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Thursday Roundup: Argentina WNT goes on strike

Also in today’s roundup, Hayley Raso returns home to Brisbane Roar and Katie Johnson stars in Disney channel commercial.

Argentina’s national team, for which the Washington Spirit’s Estefania Banini plays, has gone on strike. (photo copyright Lewis Gettier)

Argentina national team goes on strike

Argentina’s women’s national team has gone on strike according to a statement posted on goalkeeper Elisabeth Minning’s Twitter Wednesday evening.

According to the statement, the team has attempted to discuss concerns regarding lack of payment, poor training conditions, and poor travel arrangements, among other things, with the Argentine Football Association, only to be ignored each time.

“First, we want to emphasize that the stipend owed to the players who compose the preliminary roster presented by Mr. Carlos Borrello, with an eye to the Copa America, has not been paid,” a translation of the statement reads. “We have managed this situation in the best manner and with the best predisposition possible, remaining open to dialogue and attending the corresponding training sessions, but we have not received the same treatment, and thus we have been obligated to cease attending practices.”

Like many other teams that have gone on strike over disputes with their federations, the Argentine team says that the “amateur” status of the team means they are paid inadequate salaries—150 pesos, or approximately $8.50, per training session. As a result, many players have jobs in addition to playing soccer, but some of them have been forced to quit their outside jobs to meet the demands of playing for the national team.

“We also demand that the training facilities be adjusted to meet the levels necessary for the preparation of a national team: we need locker rooms appropriate for the number of players who make up the roster just as we need a grass field for practice.”

The team also requests better travel arrangements, claiming that for their August 30 international friendly in Montevideo, Uruguay—their first match in two years—the team travelled from 4 to 9 a.m. on game day and had to sleep on the bus in the hours before the match, as no hotel accommodations had been provided. Although the team defeated Uruguay, 3-0, the team states that such travel conditions were not conducive to a competitive performance on the field, thereby “threatening the very objectives of the Association and those who compose it.”

“Based on the damages incurred by the situations we have presently specified, and until AFA offers the means necessary to rectify them in a proper manner, we declare our decision to NOT present ourselves for the convocation realized by said entity.”

A translated version of the full statement is below.

Hayley Raso returns home to Brisbane Roar

Hayley Raso is returning to her hometown team, the Brisbane Roar, for the upcoming W-League season. (photo courtesy Brisbane Roar)

W-League side Brisbane Roar announced today that they had signed Portland Thorns forward Hayley Raso for the 2017/2018 W-League season. The W-League season coincides with the NWSL offseason, so she’ll join the team in October once her contract with the Thorns has been fulfilled.

“Hayley is a player who has proven top-level experience and has been in excellent form for Portland and the Australian National Women’s side,” head coach Mel Andreatta said in the team’s official announcement. “I am confident that Hayley’s speed will cause opposition defenders plenty of problems this season, not to mention her infectious winning mentality she will bring to our squad.”

The Australian-international hails from the Brisbane area and previously played for the Roar from 2013-2015. She’s returning to her hometown club after spending last NWSL offseason with Canberra United, winning the premiership before falling in the semifinals to defending champions Melbourne City. Raso started out her professional career with Canberra, winning the 2011/2012 Championship with them, before her first stint with with the Roar. Following her 2015 NWSL season with the Washington Spirit, she also played a season with the Melbourne Victory.

Katie Johnson stars in Disney’s Hispanic Heritage Month spot

Katie Johnson has starred as a super-sub for the Seattle Reign in her rookie season, but now the forward’s doing a different kind of starring: in a Disney Channel spot honoring Hispanic Heritage Month. In the segment, which centers around the Disney Channel movie Elena of Avalor, Johnson and her cousin Natalia discuss her soccer career in order to inspire viewers to be what they want to be when they grow up.

Johnson, who entered the NWSL as the No. 16 overall draft pick shortly after winning the 2016 NCAA Championship with the USC Trojans, is a Mexican-American who hails from Monrovia, California. Because of her heritage, Johnson has played for Mexico’s senior national team, including against the U.S. in the 2016 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying tournament, despite some earlier call-ups with the U.S. youth national teams. She’s one of only two Mexico players (Houston Dash  goalkeeper Bianca Henninger is the other) currently playing in the NWSL following Sofia Huerta’s change of association to the U.S. 

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