The 12 team women’s soccer field has now been filled following New Zealand’s 15-0 aggregate thumping of Papua New Guinea. The Football Ferns claimed Oceania’s sole qualifying spot, as expected, to round out the group of teams headed to London this summer.
New Zealand joins the United States, Canada, France, Sweden, Japan, North Korea, Cameroon, South Africa, Brazil, Colombia and host Great Britain at the Olympics. In other news: Yes, Oceania is still a confederation and it is one that hold qualifying events despite the New Zealand women (and usually men, too), just dismantling competition regularly.
Remember, New Zealand qualified for the 2011 World Cup by winning five games by a combined score of 50-0 in the fall of 2010. That lopsided tournament probably prompted the Olympic set-up, in which the tournament winner got to play New Zealand in a playoff series. Stark progress has clearly been made, as the Football Ferns were only on pace to score 45 over five games.
English playmaker Kelly Smith aggravated an ankle injury while on a video shoot and could be out for two months, which is dreadful news for England’s – err, Great Britain’s Olympic hopes. The 33-year-old has faced countless injury problems over her 10-plus years as a professional. In what is more than likely her last major international tournament, it would certainly be good to see one of the world’s best players compete on home soil.
Also going on in England is the very serious topic of sexism in the game. The Guardian’s Anna Kessel writes about a BBC documentary on women in English football, which aired on BBC on Wednesday. Hopefully we’ll have a way to see this stateside as it is a very serious topic (and I have to wonder how sexism in England, a country with far more soccer history, compares to the discrimination in the United States). Here are a few clips from the documentary. And the BBC also has more on the on-going story of Hope Powell and the topic of female managers in men’s soccer. That’s a nice series of pieces from BBC; now, will the stories keep coming?
Not to be forgotten in Wednesday’s international news: Pali Blues have signed midfielder Sarah Huffman, one of the most underrated players in WPS’ short three year history.
Legendary Stony Brook head coach Sue Ryan, who this January received the NSCAA Award of Excellence, was apparently the guest of honor and speaker at the New York Red Bulls Women’s Coaching Seminar on March 14. Show of hands for who knew such an event even existed, let alone already occurred….
Right. Turns out, the Red Bulls waited a while to let everyone know, too. Two weeks after the fact, there was a press release; and then a week later, a tweet! Speaking of the soccer in New York, check out this semi-development on MLS trying get into NYC. This would give soccer on the piers a whole new meaning.
Here is another laugh: FIFA thinks USA goalkeeper Hope Solo is England manager Hope Powell. Really, read the caption.
Yael Averbuch has another insightful blog over at The New York Times. It touches on her plans for the summer and interesting experiences in Russia.
Finally, Ellen DeGeneres has a good video on former LSU women’s goalkeeper Mo Isom’s attempt to become the place kicker for one of the best college football teams in the country. Female kickers on Division I football programs are not unprecedented (see Colorado), but no woman to my knowledge has ever suited up for the No. 1 team in the country. Check it out: