Monday Roundup: England announces pair of April friendlies

The Equalizer Staff February 27, 2017 84

Also in this roundup, FCKC draft pick Toni Payne signs with AFC Ajax, the U.S. U-20 WNT release roster for La Manga tournament and the U.S. U-18s end England series with scoreless draw

England's WNT will host Italy and Austria in April. (photo: England FA)

England’s WNT will host Italy and Austria in April. (photo: England FA)

The England women’s national team have announced two international friendlies in April. The Lionesses will first take on Italy on Friday, April 7 followed by Austria on Monday, April 10. The friendlies will be the team’s final matches ahead of this summer’s 2017 UEFA EUROs tournament.

“These games are excellent preparation for us ahead of the Euros,” England captain Steph Houghton said. “They’re against good European opposition and are close together, so really replicating what we’ll be experiencing during the tournament.

“We need to use these games to build momentum in both our performances and togetherness as a team. We want to be as ruthless as we can be and get into winning habits, and that’s something we’ll be working towards in these games.”

If England is looking to go into the EUROs with winning momentum, they likely picked the right opponents. The last time England faced Italy was during the 2014 Cyprus Cup, where the Lionesses defeated the Azzuree, 2-0, thanks to goals by Toni Duggan and Karen Carney. They last faced Austria in August 2010, which they also won, 4-0. Kelly Smith, who recently retired from her playing career, scored a brace in that match, and Ellen White and Alex Scott had singles.

England next competes against the U.S., France and Germany in the 2017 She Believes Cup, which kicks off on Wednesday.

FCKC draft pick Toni Payne signs with Ajax

Toni Payne signed with Dutch club AFC Ajax. (photo courtesy Shane Lardinois and Duke University)

Toni Payne, center, signed with Dutch club AFC Ajax. (photo courtesy Shane Lardinois and Duke University)

It was announced today that Duke University product Toni Payne signed a contract with AFC Ajax of the BeNe League last week. Payne will join the Dutch club in May following her graduation from Duke.

The Birmingham, Alabama native was recently selected by FC Kansas City as the No. 13 overall draft pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft in January. Despite being drafted, Payne flew out to Amsterdam for a week-long trial with the club. She told TopDrawerSoccer that after the trial she realized the offer to play with Ajax was too good of an opportunity to refuse.

For me I’d say the environment of it all and the perceived passion of the community and the love for the game (swayed me),” she said. “And also a different sense of professionalism just depending on what club you’re with. I think just being able to have the opportunities like, for me and I would assume most women watch European men’s leagues, and to be able to play at that type of level for a woman I think is a really good opportunity and really cool, and something I think I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl.”

At Duke, Payne scored 23 goals and recorded 21 assists over 90 matches. She was named to the 2016 preseason MAC Hermann trophy watchlist as a result of leading the Blue Devils to the 2015 College Cup final by scoring three goals and recording two assists in the 2015 NCAA tournament. Payne assisted on the semifinal-winning goal and scored a last-second insurance goal to see Duke advance to the final, where they fell to Raquel Rodriguez and Penn State.

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She also has been a staple in the U.S. youth national system since being called into a U-14 camp in 2009. She was a part of the U-23 squads that advanced to the Nordic Cup championship and won the Istria Cup title in 2016, and won the 2012 CONCACAF U-17 Women’s Championship with the U-17 team. Despite her success with various U.S. youth national teams, Payne, whose parents are from Nigeria, also told topdrawersoccer that she is undecided whether she will represent the U.S. or Nigeria at the senior national team level.

Payne now joins the list of top collegiate players signing with European clubs. Canadian internationals Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence forwent the NWSL draft in favor of playing in France with Olympique Lyonnais and Paris Saint-Germain, respectively. Savannah Jordan, who has been in U.S. youth national system since 2008, recently signed with Glasgow City FC despite being drafted by the Portland Thorns as the No. 18 overall draft pick this year.

She is also the third Blue Devil to sign with overseas clubs. Defender Kara Wilson signed with Speranza FC Osaka Takatsuki in Japan despite being drafted by the Washington Spirit in 2016, and Natasha Anasi, who like Payne was the No. 13 overall pick but in 2014, signed with IBV of Iceland despite being drafted by the Boston Breakers.

U.S. U-20 squad named ahead of La Manga series

On Sunday the United States U-20 women’s national team started off a new cycle by traveling to Spain to participate in a three-game series in La Manga. The annual tournament is the first step in many for the U-20s in their quest to qualify for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in France.

Play kicks off for the U.S. on March 3 when they take on Norway, followed by a March 5 contest against Germany and concludes on March 7 against France. The U.S. will face the U-19 teams from each side.

Ahead of the series, 24 players were named to the squad, including 10 players currently enrolled in college. Three players are holdovers from the team’s previous cycle, with Brooke Heinsohn, Jordan Harr and Emily Fox having competed with the U-20 team in the 2016 U-20 Women’s World Cup in Papua New Guinea. Heinsohn did not see any action in that tournament as she served as backup goalkeeper, but Fox started five of six appearances for a total of 413 minutes.

Seven rostered players–Jaelin Howell, Laurel Ivory, Civana Kuhlmann, Isabel Rodriguez, Karina Rodriguez, Sophia Smith and Frankie Tagliaferri–competed with the U-17 team in its Women’s World Cup held in Jordan last year. Kuhlmann scored a hat trick in the U.S.’s 6-1 win over Paraguay and Tagliaferri scored two tournament goals, but neither player’s effort was enough as the team dropped the next two matches to be eliminated from the tournament.

Smith will be joining the team straight from England, where she has been competing with the U-18 WNT. The forward scored five goals in three matches to see the team finish 2-0-1 for the series.

Missing from the roster are Mallory Pugh and Ashley Sanchez, both of whom will be competing with other national teams at the same time. Pugh was named to the senior USWNT’s SheBelieves Cup roster, while Sanchez will be with the U-23, who will be in La Manga at the same time for a three-game series of their own.

With former U-20 head coach Michelle French, who coached the U-20s during the last two cycles, recently joining the senior USWNT as an assistant coach to Jill Ellis, the U-20 team will be coached by April Heinrichs, the U.S. women’s technical director, while U.S. Soccer begins its search for a new head coach.

According to U.S. Soccer, the U-20 matches will be streamed live online. Details are said to be announced on the U.S. Soccer youth national teams Twitter account (@ussoccer_ynt) at a later time.

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster by Position

GOALKEEPERS (2): Brooke Heinsohn (Duke; Norfolk, Mass.), Laurel Ivory (West Florida Flames; Surfside, Fla.)      

DEFENDERS (7): Sydney Dawson (Internationals SC; Akron, Ohio), Emily Fox (North Carolina; Ashburn, Va.), Samantha Hiatt (Boston College; Newcastle, Wash.), Tara McKeown (San Diego Surf; Newbury Park, Calif.), Karlie Paschall (Tennessee SC; Brentwood, Tenn.), Isabel Rodriguez (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (SoCal Blues; Torrance, Calif.)    

MIDFIELDERS (8): Samantha Coffey (Match Fit Academy; Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Calif.), Arlie Jones (San Diego Surf; Las Vegas, Nev.), Taylor Kornieck (Colorado; Henderson, Nev.), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing, Mich.), Frankie Tagliaferri (PDA; Colts Neck, N.J.), Viviana Villacorta (Beach FC; Lawndale, Calif.), Natalie Winters (Iowa; Plymouth, Mich.)   

FORWARDS (7): Belle Briede (Tophat SC; Alpharetta, Ga.), Ceci Gee (Stanford; Orinda, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Texas Tech; Sachse, Texas), Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.), Civana Kulhmann (Colorado Rush; Littleton, Colo.), Kelsey Turnbow (Santa Clara; Scottsdale, Ariz.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.)

U.S. U-18 WNT close out England series with scoreless draw

The U.S. U-18 team drew England 0-0 to close out three-game series. (photo courtesy U.S. Soccer)

The U.S. U-18 team drew England 0-0 to close out three-game series. (photo courtesy U.S. Soccer)

Despite the United States U-18 women’s national team defeating host country England 3-1 on February 19, they were unable to best the host country in the second of two meetings between the teams. Instead, the two battled throughout two 40-minute halves to a scoreless draw.

The U-18s traveled to England on February 15 for a three-game series that included Norway, who they defeated 5-0 on February 21, and closed out the series against England on Saturday.

The U.S. was the better team for most of the match, outshooting England 12-8 and putting 7 shots on goal compared to England’s 6. However, England’s keeper came up big to make 7 saves to prevent the U.S. from getting on the board.

Forward Sophia Smith, who scored 5 goals during the series, will next travel to La Manga, Spain, where she will compete with the U-20 team in their three-game series while the rest of the team returns home. The U-18 team will reconvene in April for a domestic training camp.

  • Guest

    Why Toni Payne why

    • mockmook

      Really stinks.

      She let FCKC waste a pick on her then she jumps ship.

      (I’m assuming she didn’t tell them about her interest in going overseas.)

      • DNG

        It may stink for FCKC but I’m all for this. The whole draft concept stinks a lot more for the players than it does the teams. Players right now have very little say on who they end up playing for and if she ends up coming back in a year able to chose her destination I’d be all for that.

        • mockmook

          That still doesn’t excuse her from dealing fairly with FCKC — they were just using the player selection procedure that the rules tell them to.

          Nothing prevented her from telling them to not pick her.

          • Steglitz49

            Savannah Jordan played her cards with great aplomb. Maybe this lady tried too but was not as sharp?

          • DNG

            How does that benefit Payne? What happens if she can’t find anything overseas? Then she has to sit or is stuck with the team that drafted her. It stinks for FCKC but I don’t blame the player at all. It’s FCKC’s job to make the team attractive to new players coming into the league that will likely playing for the minimum and living with a host family.

          • mockmook

            There is a salary cap — KC can only do so much

            If Payne isn’t a complete moron she would know that players of less acclaim get jobs abroad — so she would be a lock.

            I don’t know why u refuse to acknowledge that she screwed KC

          • DNG

            Of course KC can only do so much but that is what every team has to deal with in a low salary cap league. Sure she could definitely expect to land somewhere in Europe but she can’t be sure it will be a better opportunity than the team that drafted her. I’m not denying she screwed FCKC at all. If you want to call her selfish that’s fine and maybe she is. I just don’t have an issue with her doing what is in her own best interests. These women have far too little leverage in this league right now. Just like Brynjarsdottir I support Payne taking her career into her own hands even if FCKC comes out the loser here. I’m sure this won’t be the last time something like this happens.

          • Steglitz49

            Ajax is a fabled team. Carli joined Man City, Crystal Chelsea and Alex Lyon. Back in 2013 Pinoe swanned off to Lyon and Tobin to PSG.

          • Bruce

            Prior to the draft there was a lot of public speculation that Payne would be joining the Nigerian senior team. Add to that the fact that she would finish out the semester at Duke and the potential that she would skip the NWSL season was fairly evident.

            I think you’ve got to chalk this one up to US Soccer. Payne knows where she sits in the pecking order. Watching a player like Pinto jump the line doesn’t help.

          • Steglitz49

            Hear hear!

          • #1Fan

            I dont get the hate towards Payne. She is simply playing the system to her advantage. The teams do it all the time. Playing for a Professional team should not be a labor of love. Its a business. She owes them zero.

          • mockmook

            “I dont get the hate towards Payne”

            Perhaps because there wasn’t any.

            I’ll say this slowly so that everyone understands:


            Actually Payne does owe KC something. She owes them the courtesy and respect to let them know if she is planning on screwing them.

            KC had the respect and courtesy to honor Payne with the opportunity to play for their team, she should treat them with the same respect.

          • #1Fan

            thats your opinion. I dont think they picked Payne out of courtesy or respect for anything but her game. Maybe Ajax valued her a lot more. Maybe at the time she was not sure.

            I dont think she owes them anything.

          • #1Fan

            by the way a manner of speech.

          • mockmook

            I assume that you are referring to the “hate”

            Apparently, you were not being literal, but there is a vast segment of the population that equates any disagreement with their viewpoint as “hate”.

          • #1Fan

            Fair and I was not . ill refrain from it in future as I agree with you 100 pct on that.

        • Breakers fan

          As you know pro American baseball, football and basketball all have decided that a draft is the best way to try to go in the direction of parity, which serves the interests of creating a sustainable league. But I’m getting that you think that’s not the best system for soccer to create a sustainable league with as much parity as possible. What system would you put in a draft’s place? And how do you see that working out in terms of creating a sustainable league with as great a chance for parity as possible? I’m genuinely curious as you must have some ideas on this, otherwise you wouldn’t propose it.

          About Payne – if she knew that she was considering going overseas she should have done what Jordan did and made it clear *to the entire league in advance* that she was seriously considering going overseas. Simple etiquette and respect to teams trying to build as competitive a roster as they can by having their top picks actually play for them. Some team may have still taken a chance on her, as Portland did with Jordan, but at least they would have known what they were getting involved with in choosing her.

          • DNG

            The NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL essentially have monopolies on leagues in their respective sports. Since there is no other competing leagues they can effectively collude to set a salary cap and control salaries and costs. Competing leagues means alternative options for players.

            It’s not that I don’t think the draft is an effective way to allocate talent, I think it does help keep parity. I just don’t think it does any service to the players who are trying to find a situation that is best for them. I’ve brought up the Morgan Brian example a couple of times here but how is it beneficial to her to be stuck on a team that does not play a style of soccer suited to her strength. It’s crazy to me that the players have very little choice in where they go to develop as players.

          • Breakers fan

            I see what you’re saying but you still don’t propose an alternate way to deal with graduating Seniors.
            As for Brian I guess right now she can’t escape Houston. I wonder if she is as frustrated as you are about her situation. Could be that she’s fine being there. Or not, I don’t know. She’d never say publicly if she weren’t happy there, so we won’t know. What about the idea that the style that Houston plays — is it “one way” and something that is drastically different from some other teams? — makes her work on parts of her game that will make her a more well-rounded player? That she’ll improve areas of her game that maybe need some work and that she wouldn’t get to work on as much elsewhere? I don’t watch Houston much so I have no sense of how …stymied?, is that a good way to put it?…..she is by what they do. Do they race down the field too often for her to benefit from being there?

          • mockmook

            I’d rate the HOU midfield as one of the better ones in the NWSL — I think if Brian gives it a chance, she can discover good play and success in HOU.

          • DNG

            I think Houston’s midfield is good too. It’s the team’s style of play that I don’t think Brian really fits into. She’s good enough to play well anyway but I think we’d really get to see her at her best if she played for FCKC or Portland.

          • DNG

            An alternative would be allow the players to pick their teams and for teams to bid on top players. Maybe Boston has more cap space to spend on Lavelle than portland does and she still want to play there. It’s not like everyone can play for portland either. The allocation stuff would need to be reworked though. I think the teams should be paying the NT players directly and if the USSF wants to contribute to the league they can do it in the form of contributing salary money to each club. I would also have a luxury tax instead of a hard cap so the teams who want to invest a lot can and that taxed money would make it back to the teams that need it.

          • Breakers fan

            Trying to understand just the procedure with the graduating Seniors first. When the time comes to determine where everyone is going to play, what happens next? What would every player about to enter the draft do? Would she just name her first choice, or more than that? Would she list her 2nd, 3rd, and so on, choices too? Next would come how the teams would respond to what the players have stated about their preferences, but I want to understand what all the players do first.
            i do like how you’re trying to allow the players to make as much as possible.

          • DNG

            No draft. Let the player or their agents talk to each of the teams and decide what is the best situation for them based on who offers them a contract and the size of the contracts. They would all essentially be free agents. There would still be a salary cap, or in my ideal scenario a soft cap, so a team like Portland couldn’t just buy any player without consequence(they don’t have unlimited funds anyway). If the sport truly makes it from an economic sense some time in the future we might start to see real development academies like the ones in Europe.

          • Breakers fan

            Is your guiding model here what the men do overseas?

            I’m trying to imagine how this would likely realistically play out. 2 things I think would be likely. One I think it’s likely that the very top players each year would want to go to the top teams of the year before. That may not happen always – may not if a top player wants to play near her hometown or where she played in college but I think usually the best would want to join the best. The best would only need a little help, most likely, so they may get a few of the very best then decide “we’re all set:”. So I think a few Superteams would be created, just like Barcelona, etc. And they would remain on top pretty much every year. Great for a few, bad for the others. It could become the same teams in effect getting the first picks in the draft every year, even if, or because they finished first or near first. The league may fold if only a few teams are always winning. That would be my concern with this model. Women’s soccer doesn’t draw remotely like men’s so if a team is always losing they may not survive like a men’s team would overseas.

            I also think it could happen that if a college team has a few very good Seniors that they may bond together and tell a pro team “we’re a package deal here”. Just a guess but I could see that happening. You could also get other little groups of players – maybe ones who played together within the YNT — who could go to teams and say “We all want to come to your club” – this could happen. But would the club have enough money to pay them all what they’re hoping to get? It’s interesting anyway and I can see your motivation – you want players to have as much say as possible. The implication is that players are picky, that they will only be happy in a few locations and I’m not sure how true that is. It may be more true that players embrace the situation they’re in, by and large, grow to like it, develop bonds with their teammates, start to like the city, and feel a loyalty to the club – see it as a challenge to win with this group and not feel a driving need to leave. It would vary but I wonder how prevalent that mindset is among players – accepting where they are, embracing it, not wanting to leave.

          • DNG

            No not exactly. The men’s teams overseas don’t really have a limit on wages and transfer amounts other than they can’t spend so much that their team goes bankrupt. The salary cap or luxury tax would likely keep a team like Portland from dominating the league but they would still have an advantage along with any other team that had money to invest. The truth is that they already have that advantage though so and aren’t dominating right now so what’s the big deal. Would a player like Colaprico want to go to Portland and sit on the bench? What if Morgan Brian went to Portland and Allie Long was no longer a starter(will never happen). Don’t you think Long would want to go and play for another good team she would be a starter at? The Boston Breakers have been serial losers(sorry) the last three years and their attendance has increased not decreased. I think the luxury tax/salary cap would still keep the league competitive overall.

            “I also think it could happen that if a college team has a few very good Seniors that they may bond together and tell a pro team “we’re a package deal here”. Just a guess but I could see that happening.”

            I don’t see this happening at all. No team would let a group of players dictate terms like that to them. They would have to be the equivalent of Lionel Messi to get that kind of treatment.

            My ultimate goal is to advance the state of the game and club scene in the US. It’s going to be harder for that to happen when the players cannot play in the optimal situations for them to develop. Let me ask you another question. Do you think Kristie Mewis playing in Boston the last three years helped her attempt to get back into the NT mix? I don’t think it’s fair to players at all to restrict them in the way the do now.

          • Breakers fan

            If there is a luxury tax, then, sure, Portland would funnel money back into the league but what is the tax rate and what do the other teams actually end up getting from it – table scraps? If the top players don’t want to go there it doesn’t really matter if Portland and whoever else is kicking back money to them. We see this playing out differently to some extent. First, odds of it happening are very small in the foreseeable future so this is just an academic, intellectual exercise for now but an interesting one nonetheless. One we can both speculate upon with no one in the end knowing whose predictions would be more accurate were this to happen – which it probably won’t. Portland would almost certainly get their pick of whoever they wanted. It would be an all-star team, I have little doubt. They’d be a lot better than they are now.lf Paulson can afford to pay them better than other teams and still comfortably afford whatever luxury tax came with that he wouldn’t care about the tax and he’d just accumulate probably something close to the NT. He may also cherry pick a couple players who arent’ as expensive (maybe a Colparico) but he thinks they’d fill a hole he has, he thinks their style would work well with his team. Not a bad thing. It’s just “would the league be competitive enough?” You think it would. I wonder more.
            Yes, Portland’s funds are not unlimited but I think they’re way beyond what other teams have, unless I’m mistaken.

            Then, sure, there are more than 11 good players in women’s soccer, so there would be some degree of competition. Hard to know how it would shake out after Portland loaded up. Where’s the 2nd most desirable place to go? Seattle? I think this is the way it would go. Boston – they’re barely getting by, I think – avg attendance was what last year? Maybe 3500? If your system went into play they could get worse and who’s to say how long those 3500 would want to keep coming back? That’s how I see it happening but I could be wrong. About Mewis – I think her game developed fine but I think Ellis and co. dismiss players who are on losing teams. It’s a bias they have, superficial thinking that works against EVERYONE on a losing team – save Naeher who they got to see in action a lot due to poor defense. So sure, would she develop more somewhere else or at least look better doing what she did in Boston because the team has a better record? Yes. Would her chances improve of getting picked? Yes, but as you say, there’s only so much room on teams like what Portland would be. She probably wouldn’t go there. And keep in mind that Boston could improve going forward under the curent draft system, if the coaching and management is good, which is unknown at this point, meaning if Mewis stayed and the team got better her chances of returning to the NT would go back up. It wouldn’t be “a Boston thing”. It would be a “time” thing – time for the team to keep improving. The draft would help the team’s chances of improving year to year more than your system, i think, provided all else being equal in terms of coaching and intelligent management ( how they use their draft picks). You imply that in your system all players would be able to play in the optimal situations for them to develop, but the size of the league would remain the same. The deck would get reshuffled and re-dealt but you would still have to fill up every roster. Some players’s situation would improve but in a zero sum numbers game not all players could improve their lot – seems mathematically impossible for everyone to reach her optimal place, unless some teams have all players who wouldn’t start anywhere else playing for them.

          • Steglitz49

            The issue here is that the NWSL is not in the position that the NBA, MLB, NFL or NHL are. The previous two US pro-WoSo league were in that position and attracted top talent from abroad. As we know, they went belly up.

            If you are an Allocated USWNT player, you have no reason to get out of bed. In a lean year like the miserable 2016, you still earn $150,000 and in fat years $275,000 if not more. Plus endoresements.

            If you are not allocated and a crew at the oars of the good ship NWSL, you might as well throw off your shackles and play abroad. You will earn more and enjoy another country, lifestyle and culture.

            What is spaying the NWSL is that top talent, well established NT players, have opted for the fleshpots aborad. Granted Pinoe and Tobin did this in 2013, when Alex, Carli and HAO loyally put therer shoulders to the NWSL wheel. It is a different WoSo world today.

          • DNG

            “If the top players don’t want to go there it doesn’t really matter if Portland and whoever else is kicking back money to them.”

            I don’t think your cynicism here is warranted. It’s not as if the drafted players can’t refuse to play for the team they are drafted for right now. Players are still chosing to play to play in the NWSL for dirt cheap wages. I believe good players will chose to play for someone even if they can’t play for their first choice.

            If you implement a luxury tax in a way that makes it fiscally irresponsible for Portland to spend past a certain figure, it will eventually fall at a hard cap. They would not get to select whoever they wanted and even if they could, I don’t think the league would be uncompetitive. There are still a lot of good players around the league and I don’t see the “best players” as so much better than the alternatives. I think the league would be competitive enough to thrive. The luxury tax has worked quite well in baseball and the local markets in the sport are doing really well.

            Maybe this is a bit harsh but I don’t think the team that finishes last should automatically get the #1 pick in the draft. After watching the 76ers tank on purpose year after year I’ve really soured to the idea of that guarantee and it’s not even a guarantee in basketball. At some point the teams need to help themselves get better by doing a better job of scouting players and hiring a better manager. How do you think the clubs with less money compete in men’s football they have to be more frugal with their money and use it wisely.

            The implication is not that every players will get to optimal teams to grow themselves but that the players have a choice and more control of their careers. They could easily make the wrong choice too. It is not necessarily a zero sum game. Lynn Williams would not necessarily thrive in the same team condition that Morgan Brian would. But you are right that some players will have to just make the best of their situation.

            I don’t really agree with your view on K Mewis or your comment on her being ignored because she was on a losing team. By that logic Naeher should be nowhere near the NT scene during since she gave up a ton of goals and lost many games with Boston.

            Just a note on Portland. In my ideal scenario the USSF reimburses the teams for the cost of 2 allocated players an that’s it. Portland would already be well into the tax with their current roster of 5 USWNT players and Sinclair and probably wouldn’t have a ton of cash to spend on too many more if the tax is doing it’s job right.

            There is also nothing wrong with teams building teams to be effective with lower budget players. I think you can build a team with cheap players that can frustrate good teams. Just look at what Portland’s second XI did to Seattle last year when most of the starters were gone.

          • Steglitz49

            Sinclair is Canadian and allocated by the CSA. Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence preferred the Emir’s and Lyon’s money with Herdman’s and the CSA’s blessings.

            The issue is past the NWSL. The real money is elsewhere except as a USWNT allocated player — and there the renewal seems focussed on 16-18 year olds, not the 21-24 ones.

          • Breakers fan

            I can’t think in this alternate reality anymore. We basically never agree about anything except the tiniest most irrefutable of things so I can know that whatever I write you’ll feel the opposite so it just isn’t worth it to me anymore to even try to form intelligent responses. You may be right about all of this in some future world but I’m unable to think about it any longer – please don’t take it personally. I just can’t muster up the mental energy on this currently syfy topic.

          • Breakers fan

            It’s not that I need people to agree with me either. I’ve just stated my feelings about this and have nothing to add in this hypothetical universe. I just don’t enjoy speculating that much. And about Naeher – it was her frequent amazing saves that got her the look with the NT. I saw ’em, you probably didn’t, not being a Breakers follower then. They probably looked at the goals she gave up and figured on a very high % of them she had no chance. Mewis would have had to probably lead the league in scoring on a losing team or been very close to it to be considered – very good midfield play in tough circumstances wouldn’t have been enough.

          • Breakers fan

            I do agree about teams needing to get better, either through changing management personnel or the incumbents doing a better job. Teams can be lucky in the draft scenario to keep getting the top picks if the teams themselves aren’t fulfilling the local responsibility of trying to do all they can to better themselves. It’s up to local ownership at junctures to make moves too, I agree.

          • Steglitz49

            No NWSL team, not even Portland, can compete with the money that the wealthy men’s clubs can spend on their ladies teams. If teams like Arsenal, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG were to spend the proportion that Lyon spends, the market would be totally lopsided.

            For this reason the FA has put in place team salary restrictions. Since Arsenal won the ladies Champions League in 2007 defeating Umeå, all the winners have been from either France or Germany. There has been semifinalists from Sweden and Russia too but not England.

            Maybe Man City will change that. The signing of well known US players by English clubs suggests that the limits on spending may be in the process of being circumvented.

          • Steglitz49

            Morgan Brian has won a world cup. She if any can walk away from it all and play for a foreign team.

            Her golden cage and shackles is the high earnings of a USWNT allocated player. Even in a lean year like 2016 they make about $150,000 and in a fat one like 2015 $275,000. On top of that there are her personal endorsement contracts.

            In short, Morgan Brian earns more than superstars like Marit Björgen and Charlotte Kalla and a lot more than Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall. I doubt that there are many clubs in Europe willing to spring for that much. Do you?

            Also, I don’t know if her love interest is still on; maybe she has new one.

          • Steglitz49

            Your points are well taken.

            In addition, the NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL are the best payers in their sports. There is no other place to earn money on that scale. 25-30% of NHL players are from Europe.

            WoSo was like that when the two big leagues were around. Players from around the world flocked to the US. Several of the future Japanese golden generation world champions came and played in the US. Today the boot is on the other feet.

            Unless you are an allocated USWNT player, you might as well join a foreign club and see the world as grind out an existance in the NWSL. Morgan Brian is, of course, Allocated. She already has a World Cup winner medal. She can thumb her nose at the USSF and seek fortune abroad. It seems that love stops her.

          • I agree.

            There are so few picks in this league that essentially burning a 1st or 2nd round pick does hurt teams and can have a big impact on parity in the league. We’ve seen rookies that had a huge impact with teams in their first season, so you can’t adequately compare this draft process to other leagues that have bigger rosters.

            I think they should be clear on where their intent lies before the draft so that teams can make adjustments and pick in the later rounds, if at all.

  • Steven

    …. and the list of players leaving the NWSL for overseas continues to get longer

  • Som Termanni

    Sarah Teegarden, an undrafted MF from Wake Forest, goes overseas:

    • Som Termanni

      An interesting quote in Wake Forest’s press release suggests she had NWSL camp interest but chose Göteborg over the NWSL: “Sarah could have been in a pre-season camp [in the NWSL], and there were at least three clubs there who were interested in her,” Goteborg FC director Lars Svensson said. “We are delighted that she has chosen to come to us instead…Sarah will be important for us and moreover, it is always good to strengthen competition in the squad.”

      Her first professional competition is expected to be in a friendly against Eskilstuna on March 12.

      • Steglitz49

        That great soccer academy on the west coast where Hope cut her teeth and more recently harbored Levin, Wells, Averbuch and Press.

    • Steglitz49

      Is she related to the jazz trombonist Jack?

  • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

    There is no more BeNe League. AFC Ajax just plays for the Eredivisie 1 Vrouwen.

  • Ron Rocha

    Off Subject: The online TV listings for Fox Sports Go and Fox Soccer to Go are showing only listings for the USA SBC games and not the preceding matches between the other 3 as was stated to be by USSOC. Does anyone have any info on this?

    • guest

      us soccer SBC roster announcement indicated Fox Sports Go would have the non USA (Eng vs France etc) SBC matches

      “England will open the tournament against France on March 1 in Chester, Pa. (4 p.m. ET; FOX Sports GO) followed by the USA against Germany (7 p.m. ET on FS1). All the teams will then travel to New Jersey where France will face Germany on Saturday, March 4 (2:15 p.m. ET; FOX Sports GO) followed by the USA taking on England (5 p.m. ET on FOX) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison. The tournament will finish on Tuesday, March 7, at the historic RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. as Germany takes on England (4 p.m. ET; FOX Sports GO) and the USA faces France (7 p.m. ET on FS1).”

      but, as you note currently Fox Sports Go is not listing these non USA matches

  • AlexH

    On a related topic. Perhaps the British FA’s should have a mini tournament to see which team can represent GB in Olympic qualifying. The OG is a full international tournament for women and it is a shame that British gals have to miss out because their respective FA’s can’t pull their heads out of their hindquarters.

    • Ethan

      It is a shame, but England should definitely win such a tournament. I think a GB squad would be pretty much England with Little, Fishlock, and Ross. (Maybe Corsie as well.)

      • Tom F

        Fishlock really proved herself arguably the best player in the just completed, W’-League. But a lot of big names are missing from all ready fromSampson’s NT for SBC; Kirby, Aluko, Dowdie, Sanderson, Davison, Rafferty, Chapman, Mead for example, that it be really heard to say if just adding Little & Fishlock would work or English players do seem to have problems working with their coaches. But then again, their current NT picks lacks imagination in the midfield, there upon Little & Fishlock would surely help.

        • Steglitz49

          In OG-12, team Gbr had Little but not Jess. Gbr did not medal. They did not even reach the SF. case closed.

      • Dr. Strange

        “definitely win”? All the current hype aside they are very ordinary

        • Ethan

          More ordinary than Scotland and Wales? Agree to disagree.

          • Steglitz49

            Euro-17 will give us an answer.

    • Steglitz49

      There is no British FA.

      There are an English, Scotch, Welch and Northern-Irish FA, and they are members of FIFA by right.

      There is no way these nations will give up the rights and privileges that go with those statuses.

      • Yoyoya

        Those are no nations. The nation is called Great Britain. Those are privileges but for sure not rights

        • Steglitz49

          The FAs of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern-Ireland are known as the Home Unions and are founder members of FIFA.

          In soccer language they are referred to as “nations” to distinguish them from “countries” such as the UK, USA, France etc.

  • FawcettFan14

    FCKC was a team due to have great depth this season. But they’ve lost Silva to retirement, and McCarty, HAO, and now Payne to Europe.

    • Guest

      I wouldn’t say Silvia and McCarty are too critical to their depth.

      They still will have lots of forward depth tho: Rodriguez, Leroux, Groom, Ribiero, Tymrak, HAO (when she’s back in June).

  • Tic-Tac

    I guess these women have no interest in fighting for a spot on the WNT. Good riddance.

    • #1Fan

      Are you serious ? A real NT picks the best players no matter where they play. Folding NT selection into some convoluted CBA with conditions as to where you play is not going to work . Interesting that the “land of the free” has these terms attached to representing it.

  • wosofan

    Toni Payne knew she would be behind Leroux ARod and Groom in KC so probably best to go to Ajax and live that European dream.

    • Steglitz49

      She will pull on the jersey of the team that gave Cruyff his chance and brought Zlatan from Sweden. A legendary club.

      After the vastness of the US, the minature of Holland will be an experience but the connections around Europe and internationally are good, so that makes up for it.

    • Guest

      Not really. With two of them coming back from pregnancy, hard to say whether they are going to be starting and playing anywhere near 90 mins per game.

      Also, kind of poor on her end given that KC could have done a lot else with that pick.

      • Steglitz49

        Marit Björgen and Kikkan Randall came back from pregnancy and are doing more than OK in the current World Championship in Lahti.

      • #1Fan

        Drafting is a risk. I think she is/was totally justified in doing what she thinks is best for her.

        • Breakers fan

          No question she was justified – just tell the teams in advance if you’re considering doing it. It’s like she wanted to get picked as highly as possible so she’d have salary negotiating leverage in case she decided not to go overseas. I can’t believe the notion of going abroad wasn’t in her mind before the draft. It’s a ruse, in my opinion, not to have the courtesy of simply informing teams of your thoughts and intentions before the draft.

          • #1Fan

            I think that the teams have to go in to the draft accepting that they are competing with the WORLD for talent. They should ascribe a probability to players not signing. Not doing that is , in my opinion , being ill prepared.

          • Breakers fan

            So you put zero onus on players to let them know of their intentions? I bet every player who hasn’t gone overseas knew she would stay and play in the NWSL and that all – Jordan, Payne are the only ones I can think of who were drafted – knew in advance that they were either going to do it — Jordan who absolutely did the right thing and informed teams – and Payne who kept mum. It may also have been Payne’s strategy to see where she was going and then decide – also not fair to the teams involved. You don’t have to agree with me on this – that a player should let the teams know in advance if she is considering going overseas – but that is how I feel about it.

          • #1Fan

            I dont feel that Players need to “be fair to teams” . I think the days of that are long gone in sports. Its business. Teams are often not “fair” to players.

            Did Morgan tell Orlando that she may look at other opportunities down the line? Or Lloyd . or Dunn? I dont see any reason why a player should compromise the little leverage they have to protect a league/ team that pays them a 15k minimum and a CBA that restricts their ability to earn more $$ by limiting the freedom of NT spots.

            It all good that we dont agree. I side with the player on this one. Its up to them how they choose to handle it.

          • Breakers fan

            You think it’s perfectly fine to spring this on teams after the draft with no advance warning? So simple and easy and right to let them know. It’s called ethics and it’ll help YOU down the line.

            I don’t know about Morgan Dunn and Lloyd or HAO. They may have; at least they, to varying degrees have played for those teams already and contributed a good deal.
            This could end up backfiring on Payne in the NWSL. The whole league may look at her differently going forward. They may feel this person tricked the team that drafted her and it very easily could have been us. She’s going to have to live with the consequences of keeping secret what she had in her mind about the draft, the NWSL, maybe particular teams in it and going overseas. She may end up just never playing in the NWSL which would be fine and maybe she’ll be happy doing that. She may have burned her bridges with the NWSL with this action and she may not care.

          • #1Fan

            I dont see it that way. I dont think we can bring up ethics. I dont know all the facts to add an ethical undertone to it. Its Pro sports and the athletes must protect their interests the same way the owners do. If it backfires, so be it. Pro sports comes down to talent and what the player can do for the team. If the team or sport is such that they are willing to hold a grudge vs a player who simply went to play elsewhere for more $$ and a better situation then so be it.

            there are so many things we dont know, but I cannot fault any athlete for doping whats best for them within the rules of their sport.

          • Breakers fan

            The only thing we don’t know is if Payne hadn’t even considered going overseas before the draft. That is possible, but seems unlikely. If she wasn’t considering it then of course she couldn’t have told teams that she was, because she wasn’t. If it arose completely after the draft and wasn’t at all related to the fact that it was Kansas City who chose her – in other words, if she would have gone to the Netherlands regardless of which team chose her — then it’s better but it still may affect her with KC. If she was considering going overseas before the draft and knowingly kept that hidden then I think she’ll face an uphill battle with the NWSL and I will say she brought it on herself. She’s doing what she wants now. They’ll do what they want later.

          • DNG

            I don’t think it benefit’s the player to let teams know she’s going to play in Europe. Why would she face an uphill battle in the NWSL if that is true? FCKC will lose the rights to sign her eventually and then she has more leverage to get to a team she want and that wants her. If team think she can help them I don’t think they will care about what she did to FCKC but maybe she burned a bridge with that particular franchise.

          • Breakers fan

            I think Jordan did the right, ethical, honest, upfront thing by letting teams know that she was going overseas. Otherwise a team forfeits probably the 1st, 2nd or 3rd pick in the entire draft on a phantom. Teams like to have their first round picks actually be on the team. All they ask is a warning if there is a chance you will be 1000s of miles away during the pre-season and season. You’re right that it doesn’t benefit Payne in the immediate present to inform teams that she’s thinking of going overseas. In the short-term she gains salary negotiating leverage if she decides to stay, but if she knew she was seriously considering leaving and didn’t tell anyone then she will have to deal with the consequences and I have no sympathy for her. As I wrote before, teams may all see her the same now. They may feel “thank God we’re weren’t the ones bamboozled, but we won’t forget what you did to a fellow team in the league.” Or some team may just ruthlessly pursue self-interest and forgive her for that, thinking “she didn’t do it to us”, Or it’s even possible but I think unlikely that KC will want her back, Whatever happens for her negatively in the NWSL in the future, she created it.

          • DNG

            I don’t really have any ethical issues here. The teams look after their best interests first the majority of the time. I see no reason why the players shouldn’t do the same especially while they are being paid as little as they are. The Thorns gave up a top three pick last year because they were “sure” Mallory Pugh was going to be skipping high school. Sometimes these risks are unavoidable and they are inherent in a draft where there are competing league. Of course Payne has to live with the consequences of her decision I never disputed that.

          • Breakers fan

            Just saying that Payne’s NWSL future would almost certainly have been better served if she had had the courtesy of informing teams of her intentions in advance of the draft. We disagree about the ethics of this. KC has done nothing untoward to Payne to date – that’s the only dynamic that matters here, not the history of all player-team relations. And yes she will have to deal with the consequences of her action. I brought it up not to argue or convince you of it, but to state a key aspect of her decision to everyone. So you would have been fine if Jordan too led every team to believe she was going to play in the NWSL straight away, knowing full well she wasn’t going to?

          • DNG

            You could definitely be right about the way teams see Payne now. Personally though, I think talent trumps all. If a player is good enough to help a team and they can afford it, I think that team will jump at the opportunity.

          • Breakers fan

            Yes, that could happen. I mentioned it before – self-interest can trump concerns about a past infraction of leaving a fellow team high and dry with their first round pick. Any word that you’ve heard on how long she will be in the Netherlands and if she plans on, (hopes to, if they want her) joining KC at some point later in the season? They may forgive her especially, as you say, if she lights up the league over there. But she may not want to be in KC, which would really suck for the team who honored her with their very first selection.

          • #1Fan

            I not looking to get the last word here, but talent defines a players options. If Toni Payne goes outside the NWSL and plays at a high level, then NT or FCKC would be downright stupid to ignore that, But then again , it would not be the first time that a Pro team or league or group of owners had tried to perpetuate a restrictive bubble to their own advantage.

            I actually applaud her for going to a team that will actually treat her like a Pro and give her every chance to be as good as she can be. Taking away headaches like salary, cost of living , facilities etc. I think that talent will flow to the places that value it the most and the problem with the US system is its a NT and rest culture that is beyond stupid. The difference between an NT player and other top players in the League is not accurately reflected economically at all.

            if Payne used the NWSL as a back stop until she made up her mind , so be it. Im sure with a Duke degree she is smart enough to handle the consequences.

            Im not going to judge the ethics of it one way or the other.

          • DNG

            FCKC can only restrict her for a year or so I think unless they finish bottom of the table. If they fail to sign her a year after she is drafted I believe she becomes a discovery player and any team can add her to their discovery list with the lower finishing teams getting the opportunity to sign her. They could of course lock her out too but I think the situation that happened with Brynjarsdottir is much more likely. Teams will take what they can get.

          • Breakers fan

            If I’m KC and Payne comes back with some time left in the season hoping to see time on the field I’d be very tempted to let her sit on the bench for the remaining games. That’s how I upset I personally would be for her not divulging her thoughts about going overseas before the draft. Not saying she can’t do what she wants – I applaud her for that – just tell people you’re seriously considering it before they use their 1st draft pick on you.

          • #1Fan

            Im sure she is prepared for that.

    • Bruce

      More likely Payne knew that she would be declaring for the Nigerian Senior NT and had no financial incentive to stick around the NWSL.

    • #1Fan

      I think Payne offers something different to all of them