Selected women’s soccer pieces, including coverage of the Women’s World Cup (2011) and the demise of WPS: Women’s World Cup 2011 (espnW/ESPN) Despite speed and spirited offense, Japan falls twice German soccer moves to next level Preview (ESPN): Germany-Canada FIFA press conference has abrupt ending Game 1: Loudly supported Germany defeats Canada Game 1 (ESPN): Germany makes strong opening statement Game 2: New Zealand gains confidence in loss Game 3: Equatorial Guinea wins over fans Game 4: Germany’s effort thus far raises questions Game 5: Japan dazzling in win over Mexico Preview (ESPN): Norway, Brazil struggling to find form Game … Continue reading Women’s soccer writing: 2004-2015
Can’t promise I’ll do this every time we have UEFA games, but with the round of 32 starting this week, it seemed like a good time to check out the Women’s Champions League and see how U.S. players and a few players with U.S. ties are doing. (I’ve surely missed people. Please add them in the comments.) These are first-leg games in the standard two-leg format. Home teams listed first: Zurich (Sui) 1-1 Juvisy (Fra): Only one notable name — Germany’s Inka Grings, now playing for Zurich, has moved closer to the great Hanna Ljungberg’s European scoring record. (Update from comments: Zurich’s Sonja … Continue reading American women in Europe: Champions League soccer update
NY Fury coach Paul Riley, who led the Philadelphia Independence to two runner-up finishes in WPS, has a few thoughts about the future of the game, and it differs a bit from the Peter Wilt plan — more money, more months in the season: The money issue is really just a question of what owners are willing to put on the table. If it’s $1.5 million per team, great. If it’s closer to the $300,000 at the low end of Wilt’s range, then that’s what it is. The more interesting question here is the length of the season. Riley may be … Continue reading The elephant in the women’s soccer room: NCAA
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati is an economist by trade — which is good, because if you see the financial documents linked later on, you’ll remember that he doesn’t get paid for his role with the federation. (Perhaps it’s a little unfair that the person making the big bucks, CEO Dan Flynn, rarely has to face the media while we pester Gulati all the time. But I digress.)
So when we pestered Gulati before Sunday’s USA-China women’s game, he made one telling statement: “I’ve been doing this too long to get too up or down by individual data points.”
Whether you agree with everything Gulati does or not, this statement is one thing that separates his thought processes from most of us who yap about soccer on the Internet. We in the virtual soccer community can “prove” lots of things from single data points:
- Hey, it’s 50 degrees in Chicago today! That proves MLS can play through the winter!
- The Rochester Rhinos won the Open Cup! That proves the A-League is better than MLS!
- We sold a lot of tickets for one exhibition game between Manchester United and Real Madrid! That proves that if MLS teams simply spent themselves silly, we’d have crowds like this every game!
- The WPS games immediately after the World Cup drew huge crowds! That proves WPS has made it!
- The U.S. men won in Italy! Why aren’t we ranked in the top 10?
In the long run, it’s a good thing the powers that be don’t make decisions based on isolated data points. They might see a few hundred people gathered for one of last spring’s WPS games and figure women’s soccer is dead. They might see empty seats in MLS cities — even in places like Toronto where the seats are apparently sold but not occupied — and figure MLS is struggling. They might notice that ratings trumpeted as big numbers for European broadcasts are in the same ballpark as the numbers that have fans of The Ultimate Fighter on edge.
Let’s look at a couple of data points and see how the situation is a little more complicated than it appears:
I don’t see the press release at USSoccer.com yet, but there was a second announcement today in addition to Pia Sundhage’s roster for the Olympics. Here’s the key excerpt: Following the FIFA Women’s World Cups for the Under-17 and Under-20 age levels this coming fall, the head coaching positions for those teams will become full-time for the first time. In addition, U.S. Soccer will hire another full-time coach whose main focus will be on enhancing the player development environment for young players from coast to coast. So before today’s game against China, U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati held a press … Continue reading You want U.S. Soccer involvement in elite women’s game? Here you go …
This week, I participated in a roundtable discussion (sort of — we didn’t see anyone else’s answers until today) on WPS’s demise, and Julie Foudy sent us scrambling down Memory Lane with an espnW column about the next steps in pro women’s soccer. Taking the roundtable first: It’s a little humbling to answer a question and then have someone closer to the situation give a diametrically opposite answer. That’s what happened when I was asked about the effect the WPS’s folding will have on youth soccer. I said none. Melissa Henderson, who actually plays, said millions of little girls will … Continue reading Random bits of U.S. women’s pro soccer history