Also in today’s roundup, Australia’s W-League gets a new CBA, Rachel Corsie and Kim named Scotland’s new captain and vice-captain, and Vålerenga sets Toppserien attendance record.
Hurricane-postponed Dash-Courage match rescheduled
The NWSL announced today that the Houston Dash home match against the North Carolina Courage, originally scheduled for August 27 but postponed because of Hurricane Harvey, has been rescheduled for Wednesday, September 27 at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be played five hours away at HEB Park in Edingburg, Texas since the Houston Dynamo are playing at BBVA Compass Stadium that same night.
The Dash were originally scheduled to close out their 2017 season on Friday, September 29 on the road against FC Kansas City, but, as a result of the rescheduled Courage match, will now play their season finale on Sunday, October 1 at 6 p.m. ET. The game will still be played at Children’s Mercy Victory Field, home of FC Kansas City.
Although both the Dash and FCKC have been eliminated from this year’s playoff hunt, the Courage were the first team to clinch a playoff spot and, with their win this weekend, clinched a home semifinal. They currently sit in first place in league standings and seem to be well on their way to winning the Shield, leading the second-place Thorns by two points with one fewer game played. However, they will now face a much more difficult end to their regular season schedule, playing three games in the span of a week.
Fans who had tickets to the originally scheduled match on August 27 can either use those tickets for the rescheduled game on September 27 at HEB Park or exchange them for tickets to the Dash’s home finale against the Chicago Red Stars on September 23 or they Dynamo Charities Cup on Thursday, October 5.
Both rescheduled NWSL matches will be streamed live on go90 and the NWSL websites and apps as originally planned.
Australia’s W-League gets first ever CBA
For the first time ever, the Australian Westfield W-League players will be protected by a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The CBA is the result of a year’s worth of behind-the-scenes negotiations between the W-League Working Party, and it has been approved by both the Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the Professional Footballers Australia’s (PFA) W-League members.
The new CBA will go into effect at the start of the upcoming 2017/2018 season and will run over the next two seasons. It expires in June 2019, the same time as the CBAs for the Matildas, Socceroos (men’s national team), and A-League (men’s pro league).
After last season’s historic minimum player allowance for players on amateur contracts, this year’s CBA now guarantees that players will make at least the minimum salary of $10,000 for the 2017/2018 season. That figure increases to $12,287 for the 2018/2019 season. The agreement also provides income protection in the wake of injuries, has a basic maternity policy, and a promise that the league will find a private sponsor to subsidize player private health insurance costs.
The CBA also has now done away with the league’s amateur contracts, and each player will sign a professional player contract for a 23-week period instead of the previous 16 weeks. Players can also now sign multi-year contracts, and former Orlando Pride defender Laura Alleway was the first player to sign a multi-year W-League contract when she signed with Melbourne Victory last month.
Changes to player’s contracts may affect the NWSL in that the new system may make the W-League sole holders of a player’s contract, whereas in the past NWSL clubs maintained the players’ contracts and loaned them to their W-League clubs. It’s uncertain at this time just how much, if any, impact this will have on player sharing between the two leagues. However, any change could be significant considering the large number of NWSL players who went overseas to play in Australia during the 2016/2017 season.
Squad sizes, minimum medical standards and player development were also all addressed in the new CBA. For more information, check out Ann Odong’s article for The Women’s Game.
Rachel Corsie named Scotland captain, Kim Little vice-captain
The Scottish women’s national team announced on Sunday that Seattle Reign defender Rachel Corsie had been named the team’s new captain in the wake of goalkeeper Gemma Fay’s retirement last month. Her former Reign teammate Kim Little, currently with Arsenal, was named vice-captain.
“I am really proud and incredibly humbled, I hope I can serve the team well.” Corsie said to the Scottish Football Association. “I have huge boots to fill following the retirement of Gemma Fay, who demonstrated the passion and dedication that epitomises our Scottish culture.
“The growth of this team over recent years has been enormous, and as current players, we have the responsibility and opportunity to continue that.”
Head coach Shelley Kerr, who replaced Anna Signeul in summer and assigned Corsie the armband, described the defender as “an excellent choice,” telling the BBC that “she has been one of the leaders in the squad for a number of years and has shown a real passion for developing other leaders within the group.”
Corsie, who currently has 91 caps for Scotland and previously wore the armband when Fay was unavailable, will play her first official match as captain in Thursday’s friendly against Hungary, their last before World Cup qualifying begins for the country. The friendly will also be Kerr’s first as head coach and the first post-EURO game for the Scots. This summer’s continental championship was the nation’s first ever major tournament. Unfortunately for the team, a string of injuries to several key players left the squad weakened, and the team was eliminated in the group stage.
Little was one of those players who was unavailable for EURO selection following an ACL tear suffered during her time with Arsenal. Little still traveled to the Netherlands for the tournament, serving as a commentator for Channel 4’s tournament coverage.
Vålerenga sets new Toppserien attendance record
Norway’s Toppserien, the premier league of women’s soccer in the Nordic country, has a new attendance record thanks to Vålerenga match against Kolbotn this weekend. The match was the team’s first in the newly-completed Vålerenga Cultural and Sports Park stadium and brought in a crowd of 3,541 fans.
The club is home to a number of former NWSL players. Former Boston Breakers Stephanie Verdoia and Elise Krieghoff, former Houston Dash defender Ari Romero, and former Portland Thorns goalkeeper Michelle Betos are all members of the Oslo-based squad.
Verdoia and Krieghoff were instrumental in Vålerenga’s record-breaking game, each scoring a goal to give the home side a 2-0 win.