Seattle Reign Captain Announces Retirement:
Keelin Winters has been captain of the NWSL club Seattle Reign since day one back in 2013 when the league began. She has been the heart and soul of this club without question. In her 85 appearances for the club, her role hasn’t necessarily been to score goals, but to create opportunities for her teammates. She does the little things right every game and has helped guide her team to two Shield titles and two trips to the NWSL championship. She’s been absolutely remarkable in her role and became one of the most consistent players in the league. The script couldn’t have been written any better for Winters-in her last professional game at Memorial Stadium this past weekend, she scored the game winning goal against Washington. Winters’ representation has been nothing short of class both on and off the field. It’s been a pleasure watching her play and while I am sad to see her leave the game, Winters’ will continue to work for Pro Skills Soccer—a company she founded to assist youth and adult players in the Seattle area. The next chapter of her life will be of service, as she has plans to join the Kirkland Fire Department in January 2017.
NWSL Golden Boot Race Still Lively:
With one game left in the 2016 season, the Golden Boot winner has yet to be decided, a different race compared to last year where Washington’s Crystal Dunn ran away with it mid-season. Currently, four players are within reach to win the award. Leading the pack is Houston’s Kealia Ohai and WNY’s Lynn Williams each with 10, while tied at nine is WNY’s Jess McDonald and Portland’s Nadia Nadim. Ohai has been a on a tear the second half of the season, with all of her goals coming after July 9th, and in a total of nine games. Williams on the other hand has had a more complete season, scoring 10 goals in 17 appearances. McDonald and Nadim have also been a little more consistent than Ohai. But nonetheless, the Dash forward has been the best player in the second half of the season. So, who has the better chance of actually winning it? Ohai will be going against Seattle, a team that shut out the number one team in the league in Washington last week. It will be a tough task but certainly one that Ohai is capable of doing. Williams and McDonald will be going against the weakest team in Boston, but anything could happen and stopping two of the best forwards in the game doesn’t seem likely for the Breakers. Lastly, Nadim will be up against Sky Blue FC, a team that has given up the third most goals this season with 27. All of these players have the opportunity to go out and control their own destiny. Friendly reminder: The NWSL is on International break, so play will resume September 24th finishing the regular season.
Two Chicago Red Stars Down:
In a hard fought 0-0 draw last week in Kansas City, Chicago clinched a playoff spot but two players left the game with injury concern. First was Arin Gilliland in the ninth minute after a scramble for the ball near the sidelines left her clutching her ankle. Gilliland has been very solid for the Red Stars in her two years in the league. Starting 17 matches as a rookie in 2015 and starting in 19 matches this season. The defender has been a crucial part of the defense that has only allowed 19 goals. For Chicago’s sake, hopefully it’s not a serious injury and while her replacement Sarah Gorden has done reasonable in her limited minutes, no doubt Gilliland is a key piece to Chicago’s success. With any luck, she could return in the final regular game of the season against Washington. The second injury was to forward Stephanie McCaffrey in the 25th minute. Having played her first year and a half in Boston, McCaffrey was traded to Chicago mid way through the season. In her six games as a Red Star she has contributed with two goals. While most of Chicago’s goals have come from Christen Press and Sofia Huerta, McCaffrey provides the width and service needed for serious scoring opportunities. Coming in for her was Alyssa Mautz, a player who has been improving each year in the league since arriving in 2013 and became a starter in 2014. Mautz is more than capable of filling the role for the remainder of the way, should McCaffrey not be available. But the concern is do these two injuries disrupt the chemistry of the team going forward? Can they go deep into the playoffs without these two out? We will find out in two weeks when play continues.
UVA Loses to Georgetown:
After winning its first seven games of the year, Virginia is no longer undefeated. The number two team Virginia played to a 3-2 loss this weekend to a surprising Georgetown team that’s ranked 20th. This was the first regular season non-conference loss since 2012 (lost to Penn State) for UVA. The good news for UVA is that it was the last non-conference match of the season. This one started out great for UVA, leading by two goals after nine minutes of play, but seemed to hit a wall the rest of the game. The Hoyas came storming back with three unanswered goals in the first half to stun the Cavs. It’s certainly an impressive feat when in the previous seven games UVA had allowed zero goals. The defense was bound to collapse at some point, but I didn’t have Georgetown winning this game at all—and not in that fashion. The Hoyas scored its first goal a few minutes after UVA scored its last. In the 14th minute Taylor Pak hit a lovely ball from distance to give her team life. That was all they needed. The tying goal came by way of Chloe Knott, who capitalized on a mistake by the Cavs and beat the keeper 1v1 to level. The game winning goal in the 38th minute was constructed all by Rachel Corboz (Who was named to our Player to Watch List before the season started). Corboz hit a beautiful free kick from 25 yards out and into the net to give her team a very convincing win. For her effort, Corboz was awarded the Big East Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season. Up next for UVA is Virginia Tech on Friday while Georgetown faces George Washington on Thursday.
Manchester City Women Close to Title:
Last weekend, City beat Arsenal Ladies to improve to 38 points and move one step closer to the Super League Title. The only other serious contender is Chelsea, who is sitting in second place with 31 points. They defeated Reading to keep themselves in the race for another week. Ironically the next match is on September 25 against City, so if they win, City will have to wait to celebrate the Title. It will be a tough task for City. Chelsea has the likes of Hedvig Lindahl (GK-SWE), England star midfielder Karen Carney, Eniola Aluko (F-ENG), Fran Kirby (F-ENG) and Gemma Davison (F-ENG). All nine teams in the league have quality squads, but City might have the most complete. Led by a handful of England’s finest in Karen Bardsley (GK), Lucy Bronze (D), Captain Steph Houghton (D), Jill Scott (M) and Toni Dugan (F). It’s easy to see why they are on top. They also have Ireland’s young talent on defense in Megan Campbell and the American midfielder you might recognize in Daphne Corboz, (the sister of Georgetown Hoya Rachel Corboz). I don’t gamble, but if I did, I would put my money on Manchester to win its first title in club history by beating Chelsea.
NCAA College Cup Moved Out of NC:
On Monday it was announced that the NCAA Women’s College Cup will not be played in North Carolina. The main reason is a legitimate one, and backed by the NCAA President Mark Emmert, is due to the anti-LGBT laws that are currently in place. In his statement, Emmert made it clear that it was a decision that needed to be made, saying this: “We believe in providing a safe and respectful environment at our events and are committed to providing the best experience possible for college athletes, fans and everyone taking part in our championships.”
The four factors that played a part in removing the College Cup and are as follows:
- NC laws invalidate any local law that treats sexual orientation as a protected class, or has a purpose to prevent discrimination against LGBT individuals.
- A statewide law in NC that prohibits anyone using the restroom of the gender not on birth certificate, regardless of gender identity.
- NC law provides legal protections for government officials to refuse services to the LGBT community.
- Five states (New York, Minnesota, Washington, Vermont and Connecticut) prohibit travel to NC for public employees and representatives of public institutions, which could include student-athletes and campus athletics staff.
Six other events will be relocated as well; Men’s and Women’s DIII Soccer Championships, 2017 DI Men’s Basketball first/second Round, 2017 DI Women’s Golf Regional, 2017 Men’s and Women’s DIII Tennis Championships, 2017 Women’s DI Lacrosse Championship and 2017 DII Baseball Championship. Without question, this was the right decision for the NCAA and the Board of Governors to make. Anyone who has a moral compass should be perfectly ok with these relocations.