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Monday Roundup: USWNTPA partners with NFL, WNBA brethren on new venture

Also in today’s roundup, Sweden boycotts soccer awards show over negotiations with federation, Belgium invites “High Potentials” into senior training camp, and Rumi Utsugi called up by Japan

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The USWNT Players Association has partnered with the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) and WNBPA (Women’s National Basketball Players Association) on a new venture. REP Worldwide, officially announced on Monday, is a player representation business that offers licensing and brand management services to athlete-driven sports properties.

The NFLPA is the majority shareholder in the new venture.

“The players of the USWNT are proud to partner with the NFLPA and WNBPA on this new venture, which ultimately is about athletes supporting athletes to help each of us, and our teams, maximize their value and potential,” Meghan Klingenberg said. “Our team has had phenomenal success in the past several years, both on the field and commercially, and we are excited about the even greater heights we can reach working with REP Worldwide. And, we are pleased to be founding partners in an organization that will help other athletes and teams do the same.”

Part of the collective bargaining agreement struck earlier this year between the USWNT and U.S. Soccer gave the players more leeway to market and license themselves individually. The USWNT completed the 2017 schedule on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Canada.

Sweden boycotts award show over fruitless negotiations

The Sweden women’s national team has become the latest in a litany of teams that have taken drastic action in the wake of resultless negotiations with their federations. After a year of unproductive negotiations with the Swedish federation, the team has decided to boycott the upcoming Football Awards Show, and the November 27th friendly against France is reportedly also in jeopardy.

Negotiations may have stalled after Sweden’s lackluster performance in this summer’s European Championship, when the reigning Olympic silver medalists were eliminated in the quarterfinal round. Their elimination coming at the hands of the hosts and eventual EURO winners, the Netherlands, was likely little consolation in the eye’s of the federation.

However, even in the wake of their Olympic success, the women had reason to complain. In a story unsurprising to many fans of the women’s game around the world—especially fans of the USWNT—the team reportedly was paid considerably less for their runners-up performance in Rio (1.5 million SEK for advancing to at least the semifinals) compared to the payment the men’s team received (20 million SEK) just for qualifying for EURO 2012. The men finished last in their group in that tournament.

The news of Sweden’s dispute with their federation comes just weeks after EURO 2017 runners-up Denmark boycotted a World Cup qualifying match against Sweden over failed negotiations with the DBU. They nearly boycotted another qualifier against Croatia, but a last minute temporary agreement with the DBU saw the Danes take the field. Denmark won that match, 4-0. 

Belgium invites youth players into camp with senior squad

Ives Serneels has invited 14 youth national players to join Belgium’s senior squad in training camp later this month. The “high potentials” will have the opportunity to train alongside veterans and newer members of the senior squad, including many who played in this summer’s EUROs.

The tournament was the European Championship debut for the Red Flames, who pulled off what appeared to be an upset by defeating Norway 2-0 in the group stage. The win was not enough though, and both Belgium and Norway failed to advanced to the knockout round. Despite the poor finish from the debutantes, the experience was undoubtedly beneficial for the players, who can now help pass on their expertise to the Red Flames’ future generations.

Rumi Utsugi called up for Japan friendly

Rumi Utsugi will represent Japan against Jordan on November 24 (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

Seattle Reign FC midfielder Rumi Utsugi will be heading in with Japan ahead of an away friendly against Jordan on November 24. Utsugi had a goal and two assists in 20 appearances for the Reign during the 2017 NWSL season.

Japan and Jordan are both preparing for the 2018 Asian Cup next April that doubles as the qualification mechanism for the 2019 World Cup. Japan has been to the last two World Cup finals, winning in 2011, but most recently failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games. Jordan, who won their qualifying group, were already into the Asian Cup by virtue of being tournament hosts.

The full Japan roster is:

Goalkeepers (3): Yamane Erina (Real Betis), Ikeda Sakiko (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Matsumoto Mamiko (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies)

Defenders (8): Sameshima aya (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Utsugi Rumi (Seattle Reign FC), Kumagai Saki (Olympique Lyonnais), Takagi Hikari (Nojima Stella Kanagawa Sagamihara), Oya Ayumi (Ehime FC Ladies), Miyake Shiori (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Manya Miho (Mynavi Vegalta Sendai Ladies), Kitagawa Hikaru (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies)

Midfielders (6): Sakaguchi Mizuho (Nippon TV Beleza), Nakajima Emi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Naomoto Hikaru (Urawa Red Diamonds Ladies), Nakasato Yu (Nippon TV Beleza), Sumida Rin (Nippon TV Beleza), Hasegawa Yui (Nippon TV Beleza)

Forwards (6): Haji Madoka (Iga Football Club Kunoichi), Iwabuchi Mana (INAC Kobe Leonessa) Yokoyama Kumi (1. FFC Frankfurt) Tanaka Mina (Nippon TV Beleza), Momiki Yuka (Nippon TV Beleza) Ueno Mami (Ehime FC Ladies)

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