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Archive for June 2010

WPS, New Zealand Women’s National Team: Not A Random Rookie

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While listening to the horrible commentary by Mark n’ Jenn on yesterday’s WPS game (SKY POO FC I HATE YOU SO MUCH), their constant referral to Ali Riley as “the rookie from Stanford” chafed at me until I couldn’t take it anymore and had to mute them.

I have already mentioned this, but as in much of life, important things bear repeating. Ali Riley is not just some high draft pick that’s turning out decent performances for her first professional team. She is a regular starter on the New Zealand women’s national football team, playing in the 2007 Women’s World Cup, the 2008 Olympics, etc., etc. — she even captained the Ferns in one of the friendlies against Australia this year.

Of course, if you think Oceania is still the smallest shrimp in FIFA’s sea, then you won’t be impressed by all that, even if I tell you she is the reigning Oceania Football Confederation’s Female Player of the Year.

Some rookie from Stanford?  Overmatched? Did O’Reilly score yesterday?

I don’t think so.

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Written by teamongolia

June 28, 2010 at 7:09 pm

USA U-20 Women’s National Team: Who Could’ve Been

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I said in my previous entry that I would discuss some U-23 players who I feel could have been very useful in the current U-20 cycle, except they got moved to the older age group without any explanation whatsoever. It makes me feel like coaches Jillian Ellis and Bill Irwin are at the root of a great conspiracy, but never mind that. I will also discuss some players who have not made the move to the U-23s as of yet.

Goalkeepers: While Bianca Henninger is indisputably (in my opinion) the best goalkeeper in the U-20 pool, her substitutes pale in comparison to Boston College’s Jillian Mastroianni, who, along with Kristen Mewis and Vicki DiMartino, were a huge part of the Eagles’ relatively successful 2009 NCAA season. Mastroianni is one of those goalkeepers still age-eligible for the U-20s who got shuffled into the U-23s, erasing any chance of her going to the World Cup. Another U-20 goalkeeper moved to the U-23s is Texas’ Alexa Gaul, who seems well on her way to becoming a U-23 mainstay. In addition to Mastroianni and Gaul, circumstantial evidence has led me to believe that Louisville’s Taylor Vancil suffered from some health issues and was unable to get back into contention for the U-20 squad after qualifiers.

Defenders: I don’t have much to say except that we probably need more height in the center back. Sure, Toni Pressley is 5’11”, but Crystal Dunn — although a very good defender on her feet — is a measly 5’1″. We really could have used Portland’s Cloee Colohan, or even Texas A & M’s Brianne Young (another U-20 shifted to the U-23s), who’s 5’10”.

Midfielders: Santa Clara’s Olivia Klei acquitted herself very well for the U-17s and the Broncos, but then again she got injured and one could use the excuse that she didn’t get enough playing time as a result. Auburn’s Katy Frierson never got more than a passing chance at the U-20s this year, as she’s been the property of the U-23s since 2008. The U-20s’ most glaring omission in this position would be Stanford’s Mariah Nogueira, whose situation is the same as Mastroianni’s. It’s interesting to note that a recognizable amount  of U-20 midfielders who did not make the World Cup squad have landed on the roster of the W-League’s Pali Blues, most notably Nogueira, Charney Burk, Camille Levin, Chelsea Cline, Lucretia Lee, and Elizabeth Eddy.

Forwards: You can’t really get better than Sydney Leroux, Courtney Verloo, and Vicki DiMartino. It’s who else is there that’s a problem, rather than who’s not there.

[In case you were curious, the U-23 pool players who are currently U-20 eligible (born 1990 or later) are Alexa Gaul, Harvard’s Lindsey Kowal, Jillian Mastroianni, Mariah Nogueira, and Brianne Young.]

Written by teamongolia

June 21, 2010 at 5:10 am

USA U-23 Women’s National Team: Kind Of Like Limbo

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It’s understandable that the United States U-23 men’s soccer team gets a large amount of coverage because the Olympic Games is a men’s U-23 event.

It’s also criminal that the very same age group on the women’s side doesn’t even get one mention on US Soccer’s YNT Blog while U-16 boys get videos and pictures. The U-23s (or the U-21s, if you prefer to be all old-school) get nothing but crappily-written news releases on their US Soccer section that aren’t published until days or even weeks later after the fact.

This unfairness is an inherent rot within and shall never be overcome unless there is a regime change in Illinois, which I propose should be brought about by a  power vacuum created by Professor Hojo Anson Dorrance’s Evil Clone Army when they stage their bloody coup.

Since its inception, the U-21s (as they were then) groomed players such as Abby Wambach, Hope Solo, Cat Whitehill, Carli Lloyd, Natasha Kai, etc., etc., for the senior national team, as well as U-20 players who had gotten too old. Despite the fact that the U-23s are as full of quality now as they were back then, these days it often feels like the U-23s are where great college players go to be forgotten, unless they make the jump to WPS and do well. Whereupon people start shrieking for Pia to call them into a training camp (cf. Keeley Dowling).

The few who are shuffled out of the U-20 pool and into the U-23 pool before they even age out of the former, are somewhat shafted. Of course it means something to work with older and theoretically more mature (read: better) players — i.e., they “have what it takes to play with the big(ger) girls” — but the U-20s are the ones with their own World Cup and the chance to be seen on a stage that’s bigger than random friendlies in isolated European soccer fields and a tournament that nobody is reinstating because Europe is bankrupt. I think the current U-20s could really use some of those shuffled-out players, an issue that I will address in my next entry.

Written by teamongolia

June 19, 2010 at 6:06 am

NCAA: UNC Is So Ronery

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If there are stories… people can relate… if people can relate… they will be interested… that’s a start.

–Tiffany Weimer

One of the reasons I’m glad that Weimer said this about Our Game Magazine is because I love talking about women’s soccer in the context of stories. The problem is, many of the stories that do come to the forefront are often rehashed fluff made for the manufactured drama that NBC and ESPN are feeding to their audiences. I have ranted at length about people pretending to be outraged at this while still swallowing when they’re fed already, so I won’t repeat myself.

Behind every player is a story. It might be a boring story, or an exciting story, but I can bet you they are more compelling than the age-old “North Carolina tries to repeat as National Champions” schtick that gets replayed every November. (I will dump on the Tar Heels at a later date.) However, how many of the stories will we miss because a team or a player never made it to a certain level?

And even when they do — how do we know their story is told in a way that gives the story the respect it deserves?

That said, if you INSIST that North Carolina is oh so important, fine. I suggest that Our Game Magazine write a parody, published in installments, in which the Tar Heels are the Evil Clone Army created by Professor Hojo Anson Dorrance to enslave the women’s soccer world, and the ACC can be the ragtag band of rebel nations who have been unsuccessful in defeating it. IT SOUNDS REALLY GOOD TO ME.

PH33R ME CUZ I IZ ANSON DORRANCE

Written by teamongolia

June 16, 2010 at 5:11 am

W-League: Dear Vancouver If You Please

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I’ll be the first to say that I am not a fan of Vancouver the city. Granted, my first and only visit only lasted 45 minutes, as my family spent most of the time in Richmond, where the citizenry irritated me to no end and I was never so happy to be an American than while I was languishing in British Columbia. I was so happy when we crossed back into Washington State, and when we arrived in Seattle it was SUNNY (yes, sunny), and that is how I know Canada hates me back.

But I would be very happy if Vancouver got a WPS team, and there are good reasons why they should. Among which is that it seems to be a rite of passage for the Canadian women’s national soccer team players to spend a season or several for the Vancouver Whitecaps, which is a very talented team in its own right (hell, it’s probably better than the beleaguered Atlanta Beat before it became the Atlantica, haw haw!). They could definitely make the jump to WPS if they had TEH MONEYZ. Rich Canadians please take note.

Another good reason is this:

YOU KNOW YOU WANT THIS IN THE WPS

Yes, I realize the kit is adidas and MLS. PUMA TAKE NOTE THIS IS WHAT THE KITS SHOULD LOOK LIKE.

Edit: I mean we want Kara Lang in the WPS, not the kit.

A closing thought: if Canada had a WPS team, it would be interesting to see whether Americans would count as “internationals” as they do here. Certainly more Canadians would be able to play in the WPS.

Written by teamongolia

June 13, 2010 at 4:32 am

WPS: All-Stars and a Nice Hot Cup of STFU

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While the WPS All-Star Starting XI may be a collection of very good soccer players, some of whom are legitimately All-Stars, the roster as a whole is not.

I could get into a rant about players who are better than Allison Falk, but I won’t, because I would just sound like the Chicago Red Stars fans who are throwing a snit over the lack of Red Stars in the lineup. Of course the finished product is a steaming pile of bullcrap, but for reasons other than the fact that there are no Red Stars.

Dear whining Chicago fans (because not all of them are whining, I am sure): Because your team hasn’t been WINNING anything, of course the voting system will ignore you. Why are you so surprised? Once you start winning more games, then you can call back and leave a message. (As if anyone aside from Kate Markgraf truly impressed thus far!) Get over yourselves and don’t justify your snits with ridiculous claims such as “Engen is better than Buehler!” Because that makes you sound stupider than the tweens who voted for the bullcrap.

Written by teamongolia

June 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

WPS: Another Truest Tweet

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This week’s Truest Tweet:

WPS follies: Brittany Klein goes from being an all-star to surplus needs in less than half a season.

This is a direct repercussion of Saint Louis’ folding, as it appears Klein was removed to make way for a Athletica-contracted player, Anita Asante.

While we are on the topic, I suppose there are people who say Klein was an All-Star among the talent level of 2009, but not 2010. Or that she may only have shone in Emma Hayes’ system, which is now moot because Hayes has been sacked. These opinions are, at best, unfair bullshittery. That a talent on the caliber of Brittany Klein no longer has a home in Women’s Professional Soccer is revolting, and the blame lies not with Klein’s supposed inferiority to Katie Chapman, but with those stinking bastards responsible for the Athletica’s demise.

Written by teamongolia

June 8, 2010 at 6:25 am