City goes back-to-back:
Melbourne City and Perth Glory met in the Grand Final of the W-League on Sunday and the match certainly did not disappoint. It drew a record crowd of 4,591 in the stadium and saw two goals by City en route to their second championship. Melbourne City made history by becoming the first-ever team to win back-to-back titles in the W-League.
The opening goal came by way of Jess Fishlock and was assisted by Bev Yanez in stoppage time of the first half. It was a sneaky cut-back cross by Yanez and the Tiny Dragon managed to get on the end of it to give City the lead. Later on in the 72nd minute, Yanez took matters into her own hands, sending a shot/cross that caught Perth keeper Gabrielle Dal Busco off guard. It was the dagger City needed to capture its second title in as many years. Fishlock grabbed Player of the Match to add to the sweetness.
Now five Seattle Reign players can call themselves champions of down under: Fishlock, Yanez, Lu Barnes, Larissa Crummer and Rebekah Stott. No timetable for when they return to Seattle, but you better believe that Seattle is ready for them to bring their game back home.
#SheBelieves training camp roster announced:
Jill Ellis has named her 25-player roster for the upcoming training camp in Orlando prior to the SheBelieves Cup in March. Before heading to Philadelphia for the first game, Ellis will have to cut two players to get the roster down to 23. Notable players missing from the roster are Megan Rapinoe, Kealia Ohai, and Hope Solo.
The roster did include a few players who have been absent due to pregnancy (Amy Rodriguez, FC Kansas City), injury (Meghan Klingenberg, Portland Thorns), or U-team duty (Mallory Pugh, UCLA). And Ellis has called two newcomers into camp, Sarah Killion (MF, Sky Blue FC) and 16-year-old Brianna Pinto (MF, CASL, committed to UNC), who is the youngest call-up for the USWNT.
The goalkeepers called in brought no surprises. Jane Campbell (Houston Dash), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), and the current #1, Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars). Ellis also was conservative in her defender call-ups, bringing in familiar names like Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Kelley O’Hara (Sky Blue FC), and the aforementioned Klingenberg. But she also did call back two newer additions to the full-team, Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars) and Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
The midfield continues to be led by Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns) and Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), and will be complemented by Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Allie Long (Portland Thorns), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage), and Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns). But Ellis has also called up newer midfielders such as 2017 NWSL Draft first round pick Rose Lavelle (Boston Breakers) as well as Killion and Pinto.
But the most dynamic group in my opinion is the forwards. Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride, Olympique Lyonnais), Crystal Dunn (Chelsea L.F.C.), Rodriguez and Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars) each bring speed and experience to the pitch. And they will be joined by Pugh and Lynn Williams (NC Courage) who bring incredible energy and eagerness to the squad.
Betos to Norway:
The former Seattle Reign and Portland Thorns keeper Michelle Betos has announced she has signed to play in the Norwegian Toppserien for Valerenga. Before becoming a fan-favorite in Portland, she played six games in Hope Solo’s absence in 2013. Then Betos sat behind Nadine Angerer and Adrianna Franch before earning the starting spot in 2015-2016.
In Betos’s three years in the Thorns kit, she had a record of 16-10-4, goals against average of 1.27, and earned seven shutouts. She became a very reliable keeper and solidified the defense in Portland, contributing greatly to the team’s drive for the 2016 NWSL Shield, which they won for the first time in club history.
While she was obviously known for her shot-stopping ability, perhaps her most memorable moment came on the offensive end. June 19th of 2015, the Thorns were down to 10 players and down a goal to Kansas City. In the waning seconds of the game, Portland had consecutive corners and on the second attempt Betos went all out to score a phenomenal header to net a point for her team. It was one of the most exciting and unexpected moments of NWSL history, and for her achievement, she was named Player of the Week by the NWSL, and awarded Goalkeeper of the Year for the 2015 season.
Boston brings back familiar face:
The Boston Breakers have announced that Tiffany Weimer will play for the club in 2017. The 33-year-old most recently played for Kvarnsveden in the Damallsvenskan–the top league in Sweden. Weimer played in ten matches, good for 900 minutes. Weimer has plenty of International experience to bring back to Boston after playing in Brazil, Denmark, Finland, and Sweden.
Weimer last played for Boston in 2010, when the team played in the Women’s Professional Soccer League (WPS). Here in the states she has also played for Washington Spirit, FC Kansas City and Portland Thorns. She was a part of the Thorns NWSL Championship team in 2013, the last time she scored a goal and an assist.
Smith’s All-Star list:
Kelly Smith has a send-off game in her honor Feb. 19th at Borehamwood FC, but has announced she won’t be playing due to being three months pregnant. The England and Arsenal Ladies legend will instead be a manager, opposite of Pedro Martinez, and overseeing the past and present players who have agreed to take part in the exhibition match.
The famous Howard Webb has signed on to referee while many other legends on the field have agreed to play, including Heather O’Reilly, Hope Powell, Marieanne Spacey, Ellen White, Casey Stone, and Faye White. Other big names expected to take the field are Jill Scott, Laura Bassett, Rachel Brown, Emily Westwood, and England’s current captain, Steph Houghton. That’s quite a legendary list of names.
Schoepfer to assist Holy Cross:
Former Boston Breaker and Sky Blue forward Katie Schoepfer has left the NWSL for an assistant coaching position at College of the Holy Cross. Holy Cross is a private, Catholic, Jesuit D1 school located in Boston with a student body of under 3,000 undergraduates.
The 28-year-old was selected by Sky Blue in the third round of the 2010 WPS college draft. She played one season in New Jersey before being sent to Boston. Between the two clubs she appeared in 100 games from 2011-2016, recording nine goals in that span.
Schoepfer has a variety of coaching experience since turning pro-Varsity assistant at Buckingham Brown and Nichols High School, and Varsity assistant at Waterford High School. At the club level she spent time coaching for Valeo FC and the Breakers Academy, and for the last three years she has worked as a volunteer at Boston University.