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Wednesday Roundup: FA grants 10 Tier 1 licenses ahead of ’18-’19 restructure

Also in today’s roundup, the Netherlands reach new financial agreement with federation, Jessie Fleming named Canada’s U-20 Player of the Year, and the U.S. U-20s finish third in Nike Friendlies after loss to Brazil.

Former FAWSL champions Liverpool were among 10 clubs granted Tier 1 licenses ahead of the restructure next fall(AP Photo)

The English FA has announced 10 clubs have had their application accepted as Tier 1 clubs in the new women’s pyramid set to debut in the fall of 2018. An additional seven clubs were granted Tier 2 status. The decisions were made by the FA Women’s Football Board, and all teams were accepted into the Tier they applied for.

Tier 1 sides include: Arsenal, Birmingham City, Brighton & Hove Albion, Bristol City, Chelsea, Everton Ladies, Liverpool, Manchester City, Reading, and Yeovil Town. Notable is Yeovil Town, a bottom side in FA WSL and one that expressed concern when the new format was announced. Yeovil Town has neither a goal nor a point through five matches this season but are not in danger of being relegated since next season will begin with the Tier 1 sides in FA WSL regardless of 2017-2018 performance.

Nine of the 10 Tier 1 clubs are currently in FA WSL. The lone exception is Sunderland who had already announced their intention to roll back to a part-time operation They did not apply to Tier 2 status either. The only club to receive a Tier 1 license not currently in FA WSL is Brighton and Hove Albion.

The seven sides granted Tier 2 licenses are: Aston Villa, Doncaster Rovers, Durham, London Bees, Millwall Lionesses, Sheffied FC, and Tottenham Hotspurs.

An additional two Tier 1 licenses and five Tier 2 licenses may still be granted next year, and applications are open to clubs not currently in WSL. This could be used as a landing spot for Manchester United to throw their hats back in the women’s game. Manchester United has long rejected the notion of fielding a women’s side, buy United in Focus, a site dedicated to club news, reported that former Man U. star Gordon Hill has offered to run a women’s team.

Netherlands WNT and KNVB reach new financial agreement

The Netherlands have reached a new financial agreement with their federation following their 2017 EUROs win. (photo courtesy UEFA)

The Netherlands women’s national team and their federation, the KNVB, have reached a new financial agreement that runs through the 2019 World Cup. The new agreement includes an increase fixed fee and multiplied rewards for the players.

“It is nice that after some time we have negotiated an agreement,” The Best FIFA Women’s Player of 2017, Lieke Martens said in a translated version of the team’s official statement. “This agreement gives us a sense of appreciation of what we have achieved over the past year.”

Vivianne Miedema, the other player representative for the Netherlands, echoed Martens’ statement, adding, “We have had a number of talks with the KNVB, but there have been occasional heated discussions, but we are very satisfied with the agreement that is now in place, and we will do our utmost to make 2018 a successful year again (in preparation) for the 2019 World Cup.”

As Martens alluded, the Netherlands won the 2017 European Championship on home soil, bringing home the continental title for the first time ever. The team used that win and the resulting popularity to negotiate the new agreement for financial security with their federation.

Jessie Fleming named Canada U-20 Player of the Year

Jessie Fleming, left, was recently named Canada’s U-20 Player of the Year. (photo courtesy Canada Soccer)

Canada Soccer announced on Tuesday that midfielder Jessie Fleming has been named the country’s U-20 Player of the Year. The award was decided by a vote of National team coaches as well as Canadian clubs and coaches.

Fleming won the award based on her age despite playing with the senior national team, making 11 appearances and scoring one goal for Canada in 2017. She was also named the Player of the Match in Canada’s 1-1 draw with the U.S. on November 9.

“She has been building her identity this year as one of the leading international midfielders,” said head coach John Herdman in Canada Soccer’s official announcement. “She has been doing that on the field with a goal against Costa Rica and a standout performance against USA where she really did set the standard for any midfielder when playing against arguably the best team in the world.”

At the collegiate level, Fleming helped lead UCLA to their second College Cup Final appearance in program history. She scored six goals and tallied eight assists on the year for the Bruins. For her efforts, the sophomore was recently named one of three finalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy, the highest honor for a collegiate athlete.

U.S. U-20s fall to Brazil, finish third in Nike Friendlies

Sophia Smith controls the ball in the U.S. U-20s loss to Brazil during the Nike Friendlies. (photo courtesy U.S. Soccer)

In the final match of the Nike Friendlies youth tournament, the U.S. U-20s fell to Brazil, 2-0. The loss knocked the hosts, who entered Monday’s match sitting atop the table, down to a third place finish.

England, who drew the U.S. 3-3 in the teams’ opening match, went on to win the friendly tournament after winning their last two matches to finish with seven points. Brazil’s win over the hosts gave them six points and a second place finish, while Finland finished in last with zero points.

The U.S. entered their final match of competition riding high from their 10-1 victory of Finland over the weekend, but Brazil proved to be a tougher test than both the Nordic nation and the young Lionesses. A defensive mistake by the U.S. resulted in a Brazilian penalty kick, which Ana Victoria converted to give the visitors the lead in the 11th minute. A second Brazil goal just shy of the hour mark was enough to secure the South Americans the win.

Following the match, the tournament awards were handed out. For her four goals in the tournament, all of which were scored against Finland in the match’s first half, Stanford freshman Civana Kuhlmann was awarded the tournament’s Golden Boot award.

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