, the league announced that eight players would be available on the Re-Entry Wire as part of the End of Season Process. Full list and more info.

2018 information for Federation Players will be shared at a later date.


Boston Breakers

Contract options exercised: Abby Smith, Sammy Jo Prudhomme, Megan Oyster, Julie King, Amanda Frisbie, Rosie White, Morgan Andrews, Adriana Leon, Natasha Dowie, Ifeoma Onumonu, Margaret Purce, Hayley Dowd

Extended new contract offers: Brooke Elby, Christen Westphal, Angela Salem, Tiffany Weimer, Katie Stengel

Federation Players: Alyssa Chapman (Canada) and Rose Lavelle (United States)


Chicago Red Stars

Contract options exercised: Danielle Colaprico, Taylor Comeau, Michele Dalton, Arin Gilliland, Sarah Gorden, Summer Green, Jen Hoy, Sofia Huerta, Samantha Johnson, Lauren Kaskie, Alyssa Mautz, Stephanie McCaffrey, Yuki Nagasato, Katie Naughton.

New contract: Vanessa DiBernardo

Federation Players: Morgan Brian, Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, Christen Press, Casey Short (United States)


Houston Dash

Contract options exercised: Bruna Benites, Jane Campbell, Meghan Cox, Claire Falknor, Andressinha, Kristie Mewis, Janine Van Wyk

Extended new contract offers: Poliana, Amber Brooks, Rachel Daly, Sarah Hagen, Caity Heap, Bianca Henninger, Cami Levin, Kelia Ohai, Cami Privett and Cari Roccaro

Placed on Re-Entry Wire: Kelly Conheeney

Federation Players: Janine Beckie, Nichelle Prince (Canada), Carli Lloyd (United States) 


FC Kansas City

Contract options exercised: Yael Averbuch, Christina Gibbons, Sydney Miramontez, Caroline Flynn, Mandy Laddish, Shea Groom, Maegan Kelly, Brittany Ratcliffe

Extended new contract offers: Alex Arlitt, Becca Moros, Brittany Kolmel (nee Taylor), Katie Bowen, Lo’eau LaBonta, Alexa Newfield, Erika Tymrak, Nicole Barnhart, Cat Parkhill

Federation PlayersDesiree Scott (Canada), Amy Rodriguez, Sydney Leroux, Becky Sauerbrunn (United States) 


North Carolina Courage

Contract options exercised: Abby Dahlkemper, Debinha, Elizabeth Eddy, Abby Erceg, Kristen Hamilton, Ashley Hatch, Jaelene Hinkle, Jessica McDonald, Katelyn Rowland, Taylor Smith, Darian Jenkins, Yuri Kawamura

Extended new contract offers: Makenzy Doniak, Denise O’Sullivan, Meredith Speck, Sam Witteman, McCall Zerboni

Placed on Re-Entry Wire: Stephanie Ochs

Federation PlayersSabrina D’Angelo (Canada), Samantha Mewis, Lynn Williams (United States)

Retiring: Nora Holstad


Orlando Pride

Contract options exercised: Aubrey Bledsoe, Camila, Nickolette Driesse, Kristen Edmonds, Danica Evans, Jamia Fields, Rachel Hill, Monica, Toni Pressley, Jasmyne Spencer

Extended new contract offers: Stephanie Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Chioma Ubogagu, Dani Weatherholt

Under contract: Marta

Placed on Re-Entry WireMcKenzie Berryhill, Jocelyn Blankenship, Jordan O’Brien

Federation PlayersAlex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger (United States)



Portland Thorns FC

Contract options exercised: Ashleigh Sykes, Tyler Lussi, Savannah Jordan, Emily Menges

Extended new contract offers: Adrianna Franch, Britt Eckerstrom, Katherine Reynolds, Celeste Boureille, Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Meg Morris, Hayley Raso, Mallory Weber

Placed on Re-Entry Wire: Kendall Johnson

Federation Players: Christine Sinclair (Canada), Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long, Meghan Klingenberg, Emily Sonnett (United States)

Not returning: Amandine Henry, Nadia Nadim


Seattle Reign FC

Contract options exercised: Haley Kopmeyer, Maddie Bauer, Rachel Corsie, Merritt Mathias, Kristen McNabb, Rebekah Stott, Christine Nairn, Larissa Crummer, Kiersten Dallstream, Katie Johnson, Beverly Yanez

Extended new contract offers: Lauren Barnes, Carson Pickett, Jessica Fishlock, Rumi Utsugi, Nahomi Kawasumi, Lydia Williams 

Federation PlayersMegan Rapinoe (United States), Diana Matheson (Canada)

Retiring: Elli Reed, Madalyn Schiffel


Sky Blue FC

Contract options exercised: Cassidy Benintente, Mandy Freeman, Kayla Mills and Christie Pearce; midfielders Daphne Corboz, Sarah Killion and Madison Tiernan; and forwards Sam Kerr and McKenzie Meehan.

Extended new contract offers: Caroline Casey; defenders Domi Richardson, Erin Simon and Erica Skroski; midfielders Taylor Lytle, Raquel Rodriguez, and Nikki Stanton; and forwards Leah Galton and Maya Hayes.

Placed on Re-Entry WireTasha Kai

Federation Players: Kailen Sheridan (Canada), Kelley O’Hara (United States)


Washington Spirit

Contract options exercised: Yanara Aedo, Lindsay Agnew, Cali Farquharson, Francisca Ordega, Arielle Ship, Cheyna Williams, Estefania Banini, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Tori Huster, Joanna Lohman, Morgan Proffitt, Havana Solaun, Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco, Estelle Johnson, Alyssa Kleiner, DiDi Haracic

Extended new contract offers: Kassey Kallman, Kelsey Wys

Placed on Re-Entry WireLine Sigvardsen Jensen

Federation PlayersMallory Pugh (United States), Stephanie Labbé, Shelina Zadorsky (Canada)

Eight NWSL players available on the Re-Entry Wire

The NWSL announced the list on Monday

Spirit midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen in action during the 2017 season. (Photo credit: Jose Argueta/isiphotos.com)

The National Women’s Soccer League issued the following news release on Monday:

CHICAGO (Oct. 23, 2017) – The National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) announced today that eight players are available on the Re-Entry Wire as part of the End of Season Process.

The complete list of players (see below) was distributed to all ten teams in advance of the release of the Re-Entry Wire today at 1 p.m. ET. Teams have until Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 1 p.m. ET to claim a player.

In the event a player is requested by more than one team, that player will be awarded to the team at the top of the Waiver Tie-Break Order. Once a team claims a player via the waiver tie-breaker, it is moved to the bottom of the order for all future waiver sessions for the remainder of the offseason.

Name | Club

In addition, the following players have indicated that they are retiring and will not be included in today’s Re-Entry Wire: Nora Holstad (North Carolina Courage), Elli Reed (Seattle Reign FC) and Madalyn Schiffel (Seattle Reign FC).

If a player decides to come out of retirement and return to the League, their rights are maintained by their most recent club.

Six goals for the USWNT, first cap for Zerboni in shutout win over Korea Republic

Mewis, Press, Ertz, Williams and Long all score for the USWNT

The United States women's national team celebrates a goal on Sunday in Cary, N.C. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Led by four Courage players playing in their home stadium, the United States women’s national team beat Korea Republic 6-0 on Sunday afternoon at Sahlen’s Stadium in WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni earned her first USWNT cap, entering in the 46th minute and finishing out the win. Zerboni, who has played professionally since 2009 in WPS, WPSL Elite and the NWSL, was called into camp on the senior level for the first time ever on Friday before making her debut Sunday. The 30-year-old became the oldest player to earn a first U.S. cap.

Courage midfielder Sam Mewis scored a first half brace to give the United States the early lead.

Courage forward Lynn Williams scored in the second half.

And two of the United States goals came off corner kicks by North Carolina defender Abby Dahlkemper. The 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year took over 100 corner kicks in the NWSL this season to lead the league. Dahlkemper assisted on Mewis’ first goal in just the third minute. Both of her assists in 2017 also came on Mewis goals. A Dahlkemper corner also led to yet another Julie Ertz set piece goal — the 13th of her career.

Courage players weren’t the only stars of the game as the Chicago Red Stars (Ertz and Christen Press) and Portland Thorns FC (Allie Long) all picked up goals as well. Seattle Reign FC forward Megan Rapinoe, Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan and Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan recorded assists.

Morgan assisted on Press’ stunner in the 35th minute.

Long’s goal was the final goal of the afternoon.

Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and Houston Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell each played a half to earn the clean sheet. It’s the second international appearance for Campbell, who made her debut in Houston in April of 2017.

Harris came up with a big save in the first half to keep things scoreless.

Sofia Huerta (Chicago Red Stars) earned her first start for the USWNT, playing all 90 minutes at left back.

NWSL MVP: Sam Kerr, Sky Blue FC

Kerr set an NWSL record with 17 goals in 2017

Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr scored an NWSL record 17 goals in 2017. (Photo credit: Robyn Walsh McNeil/isiphotos.com)

After a record-breaking season, Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr has been named the 2017 NWSL Most Valuable Player, the league announced Friday. The award was voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on consistent basis and fans.

In 22 games, Kerr scored 17 goals — besting former Seattle Reign FC midfielder Kim Little’s previous record of 16 set in 2014 — and four assists. Five of her 17 goals were game-winners, with more than a few coming in late, dramatic fashion. Her 43 career goals are the most in NWSL history.

On July 8, she became the NWSL’s all-time leading scorer — by scoring a hat trick in the final 12 minutes to lead Sky Blue FC back from down 2-0 to a 3-2 win over FC Kansas City. At the time, it was just the second time in NWSL history that a team recovered from a two goal deficit to win a game and just the eighth time in league history that a team won when trailing after 75 minutes.

On August 19, Kerr became the first player to score four goals in one game. Once again, her feat came in dramatic comeback fashion as Sky Blue recovered from a 3-0 halftime deficit, and then a 4-3 deficit in the 85th minute, to win 5-4 after Kerr scored her goal in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time. Kerr missed a potential game-winning penalty kick, only to head home the game-winner on a corner kick moments later. It’s the first time in NWSL history a team has ever won after being down by three goals.

Kerr won back-to-back Player of the Month honors in May and June and was named to the Team of the Month four times this season. She also won Player of the Week three times: for the three goal game, four goal game, and a two goals/one assist game in a 3-1 win at Portland in June.

Her 21 total points are second in league history to Little’s 23 points (16 goals, 7 assists) in 2014. Kerr also won the 2017 Golden Boot as the league’s top scorer.

Every Sam Kerr goal and assist during the 2017 season

Assist 1: May 13 vs. Houston Dash, 3-1 win | 53′ | Goal: Leah Galton

Goal 1: May 13 vs. Houston Dash, 3-1 win | 87′ | Assist: McKenzie Meehan

Goal 2: May 27 vs. Orlando Pride, 2-1 win | 43′ | Assist: Daphne Corboz

Assist 2: May 27 vs. Orlando Pride, 2-1 win | 82′ | Goal: Maya Hayes

Assist 3: June 17 vs. Portland Thorns FC, 3-1 win | 1′ | Goal: Raquel Rodriguez

Goal 3: June 17 vs. Portland Thorns FC, 3-1 win | 70′ | Assist: Maya Hayes

Goal 4: June 17 vs. Portland Thorns FC, 3-1 win | 88′ | Assist: Madison Tienan

Goal 5: June 28 vs. Orlando Pride, 2-3 loss | 46′ | Assist: Maya Hayes

Goal 6: July 1 vs. North Carolina Courage, 1-0 win | 84′ | Assist: Maya Hayes

Goal 7: July 8 vs. FC Kansas City, 3-2 win | 78′ | Assist: Kelley O’Hara

Goal 8: July 8 vs. FC Kansas City, 3-2 win | 81′ | Assist: Daphne Corboz

Goal 9: July 8 vs. FC Kansas City, 3-2 win | 90′ | Assist: Taylor Lytle

Goal 10: July 15 vs. Chicago Red Stars, 2-2 draw | 90′ | Assist: Sarah Killion

Goal 11: July 22 vs. Seattle Reign FC, 4-5 loss | 76′ | Assist: Daphne Corboz

Goal 12: Aug. 19 vs. Seattle Reign FC, 5-4 win | 48′ | Unassisted

Goal 13: Aug. 19 vs. Seattle Reign FC, 5-4 win | 68′ | Assist: Daphne Corboz

Goal 14: Aug. 19 vs. Seattle Reign FC, 5-4 win | 71′ | Assist: Sarah Killion

Goal 15: Aug. 19 vs. Seattle Reign FC, 5-4 win | 94+’ | Assist: Taylor Lytle

Goal 16: Aug. 26 vs. Boston Breakers, 1-0 win | 5′ | Assist: Nikki Stanton

Assist 4: Sept. 24 vs. North Carolina Courage, 1-1 draw | 75′ | Goal: Raquel Rodriguez

Goal 17: Sept. 30 vs. Boston Breakers, 4-3 win | 34′ | Assist: Maya Hayes

McCall Zerboni called up to USWNT ahead of Sunday’s friendly

It’s the first ever call into USWNT camp for Zerboni

Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni was named to the 2017 NWSL Best XI. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni has been called into camp for the U.S. women’s national team ahead of Sunday’s friendly vs. the Korea Republic in Cary, N.C. Sunday’s game will take place at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, Zerboni’s homefield with the Courage.

Zerboni joins the roster following a right hamstring injury to Spirit forward Mallory Pugh suffered on Thursday night in New Orleans. Additionally, Stanford midfielder Andi Sullivan will return to college for a game this weekend. Zerboni puts the roster number at 19 with 18 players dressing for the game.

It’s the first call into USWNT camp for Zerboni, who has played professionally since 2009, following a college career at UCLA. She was named to the 2017 Best XI this year, her fifth season in the league. She scored three goals and added an assist, starting 23 games for the Courage. She scored the first goal in Courage history in a 1-0 win over Washington on April 15.

Just a few days ago, after the Courage fell 1-0 to the Thorns in the NWSL Championship, Courage coach Paul Riley called for Zerboni to earn a call up to the national team.

“I think there was probably 10, 12 internationals on the field today. … Should be another international on the field,” he said, gesturing to Zerboni, sitting alongside him.

If Zerboni plays in the game, it could be alongside her Courage (and Best XI) midfield teammate Sam Mewis, who has started every USWNT game this year.

Zerboni has played three WPS seasons, one WPSL Elite season and five NWSL seasons. Zerboni played for youth U.S. national teams, but this is her first senior call up.

Ertz, Morgan, Rapinoe score in 3-1 USWNT win over Korea Republic

The two teams will meet again on Sunday in Cary, N.C.

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz celebrates her goal for the USWNT in New Orleans. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

Chicago Red Stars midfielder Julie Ertz scored on yet another set piece for the U.S. women’s national team and the USWNT went on to win 3-1 over Korea Republic on Thursday night in New Orleans.

Ertz headed in a Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) corner kick in the 24th minute for her 12th career international goal. All 12 have come off of set pieces.

Orlando Pride forward Alex Morgan continued her hot scoring streak for the USWNT and improved her career total to 78 international goals. It’s her fourth straight U.S. game with a goal.

After the U.S. conceded a goal at the end of the first half, Rapinoe converted a penalty kick in the 52nd minute to make it 3-1.

Washington Spirit forward Mallory Pugh was subbed out near the end of the first half with what appeared to be a hamstring injury.

Stanford’s Andi Sullivan started and played the first 45 minutes of the match, earning the fifth cap of her career.

Houston Dash forward Carli Lloyd, who missed the end of the NWSL season with an ankle injury, made her return to the field. She played the final 13 minutes of the match.

The two teams will meet again on Sunday at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

Defender of the Year: Abby Dahlkemper, North Carolina Courage

Dahlkemper played every minute in 2017

North Carolina defender Abby Dahlkemper in action for the Courage. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

North Carolina Courage defender Abby Dahlkemper has been named the 2017 NWSL Defender of the Year, the league announced Thursday. The award was voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on consistent basis and fans.

Once again, Dahlkemper played every minute of the season, one of just four field players to do so in the NWSL this year. She is the all-time leader in consecutive minutes played, an active streak.

Dahlkemper anchored a Courage backline that set a record with 12 shutouts and conceded just 22 goals (second-best in the league). The 0.92 goals against average for North Carolina is the fourth best mark in league history. She tied for the team-high with 88 clearances and only trailed midfielders Sam Mewis and McCall Zerboni in total touches for the Courage.

Dahlkemper also contributed on the offensive side of the ball with two assists as she took most of North Carolina’s set pieces. She led the league by a wide margin with 116 corner kicks taken during the regular season. North Carolina was the most efficient team on corner kicks this season, with 55.6% of their corners resulting in a shot on goal.

Her two assists came on Mewis goals, both from free kicks. Her first was on a long free kick for the first goal in North Carolina’s 3-2 comeback win over Washington that clinched the team a playoff spot. Her second came on a quick restart for the game-winning goal in a 4-0 win over Houston that clinched the NWSL Shield.

Dahlkemper is just the third player to ever win the award. FC Kansas City defender Becky Sauerbrunn won the first three before Seattle Reign FC defender Lauren Barnes won last year.

Goalkeeper of the Year: Adrianna Franch, Portland Thorns FC

Franch set an NWSL record with 11 clean sheets in the regular season

Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch recorded 11 clean sheets in 2017. (Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer/isiphotos.com)

In 2017, Portland Thorns FC goalkeeper Adrianna Franch set an NWSL record with 11 clean sheets in the regular season and has now been voted Goalkeeper of the Year. The award was voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on consistent basis and fans.

Franch and the Thorns, of course, then added one more clean sheet to their season, a 1-0 win over the North Carolina Courage in the 2017 NWSL Championship on Oct. 14.

In addition to the record number of shutouts, Franch also posted a 0.83 goals against average and made 80 saves — all while being one of six players to play all 2,160 minutes this season. The 0.83 GAA ties the NWSL record set by Seattle Reign FC set in 2014.

Franch’s 11 shutouts bested the previous record of 10 set by Nicole Barnhart in 2013. The Thorns went 9-0-2 in those games, on their way to a 14-5-5 regular season record and second-place in the NWSL standings at the end of the regular season.

She earned her first clean sheet on April 15 at home vs. the Orlando Pride, a 2-0 win in the season’s first game. Fittingly, she earned No. 11 vs. the Pride as well, a 0-0 draw in Orlando in the penultimate game of the regular season. Franch and the Thorns were the only team to shutout the league’s best offense twice this season.

Franch set a season-high with seven saves twice — at home vs. Orlando and then on the road in June vs. Sky Blue FC. Seven of her shutouts came at Providence Park as Portland posted the league’s best home record in 2017 (10-1-1).

Franch is the fifth different goalkeeper to win the award in the league’s five year history. She’s the second Thorns keeper to win, joining Michelle Betos, who won in 2015.

Rookie of the Year: Ashley Hatch, North Carolina Courage

Hatch scored seven goals and added an assist in 2017

North Carolina Courage forward Ashley Hatch scored seven goals in her rookie NWSL season. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

After scoring seven goals in her first professional season, North Carolina Courage forward Ashley Hatch has been voted Rookie of the Year. The award was voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on consistent basis and fans.

Hatch was selected by the Courage as the No. 2 overall pick in the NWSL College Draft out of BYU.

The rookie finished the regular season with seven goals and one assist in 1,200 minutes. Of her 22 appearances, 13 were starts for the Courage.

Hatch scored her first professional goal in her first start on June 3. Starting in place of an injured Jessica McDonald, Hatch scored off an assist from Lynn Williams in the 67th minute against FC Kansas City. She scored in all three games for the Courage in June and was named to the NWSL Team of the Month.

Three of Hatch’s seven goals were game-winning goals, including the only one scored on June 24 in Boston, one of North Carolina’s record seven 1-0 wins in 2017. Her other two came at home vs. Seattle Reign FC and the Washington Spirit. Four of her goals came in Cary, N.C., and three on the road.

On September 24, Hatch recorded the first assist of her career and added a goal of her own as the Courage clinched the NWSL Shield with a 4-0 win over the Houston Dash. The win was North Carolina’s record-tying 16th win of the season.

She finished second on the team in scoring behind only Williams’ nine goals.

Thorns celebrate NWSL Championship win in style

Portland beat North Carolina 1-0 on Saturday for their second NWSL title

Portland Thorns FC defender Emily Sonnett and forward Hayley Raso celebrate the 2017 NWSL Championship. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

It’s been a busy few days for the Portland Thorns. That’s what happens when you win an NWSL Championship.

Take a look at all the best moments so far.


First, the Thorns lifted the trophy at Orlando City Stadium.


On Sunday afternoon, the Thorns were welcomed back by a large crowd at the airport upon their return from Orlando.



Then, honored at the Timbers game on Sunday night.


After that, a rally at Providence Park with speeches from Christine Sinclair, Amandine Henry, Lindsey Horan, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, coach Mark Parsons, owner Merritt Paulson and more.


Paul Riley voted NWSL Coach of the Year

The Courage won the NWSL Shield with a 16-7-1 record in the regular season

Courage coach Paul Riley talks with North Carolina players after a game. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

After a record-setting season for the Courage, North Carolina coach Paul Riley has been named the NWSL Coach of the Year. The award was voted on by club officials, players, media that cover the league on a consistent basis and fans.

The Courage went 16-7-1 in 2017, tying the 2014 Seattle Reign for the most wins in a single season. They also set a league record with 12 shutouts (five on the road) and finished as the second-best defense in the league, conceding just 22 goals.

North Carolina beat Chicago in the semifinals before falling to Portland in the NWSL Championship 1-0 on Saturday.

It’s the fourth straight NWSL season that the coach of the Shield winners has been named Coach of the Year.

Despite being in first place for most of the season (147 of 169 days), Riley and the team played with what they called a “junkyard dog” mentality — a scrappy, “underdog” mentality. It worked to the tune of seven 1-0 wins in the regular season (an NWSL record).

In those seven games, five of the goals came in the first half and the other two came as game-winners in the 81st minute or later. Six different goal scorers had the only goal in those games: McCall Zerboni, Debinha, Jessica McDonald, Ashley Hatch, Lynn Williams and Kristen Hamilton. Only Williams scored twice in those close games.

Riley also navigated through a summer of injuries to North Carolina’s two top offensive threats: Williams and McDonald. Hatch started her first game in place of McDonald on June 3 and scored her first pro goal. The next game for the Courage came on June 17 and was without Williams and McDonald. Hatch started alongside Hamilton, making the first start of her NWSL career in her fourth year in the league. She scored a brace in the first 13 minutes of the game — the first two goals of her professional career. Hatch also scored in the match.

Riley and many of the same players won the title last year as the Western New York Flash, but relocated to North Carolina in January as a new franchise with new ownership.

Riley joins Vlatko Adonovski, Laura Harvey (twice) and Mark Parsons as the only coaches to win NWSL Coach of the Year.

Smith, Heath ruled out of upcoming USWNT friendlies

Both players were injured in the NWSL Championship

Courage defender Taylor Smith in action. (Photo credit: Andy Mead/isiphotos.com)

U.S. Soccer announced on Monday that Courage defender Taylor Smith (shoulder) and Thorns midfielder Tobin Heath (ankle) have been ruled out of the upcoming friendlies vs. the Korea Republic. Neither player will be replaced on the roster.

Both players were injured in the NWSL Championship on Saturday, a 1-0 Portland win.

Smith was injured in the second minute after being fouled by Heath. She returned to the game, but was eventually subbed out in the 12th minute. Heath briefly left the match after being fouled by Lynn Williams in the 74th minute, but finished out the Thorns’ win.

Smith said on Twitter on Sunday that she is out for 3-4 weeks with an AC joint separation in her right shoulder.

The USWNT will play the Korea Republic on Thursday in New Orleans and Sunday in Cary, N.C.

Sonnett and Menges lead Portland to shutout win over North Carolina

The Thorns, led by Sonnett and Menges, have been the NWSL's stingiest defense over the last two years

(Center) Portland Thorns FC defenders Emily Sonnett and Emily Menges after winning the 2017 NWSL Championship. (Photo credit: Brad Smith/isiphotos.com)

By Katelyn Best

Orlando, Florida — There was plenty of offensive firepower to be found on the rosters of both sides in Saturday’s NWSL Championship matchup.

The Portland Thorns have one of the most prolific scorers ever in the women’s game in Christine Sinclair. The North Carolina Courage are known for their speedy attack, and for the athleticism of forwards like Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald, and rookie Ashley Hatch. But these two teams also have the two top defenses in the league, and ultimately, it was defense that won the day for Portland.

“We’re proud of being a great attacking team and we didn’t get to do that much today,” said Thorns coach Mark Parsons after the match. “We’re proud to be a very good, hardworking defensive team, and it won us a championship.”

For two years, Portland’s back line has been anchored by Emily Sonnett and Emily Menges. Parsons has deployed Katherine Reynolds as the third center back for much of the season, with Meghan Klingenberg and Ashleigh Sykes flanking the trio at wingback. Menges and Klingenberg were both named to the NWSL Second Best XI earlier this week.

While Klingenberg and Reynolds have rotated in and out of lineups over those two years due to injuries, and Sykes joined the Thorns earlier this season, Sonnett and Menges played almost every minute this season together.

“It’s special,” said Menges after the match. “I think we’ve gotten to a point where we really connect as a back line… having two years under our belt is something that not many back lines get to have. We rely on each other, and we keep each other accountable, and we can predict what each other are going to do.”

“I’ve talked about building on that,” said Sonnett of the partnership. “I think getting to the final game, and pushing and getting this last win is what we’ve been working for. Hats off to everyone around me, including AD [Franch].”

Although North Carolina took 16 shots to Portland’s four, that back line held strong, and ultimately earned the Thorns another shutout—after the 11 they earned during the regular season.

“Portland is very organized,” said Williams. “They have a great defense. They played with three in the back and two wingers. One would get forward, and another would come back, so it’s like they always had four back there… I think we had a lot of great chances, but they also have a great keeper so it didn’t go our way tonight. They have a great defense, so credit to them.”

Shutting teams out is a point of pride for the Thorns, who Parsons said have “a great mentality to protect this goal and protect this team.”

“AD gave us all dryer sheets today,” said Menges. “Clean sheets. It’s something we pride ourselves on. That’s the goal of a back line in every game we go into, is a clean sheet. … We did our job.”

Although the back five stayed organized throughout most of the match, one breakdown occurred in the 82nd minute, when Jaelene Hinkle played a long ball over the back line as McDonald charged between Sonnett and Menges. McDonald managed to hold Menges off the ball, nearly getting a clear shot at the goal. Menges scrambled back around McDonald to block the shot.

“Menges’s last tackle just kind of showed who this team is,” said Thorns midfielder Lindsey Horan. “We were not going to let another goal in, and the game was not pretty whatsoever, but we came out and we kept battling, and our defending was incredible.”

“I got myself into that problem to begin with,” admitted Menges. “I need to remind people of that. But everyone had plays like that. Just because mine’s in front of goal doesn’t make it more impressive than somebody else’s, up the field.”

On top of her impressive defending, Sonnett notched the assist on the game’s only goal, scored by Horan in the 50th minute. A handball by Abby Dahlkemper earned the Thorns a free kick from near the center line, and Sonnett placed a right-footed kick to the center of the penalty area. Thorns midfielder Amandine Henry got a light touch with her head, and the ball fell to Horan, who hit it over keeper Katelyn Rowland.

“I think that’s something I’ve struggled with throughout the year,” said Sonnett of the free kick. “Just keeping it simple, hitting it to the weak side and hopefully getting a knockdown. … It ended up working out that Lindsey got on the end of it.”

Sonnett had a simple assessment of Portland’s defensive mentality: “Obviously, keeping the ball out of the net, they have a worse chance of winning.”

Lindsey Horan named MVP as Thorns win NWSL Championship

Horan scored the game’s only goal

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan speaks with Dalen Cuff on the field after being named 2017 NWSL Championship MVP. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Lindsey Horan was named the MVP of the NWSL Championship after scoring the game-winning goal in the 50th minute. 

The Thorns won 1-0 for their second NWSL title.

What to Watch For: Courage vs. Thorns in the NWSL Championship

Gameday guide for the 2017 NWSL Championship

Courage coach Paul Riley, Courage defender Abby Erceg, Thorns forward Christine Sinclair and Thorns coach Mark Parsons (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

North Carolina Courage vs. Portland Thorns FC

NWSL Championship

Where: Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida

When: Saturday, October 14 at 4:30 p.m. ET

Tickets: Buy now

Where to Watch: Lifetime

Also available on: mylifetime.com, and the Lifetime iOS and Android apps in the United States; International viewers: NWSLSoccer.com and the NWSL  iOS and Android apps.


Going to the Game?

Important Orlando City Stadium has a clear bag policy. Get more information

Find out more about the stadium and the experience around the game by visiting NWSLChampionship.com.


Media Day Highlights

By Katelyn Best

North Carolina Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni: “I definitely feel it’s probably one of the best competitions you’re going to see in the world. These are two great squads with a lot of talent, and a lot of dynamics to them, and a lot of strengths. Both sides don’t have many weaknesses. To kind of find those weaknesses and attack them is going to be difficult. I imagine it’s going to be a low-scoring game. It’s not easy to score goals in games like this.”

Read more Courage Media Day highlights

Portland Thorns FC midfielder Tobin Heath: “The defense has been huge. I think it’s very collective, I think everyone’s on the same page. It’s almost like if one person gets beat, there’s another person, and another person, and another person. It’s a really great mentality to have. We always talk about defense winning championships. Our defense has done an amazing job, and it’s shown in our performances. It’s just a really hard group to break down.”

Read more Thorns Media Day highlights


Watch


By the Numbers:

North Carolina Courage

16-7-1, 49 points (1st place)

Lynn Williams (9 goals, 5 assists), Ashley Hatch (7 goals, 1 assist)

Katelyn Rowland (8 shutouts)

38 goals for, 22 goals against

Portland Thorns FC

14-5-5, 27 points (2nd place)

Christine Sinclair (8 goals), Nadia Nadim (6 goals, 3 assists), Hayley Raso (6 goals, 3 assists)

Adrianna Franch (11 shutouts)

37 goals for, 20 goals against


Latest News

  • How They Got Here: North Carolina Courage: Read More
  • How They Got Here: Portland Thorns FC: Read More
  • Outside the Box Scores: North Carolina Courage: Read More
  • With a quiet and constant presence, Sinclair once again leads Thorns to playoffs: Read More

The Last Times They Met

The North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC faced off twice in the 2017 NWSL regular season, with each team winning at home by the score of 1-0.

They’re set to meet for the third and final time this season with everything at stake in the 2017 NWSL Championship. They’ll meet on a neutral field, Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida on Saturday (4:30 p.m. ET, Lifetime).

Both the Courage and Thorns ended up at the top of the table in not just points (Courage — 49, Thorns 47), but also home wins (Thorns — 10, Courage — 9) and goals allowed (Thorns — 20, Courage — 22)

It’s not surprising that both of their meetings this season were close games that went in favor of the home side each time.

Read More


Injury Report

North Carolina Courage

OUT: Liz Eddy (left hamstring strain), Darian Jenkins (D45 – left ankle dislocation/fracture), Yuri Kawamura (SEI – right knee ACL and meniscus tear)

DOUBTFUL: None

QUESTIONABLE: Debinha (left elbow dislocation)

PROBABLE: None

Portland Thorns FC

OUT: Meg Morris (D45 – left hip inflammation)

DOUBTFUL: None

QUESTIONABLE: None

PROBABLE: None

Watch: NWSL Championship Preview Press Conference

The Courage and Thorns spoke with reporters ahead of the 2017 NWSL Championship

The North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC met the media on Friday in advance of the 2017 NWSL Championship. (Photo credit: Jeremy Reper/isiphotos.com)

The official Preview Press Conference of the 2017 NWSL Championship, featuring the head coach and captain from the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns FC.

  • North Carolina Courage coach Paul Riley
  • North Carolina Courage defender Abby Erceg
  • Portland Thorns FC coach Mark Parsons
  • Portland Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair

Watch now: