Panico to make history:
Patrizia Panico is set to make history in the realm of Italian soccer. The 42-year-old former striker for the Italian Women’s National Team is the assistant coach to the U-16 level and will coach two games this week. Head coach Daniele Zoratto will be out due to commitment to the U-19 squad.
This will be the first time a woman is on the sidelines in the existence of Italy’s soccer program. It’s exciting, and a great opportunity for women in sports. Having just Panico in charge for a pair of games could open the door for not only her but other women wishing to coach at any level in Italy.
Simon says … surgery:
Matildas and Boston Breakers star Kyah Simon has announced she will have double shoulder surgery in an effort to rid her of pain in her shoulders that she has been suffering for quite some time. Simon also stated in an Instagram post that she has been dealing with dislocations for over nine years.
The 25-year-old has been a consistent playmaker for not only the Australian national team and Sydney FC but also the Boston Breakers of the National Women’s Soccer League here in the States. Simon has been a Breaker since 2015, appearing in 23 games and scoring three goals. She has informed the Breakers and fans that she will not be returning to the team for the 2017 season. Instead she will remain home in Australia to get the surgery and train individually when able.
This is a small bit of bad news for the Breakers considering what Simon brings to the club (goals and energy), but Boston have made some exciting additions in the off-season. Two of those include draftees Rose Lavelle and Morgan Andrews.
City win in Lloyd’s debut:
Manchester City Women played Reading in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, winning 1-0 on a Lucy Bronze goal in the 84th minute. But perhaps another story worth buzzing about was that U.S. midfielder, Carli Lloyd, made her much-anticipated debut for The Blues.
Lloyd didn’t get on the scoresheet, but she did make her presence felt around the goal, almost finding the back of the net on two occasions. Her best chance for serious contribution was in the 12th minute, when Lloyd found Georgia Stanway, but Reading goalkeeper Mary Earps was more than up for the challenge. Lloyd got stronger as the game went on—perhaps a good sign for times to come?
Lloyd signed a short contract to play for Manchester for three months and is expected back sometime in June for NWSL play with the Houston Dash.
Morgan heating up:
Alex Morgan found success once again with Olympique Lyonnais over the weekend. The 27-year-old striker appeared in her fifth game for Lyon, coming on for Caroline Seger in the second half against Albi. Morgan found her goal-scoring form last weekend when she netted a hat-trick to lead Lyon to another lopsided victory at Rodez.
This time, Morgan only needed two minutes to bag two goals for the French powerhouse. She finished off the scoring for the day after her teammates put away three goals in the first half by way of Saki Kumagai, Ada Hegerberg, and Camille Abily.
Morgan and Lyon next play in the first leg of the Champions League in Wolfsburg March 23rd.
Kranich goes to Princeton:
Former Boston Breaker Jami Kranich has announced she will be an assistant coach on the Princeton Women’s Soccer staff for the 2017 season. Kranich played two seasons with Boston from 2014-2015 before being let go near the start of the 2016 season. Although competing with Alyssa Naeher for the number one spot would be tough to ask of a rookie, Kranich held her own. While in Boston, she appeared in 17 games, grabbing eight starts and earning a record of two wins, four losses, and two draws.
Kranich has respectable experience working as a coach since graduating from the University of Villanova in 2014. She has been an assistant coach at Stars of Massachusetts Football Club and Keeper Institute Goalkeeper Summit. Kranich will be a fine addition to a team that has been successful in recent years, going 31-14-7 in the Ivy League and looking to become even more competitive in 2017.
The Book of Ellis:
Over the last 6 months the USWNT has been using a three-back system for friendlies, an experiment implemented by head coach Jill Ellis. With the United States finishing in last place in the #SheBelievesCup in March, the criticism of the losses has been centered on the new formation. Some of it has been fair (questions of using players full potential in this system) while some of it maybe is a bit premature (asking for Ellis to be let go). Either way, the “Thesis of a Three-Back” seems to have crept into the NWSL mailboxes as required reading material this off-season.
Over the weekend, two teams in particular were using similar formations to that of Ellis and the National team—the Orlando Pride and the Washington Spirit. The Pride went with Laura Alleway, Ali Krieger and Dani Weatherholt as the chosen three, while the Spirit opted for Shelina Zadorsky, Whitney Church and Estelle Johnson.
Washington played Penn State University and earned a 3-0 victory. Orlando hosted Stetson and showed no mercy, producing a nine-goal shutout. Neither PSU nor Stetson were a serious test of the defenses, but could this formation become a trend in the NWSL? While I don’t have a clear answer, I do think if more teams toy with it and it somehow works, it could be intriguing to watch.
Nevertheless, after the embarrassment that was the #SheBelievesCup, I’m not yet sold on the idea of the National Team committing to it.