Also in today’s roundup, Infantino’s new world league fails to garner support, USWNT remain atop FIFA world rankings, NWSL injury report ahead of season opener is released, and Le Sommer signs contract extension with OL
Concacaf confirmed today that the United States will play host to the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship set to take place this fall from October 4-17. The top three teams that finish in the tournament will book their ticket to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, while the fourth place team will get the chance at a World Cup spot after facing off in an intercontinental playoff.
The Concacaf Women’s Championship will include eight teams competing for their place at the World Cup. The USWNT, as host and defending champion, and North American qualifiers Mexico and Canada have secure spots in the qualifying tournament. The five remaining spots will go to qualifiers via the 2018 Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifier and the 2018 Concacaf Central America Women’s Qualifier.
New U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro expressed his excitement for the tournament taking place on home soil. “As hosts to the Concacaf Women’s Championship, we’re thrilled to welcome top national women’s teams from our region as they strive to secure a spot in the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Cordeiro in Concacaf’s official release. “The women’s game continues to grow across our region, and this event provides another opportunity for these athletes to compete at the very highest level. We’re confident that in cooperation with Concacaf, we will stage an exciting tournament for both the fans and the teams.”
The venues and dates will be announced in the coming weeks. In the last edition of the tournament which took place in 2014 ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the USWNT took the title with a 6-0 win over Costa Rica in the Final.
To lock in the final five spots in the tournament, the Concacaf Caribbean Women’s Qualifier is set to kick off on May 5. The final round of the qualifying will take place in late July, among the first round group winners from the May stage. The top three teams from the final round will qualify for the tournament in the United States. In Central America, the qualifying tournament will take place from July 6-10 in Nicaragua. The top two teams from this qualifier will advance to the Concacaf Women’s Championship as well.
— U.S. Soccer WNT (@ussoccer_wnt) March 23, 2018
Infantino’s world league proposal for women’s soccer fails to pass
Gianni Infantino, president of FIFA, has failed in passing his proposal to introduce a new global league for women’s soccer. Last Friday, it was reported that Infantino received push back on his proposal for a new global league that was set to feature 16 of the top women’s national teams in the world and start as early as November 2019. The push back tabled any decision until at lease the next council meeting which will take place in June. It is now understood that the bid was killed by European members who argued that the idea severely lacked detail and thoughtfulness.
The press release from FIFA that came out after the meeting dictated that the proposal “required further examination”, but according the Inside World Football, it’s been discovered that UEFA made it clear back in November that their women’s calendar was completely full and that a new concept like this would “punish clubs and was not in their best interests.”
Tatjana Haenni, former FIFA director of women’s football, told Inside World Football, that despite what seems on the surface as a push to promote women’s soccer, the lack of due diligence done ahead of time was astounding. “It’s great that FIFA wants to do something new but the proposed concept is not what is helpful for women’s football worldwide. It shows that there is a lack of consultancy,” said Haenni, who spent 18 years at FIFA until Infantino’s regime took over. “Discussions about this started when I was there. I said at the time it’s not what I recommend to do….I can understand that the FIFA concept was supported by some confederations and national associations because they thought FIFA would run the competition on their behalf but it’s hard to understand how they could approve a new competition without really listening to clubs and leagues, mainly in Europe, where there are huge challenges for the clubs and leagues in relation to players release and national team duties.”
Haenni offered up a few other possible solutions to grow the game which seemingly made more sense to her such as confederations individually doing what she claims they “should have been doing for years” and organizing tournaments for their women’s national teams. “In some countries like Argentina and Chile, they didn’t play a single match for two years,” added Haenni. Another possible solution that she proposed would be for FIFA to run a club world cup for women. Haenni believes for the next step in “commercial success” for women’s football globally, the clubs and leagues have to be strengthened and not weakened.
USWNT remain atop FIFA World Rankings after SheBelieves Cup triumph
Today, FIFA announced the first of it’s world rankings for 2018 which keeps the USWNT in the first position following their victory at the SheBelieves Cup earlier this month against some of the top teams in the world in Germany (3rd), France (5th) and England (2nd).
England also benefited from their success at the SheBelieves Cup in the FIFA ranks where they beat France 4-1, tied Germany 2-2 and lost to the U.S. only by one goal at a score of 1-0 under new head coach Phil Neville. They hold the #2 spot in the world rankings for their first-ever time. Germany, on the other hand, has fallen out of the top two for the first since June 2009 largely due to their disappointing performance in the tournament and their quarterfinal exit from the EUROs. Their last-place finish in the tournament also led to head coach Steffi Jones being ousted.
Success at the Algarve Cup allowed the Netherlands to remain at #7 and Sweden to move up one slot to #9 after the two teams shared the title. Spain, who won the Cyprus Cup title, moved up to #12 which is their highest-ever position on the rankings.
Full top 50 rankings can be found here.
Lavelle, Averbuch and Menges ruled out ahead of NWSL openers
As of Friday, the league released the official injury report heading into the first games of the 2018 NWSL season. Most notably, Rose Lavelle, Yael Averbuch and Emily Menges are all listed as out for their respective clubs. The Chicago Red Stars won’t be in full force either to start of their 2018 campaign as their injured list contains five players.
All clubs will also be missing their Australian federation players who are out on international duty.
Full injury report below.
Chicago Red Stars
OUT: Casey Short (right ankle sprain), Vanessa DiBernardo (stress fracture pelvis), Julie Ertz (right knee sprain), Yuki
Nagasato (left hamstring strain), Rosie White (right and left navicular fracture)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Sam Kerr (AUS)
OUT: Kyah Simon (right hamstring injury – D45), Thembi Kgatlana (excused absence)
North Carolina Courage
OUT: Makenzy Doniak (left knee ACL tear – SEI); Liz Eddy (right hamstring strain); Samantha Mewis (right knee strain); Yuri
Kawamura (right knee ACL repair – D45); Julie King (left ankle repair)
QUESTIONABLE: Abby Erceg (left hip strain)
OUT: Camila (right torn ACL and MCL sprain – D45)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Alanna Kennedy (AUS), Emily van Egmond (AUS)
OUT: Tobin Heath (right minor ankle surgery), Emily Menges (right lower leg stress reaction)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Ellie Carpenter (AUS), Hayley Raso (AUS)
Seattle Reign FC
OUT: Yael Averbuch (illness), Kristen McNabb (right knee sprain), Kiersten Dallstream (right hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Steph Catley (AUS), Lydia Williams (AUS)
Utah Royals FC
OUT: Alex Arlitt (left knee strain – D45), Mandy Laddish (right hip contusion – D45), Amy Rodriguez (right knee – D45)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Katrina Gorry (AUS)
OUT: Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury), Rose Lavelle (left hamstring strain), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Arielle
Ship (right ACL recovery – D45)
Le Sommer extends contract with OL through June 2021
French forward Eugenie Le Sommer extended her contract with Olympique Lyonnais for two more seasons, linking her with the club until June 2021 coming off the heels of a 2-1 victory over FC Barcelona in the first leg of the quarterfinals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League this week. She also recently became the top scorer in the club’s history with 229 goals in 250 games played.
Since the world-class striker arrived at Lyon in 2010, she not only holds the scoring record, but has many titles with the club including seven league titles, six Coupe de France titles, and four UWCL titles.
“I am very proud to play for OL and very happy that the club trusts me. I am very happy to extend the adventure here, I will hope to win lots of titales and be a part of the story from this club,” said Le Sommer in the club’s official release on her contract extension.
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