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Wednesday Roundup: HAO debuts for Arsenal in first preseason match

Also in today’s roundup, Julie Foudy set to launch new leadership series with espnW, Amy Rodriguez is dedicated to a strong NWSL return and Sofia Jakobsson is sidelined for 2017 with an ACL tear

New Arsenal Ladies signing Heather O'Reilly with coach Pedro Martinez Losa.

New Arsenal Ladies signing Heather O’Reilly with coach Pedro Martinez Losa.

Heather O’Reilly saw her first start in an Arsenal shirt today in the team’s first preseason match up of the 2017 season, a 3-1 loss to FC Bayern Munich in Sevilla. This was O’Reilly’s first appearance for the Gunners since the announcement of her signing two weeks ago.

HAO headed out to London for a stint in the FAWSL that was originally thought to be short-term, but the length still remains unclear. Although there is a possibility she will return to FC Kansas City of the NWSL this summer, Arsenal does hold her contract, so that remains to be seen.

Kim Little also saw a start in today’s match for Arsenal that marked her official return to the club after her three-year spell in the NWSL playing for the Seattle Reign. The 26-year old Scottish midfielder was named the league’s MVP in 2014, her first season in Seattle, and helped the Reign won the NWSL Shield that year. In the following year, she earned a spot on the Best XI for the second consecutive year as the Reign repeated as NWSL Shield winners. Most recently, she was named to the Second XI during her last campaign with the Reign in 2016. Laura Harvey stated that Little was presented with “an unbelievable offer by Arsenal,” so due to their mutual respect, she felt it was right to let her return home to follow this opportunity.

Today’s friendly also proved to be the return for defender Jemma Rose to the pitch after six months of inaction due to injury. This will be Rose’s third season with the Gunners. Prior to Arsenal, she spent four seasons with Bristol Academy. The 24-year old made her debut for the England women’s national team in 2015 during a 2017 UEFA EURO qualifier.

Arsenal kicks off their 2017 campaign on February 19 with Kelly Smith’s farewell match.

Foudy to launch new leadership series with espnW in March

 

Beginning in March, Julie Foudy will launch a “Sock Talk” series with espnW that focuses on leadership, in all shapes and sizes, through a variety of interviews with some of sport’s and entertainment’s most prominent women. In the teaser that was released yesterday, she interviews USWNT star Alex Morgan, soccer legend Mia Hamm, TV personality Robin Roberts, ESPN baseball analyst Jessica Mendoza and more.

Later this year, Foudy is set to release her book titled Choose to Matter: Your Guide to Being Courageously You that focuses in on similar themes, hoping to empower women through leadership. In a first-person piece written for espnW, Foudy explains “the hardest part is just summoning the courage to choose to lead, to raise your hand. To own that awesome. It is not question of IF you will be a leader, but HOW.” Her book will be released on May 2.

Amy Rodriguez committed to strong return to the field in 2017

Amy Rodriguez set to return to the NWSL this season after missing the 2016 season due to the birth of her second son, Luke (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Amy Rodriguez set to return to the NWSL this season after missing the 2016 season due to the birth of her second son, Luke (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

USWNT and FC Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez spoke to The Blue Testament of SBNation about her dedication and drive to get back to the field for this upcoming NWSL season. She will be returning to preseason with FCKC this March after missing the full season in 2016 while pregnant with her second son, Luke, who was born this past summer.

Over the last few years, Rodriguez has been a mainstay in the FCKC offensive line, specifically in 2014 when she helped them win their first NWSL Championship. She scored three of the four goals for the squad during their playoff run. In 2015, the now 29-year old became a World Cup champion before helping FCKC repeat as NWSL Champions for the second year running. In typical Amy Rodriguez scoring fashion, she scored three of the four total goals scored by the team during their postseason play.

Rodriguez told SB Nation that the road to getting back in shape has been tough, but nonetheless, she’s putting everything into it. “It’s been a grueling process, especially while raising two kids, but I’ve been dedicated to getting back on the field since day one, and I’m not giving up.”

While there was no mention of her USWNT future, it seems as though she’s working her hardest to get back to NWSL form as well as continue her USWNT momentum from being in January camp.

 

Sofia Jakobsson sidelined for 2017 with ACL tear

Earlier today, Pia Sundhage confirmed to SVT that forward Sofia Jakobsson will be out for up to a year due to an ACL tear. The Swedish striker has been in great form as of late in her club play with Montpellier as she leads Division 1 Feminine in scoring with 14 goals to date. Montpellier is currently sitting at third behind PSG and OL on league table. The loss of Jakobsson will be felt not only by Montpellier, but also by the Sweden women’s national who is five months out from the start of this summer’s UEFA EURO Championships.

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