Also in today’s roundup, venues have been finalized for the 2019 World Cup, and Melissa Henderson announces her retirement
The FIFA break was rough on the health of NWSL players and on Wednesday, Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh were added to the list of prominent players who will not be available this weekend.
The Breakers announced that Pugh will miss four to six weeks after straining her left hamstring during the United States’ win against Norway on Sunday. Three days prior she bagged the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Sweden. The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, Lavelle has started every game for the Breakers and been the controlling force in midfield. She was the named Player of the Month for April and was on the Team of the Month in both April and May.
The Breakers are also expected to be without left back Allysha Chapman, who took an injury playing for Canada against Costa Rica last week. They are carrying a five-match winless streak into Saturday’s match in North Carolina.
In Washington, multiple report indicate that Pugh will miss at least this weekend’s game in Chicago after suffering what is being called a minor ankle injury warming up for what would have been a start against Norway.
Pugh joined the Spirit last month via the Distribution Ranking Order after signing with U.S. Soccer on May 13. She scored her first professional goal in the Spirit’s last match, a win over the Dash. Last summer Pugh became the youngest American to score an Olympic goal.
In other NWSL injury news, Susie Rantz of Sounder at Heart reports that the Reign are exploring the extent of an unnamed injury for Rumi Utsugi suffered during Japan’s camp last week. She did not play in either of Japan’s matches against the Netherlands and Belgium respectably.
Meanwhile, another Japanese player, Yuki Nagasato was sent back to Japan after a physical by the Red Stars revealed she was carrying a minor injury. The club remains hopeful of Nagasato returning to Chicago later this summer.
On Tuesday the Pride announced that Alex Morgan was three to four weeks out with a hamstring injury and Tobin Heath was declared out of the Thorns’ weekend match.
The Courage’s Lynn Williams and Sabrina D’Angelo were also injured during the FIFA window but there has been no official word on their respective statuses.
Venues selected for 2019 World Cup
The French Football Federation on Wednesday confirmed the nine venues for the 2019 World Cup. The tournament will kick off June 1 at Parc Olympique Lyonnais in Lyon and conclude with the final on June 30 in the same stadium.
Other venues are: Allianz Riviera (Nice); Stade de la Mosson (Montpellier); Roazhon Park (Rennes); Stade Oceane (Le Havre); Stade du Hainaut (Valenciennes); Stade Auguste-Delaune (Reims); Stade des Aples (Grenoble); and Stade Jean-Bouin (Paris).
Melissa Henderson announces retirement
Houston Dash forward Melissa Henderson has announced her retirement from soccer for a second time. The 27-year old Texas native has been with the Dash since 2014. She announced her retirement after the 2015 season but changed her mind in time for preseason in 2016. She made one appearance this season for the Dash, and her retirement clears a roster spot for the impending return of Carli Lloyd.
Originally a WPS draft pick, Henderson missed out on that league when it folded in the weeks following the 2012 draft. She spent that summer with the Western New York Flash in WPSL Elite and was part of the championship side. She spent her NWSL career with FC Kansas City and the Dash. Henerson’s only career NWSL goal came for Kansas City in the 2013 semifinal in a losing effort against the Thorns.
Henderson’s full letter regarding her retirement is here.