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Tuesday Roundup: US Soccer presidential comment supports women’s Open Cup, pro/rel

Also in today’s roundup, Nikita Paris signs extension with Manchester City, New Zealand working on agreement to give women’s national team identical terms and conditions as the men, and U-20 World Cup draw details are announced

U.S. Soccer presidential candidate Paul Lapointe took to twitter over the last day to discuss some of his ideas to take the sport in the US forward. Among his ideas are an Open Cup for women and the introduction of promotion and relegation for both men and women.

An women’s Open Cup has long been a talking point and a loosely organized event has taken place since 1996. The Chicago Red Stars won it in 2012 but had to spot their team between the final and a WPSL Elite match scheduled for the same weekend. Promotion and relegation–known as pro/rel to most soccer fans–is a more complicated issue and likely years if not decades from even being considered in the women’s game. Major League Soccer, which now commands nine-figure expansion fees, has refused to head in that direction.

Lapointe, the Northeast United Premier Soccer League conference manager, will be considered a longshot in the election slated for February. Incumbent Sunil Gulati has been under fire since the U.S. men failed to qualify for next summer’s World Cup. Gulati, who hatched the concept of national federations subsidizing the top players in NWSL, has not yet said for sure if he intends to run again.

Nikita Paris inks new deal with Manchester City

Manchester City forward Nikita Paris signed a new deal with the club keeping her with City through the end of the 2018-2019 season as was announced earlier this morning.

The 23-year old forward made 65 appearances, scoring 25 goals for the club since she joined originally on loan from Everton in 2015. Last year, she was instrumental in helping lift all three domestic trophies for City. Paris is excited to stay with the club and has felt that she’s really developed as both a player and a person throughout her time with the club. “I’m just so happy to be here and to remain here for the coming seasons. I’ve been on a journey and it’s shaped me as a person,” she told ManCity.com. “With the help of Nick [Cushing] and the coaching staff, I’ve really developed as a player. He was so enthusiastic about me staying. he said I’m a big part of this team and he wants me to carry on developing at this club, pushing my game on.”

Paris, who came to City as a true striker in the number 9 position, has since converted to a winger, but feels comfortable in both positions. She made her senior England women’s national team debut in June 2016 in EURO 2017 qualifying against Serbia, notching an assist in the debut. Prior to her time with the senior team, Paris played for English youth teams starting at the U-17 level, up to the U-23 level. She represented England at the 2013 UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship and the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Looking ahead to this year, she feels her side is capable of building on past seasons’ successes. “The Champions League is the next step for this team. We’ve won all of the domestic trophies. It’s time to impose ourselves on Europe and win the Champions League,” she said. We have the quality to do it and the strength in depth.”

Negotiations in progress for equal rights for New Zealand’s women’s national team

The New Zealand Professional Footballers’ Association has entered negotiations pushing for equal terms and conditions between the All Whites (men’s side) and the Football Ferns (women’s side). If an agreement is met, New Zealand could be the first football federation in the world to grant equal rights and privileges to both men and women competing for their national teams.

Abby Erceg distanced herself from New Zealand due to the way the women’s team has been treated. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

The NZPFA’s agreement will look to further the rights of the Football Ferns, specifically noting equal travel benefits as well as an open dialogue with the federation about planned developments of the women’s game in New Zealand.

Chris Wood, a striker for the All Whites and Burnley of the EPL, said that the men’s side is committed to backing the women and their struggle for equal rights, according to TVNZ. “What we are trying to do is just a small step. But it might just cause a ripple that people sit up and notice — and all the lads are 100% behind that,” said Wood. His sister, Chelsey Wood, has represented New Zealand in two U-20 FIFA Women’s World Cups.

Inequality at the national team level for the women’s side is no new development. Back in February, Abby Erceg, then captain of the Football Ferns and defender for the North Carolina Courage of the NWSL, retired from international competition and cited “unfortunate and unfavorable circumstances within the organization that is NZF.” She later went on to explain her decision referencing the lack of transparency between the federation and players in regards to fair salaries. “The thing I’ve heard the most is we have no money and we can’t afford it, and that’s really hard to accept as a player when your organization for the past eight years have been in a surplus and they’ve announced a profit for the last eight years,” she said according to RadioNZ.

New Zealand is also currently bidding for the rights to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

FIFA Announces Date  For  2018 U-20 World Cup Draw

On Tuesday FIFA and the local organizing committee announced that the draw for next summer’s U-20 World Cup will take place on March 8th at the Rennes Opera House in France. The draw was scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day.

The 2018 U-20 World Cup will take place August 5-24 2018. Along with hosts France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, England, New Zealand, Japan, Korea DPR and China PR have all earned berths for the event. CAF, CONMEBOL and CONCACAF will make up the remainder of the 16 team field. The U.S. squad, who finished fourth in the 2016 World Cup in Papua New Guinea, will compete for a spot in next year’s tournament at the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in January.

 

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