Confidence restored, Frisbie awaits next opportunity

Dan Lauletta December 5, 2016 42
Amanda Frisbie kisses the Icelandic Championship trophy after helping Stjarnan regain the title on September 30.

Amanda Frisbie kisses the Icelandic Championship trophy after helping Stjarnan regain the title on September 30.

For three seasons, all Amanda Frisbie wanted was to get on the field. And then all of a sudden she was in Iceland, a far away land that she hoped held the key to regaining her confidence as a soccer player. No sooner did she get off the plane than she was thrust exactly where she longed to be—on the soccer field.

“I literally played less than 24 hours later,” Frisbie said of starting the Icelandic Women’s Cup semifinal for FC Stjarnan. In a match Frisbie would later learn was the club’s worst of the season, Stjarnan fell 3-2 to Breidablik. The loss ended a two-year reign as Cup champions for Stjarnan. Breidablik, the club’s archrival, lifted the trophy three weeks later.

“I wouldn’t have minded a couple of extra days, but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes,” Frisbie said. “It was tough. I was actually a little worried after that game.”

It made sense for Frisbie to worry. After a groin injury cost her all of her rookie season in Seattle she was more often than not passed over for playing time during a season of discontent in Western New York and the first half of 2016 in Kansas City. When the Blues granted her release to pursue opportunities overseas, Frisbie’s NWSL stat line included just 7 games, only 5 of which were starts.

“I was at a point where I needed to make a decision for myself,” she explained. “I haven’t gotten a lot of playing time in NWSL. I had been reluctant about going overseas for awhile. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be for me. But there was a time in Kansas where it was like, ‘okay I’ve been in the league three seasons now and this is a time where I just need to do something different, change it up a little bit.’”

Fortunately, her debut match for Stjarnan when she was tired and jetlagged was an aberration. She was a forward that evening, but soon after both of the club’s center backs left—one at the end of a loan and one to return to college—and Frisbie found herself as a fixture in the middle of the defense.

“I ended up playing the rest of the games at center back.” More importantly the team thrived, leaving the Cup defeat behind them and settling in at the top of the table. “After that game (we) were a totally different team.”

On September 30, Stjarnan defeated FH Hafnarfjordur, 4-0 to claim the league championship.

“I really enjoyed playing there,” Frisbie said, adding that she spent time visiting some of Iceland’s famed hot springs. “I was playing with a lot of freedom, and my confidence was through the roof. It hasn’t been that way in (NWSL).

“That team works extremely hard for each other and not just for themselves. Fundamentally they’re really good. They play the game the right way. In the U.S. it’s very transition based; everyone is extremely athletic and quick and fast and strong—which is great. But in Iceland there is a lot more patience. That’s the way I like to play the game.”

If it is not obvious from Frisbie’s wording, she is planning on taking her newfound confidence elsewhere in 2017. Her first choice is a return to NWSL as a center back, but with no contractual ties to speak of she is biding her time and weighing her options. A trip to a different overseas locale remains very much in the cards.

“It’s been a weird road for me,” the still 24-year old acknowledged. “I know it looks bad from the outside. I’m sure a lot of people have written me off. But it’s just how the journey goes. I think I’m more than capable of playing in this league and making a difference and that’s what I want to do. I want to find a team that’s going to believe in me and give me a chance. I want to go somewhere and make that difference.”

Three Januarys ago Frisbie was a 1st round pick so coveted by Reign coach Laura Harvey that she joked about being mad at Meg Linehan, then with Equalizer, for a glowing story about Frisbie that she feared would price her out of range of the 7th pick. But once the groin lingered long enough to put all of 2014 on the shelf, Frisbie found it difficult to bounce back.

“If you haven’t made a major impact already, I think the moment you get injured or the moment you make mistakes you are pretty quickly written off, or at least thrown to the side a little bit,” she said. “After that it’s very hard to get another major opportunity. At least that’s how my journey has felt.”

Wherever that journey takes Frisbie in 2017 and beyond, she is glad to have spent her time in Iceland where she just may have found the confidence necessary to take her to greater heights.

“It was really great. It was an amazing experience for me. I learned a ton. I went there originally (because) I just needed playing time. Going there was the right decision for me. It’s a beautiful country as well. Two months was the perfect amount of time for me to be there and I’m happy I did it.”

  • Steglitz49

    Great story!

    Some Cup! Well worth kissing!! Hope they fill it with champagne.

  • mockmook

    O/T (sorta)

    My 2017 NWSL Mock Draft, Beta 4.0 (still needs a little work)

    Round 1

    01 . Breakers — Jordan ( F ) – Florida
    02 . Flash — Buchanan ( D ) – WVU
    03 . Breakers — Lavelle ( M ) – Wisconsin
    04 . Sky Blue — Lawrence ( M ) – WVU
    05 . FCKC — Mills ( D/M ) – USC
    06 . Reign — Freeman ( D/M ) – USC
    07 . Flash — Driesse ( M ) – PSU
    08 . Red Stars — Vasconcelos ( M/F ) – BYU
    09 . Breakers — Campbell ( GK ) – Stanford
    10 . Sky Blue — Gibbons ( D/M ) – Duke

    Round 2

    11 . Breakers — Cephers ( M ) – Va Tech
    12 . Breakers — Andrews ( M ) – USC
    13 . FCKC — Fletcher ( M ) – Cal
    14 . Thorns — Kolander ( F ) – Minnesota
    15 . Dash — Paul ( D ) – Georgetown
    16 . Breakers — Dougherty Howard ( M ) – Florida
    17 . FCKC — Proffitt ( D/M ) – Marquette
    18 . Flash — Thomas ( M ) – Georgetown
    19 . Spirit — Crowley ( D ) – FSU
    20 . Thorns — Bauer ( D ) – Stanford

    Round 3

    21 . Breakers — Kurtz ( D ) – S.Carolina
    22 . Pride — Donaldson ( M ) – Mizzou
    23 . Sky Blue — McNabb ( D ) – Virginia
    24 . Sky Blue — Hatch ( F ) – BYU
    25 . FCKC — Ship ( F ) – Cal
    26 . Reign — Drennan ( M ) – S.Carolina
    27 . Thorns — Medeiros ( M ) – BYU
    28 . Red Stars — Castleberry ( M ) – UNC
    29 . Spirit — Raben ( D/M ) – Duke
    30 . Sky Blue — Damaska ( F ) – Georgetown

    Round 4

    31 . Breakers — Delaney ( D ) – Georgetown
    32 . Pride — Hill ( F ) – UConn
    33 . Dash — Amack ( D ) – Stanford
    34 . Sky Blue — Prudhomme ( GK ) – USC
    35 . FCKC — Jenkins ( F ) – UCLA
    36 . Spirit — Stiever ( M ) – Minnesota
    37 . Red Stars — Ribeiro ( F ) – UConn
    38 . Red Stars — Beal ( D ) – Minnesota
    39 . Red Stars — Boyles ( M ) – UNC
    40 . Thorns — Ramsier, C ( M ) – Auburn

    • Breakers fan

      How would you describe the play/style of Driesse and Cephers, please? You have them awfully high up – ahead of some heavy hitters, so I’m just curious what you see in them. Also, – is the Jane Campbell to the Breakers pick contingent on your hunch that Abby Smith won’t return at full strength?

      Lawrence’s stock rose significantly for me after seeing the Final yesterday. And with all those Canadians on WVU – thank God that 2 on that team who aren’t from The Great North are named Abam and Gordon – possible USA NT future for those 2, it seems. That team, though they lost, was impressive, imposing. All that speed, and size – it came at ya from multiple points,relentlessly when they chose to.. I can see how they made the final. How about that play by Leah Pruitt, though? Wow. I saw her play like that all year.

      • mockmook

        I’ve tried to place players based on need, so they sometimes will be out of sequence (if you go by “best player”). And, of course my own biases and ignorance also come into play 🙂

        Driesse is a DM/DLP — kind of a Buczkowski (but no one is that good)

        Cephers is a pure DM, kind of a Buczkowski (but no one is that good)

        Picking Campbell is insurance for Smith (and perhaps you end up dropping Stout). And, Campbell and Smith could end up both being allocated players.

        Yes, the Pruitt play was great — I wonder if Andrews meant to hit that ball so far and wide.

        • Breakers fan

          I like how you base the pick on positional need of the drafting team. That said, some teams I bet will go for “best player available” regardless of greatest perceived need IF a player is still out there who they really like.

          Campbell…..intriguing….I lean more towards picking a keeper with a later pick – the idea, (mine) being that maybe she isn’t that much better than a few others out there.

          As far as that play – good question. My immediate thought was that she was just blasting it as far as she could to stave off another WVU attack for as long as she could, but it went TO Pruitt so maybe she was targeting her. That booming boot should also be acknowledged in the success of the play that followed.

          Back to Mills – do you have her in midfield or at defender for KC if she goes there? Or as DM? (most likely)

          • mockmook

            Yes, see Mills as a DM (back up CB).

          • Forgedias

            I would take a keeper later in the draft but then again it depends how much of a need it is for the Breakers. Campbell is the second best keeper in the draft after Kailen Sheridan but then again Sheridan would require an international slot since she is Canadian and I doubt she will be allocated until a team drafts her like WNY did with Sabrina D’Angelo where they used an international slot to draft her.

            The Breakers have the first pick, plus a boat load of other picks. It really will be interesting who they draft this coming draft class. They could take Jordan and then maybe grab an international down the line.

            For me if I was drafting, Buchanan is a huge need. They need to cut down the goals they allowed from last year. But I can see the Jordan pick as well. If they take Jordan then WNY will definitely take Buchanan as their next pick. Boston can then either pick Lavelle, Andrews or Lawrence depending on what kind of midfielder they want.

            Lavelle is more of a playmaker, Andrews is an attacking midfielder and Lawrence is your swiss army knife. Can be an outside back or play make in the midfield. The 9th pick in the draft I would get a defender to fix the back line issues. They can hold of on a keeper until maybe the next round if they really need one.

          • mockmook

            My thinking is that Sky Blue may take Campbell at #10 if Boston doesn’t take her earlier — so, Boston may have to take her at #9 (depending on how badly they want her).

    • Breakers fan

      Do you have any new Amack info? Sort of curious that you have her getting drafted when she didn’t play all year. That said, I am aware of her previous accomplishments so it’s not crazy to have her in there – just wondering if you know if she’ll even return to playing and declare for the draft?

      • mockmook

        No, the reason I’m including Amack is she is worth a flyer for a very late pick (unless a team has someone else targeted).

        • Breakers fan

          Research in advance should be done and I assume could easily enough be done, but I like where you’re coming from with this.

          • Random

            Amack has been very injury prone the last few years if she does declare I question whether a team would use a pick on her vs. inviting her into camp.

          • mockmook

            New (Ver. 5.0) Draft is up

            You’ll like that I have included:

            Payne
            Castleberry
            Alvarado
            Hill
            Ribeiro

            You’ll hate the rest 🙂

            http://disq.us/p/1e9s273

          • Lorehead

            Interesting stuff. There are always a lot of trades and deals, though.

      • mkanderson

        Amack had a knee surgery in August and will most likely take her 5th year at Stanford.

    • Forgedias

      If the Flash get Buchanan, the only weakness I thought the Flash had was probably their defense and it would get better with Buchanan. Kinda scary to see that since the Flash have loads of offense but did allow some goals.

      Earlier in the year, people didn’t even have Lawrence as a first round pick. How things change now. That midfield draft is looking so strong this year. Andrews, Lavelle and Lawrence could all go in the first round.

      • Steglitz49

        I appreciate it that you did not compile MockMook’s list but I put it to you that Lawrence might be picked before Lavelle. Andrews (if she is Morgan Andrews) ought to be an earlier pick than 12 too.

        • Forgedias

          I don’t know, it really depends on what teams want out of their midfielders. You have 3 great midfielders. Yeah Lawrence actually had a great College Cup, she looked amazing in her match against USC. Dominated the flanks and created scoring chances. The fact that she can dribble at defenders is a big plus. Really good technical player.

          Still Lavelle is still a good player and Morgan Andrews also has some good potential. Who is better right now? Lawrence probably, then Lavelle just on technical skill. But all 3 are top midfielders.

          • Steglitz49

            Lawrence has played for Canada for 3 years now (about 30 games) and played this August in OG-16. That experience counts.

            I wonder whether both Lawrence and Buchanan may seek to play for money and silverware in Europe. I have not heard anything but like the USWNT, the Canuckettes have nothing to play for till 2019. Where shall we send this dynamic duo? To PSG? Notts County? Örebro?

    • Guest

      You’ve left off some big names here….

      ACC Offensive player of the year: Alexis Shaffer (UVA)
      First Team ACC and All-American: Mierelle Tiernan (VT)
      All American and Youth International: Midge Purce

      • mockmook

        Thanks for checking out my list!!!

        Shaffer — had her on version 3.0, inadvertently dropped her.
        Glad you pointed that out.

        Tiernan — maybe I was overly influenced by watching a VT game where she didn’t start — that was a red flag to me.
        She also seems slow and not very technical.
        But, has lots of goals and accolades (and poor shooting percentages).
        May have to add her in though.

        Purce — what little I’ve seen was not very impressed. Seems every NWSL team already has a few small forwards who can do what she does.

        Have a hard time justifying her (or Tiernan) over these other Forwards:

        Jordan
        Vasconcelos
        Kolander
        Hatch
        Ship
        Damaska
        Hill
        Ribeiro

        Who should I drop?

        • Guest

          As for Tiernan i’m not a huge fan either but it’s hard to argue with double digit goals every year playing in the ACC. She may not be a star but she could be a Hagen / Stengel type forward which have been solid but not spectacular, with a more unique skill set. But both have had more success overseas.

          Purce looked good at the last U-23 camp. She’s not a goal-scorer I think of her as more of a winger in the NWSL. So i’d replace someone like Jo Boyles who hasn’t played a minute this season. I also think you’ve rated some of the Georgetown , Marquette, and BYU players too high.

          But thanks, I enjoyed this!

      • mockmook

        BTW, Tiernan had zero assists this year.

  • Breakers fan

    This is an inspiring story. I wish Amanda the best and actually hope that she ends up in Boston!

    • Steglitz49

      The Europeans for sure know how to make a trophy!

      Maybe Amanda should take a detour through Avaldsnes first?

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    • Lorehead

      I also wish her the best, and hope she enjoyed her time in Portland.

  • Rdalford

    Mexican league clubs announce U-23 Women’s League
    as reported by ESPN FC (and elsewhere)
    “The 18 Liga MX clubs have agreed to start an under-23 women’s league in order to strengthen the game in Mexico and help El Tri’s national teams, Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla says.

    Each squad will have 21 players, with the age limit set at the under-23 level. Four players from the under-17 category must be included, and two players over the age limit will also be allowed in each squad.

    Foreign players will not be permitted, although Mexico-U.S. dual nationals will be welcomed.”

    • Steglitz49

      Great news.

      Maybe now the NWSL can give some Mexico-US dual nationals some playing time even if they still disdain the pure Mexicans.

      • Rdalford

        with new league being U-23 the U-23 Mexico-US dual nationals, who have traditionally gone thru NCAA system, will perhaps have a choice to make – either stay with NCAA path or go pro with new U-23 league. For many dual nationals the opportunities provided with NCAA scholarship and college degree would perhaps still be the choice – but some may choose (for financial or other reasons) the U-23 league.

        Mexico federation did not fund any allocated players in NWSL in 2016. in 2015 Mexico did not release allocated players to NWSL teams until mid August post WC and post Pan AM games (and did not provide allocation funding) for the 4 allocated players (Sierra, Ocampo, Perez, and Romero).

        Not clear from U-23 league announcement what financial role (if any) the Mexican federation has with the new league – but if Mexican federation does have any financial role in the new U-23 league, then unlikely that Mexican federation would also fund NWSL allocations.

        • Steglitz49

          Seeing that the Mexican players allocated to the NWSL never got much playing time, it was money down the drain.

          The NWSL was meant to be a tridentine league. The US put up 3 per team and Canada and Mexico 2 per team. If the NWSL leadership helped mexico develop, there might be 3 teams in CONCACAF, not just 2.

        • Lorehead

          The league will be amateur, though, won’t it? And the Mexican WNT isn’t a financially-viable career path. So I’m all for giving more opportunities to play, but for a Chicana, this looks like something that might fit into a gap year. Even then, it has to compete with WPSL, WPSL U-20 and UWS, so she would have to really want to live in Mexico for a while.

          I’m less familiar with the situation for young women in Mexico, but for the hugely-popular Liga MX to start supporting the women’s game at all is great news.

          • Steglitz49

            This past season Veronica Perez went and played in Sweden — and for a middling club that just was not relegated. It could be that the Mexican Federation wants to stop the rot before it becomes a veritable torrent and deluge.

    • Rdalford

      the “keepernotes.com” site has article by Rey Gallegos about this Mexican U-23 women’s league announcement. article title
      “One Giant Leap for La Liga MX … Femenil ”

      article notes that each of the 18 Liga MX men’s league clubs will field a women’s league team with roster rules as previously noted (2 player per team over 23, 4 players per team under 17, and other 13 roster spots per team being U-23) and the article then notes that league will have a “soft” open in spring 2017

      “The league plans a soft opening with a Cup-style tournament in April or May 2017. The Liga MX Femenil will then play its official “Apertura 2017” from September to December 2017, followed by the Clausura from February to May 2018. Similar to the men’s league in Mexico, clubs play two round-robin seasons per year – the “Apertura” (opening) and the “Clausura” (closing). Usually a short playoff tournament (“Liguilla”) follows each season.”

      Will be interesting to see how this all works out, but 18 teams 21 players each translates to opportunity in the new Mexican league for 378 women players.

  • luke

    Whoever watched Frisbie in Portland knows damn well she is a baller!

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  • Rdalford

    Off-topic, but interesting “young MLS player retiring after only 2 years” article by Steven Goff in Washington Post soccer insider

    “Luke Mishu, an outside back who started five of D.C. United’s last 10 regular season matches this year, has retired after just two MLS campaigns in order to pursue career opportunities outside of soccer.

    “I had to be realistic. I love soccer, but MLS isn’t the NFL or NBA,” he said Tuesday. “I felt like I could play until I was 30-whatever, but I didn’t want to leave the league needing to get an entry-level job.”

    Mishu, 25, is aiming to enter the business world, preferably in Chicago.

    As an undrafted reserve in MLS, he was earning the senior minimum salary of $62,500.

    Average pay in the 20-year-old league is about $315,000, but with a handful of marquee contracts skewing the numbers, the median figure is $117,000. About half of United’s roster earned less than $100,000 this year.

    For a borderline prospect like Mishu, MLS wasn’t worth it anymore. He told United officials of his decision during end-of-the-year meetings last month.”

    ==== full article available on Washington Post site ===

    sort of puts the pro woso (NWSL etc) financials into bigger context

    • Lorehead

      Especially since $62,500 is about what the top stars in the NWSL make (although they all have their USWNT salaries, too) and eight times the minimum.

      • Steglitz49

        Attendances at MLS games is considerably higher than at NWSL and the ticket price a bit higher.

        Granted that by WoSo standards, attendance in the NWSL is high, the absolute numbers except in Portland are trivial.

        • Lorehead

          I understand the economic reasons, but the gap is striking. I’d like to point out, though, that the claim that he can’t support himself on $62,500 is strange, since most men with full-time jobs make $51K or less.

          • Steglitz49

            Verily.