Also in today’s Roundup, Providence Park expansion project set to begin and Laura Bassett is heading to Canberra
Actor/comedian Will Ferrell and his wife Viveca Paulin have established what will become the first full scholarship for women’s soccer at USC where Ferrell graduated in 1990.
“We are fortunate to have Will and Viveca in our Trojan Family,” school president C.L. Max Nikias said in a story posted on the athletic department site. “From the beginning, they have understood the importance of scholarships and wanted to commit their resources to touch students’ lives and strengthen USC through the quality of our student body.”
The scholarship appears to be an annual full ride to a member of the USC women’s soccer program. The Trojans are defending national champions.
Ferrell holds a minority stake in MLS side LAFC which will begin play as an expansion club in 2018.
Providence Park construction set to start
The expansion of Providence Park is set to begin at the conclusion of the 2017 Portland Timbers season with a scheduled completion date of April 2019. According to reporting by Jamie Goldberg of The Oregonian the construction to add about 4,000 seats to the stadium will result in the Timbers playing approximately 5-6 games away to open each of the next two seasons.
Based on the NWSL schedule structure to this point, that timeframe would have a negligible impact on the Thorns. NWSL season generally opens a little more than a month after Major League Soccer’s. One factor in specifying the timeline is how long the Timbers play at Providence this fall. MLS Cup, which they could still host, is December 9.
The Timbers annual preseason tournament will not be held the next two seasons but a source tells The Equalizer that there is a 50/50 chance the Thorns’ preseason event goes forward in some form.
Providence Park seats 21,144. The Thorns have sold it out on three different occasions. The expansion will allow them to beat the current single match attendance record of 23,403 set by the Orlando Pride in their inaugural home game in 2016.
As part of the project, Providence Park will get a new playing surface ahead of both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Laura Bassett joins Canberra makeover
England defender Laura Bassett is the latest to join Canberra and first year coach Heather Garriock. The club announced the signing on Wednesday. Bassett will arrive in the Australian capital in time for the opening of preseason.
“Laura will be the backbone to our defense this season,” Garriock said in a post on the club’s site announcing the signing.
Bassett, who has played with Arsenal and Chelsea as well as the center of the English defense, joins Seattle Reign keeper Haley Kopmeyer and Australian fullback Ellie Carpenter as new signings ahead of the season.
Bassett, 34, has represented England at the last two World Cups and the last two European Championships. She also spent parts of her club career with Notts County and Birmingham City.
Canberra were W-League Premiers last season but were defeated at home in extra time by Melbourne City to keep them out of the Grand Final. It marked the second straight season Canberra were knocked out in the semifinals following their championship winning season in 2014-2015 (that season ended in December 2014).
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