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Monday Roundup: Estefania Banini returns to the Spirit

Also in today’s roundup, Lynn Williams’ and Taylor Comeau’s injury statuses updated, Nadim and Sigvardsen Jensen named to Denmark’s Euro squad, Reign’s Tracey Kevins hired as U.S. U-15 head coach, Scotland WNT clashes with fed over pay and Helena Costa becomes the Bundesliga’s first female scout.

Estefania Banini is returning to the Washington Spirit after a stint in Spain. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Estefania Banini is returning to the Washington Spirit after a stint in Spain. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

Estefania Banini returns to the Spirit

The Washington Spirit announced today that it has re-signed Argentina-international forward Estefania Banin for the remainder of the 2017 season, pending receipt of her International Transfer Certificate (ITC).

“Having Estefi return to the Spirit is something we were hopeful would happen last fall,” Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra said in a statement from the team. “We’re looking forward to having her back in our lineup and continuing her impressive development. Her impact will be a big asset as we continue to battle through the NWSL regular season toward the goal of reaching the NWSL championship match again.”

Banini is returning to D.C. after a brief stint with Spain’s Valencia CF. Before playing in Europe, she played with the Spirit for two seasons, 2015-2016. However, her time with the Spirit has been hampered by injury. In 2015, she played in only four games before being sidelined with a season-ending injury, and she missed a number of matches last season due to undergoing a left knee arthroscopy to correct a chondral defect as well.

Despite last season’s injury, Banini still started nine of 13 matches played for the Spirit and led the team in scoring. She recorded five goals in a seven-game stretch, earning her the team Golden Boot award. She was also voted NWSL Goal of the Week for her goal against FC Kansas City in Week 13 action. She was named NWSL Player of the Week for that week’s performance and was the Player of the Month for July.

“I am very happy and grateful to be part of the Washington Spirit again. I wish to help them in the best way, and for that I will train very hard,” Banini said. “While I already know the team, all experiences are different and I’m coming with great enthusiasm, wanting to add a lot to the team!”

Banini’s re-signing puts the Spirit over the 20-player roster limit, meaning the team will need to make a roster move once her ITC is received and she is cleared to play.

Lynn Williams, Taylor Comeau injury statuses updated

Lynn Williams suffered a high-ankle sprain while with the USWNT but could return for the Courage as early as this weekend. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

Lynn Williams suffered a high-ankle sprain while with the USWNT but could return for the Courage as early as this weekend. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

According to Neil Morris, North Carolina Courage head coach Paul Riley said that forward Lynn Williams suffered a high ankle sprain while training with the USWNT in Scandinavia. She had an MRI upon returning stateside, which came back negative for any more severe injury. Williams did not dress for either of the U.S.’s friendlies during the FIFA break because of the injury, and she was listed as questionable for last Saturday’s match against the Boston Breakers. Although she was on the sidelines for that match, she did not play in the team’s 3-1 win. However, Riley said he hopes she will be available for this Saturday’s rematch in Boston.

Jessica McDonald, who was unavailable for the Courage last weekend although also on the sidelines, is said to be out for at least another two weeks as she continues recovering from a “nagging” hamstring injury. Meanwhile, Darian Jenkins, taken alongside Ashley Hatch by the Courage in the NWSL College Draft’s first round, has been seen training with the team, but Riley said the earliest she may make her professional debut is mid-August. Jenkins underwent surgery to repair a fractured left fibula in her lower leg back in October while playing for UCLA.

Elsewhere in the NWSL, Taylor Comeau, who exited the field for the Chicago Red Stars after the second-half hydration break in last Saturday’s draw with the Washington Spirit after complaining of difficulty breathing and coughing up blood, suffered a lung contusion according to the Red Stars. Comeau suffered the injury in the 63rd minute when she and the Spirit’s Kristie Mewis got tangled up, resulting in Mewis falling on Comeau’s abdomen. After leaving the field, Comeau was rushed to the hospital by ambulance for evaluation. She is currently resting and will be reevaluated by a doctor on Wednesday.

Tobin Heath, who has yet to make an appearance for the Portland Thorns this season, has officially been added to the team’s 45-day disabled list. Heath has been sidelined this season with a lingering back injury, causing her to also miss the last two USWNT camps. If healthy, Heath will be eligible to return to the Thorns on July 27.

Nadim, Sigvardsen Jensen named to Denmark’s Euro squad

Nadia Nadim will represent Denmark in the 2017 Euros. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

Nadia Nadim will represent Denmark in the 2017 Euros. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

Nils Nielsen has named his 23-player squad for Denmark for next month’s European Championships. Included on his roster are the Portland Thorn’s Nadia Nadim and the Washington Spirit’s Line Sigvardsen Jensen, as well as former Seattle Reign midfielder Katrine Veje.

Denmark is in Group A along with host The Netherlands, Norway, and Belgium. They kick off the tournament on Saturday, July 16 with a match against Belgium. They then face The Netherlands on Thursday, July 20 and close out group play on Monday, July 24 against Norway.

Denmark Euro Roster by Position

Goalkeepers (3): Maria Christensen, Line Johansen, Stina Lykke
Defenders (8): Janni Arnth, Stine Ballisager, Simone Boye, Luna Gervitz, Mie Leth Jens, Theresa Nielsen, Line Røddik, Cecilie Sandvej
Midfielders (7): Nanna Christiansen, Sarah Dyrehauge, Maja Kildemoes, Line Sigvardsen Jensen, Sofia Junge, Sanne Troelsgaard, Katrine Veje
Forwards (5): Pernille Harder, Stine Larsen, Nadia Nadim, Nicoline Sørensen, Frederikke Thøgersen

Scotland clashes with federation over wage complaints

With less than a month before Scotland’s women’s national team’s first ever major tournament, the team has withdrawn all cooperation with the Scottish Football Association in the wake of accusations of unfair payment in return for playing for their country. As a result, Tuesday’s announcement of the team’s Euro squad has been delayed at least one week.

Anna Signeul’s side has refused to fulfill all team responsibilities other than playing in response to a lack of payment by the Scottish FA. That includes denying all media interview and photography requests, refusing cooperation with SFA’s in-house media or sponsors, turned down Euros broadcaster Channel 4’s request for players to shoot opening credits for the tournament, and more.

The team and their representative have refused to comment on the so-called stalemate. However, word is that progress in the negotiations has been made and that the team’s demands are more about respect than money.

Reign’s Tracey Kevins hired as U-15 GNT head coach

Seattle Reign FC Assistant Coach Tracey Kevins has been hired by U.S. Soccer as the full-time head coach of the Under-15 girls’ national team. She will also serve as an assistant coach with the U-17 team.

For Seattle, Kevins served as an assistant coach for just over a year before accepting her new position with USSF. She was also the technical director for the Seattle Reign Academy, where she oversaw five academy teams and coaching staffs. She has been coaching at the U.S. Soccer Training Centers in the Northwest since 2013, during which time she helped assess and identify players for potential call-ups to the U.S.’s various youth national teams.

Kevins will stay with the Reign until July 14, when she will be replaced by Kim Calkins, former WPS Boston Breakers defender and current head coach of Seattle Sounders Woman, as the Reign Academy’s technical director. The Reign also recently hired former USWNT and Reign defender Stephanie Cox as an assistant coach.

Bundesliga’s first female scout hired

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The Bundesliga continues to make strides towards gender equality. Just a month after announcing Bibiana Steinhaus would be the first female referee in the Bundesliga, it was announced today that the German men’s league has hired its first female scout. Eintracht’s Frankfurt became the first team to hire a female scout when they added Helena Costa, 39, to their staff.

Costa previously made history when she became the first woman to manage a men’s team in the top two divisions of a major European league when she took charge of the French Ligue 2’s Clermont Foot in 2014. She holds a UEFA A coaching license and has spent 13 years as a coach in Benfica’s youth system. She spent time on Celtic’s backroom staff in the Scottish Premier League and has been in charge of both Qatar’s and Iran’s women’s teams.

“She has real knowledge of football and has already experienced a great deal in her life in the sport. We want scouts who live in and know the countries where we’re looking for talent,” Frankfurt sporting director Fredi Bobic said. 

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