Also in today’s Roundup, Cami Levin heads to Europe, and Orlando and Chicago reveal new kits
Australian women’s national team head coach Alen Stajcic has named his 23-player squad for the upcoming 2018 AFC Asian Cup, which serves as the AFC’s qualifying tournament for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. This squad will take part in a two-week camp before playing Thailand in a friendly in Perth, Australia, at the end of this month. That game will serve as a farewell friendly before the tournament, which takes place in Jordan in April.
Kyah Simon, Emily Gielnik, Steph Catley, and Hayley Raso rejoin the squad after missing out on the Algarve Cup due to injury. Casey Dumont and Aivi Luik also received call ups, the latter for the first time since 2015. The Matildas lost the 2014 final of the Asian Cup 0-1 to Japan. 14 players from that team return for the 2018 squad.
The Matildas have enjoyed rising success over the last 12 months. After claiming the inaugural trophy at the 2017 Tournament of Nations, they rose to their highest-ever FIFA ranking of fourth. Recently, they came in fourth at the 2018 Algarve Cup.
Ten NWSL players, representing six of the nine NWSL teams, have been called up. Those players will make their 2018 NWSL debuts after the conclusion of the tournament at the end of April.
Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold (Arna-Bjørnar), Casey Dumont (Melbourne Victory), Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign)
Defenders: Laura Alleway (Melbourne Victory), Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns), Steph Catley (Seattle Reign), Alex Chidiac (Adelaide United), Caitlin Cooper (Sydney FC), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar)
Midfielders: Tameka Butt (Brisbane Roar), Katrina Gorry (Utah Royals), Elise Kellond-Knight (FFC Turbine Potsdam), Chloe Logarzo (Sydney FC), Aivi Luik (Melbourne City), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride)
Forwards: Larissa Crummer (Melbourne City), Lisa De Vanna (Sydney FC), Emily Gielnik (Brisbane Roar), Michelle Heyman (Canberra United), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Kyah Simon (Houston Dash)
Japan names 2018 AFC Asian Cup roster
Japanese women’s national team head coach Asako Takakura has named her squad for the 2018 AFC Asian Cup as Japan attempts to defend their 2014 Asian Cup title and qualify for the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France.
Returning to the squad for the first time in two years is Seattle Reign favorite Nahomi Kawasumi. Her brace in the semifinal against Sweden during the 2011 Women’s World Cup sent Japan to the final, where they defeated the United States on penalty kicks. She started the finals of both the 2012 Olympics and 2015 Women’s World Cup. Japan took silver after falling to the U.S. in both tournaments. However, after failing to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, Japan underwent a youth movement, and Kawasumi has been left off recent rosters. She will join her Reign teammate Rumi Utsugi, who is now in the top ten of the most capped female Japanese soccer players ever.
Only seven of the 23 players on this squad also appeared in the 2014 tournament. Japan has struggled in recent times, coming in third at the 2017 Tournament of Nations without a win and taking sixth at the 2018 Algarve Cup.
Goalkeepers: Chika Hirao ( Albirex Niigata), Sakiki Ikeda (Urawa Red Diamonds), Ayaka Yamashita (NTV Beleza)
Defenders: Saori Ariyoshi (NTV Beleza), Nana Ichise (Vegalta Sendai), Saki Kumagai (Olympique Lyonnais), Shiori Miyake (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Aya Sameshima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Risa Shimizu (NTV Beleza), Hikari Takagi (Npjima Stella Kanagawa), Rumi Utsugi (Seattle Reign)
Midfielders: Yui Hasegawa (NTV Beleza), Rika Masuya (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Emi Nakajima (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Yu Nakasato (NTV Beleza), Hikaru Naomoto (Urawa Red Diamonds), Mizuho Sakaguchi (NTV Beleza), Rin Sumida (NTV Beleza)
Forwards: Mana Iwabuchi (INAC Kobe Leonessa), Nahoma Kawasumi (Seattle Reign), Yuka Sugasawa (Urawa Red Diamonds), Mina Tanaka (NTV Beleza), Kumi Yokoyama (FFC Turbine Potsdam)
Cami Levin leaves NWSL for Europe
Houston Dash defender Cami Levin announced via social media that she will be missing this NWSL season in order to pursue opportunities in Europe. There is no word yet on what those opportunities are. Levin’s younger sister Savannah currently plays for Göteborg FC in Sweden’s Damallsvenskan, where Cami played in 2012 and 2013.
Levin is a Stanford product, where she played alongside Christen Press and Chioma Ubogagu, among others, and assisted Teresa Noyola’s goal to secure Stanford’s first-ever NCAA Championship in 2011. Levin spent two seasons with Sky Blue before joining Fiorentina Women’s FC on loan. Upon her return to the US, she was selected in the 2015 NWSL expansion draft to join the Orlando Pride for their inaugural season. In 2017, the Pride traded Levin to the Dash.
Levin’s full statement can be read on her Instagram account.
I have made the tough decision to forego the NWSL season with the Houston Dash to pursue opportunities in Europe. Thank you Dash for supporting my decision. I have loved and cherished my time playing in the NWSL and am so thankful for all my experiences. Thank you to the Houston Dash, the fans,coaches and most importantly my teammates. I will miss you guys! I’m excited and ready for this next chapter! 🧡💜💙 #nwsl
Pride reveal secondary kit
The Orlando Pride unveiled their secondary kit for 2018, known as the Eola Energy kit. They will be keeping the purple primary kit from 2017. The jersey is white with purple stripes across the torso, with white sleeves, of a similar design to Houston, Utah, and Sky Blue. The logo of Pride sponsor Orlando Health is prominently displayed across the chest, along with the Pride crest, while the NWSL and Lifetime logos occupy each sleeve.
Orlando opens their season on March 24 when they host the Utah Royals. Fans may have to wait until their first away game on March 31 at Washington to get a glimpse of the new kit in action.
Introducing the Eola Energy Kit. Our secondary kit for the 2018 season. #FilledWithPride
Available at The Den at Orlando City Stadium starting at 10:00 a.m. and tonight at Pride in the House. pic.twitter.com/yV4al4a84t
— Orlando Pride (@ORLPride) March 19, 2018
Red Stars to sport new kit
The Chicago Red Stars revealed their 10th anniversary kit today, celebrating their ten years at the forefront of the highest level of American professional women’s soccer. The jersey pays homage to kits of the past with a simple white primary color with thin blue stripes and red lettering. The famous four red stars have been moved to the sleeves, alongside the NWSL and Lifetime crests, while the Red Stars crest is on the chest.
Chicago begins their season in Houston on March 25 before returning for their home opener on March 31.
The 10th Anniversary Kit pic.twitter.com/1Y1XrYSv1U
— Chicago Red Stars (@chiredstarsPR) March 20, 2018