Western New York Flash head coach Aaran Lines appeared on the Kick This podcast on February 8. The show is hosted by Jeff DiVeronica, who covers the Flash regularly for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
Most of the topics covered were standard pre-season fare: the recently announced schedule, the balance of home and away games, and stacking up against the competition in 2014.
While discussing the roster moves Seattle Reign FC has made during their offseason, Lines mentioned their four allocated U.S. national team players, and then dropped a major piece of news. (Skip to 49:01 to listen.)
“We’ve just found out our allocated U.S. national team players could miss around eight to nine games with the national team schedule.”
The NWSL schedule is 24 games long in 2014, which means U.S. national team players could now miss at least one third of the regular season. This comes on the heels of news that U.S. Soccer actually increased its investment in the NWSL for the 2014 season.
Per a report, U.S. Soccer has friendlies planned for April, June (against France), and August for a total of six matches. Currently, the only match scheduled that will conflict with the NWSL season is the friendly just announced versus Canada on May 8 in Winnipeg.
In their response to request for comment, the National Women’s Soccer League anticipates the rumored April friendly dates will not affect NWSL game action.
“As U.S. Soccer has yet to announce their complete WNT schedule for 2014, we do not yet know the exact number of games that U.S. allocated players will miss this season. While there are FIFA dates in April, July and August, US Soccer is not expected to schedule matches on all of the available dates at this point. In addition, the April dates are anticipated to be prior to the NWSL season opening games.”
Amateur players will need to be called up in a roster mechanism similar to last year’s.
“Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are important partners of the NWSL, we understand the importance of our games in preparing their players for national team duty. Therefore, we respect their wishes when calling in their players for games during FIFA dates and support their efforts. Similar to last year, our teams understand that that players from all three federations will miss games and they will have to continue to compete during these times using the mechanisms in place for these occasions that allows them to call up amateurs players.”
Finally, the NWSL disputed the number of games U.S. allocated players would miss: “We do not anticipate that national team players will miss any more games this season than last season’s 5-6 games.”
Lines also spoiled today’s (postponed) surprise for the Chicago Red Stars. The team had planned to announce their venue for their home opener on April 19th today, but general manager Alyse LaHue notified fans on Twitter that the news would instead be announced the morning of February 11.
Lines spoke of both the first match at the Washington Spirit and then the second at Chicago, “Both those games, Washington and the away game at Chicago—we’re playing at Toyota Park—so, both of those games on grass.”
Additional reporting by Jennifer Gordon.
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