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Friday Roundup: Pregnant Kelly Smith won’t play in farewell match

Also in today’s roundup the Spirit fill out a coaching staff, Meg Morris runs, Australia deals with extreme heat, and T&T gets a financial lifeline

Kelly Smith won't play in her own farewell match--because she is pregnant. (Photo: Arsenal)

Kelly Smith won’t play in her own farewell match–because she is pregnant. (Photo: Arsenal)

Kelly Smith will not play in her own farewell match on February 19 because she is three-months pregnant. The English star who announced her retirement on January 11 made the announcement herself via her website. She intends to be in attendance and address the crowd.

Smith was a star on two continents during a decorated career that was too often interrupted by injury. She is far and away the best and most famous all-time member of the English national team. She also made a name for herself in the United States attending Seton Hall and playing in both WUSA and WPS.

Arsenal Ladies began dropping names of prominent players expected to make cameos in the farewell match. Among them are Ellen White and Marieanne Spacey. Abby Wambach has also been rumored to be heading to England to lace up her cleats for the match.

The Equalizer‘s Kieran Theivam was inspired to begin covering the women’s game when a friend suggested he seek out an interview with Smith in 2009. He typed a thank you to her on his site womenssoccerzone.com.

The 38-year old made 117 appearances for England, notching 46 goals.

Washington Spirit fill out coaching staff

The Washington Spirit filled out their coaching staff for the 2017 season naming Nicci Wright goalkeeper coach and Kati Jo (KJ) Spisak Assistant Coach and head coach of the Spirit Reserves. They join head coach Jim Gabarra and assistant Denise Reddy.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Nicci Wright once again,” said Gabarra. “She will bring an enormous amount of experience and hard work to the Spirit. Our goalkeepers will benefit from her quality as a player, coach, and person.”

Wright and Spisak both played for Gabarra at the Washington Freedom and were linked together in a memorable 2009 match against Saint Louis Athleica. Spisak was the starting keeper and because of an injury to Briana Scurry, the Spirit did not dress a backup. Sure enough Spisak had to come out of the match. Enter Wright, an assistant at the time. She sneakily changed into goalkeeper gear on the sideline and went in the game to replace Spisak. They wound up combining for a clean sheet with Wright earning the win.

Here is how The Washington Post wrote it up, courtesy of Paul Tenorio.

“I would like to thank Jim Gabarra and the Washington Spirit organization for the opportunity to return to the women’s professional soccer stage,” said Wright. “It is amazing to see the growth of the women’s game since I was last here. The opportunity to work alongside Jim again made the decision very easy. We have a great working relationship that has spanned almost 14 years. I’m happy to be returning to the Maryland SoccerPlex, and I’m excited to get started with the team.”

The Spirit also named Kevin Boyle the club’s Director of Sports Science.

Meg Morris return to running


Meg Morris reported via her Twitter account that she ran on Thursday, her first time doing so since breaking her hip June 17 at Western New York. The Montclair, New Jersey native had played in 7 matches in her first season for the Thorns before being injured. She was able to join the team for the regular season finale at Yurcak Field against Sky Blue. The Thorns won that match 3-1 and clinched their first NWSL Shield.

Prior to joining the Thorns Morris played two seasons for Sky Blue.

W-League semifinal moved to avoid heat

Football Federation Australia (FFC), citing the federation’s heat policy, has switched Saturday’s semifinal match between Canberra United and holders Melbourne City FC to an evening match. Kickoff is now scheduled for 8:00 p.m. local time, 4:00 a.m. EST (Friday night). That is good news for fans and players who will be able to keep cool but not so much for American fans who were originally anticipating a start time of 10:00 p.m. EST.

Also, via a tweet from The Women’s Game‘s Ann Odong, Kyah Simon revealed that Sydney FC players suffered from heat stroke following last weekend’s match played in extreme heat in Adelaide.

Sydney is in this weekend’s other semifinal in Perth. That match kicks at 2:30 a.m. EDT (Saturday night/Sunday morning).

T&T players to be offered retainer contracts

An influx of CONCACAF development money has thrown a lifeline to the Trinidad & Tobago national team. The group that put out SOS calls on Twitter for basic needs ahead of a trip to the United States for World Cup qualifying in 2014 is set to offer retainers to players and has brought in Caroline Morace as program director.

“One specific allocation of US$125,000 a year, that we get from CONCACAF, is going into the women’s programme(sic),” federation president David John-Williams told The Trinidad Express.

T&T also may get to play Ecuador in a friendly in conjunction with the men’s World Cup qualifier against either Panama or Mexico next month. Ecuador knocked Triniad & Tobago out of qualification for the 2015 World Cup with a goal in the dying moments of the second leg of their intercontinental playoff in Port of Spain.

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