Also in today’s Roundup, Randy Waldrum named head coach at University of Pittsburgh, the Netherlands EURO winning players named federation knights, and the Algarve Cup shuffles groups following Asian Cup draw.
Adrianna Franch has been named CONCACAF Goalkeeper of the Year, two days after Alex Morgan was named Player of the Year. Franch added CONCACAF honors to her NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year trophy and nod as part of the NWSL Best XI. Franch recorded an NWSL record 11 shutouts in 2017 and added another in the Portland Thorns win in the NWSL Championship.
Franch also led an NWSL-heavy CONCACAF Best XI that included Thorns teammates Emily Menges and Lindsay Horan. Also making the CONCACAF Best XI were Morgan and her Pride teammate Marta, plus NWSL Defender of the Year Abby Dahlkemper, Ali Krieger, Becky Sauerbrunn, Allie Long, and Carli Lloyd. The only Best XI player with no NWSL ties was Canadian and UCLA midfielder Jessie Fleming.
Also awarded by CONCACAF was Pachuca coach Eva Espejo for Coach of the Year and Mexican Lucila Venegas for Referee of the Year. Camila’s fabulous goal against the Houston Dash finished second in Goal of the Year behind Amaury Escoto. Goal of the Year is the only CONCACAF award that does not differentiate between male and female.
Randy Waldrum named head coach of Pittsburgh
Former Notre Dame and Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum has been named the new head coach of women’s soccer at the University of Pittsburgh. Waldrum, who had previously been tied to the Nigeria job, has been out of work since the Dash let him go on Memorial Day.
“I would like to thank Heather Lyke (Director of Athletics) for giving me this wonderful opportunity to lead the women’s soccer program at the University of Pittsburgh,” Waldrum sais. “I believe in the vision and excitement that she has brought to the Pitt athletic department and I look forward to being a part of that vision. I would also like to thank Chris Hoppe, who led this search, as it was truly professional in every way.
“I am extremely excited to get started competing in the best conference in the country in the ACC, working with this group of players that are so hungry for success. There is much work to be done for sure, as past results have not been what is expected, but I am confident that with all of us working together we can bring this program into national prominence and build a program of excellence.”
Waldrum will have his hands full trying to navigate Pittsburgh through the ACC which includes national powers North Carolina, Virginia, and Duke. In 2017 Pittsburgh did not win a match in the ACC, finishing 0-9-1. The Panthers were 3-12-3 overall. Waldrum did not reach the playoffs in three full seasons with the Dash and the team was freefalling at 2-5-0 when he was dismissed in May. Before that Waldrum coached at Notre Dame where he led the Fighting Irish to a pair of national championships. He also coached the men’s and women’s teams at Tulsa before founding and coaching the women’s program at Baylor.
Netherland EURO winning team named Federation Knights
All 23 players who represented the Netherlands during their dream run to the 2017 European Championship on home soil have been named federation knights, the highest honor in Dutch soccer. The appointments were made Tuesday by federation president Michael van Praag.
“Very special that all players have been named as a team knight. The fact that we now receive the highest award from the KNVB shows only once again what we have achieved last summer. It is a fantastic appreciation,” captain Sherida Spitse said in comments posted on the KNVB site and translated via Google.
Asian Cup draw results in changes to Algarve Cup groups
On Tuesday the Portuguese Football Federation confirmed changes to the 2018 Algarve Cup group drawings.
Previously, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) compatriots Australia and Korea Republic were both drawn into group 1 for the tournament. Shortly thereafter, the two teams were also drawn into the same group for the 2018 AFC Asian Cup, the final stage of World Cup qualifying for nations within the confederation. World Cup rules prohibit group members from scheduling friendlies against one another ahead of the tournament, and the Algarve Cup is a friendly tournament.
As a result of a request to change the Algarve groups in the wake of the Asian Cup drawing, China PR was moved to Group 1 while Korea Republic was moved to Group 2. Group 1 now consists of hosts Portugal, Australia, Norway and China PR. Group 2 consists of Sweden, Canada, Korea Republic and Russia. The final Algarve group, Group 3, remains unchanged (Denmark, Netherlands, Japan and Iceland).