Around the World of WoSo: Harvey Takes the Reigns, Matildas on TV

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Edwards to Sweden:

A couple of months ago, former Orlando Pride player Becky Edwards announced her retirement from the NWSL. But it seems the 28-year-old midfielder/defender has found new life in Sweden, as the club Kristianstad DFF have announced her signing this past weekend. Edwards is set to play again, in a lower-tier club, but with players such as Lisa Karlsson, Johanna Rasmussen and Alice Nilsson.

Edwards is no stranger to new adventures on the soccer front, and she’s traveled to a handful of different cities and countries to play the game she loves. Early on in the States it was New Jersey Wildcats, then the Washington Freedom Reserves, before moving on to California’s FC Gold Pride, and Western New York Flash. She them suited up for Sweden’s Hammarby IF DFF and her current club Kristianstad DFF. Since the start of the NWSL in 2013 she has played for Portland Thorns, Houston Dash, and the Western New York Flash before ending her US domestic career with the Pride in 2016.

 

Harvey’s New Role:

Seattle Reign head coach and General Manager Laura Harvey has temporarily been given the U.S. U-23 job. They are currently in Spain for the La Manga tournament, which will take place between March 2nd and March 7th. This might not come as a surprise for those of you who were aware that Harvey was in attendance for the team’s January camp.

The U-23 team will take on Japan, England and Norway to conclude the tournament. This will be the first international competition of the 2017 campaign and they also are booked at the end of March to play in the Portland Thorns Spring Invitational. Out of the 22-player roster, Harvey will be accompanied by two members of the Seattle Reign, Madalyn Schiffel and Kristen McNabb. Schiffel is a goalkeeper signed after a tour with Norway’s Avaldsnes IL, and McNabb was the 37th pick in the recent 2017 NWSL College Draft.

With Harvey at the helm, expectations are, of course, going to be high.

 

FIFA PRO 2016 Shortlist:

The shortlist for the 2016 FIFA Pro World XI was released this past week. The U.S. leads the nominations with nine players, France comes in second with eight, and Germany holds up third with six. The short list consists of 55 players in total, including five goalkeepers, 20 defenders, 15 midfielders and 15 forwards.

I was surprised by a few of the names, including United States’ midfielder Megan Rapinoe and defender Meghan Klingenberg. Obviously both of these players are very talented and there’s no denying that, but for the World XI?  For 2016? Both players were under-par last year, hampered by injuries, and neither played near to the level that they are capable of when healthy and fit. I just don’t buy it. However, for the most part, I agree wholeheartedly with the selections. Rightfully on the list were familiar names such as: Melanie Behringer (GER), Ada Hegerberg (NOR), Steph Catley (AUS), Steph Houghton (ENG), Hedvig Lindahl (SWE), and Saki Kumagai (JPN).

 

Portland Re-sign Duo:

The Portland Thorns have now brought back their 17th and 18th players from their successful 2016 season. Though they did not advance to the NWSL Final in Houston, the Thorns did take home the NWSL Shield for the first time in program history.  And both Emily Menges and Mana Shim, now officially back in the Rose City for 2017, played significant and crucial roles in chasing down that spot at the top of the regular season table.  Menges, a 2014 College Draft signing, is just 24 years old, but she’s started 59 games for the Thorns and some would name her as one of the biggest reasons for the team’s success. Shim is just a year older at 25, and the product of an open tryout in 2013, but she’s also a steady contributor on the pitch, and with the potential for the 2017 Thorns to find themselves atop the table again, it’s safe to say that both are happy to be back with the team this year.

 

Houston Dash Sign Falknor:

The Houston Dash announced another off-season signing this week, this time adding a player to their defensive options. Claire Falknor is a defender/midfielder, having played the latter during her time at Bayern Munich, where she made nine appearances in 2016 and scored two goals. Falknor is only 23 and played for the University of Florida from 2012-2015. She has also earned experience at the youth level for the United States, getting two caps for the U-23 program in the 2015-2016 season. Falknor will be a familiar face to some of the Dash players, especially former teammates Cari Roccaro and Jane Campbell, and this will only help to strengthen Houston’s performance on the field.

Houston is looking to improve from last year, and with the pieces they’ve managed to find, on paper it looks decent. But in the NWSL we know that isn’t always enough. Nonetheless, Dash fans have every right to be excited to get underway.

 

Matildas on Fox Sports:

The 2017 edition of the Algarve Cup in Portugal will begin on March 2nd and conclude on March 7th. The Matildas are in the tournament for the first time in 17 years, and it’s been announced the home fans will be able to watch every game on Fox Sports.

This is not only great news for fans Down Under, as it gives the AUSWNT some well-deserved exposure, but it’s also also a chance to see the talent-heavy Australian women play some great competition.  The Matildas are set to face Sweden, the Netherlands, and China in group C. The group stage games will be televised, as well as final placement depending on who tops the group.

This will be the first time the Matildas take the field since the 2016 Rio games in August. But their quest for the cup won’t be easy–defending champions Canada are back as well and certainly look to retain the title.