by Roger Le Grove Rogers
Article Index 2008
August 25, 2008
Colin Aldis lists standings for All Four Olympic Games
August 22, 2008
New York Time's article by Jere Longman today, somewhat misleading and possibly embarrassing for Solo and the rest of the team
August 21, 2008
An Olympic Gold Cup Final that was a showpiece of the brilliance of women's international soccer
August 9, 2008
With all of todays matches decided by one goal differance this Olympic shows the maturation and growth of women's international soccer competition.worldwide.
July 26, 2008
It can be hazardous for your health when playing in your opponent's goal area
January 16, 2008
Good start for new USA Head Coach Pia Sundhage, and China Head Coach Elisabeth Loisel at Four Nations Tournament
Article Index 2007
October 8, 2007
Greek Consular office in Tbilisi stymies the Georgia Women’s U-19 National Team in their attempt to play in UEFA qualifier in Sweden
September 27, 2007
The dumbing down of the coaching in the Women’s National Team program by the U.S. Soccer Federation
January 28, 2007
Mark of maturity for the women's game at 2007 China Tournament?
Article Index 2005
September 3, 2005
Good news for the women as FIFA clears the way for Great Britain Teams in the Olympics
July 6, 2005
Will the the England FA find a way to participate in the 2012 London Olympics ?
June 18, 2005
What does it all mean?
June 17, 2005
Italy and the English disease
June 8, 2005
Our view of the opening matches in the 2005 UEFA Championship Final
Article Index 2004
August 25, 2004
Referees will be playing an important part in both medal games tomorrow
August 19, 2004
Our view of quarter-final matches
August 16, 2004
Our view of third and last day of games in First Round
August 13, 2004
Our view of Olympic second round matches
August 10, 2004
WSW review of Olympic matches tomorrow
May 31, 2004
Final matches between top four teams in CONCACAF U-19 qualifier are crucial for semi-final positions
March 17, 2004
Greece and Xanthi Konstantinidou are the real story of the 2004 Algarve Cup
January 16, 2004
Has FIFA President Sepp Blatter lost his marbles?
Article Index 2003
October 12, 2003
Germany to win World Cup today?
October 10, 2003
USA /Canada game for third place should be a humdinger!
September 30, 2003
A critique of the 2003 World Cup so far
September 17, 2003
The Reluctant Superstar--A must read for fans of women's soccer and Mia Hamm !
July 17, 2003
History repeats itself with opening match against Sweden
June 29, 2003
Tickets and schedule advice
June 15, 2003
Why don't women watch women's sports?--- headline for article in today's New York Times
World Top Ten Rankings © Women's Soccer World
May 27, 2003
Women of America, this is your chance to help make this a successful "Grass Roots" Women's World Cup
May 5, 2003
Is 2003 World Cup going back to the USA?
April 11, 2003
Will 2003 Women's World Cup be postponed because of virus?
April 2, 2003
Fiji National Team denied opportunity to compete in Oceanic 2003 World Cup qualifier by Fiji FA
Article Index 2002
December 16, 2002
WUSA feeling a financial crunch?
December 10, 2002
Kristin Moore is our heroine of one of the most emotional final game cliffhangers seen in NCAA championship history, and TV commentators Beth Mowine and Wendy Gebauer Palladino show the world how to cover the women's game
November 7, 2002
Mexico game was perfect preparation for Canada's game against the USA
November 3, 2002
Some more thoughts on the USA v Panama game
November 1, 2002
1. Gold Cup comments
October 29, 2002
FoxSportsWorld commentating at an all time low in 2002 Gold Cup, as poor quality TV commentators continue to hurt the women's game in the United States
If you thought that when you watched Stone cover the Norway game on ESP N, and the WUSA Atlanta game against Carolina on regional Fox Sport South TV, he was the most pitiful excuse for a soccer commentator you have ever seen- then think again. The current TV coverage of the 2002 Gold Cup is even worse than the officiating, and an uninformed Hopkins with his trite babble has taken the commentating to a new low.
September 2, 2002
Congratulations to the U.S. National Under-19 Team in becoming FIFA World Champions. Superbly coached by Head Coach Tracey Leone they are worthy winners.
August 26, 2002
USA's performance at FIFA Championship is a reminder of the first international games played by a U.S. U-19 National Team that included Biefeld (Fawcett), Foudy, Hamm and Lilly in 1987
August 24, 2002
Brazil's success is no surprise for readers from the 85 countries who log on to Women's Soccer World
August 6, 2002
Men to tell women officials for Gold Cup how to do it
April 23, 2002
PAXTV coverage of WUSA games is not available as promised
April 15, 2002
contest as Tiffeny Milbrett is named WUSA Player of the Week
April 8, 2002
Will Fulham FC. and their visionary owner Mohamed Al Fayed move the English FA and its professional clubs towards equality for women's soccer?
April 2, 2002
WUSA fans in for treat this season as quality of players climbs
January 16, 2002
WSW congratulates Tony DiCicco on his move to the FIFA coaching elite- a personal tribute
December 17, 2001
The "English disease' persists as BBC World Television and Fox Sports World (Sky Sports news) ignore the FIFA Women's Player of the Year
November 12, 2001
NCAA Tournament in Dallas , Texas and debt to Anson Dorrance
September 12, 2001
We thank our many friends of women's soccer around the world for their caring letters of support and sympathy sent to us in the USA following the terrorist attacks yesterday.
Following is a selection of letters received
September 8, 2001
Some thoughts from Tiffeny Milbrett
August 3, 2001
Is Fulham shaking up the English women's game?
June 27, 2001
A follow up to Rimati's feature article about the lack of coverage by the Italian media of Italy's National Team at the UEFA Championship 2001
April 28, 2001
Lessons for fans and players offered by WUSA in its first two weeks including the dominance by goalkeepers.
March 12, 2001
Reaching for the stars... a new route to the National Team?
February 26, 2001
Welcome to our Spanish speaking readers
February 5, 2001
A voice from the China National Team
January 23, 2001
U.S. women's soccer export business continues
The "English Disease"_commentary1997
Article Index 2000
December 23, 2000
Guest Editorial by Hank Leung
Lack of Female Officials Doing the NCAA Finals
Another example of WUSA's positive effect on the "old boy" Football Federations around the world
The past, the present and the future of women's soccer come together at inaugural WUSA combine player draft
What an incredible experience to be present at this event as the first women's professional league becomes a reality with each of the eight teams participating in the first player draft. Beginning with the team games during the first few days, and culminating in the player draft it was a continuous reminder of the history of the first fifteen years of international soccer in the United States. more
Everywhere were committed women who have been part of the success of women's soccer as players, coaches, administrators and organizers. Players like Kim Wyant, the goalkeeper in the first ever U.S. international game in 1985, who has continued to play and work in the game, Janine Szpara a goalkeeper with the National Team Pool from 1986-1991 who has continued to play and coach in countries like Japan, Marsha McDermott a National Team Player in 1986, NCAA Division l Head Coach and now Coach of the WUSA Carolina team, Lauren Gregg , National Team member in 1987, NCAA Division l Head Coach, Under-21 National Team Head Coach, and Assistant U.S. National Team Coach until the end of 1999, and now the WUSA Technical Director. Administrators like Charlotte Moran, Pennsylvania, who has been involved since the beginning with girls and women programs, and Louise Waxler, Washington D.C., whose long time involvement includes the W-League and the creation of the Kicks against Cancer Tournament. The players in the matches were of all ages and experience and their enthusiasm added to the emotionally filled atmosphere during games and the Draft, as they watched their dreams of a professional women's league become a reality.
The pressure is now on the top brass of WUSA to make sure that they appoint a top class administrator, who understands the women's game completely and is given full rein. A corporate type chief would indicate that they do not do realize their good fortune in having this powerful, dedicated groupof women, who have brought the game this far, on their team. If they lose them their huge investment will be for naught.
Guest Commentary -THE DYNASTY CONTINUES
Last weekend the North
Carolina women's soccer team proved to a national television audience why it
may be one of the greatest dynasties in sports history. Down 1-0 in both the
NCAA semifinal and championship matches, the Tar Heels battled brilliantly to
earn back-to-back 2-1 victories en route to their 16th NCAA title and 17th national
championship. Since taking the field in the early eighties, the Tar Heels have
compiled an unbelievable 487-22-11 record and outscored their opponents 2,291
to 232. more
Even if you hate losing to North Carolina year after year, you have to feel proud of what the Tar Heels have accomplished for women's soccer. Led by former U.S. Women's National Team coach Anson Dorrance, North Carolina has put women's soccer on the national map for good. Even a media dominated by editors, producers and talk show hosts who hate soccer can't ignore North Carolina's accomplishments.
But some people in the media still don't get it. In one of the greatest national championships ever played, North Carolina battled UCLA on ESPN-2. Simultaneously, sister station ESPN, a channel with a much greater national signature, televised an early season women's college basketball game, which couldn't have had one-fourth as many spectators as the NCAA women's soccer final.
If you don't believe that the media discriminates against women's soccer, just check the sports pages and you'll see many more column inches photos devoted to women's basketball. These games draw crowds that aren't much bigger than those who flock to tiny university soccer facilities. But then again, if editors are pressured to devote more resources to women's sports, they'll toss a bone to basketball.
Despite the phenomenal growth of women's collegiate soccer, athletic departments do almost nothing to promote their women's soccer programs to the general public. Every state has tens of thousands of little girls playing soccer, but college marketing departments that care only about football and men's basketball seem blind to a huge and wealthy market that they can hardly avoid tripping over. When was the last time a college marketing rep visited your state association, club or league to hand out schedules and sell tickets?
Thank God for North Carolina! Yes, it would be nice if someone else took home the NCAA crown for a change. But if it weren't for North Carolina, women's collegiate soccer would receive about as much media coverage as the men's swim team or the women's gymnastics team.
Same old story-UNC dominates and NCAA does not see fit to use women referees in televised College Cup Final
It seems that every year WSW ask the question as to why with 650+ women's college teams in the NCAA and NAIA there are so few women referees used. It is particularly noticeable that even when available they are not used when matches are being televised live. Who chooses the referees for televised college game? Men? A wonderful opportunity to showcase women referees is missed, as well as losing a chance to persuade girls and women to officiate, we need more girl and women referees
A token tour?
This performance by a poorly coached and prepared U.S. Team along with a pitiful attendance raises many questions of the U.S. Soccer Federation. What is the purpose of this three game tour? Was it a contract that couldn't be broken, or was it some sort of ego statement to try and combat U.S. Soccer's waning authority? Why have a tour at this time of the year in the middle of the NCAA playoffs? The fans have been told that it is to honor the U.S. Team, if so why is it so badly marketed and managed?
will continue the women's soccer movement that the incredibly successful FIFA
WWC '99 USA set in motion around the world©WSW
The foreign player selection by the WUSA teams this week remind us what an impact this first professional women's league will have on the world of women's soccer.
With eight teams and this level of players we will be seeing soccer played at the level of the top five teams in the world by all eight squads, as opposed to the varying levels seen in the Olympics and even the World Cup. We are going to be treated to some of the best soccer in the world.
On the positive side it will help continue the continuing improvement in the quality of the women's game, although on the negative side it will tend to mostly improve the quality of the National Teams with players in WUSA teams with the accompanying risk of further emphasizing the gap between the top ten teams in the world and the rest. As the league expands this could change as the foreign player pool becomes more diversified.
Our belief is that the greatest benefit will be the pressure that the publicity and presence of WUSA will put on soccer federations worldwide to support and finance their women's programs equally with the men's. Last year at the Women's World Cup'99 the FIFA President announced that FIFA would be sending a million dollars to each of its member federations. It is obvious, from the letters from women in over 50 countries that WSW has received in the last six years, that the women's programs have in most countries not received a fair share of that money and many get no financial support. Yet much of the money collected by federations and FIFA come from women's involvement in the game.
We have already seen some results that the formation of WUSA has had on UEFA, who after years of stalling will be holding the first UEFA Club Championship for women. Yet they are demanding that the final host team for the championship must make sure that it is financially supported. Conditions that were never made in the developmental days of the men's game. The amount of money and publicity that is freely given to support the men's game makes a mockery of any pretense of women's equality in UEFA. Just look at their printed monthly newspaper and add up the space given to the women's game in Europe. Often not more than four or five short lines. Their edition following the Women's World Cup last year did put in a small paragraph.
Taking the U.S. Women's National Team to another level ?
When the U.S. Soccer Federation dismantled the women's national team coaching program after their World Cup success last year there was a variety of reactions in the USA and the rest of the world.
Amazement by most, that this would be the response to a coaching staff responsible for creating a national team that dominated the international scene in such a short time, and in a manner that no men's national team in the USA could ever match.
Coaches of top national teams expressed some relief that they would no longer be competing as coaches against this intelligent and competent coaching staff who had set new standards for the international women's game.
Many women in soccer and sports regarded it as the usual reaction, by control freaks in testosterone filled male dominated sport's federations around the world, to success by female athletes. In this case a group of exceptionally gifted athletes who had decided that two World Cups and an Olympic Gold Medal plus their success in placing women's soccer into the fabric of American everyday living justified being treated equal to men. Imagine how the members of the U.S. Men's National Team would react, and what their demands would be if they won one World Cup.
Some of the more paranoid felt that the disassembling of the coaching staff was a way of putting down some naughty girls who had forgotten their place in the sporting hierarchy, and that women's soccer had got out of hand and run amuck. It was even suggested that they needed bringing down a peg or two to be closer to the quality of the men's game, for if they wanted equality with the men they should play at their level. This last thought was inadvertently given some credence when U.S. Soccer 's Head Coach Heinrichs talked about "taking the team to a new level "at her first press conference.
In spite of the debacle that started the year when almost the entire team was filled with new players in their match against Norway, in what must have been a moment of sheer madness, or an order sent down from the U.S. Soccer hierarchy or both, we all felt that it was only fair to wait until after the Olympics before offering an opinion.
Olympic review ...an opinion
The recent Olympic results show what happens when you replace an experienced national team coaching staff with a group of coaches with negligible international coaching experience and, except for Head Coach Heinrichs, no major accomplishments at even college level.
Both the USA and China looked physically and mentally tired coming into this tournament, and no wonder considering the continuous world wide travelling their Federations had put them through the last twelve months. Conversely Germany, a team destined for more success, lacked the edge of play needed at this level because of the absence of any real international travel and meaningful competition in their preparation. Norway looked the most ready and you could almost see their very competent Head Coach Per-Mathias Høgmo rubbing his hands with glee after watching the drop in the quality of the international match preparation for the USA this year. It gave his new and younger players the belief that this U.S. Team could be beaten.
Brazil still appear to have a problem with fitness in spite of their pre-Olympic claim in the United States that they were much fitter than before. They did not show the cohesiveness in their team play that we all admired in previous tournaments.
Nigeria and Australia are still only on the verge of breaking into the top ten of the world. Nigeria was still very physically threatening but had little organization and no defense. When they meet strict, competent officiating as they did at the 99' World Cup they are no match for the top teams. They were lucky to qualify and with the rapid improvement of teams such as Russia they are unlikely to be seen at the next Olympics. Unfortunately the circumstances and lack of proper support and organization of the women's program in Nigeria bodes ill for improvement.
Australia's improved performance should be more apparent in the next few years. With such a solid program they will have no trouble staying in the top ten.
Compared to the World Cup the overall quality of play was lower and the competition should have been no match for the USA. There appeared to be no clear plan against the teams faced, and while it would be difficult to match the level of pre-game analysis that DiCicco and Gregg excelled at, it seemed that no one had done a competent job of scouting or tape reviewing. If they had there was no evidence of its use during the matches.
The reluctance to substitute more than one player during crucial matches (was there a mention of the English Marines in one of the coaches biography?), the staying with a 4-4-2 (has a command from that other English trained coach crept in here?), leaving one of the best players , Parlow, on the bench and substituting her late in the games (you mean that there is a rumor that UNC is out of favor and west coast is in?).
When she was corralled into taking the job by U.S. Soccer who had got themselves into a corner with their shenanigans, Head Coach April Heinrichs was honest and said that she had not applied for the position because she had not felt that she was ready. She knew that it would be a tough job, and now it will become even more difficult for her unless she can find a better level of coaching support, because we did not see any of the toughness or command we had seen in her as a player. The U.S. now looks vulnerable and perhaps that is good for the game in countries trying to improve their women's programs.
Next commentary will be about the officiating
20 , 2000
NBC poor coverage is frustrating and insulting
Thousands of fans wrote to us and NBC about their complete lack of coverage of women's soccer before and during the Olympics '96. Unfortunately NBC refused to acknowledge their complaints. Like Oliver Twist those same Americans are not satisfied with the mere pittance of taped delayed women's soccer now offered by NBC, they all have the same request "we want more and we want it live." NBC has again made major errors of judgement about theiir Olympic coverage and this time it is not just women's soccer that has been been short changed. The fans have given up writing to them this time,, and are expressing themselves by refusing to watch. In 1996 WSW was told by NBC that their marketing consultants had told them that nobody watched women's soccer on television in the United States, it seems they are trying to make certain that is true for these Olympics.
Presumably that same group advised them this time that the fans would only watch women's soccer if it was presented as a packaged sitcom with plenty of commercial breaks. In addition our worst fears (see our commentary last month) have been realized with the incredibly bad performance by an uniformed Cantor ( a relation of Eddie?). As far as we can tell he was hired because of his ability to irritate with his ridiculous and overused gimmick of hysterically screaming "gooooooal " ad nauseum. NBC is fortunate that Amy Allman is there to save him. At times even her patience seems strained as he makes another of his several asinine remarks. You can almost guess what she is thinking. Her soccer knowledge and intelligence saves him and the show from being a complete disaster.
Three items of interest today
What a wonderful idea to honor past and present Australian women athletes by having them participate in the lighting of the Olympic Flame. So many Sports Federations in the United States including U.S. Soccer tend to honor the people that contributed their time and talents in their sport in word only and not by deed.
The September issue of the Archives of Pediatric &;Adolescent Medicine contains the results of a survey led by Russell R. Pate, a Professor of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina School of Public Health, of more than 14,000 teenagers. They found that those who took part in team sports were less likely to use drugs, smoke, have sex, carry weapons, or have unhealthy eating habits.
American Nancy Johnson won the first gold medal awarded in the Sydney games. On Saturday she won the 10-meter air rifle competition
Most Valuable Player of World Cup '99
© Women's Soccer World Magazine Special World Cup Edition 1999
We shall miss her
There are always elite athletes who perform at the top level of their sport but only a few - like Gretsky in ice hockey - are blessed with the presence to dominate and influence the game. The first fifteen years of women's international soccer in the U.S. has already produced two such giants of their sport who have both in their own ways dominated the two World Championships won by the USA during that period.
For five years April Heinrichs was the driving force behind the development of a national team whose determination, courage and commitment would help overcome its lack of international experience to win the first ever Women's World Cup in 1991. In that same World Cup we saw the emergence of the player who would win the FIFA Golden Boot for the most goals scored and go on to accept the National Team mantle from Heinrichs, whose influence has moved into the coaching arena. Michelle Akers's presence dominated the stadium every time she stepped on the field in World Cup '99, and we saw her demonstrate that same strength of purpose and ability to lead her fellow players when the going got tough.
NBC still does not get it...better get your e-mails ready
If the media release put out by NBC is correct it seems that there will be no guaranteed complete coverage of U.S. women's soccer at these Olympics except in the opening game which will not be live. The U.S. Olympic Soccer Team meets Norway on September, 14, 2000, the day before the opening ceremonies, and it will be televised via tape delay in the 6:30-9 p.m. (ET) time slot on MSNBC. According to NBC the rest of the first round games will be covered via partial game segments as part of regular Olympic coverage on MSNBC.............more
The quarterfinals and semifinals will be divided among the three networks of the NBC family, with the Women's Semifinal being shown as part of Olympic coverage on NBC on September, 24th and the Final as part of regular Olympic coverage on MSNBC.
Other bad news and further evidence of NBC's poor attitude to the women's game is that veteran Univision and current Telemundo broadcaster Andres Cantor will be handling the play-by-play of all women's soccer broadcasts (In 15 years WSW has yet to see him at or covering a women's international game). Fortunately for the fans he will be joined by a real expert in women's soccer former U.S. Women's National Team goalkeeper Amy Allmann.
The U.S.Under-21 National Team performance these last years are the result of strong girls' programs across the USA that are the envy of the world
The interview, in last Sundays' Sports section of the New York Times,with the Iranian soccer star Khodadad Azizi was of great interest to WSW because of our correspondence through the last two years with women in Iran who are trying hard to secure the growth of women's soccer in their country. When Azizi, who has signed with the MLS San Jose Earthquakes, was asked for his impression of the popularity of women's soccer in the United States he said that he had seen some of the U.S. Team's games and that they deserved to be the number one team in the world. He went on to say that "you can tell that you have better youth programs here than anywhere else in the world."
We would like to clarify the Time's preceding statement" that they have heard that women in Iran are not permitted to attend soccer games." Women have been allowed to watch soccer games but have been confined to a special women only section. The famous time that they broke that rule ( reported here at WSW) was when their Men's National Team arrived home from Australia having qualified for the World Cup. Thousands of women turned up at the stadium for the welcoming appearance of the team and broke through the barriers set up to separate them from the men..When the Iranian religous leader was asked what he would do about it, he is reputed to have shrugged his shoulders and replied" That's football."
Poor performance by the DFB
Not only were the game results bad for host team Germany at the DFB Jubilee Tournament, but the low attendance at the matches was somewhat of an embarrassment according to many of the supporters present. The apparent failure of the DFB to promote the women's games properly was made worst by the inflated official attendance figures announced. WSW has learned from several unrelated sources present at the matches that the actual attendance was little more than half of the figures released (and used by WSW).
In the last years we have seen disappointing performances by a well trained and skilled German Team and it leads one to believe that a basic philosophical error may be part of the problem. The German National Team does not schedule or play many of the top teams in the World as part of its preparation for the Olympics or the World Cup. The league always seems to come first, as it did last year when Germany arrived a week before the WWCup '99. As fine a league as it has been in the past, and as valuable as it has been for keeping their players match fit it does not compare now with the level of play exhibited by the top teams in the world. It is never been helpful when preparing for the top international tournaments to be playing weak opponents.
July 9, 2000
Welcome back Brianna
After Heinrichs was recently quoted as saying that Siri Mullinix had earned the starting keeper position in the team after ten shutouts I thought that it was probably an out of context quote, but then maybe it was to give Brianna a little push. I am sure that Heinrichs remembers that the tough mental strength of Mary Harvey in goal was one of the reasons that the USA won the First FIFA World Cup in 1991, and that no amount of skill and athletic ability in a keeper can equal the mental strengths of a seasoned goalkeeper in the pressure cooker occasions of World Cups or Olympic Games. What a tough job ahead for Head Coach Heinrichs.. having to make choices from the fantastic number of talented players in the USA. Any one of the top 50 players seen in the National Teams' training camps (U-18, U-21 and Senior) this past twelve months would make the women's national teams in most of the other countries participating in international competition.
June 21, 2000
Do Mexican men feel threatened by women's soccer?
The shameful lack of support shown by the Mexican Soccer Federation (Federacion Mexicana de Futbol Asociacion) for their Women's National Team players confirms their reputed chauvinistic attitude to women's soccer. It has been reported that each of the players will receive $25.00 per day as opposed to their men's daily $100.00, and that they have only one uniform, and one set of pants which are men's size so they look too big for them. They have no training uniforms.
Mexican women not alone...New Zealand has the same approach
WSW has learned that the situation in New Zealand is similar to Mexico.
They do not receive any money while on tour or in training camps despite the fact that most of the players have to take time off their full-time jobs at their own cost. If they are unable to attend a training camp due to lack of funds they jeopardize their position in the squad. The players are given fitness programs to follow but are expected to fund gym memberships etc themselves. Although the national teams secured sponsorship from Adidas for strips etc, the women were allowed to keep just one playing shirt out of their entire kit from their US/ Europe tour of 1998. The men however seem to have far more equipment. This does not appear to be the doing of Adidas but more the NZ soccer administrators.
These types of things are common and may seem to be petty things but they do illustrate the lack of respect for the women's national side and therefore the women's game.
I Am Ashamed
This Has Got To Change
Sadly your story on Mexican Women's soccer is true
May 29, 2000
Kudos to Football Confederation's (CONCACAF) moral and financial support for the women's game
It is encouraging that the Football Confederation is sending a message to its member Federations by awarding the men and women playing in the Gold Cup equal prize money. It should not be surprising that they would be a leader by example. Unlike some of their federations who have to be cajoled and threatened by their women players before any financial equality is given, it is probably not well known that Football Confederation General Secretary Chuck Blazer was a driving force in arranging the U.S. National Team's entry into the international arena in 1985. He was instrumental in obtaining the first trip to a tournament in Jesolo, Italy to play Italy, England and Denmark, and was the Head of Delegation for that historic event.
It is nice that he has not forgotten his roots.
May 23, 2000
A professional league for women that promises to be the flagship league of the millennium is now more than a dream. The announcement today that the MLS has opted not to file an application with U.S. Soccer to operate a women's professional league is good for soccer.
The much needed league for international level players in the United States will also help keep pressure on the Federations in the rest of the world. They have shown little encouragement and none of the millions of dollars received from FIFA (announced at the FIFA Women's Symposium during the '99 World Cup) to their own soccer programs for women and girls.
This league has the advantage of immediately playing at a level of women's soccer not presently seen anywhere else in the world, since in addition to the many talented players in the USA we have received inquiries from members of the top ranked National teams in the world about playing in WUSA.
WUSA will operate the Division 1 Women's Professional Outdoor Soccer League in the United States as MLS opts not to file an application
May 17, 2000
A Wasted Opportunity For MLS
By Rick Crow
On Saturday, May 13, Major League Soccer was presented with a golden opportunity to show the local and national soccer communities why it deserves to operate the country's women's professional league that will take the field next year.
In a unique, men's-women's doubleheader at RFK Stadium, the Maryland Pride faced the Delaware Genies in a W-League showdown at 5:00 p.m., followed by a D.C. United-New England Revolution clash at 8:00 p.m.
Unfortunately, instead of proving that one organization can run two separate leagues, the doubleheader merely confirmed why MLS and D.C. United have no business getting involved in women's soccer.
Despite a violent thunderstorm that fell between games, 18,493 attended the men's match, while less than 300 showed up to see the Pride, who kicked off well before the clouds rolled in.
Although D.C. United and Pride officials met months ago to set aside the date and coordinate game-day operations, D.C. United did practically nothing to promote the women's part of the doubleheader. The D.C. United communications staff put a short blurb in the May 13 game notes, but not a single advance press release was sent to the media promoting D.C. United's or Major League Soccer's involvement in the doubleheader.
Many fans who purchased advanced tickets for the D.C. United game claimed that neither TicketMaster, nor D.C. United group sales representatives had told them about the Pride match. Other fans didn't know even know that the Maryland Pride is an elite women's soccer team, which includes many former national team players and has advanced to five national championship tournaments.
After Maryland defeated Delaware 2-0, dozens of youth players leaned over the railing requesting autographs, but Pride players were hustled off the field. Although some Maryland players managed to stay and chat with their fans for a few minutes, ushers could be heard telling the young girls that if they didn't have tickets for the lower sections, they would have to move out of the area.
Just as it appeared that D.C. United and Major League Soccer had completed their public relations disaster, along came the bizarre clincher. After the men's game, D.C. United general manager Kevin Payne came out of nowhere to hunt down a reporter and chastise him for "misleading the public" by comparing Kristine Lilly's all-time record of 200 international appearances with Lothar Matthaus' men's record of 145. Any serious soccer fan will agree that Matthaus' accomplishment is truly monumental, but it's hard to believe that a league, which hopes to become the vanguard for elite women's soccer, can afford to trivialize Lilly's feat. Despite MLS claims that it can run two separate leagues to the detriment of neither, the men's league appears to have few people in its Washington franchise who embrace this concept. Over the years, MLS has developed a great product, which has given a huge boost to the men's national team program. But unless a major re-education campaign is successful in the men's league, both MLS and WUSA should stick to their core competencies and focus exclusively on what they do best.
MLS and Women's Soccer
Crow's experience with MLS is no surprise
April 28, 2000
Progress in the Caribbean
The first-ever full international for the Bermuda Women's National Team opened the inaugural Caribbean Football Union Women's Championship. Bermuda defeated Bahamas 3:0 on April 23, 2000 at the National Centre in Hamilton in the preliminary round.
This is a major step for the Caribbean who have not been properly supportive of the women's game in the past according to the women WSW talked to at the 2nd. FIFA Women's Football Symposium held in Los Angeles during the World Cup '99. Only about a third of the representatives from the 70 countries attending were women and some countries have since written to WSW to complain that the men who represented their federation did not make any information about the meeting public.
Bermuda Football Association general secretary David Sabir is quoted by the Bermuda Sun as saying "We are delighted for our ladies. They have asked for a level of international commitments that could rival the men's. We know that is not always possible because the opportunity to do such is not always readily available."
His last sentence is of course a bit of double talk, because with the money that FIFA promised to its Federations around the world ($1 million each) for soccer development there should now be in place a comprehensive girls and women's programs in every country. Women from many nations at the conference expressed their concern to President Blatter that the women's game would receive little of that money in their countries and asked that FIFA designate part of it for programs for girls and women, but they were told that they should lobby their own federations for a fair share of it. A remark that was received with amusement, scorn and an understanding born of their own experience that the "Old Boys' Club" was still rather strong in all of the Confederations of FIFA.
So if you are vacationing in any of the islands of the Caribbean this summer, support women's soccer there and go to one of their play off games.
April 17, 2000
From the 1999 Women's World Cup Champions: A commitment to our future
Together, we comprise the Founding Players of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) which submitted a comprehensive Division I league membership application to the United States Soccer Federation on February 2, 2000. WUSA has assembled all of the critical components for league success: (1) a strong and enthusiastic investor group which has committed a minimum of $40 million in start-up capital; (2) a powerful television exhibition agreement with Turner Broadcasting; and (3) our exclusive playing services along with the commitments of over 100 of the world's top female soccer stars. The world's top female soccer talent came together to make sure that the WUSA is the very best women's pro soccer league in the world. Only by presenting the world's most widely recognized soccer talent can a league hope to attract ticket-buying fans, television viewers, and major sponsors.
Recent press reports indicate that there may be more than one entity interested in establishing a Division I women's professional soccer league. Those same reports imply that the Women's World Cup Champions and other stars might ultimately play in a league other than the WUSA. There seems to be speculation that we are without a choice in determining which league we will play in. Frankly, this speculation concerns us and we are issuing this statement to clarify the situation.
Thus, we are collectively stating that each member of the 1999 Women's World Cup Championship team will only play professionally for the WUSA.
Together we are committed to participating in the historic creation of a women's professional soccer league that is vibrant, strong, independent, and has the singular mission of developing women's pro soccer into all that it can be. We are steadfast in our resolve because future generations of female soccer players depend on us to make the right decisions now. We embrace this responsibility to these future players, to our fans, to youth players, and to the entire sport of soccer.
We want to thank our fans for standing behind us through all of the years and all of the competitions that have led to this historic and exciting moment in our sport. Next year, we look forward to the women of the WUSA taking the field on national television and playing professionally. It is our fondest hope that we can inspire this and future generations with on- and off-the-field examples of teamwork, perseverance and excellence. We know all of you will continue to be behind us in our quest to build the WUSA.
Subj: WUSA League
Signed, The 1999 Women's World Cup Champions:
- Julie Foudy
- Mia Hamm
- Brandi Chastain
- Briana Scurry
- Tiffeny Milbrett
- Danielle Fotopoulos
- Saskia Webber
- Christy Pearce
- Kate Sobrero
- Lorrie Fair
- Carla Overbeck
- Kristine Lilly
- Michelle Akers
- Joy Fawcett
- Cindy Parlow
- Shannon MacMillan
- Tiffany Roberts
- Sara Whalen
- Tisha Venturini
- Tracy Ducar
I whole heartedly agree. The WUSA is women's soccer's best chance for success. (continued)
April 7, 2000
U-18 National Team
What a fine performance by the Under-18 National Team in Bulgaria, especially when one considers their win over the Ukraine National Team . That team went on to beat Russia ,who played in the USA WWCup '99, and the U.S. U-18 squad will meet Ukraine again in the Final Match. One must remember that the other teams in this tournament are women's national teams albeit below the top 10 UEFA sides.
Unfortunately this fine performance has not been given the same coverage or exposure by U.S. Soccer as has been given to their boys' U-17 National Team games. There have been no detailed press reports made available from the matches played. Apparently it was not considered important.
When will we see some proof of U.S. Soccer's talk of their intent to ensure equality with the men's game for girls and women? Or did it all leave when Secretary-General Steinbrecher left?
April 1, 2000
A big test for any U.S. Soccer member with a conflict of interest, as M.L.S. applies to run a Division 1 professional women's league.
On Thursday Don Garber, the Commissioner for Major League Soccer, said that they (M.L.S.) are great believers in women's soccer and feel that they have the experience, resources and operational expertise to effectively create and manage a professional women's soccer league.
It was expected that a men's professional league that is declining in fan support would be looking a life rope, but the two entities are quite different. Women's soccer is the top American team sport for women, the men's games nearer the bottom of men's team sports. The women have through their accomplishments (two World Cups, and an Olympic Gold Medal) earned the right to their own league, not one that is part of a male dominated and focussed organization.
Most of the many letters received by WSW point out that it is not in the best interests of the M.S.L. for a women's professional league to be successful, and that it is in their interest to control it. From both our mail from around the world and our correspondents' reports, it is clear that under the WUSA proposal the league would rapidly become the elite women's professional league of the world. Already the interest from national team level players in the top soccer nations is immense, and the number of letters received from companies that want to information about how they can support it grow daily.
Please e-mail us with your opinion about this next critical stage of women's soccer.
March 29, 2000
Still waiting for answers
Although the fine performance by Head Coach April Heinrichs and the U.S. National Team in Portugal does not seem to have satisfied the many critics of the U.S. Soccer Federation who still write to WSW, it confirmed their specific criticism about playing so many inexperienced young players against Norway while reaffirming the psychological strength of the veteran players.
Several other questions about U.S. Soccer remain unanswered. Soon we should know who is in the running for a women's professional league, and who will be the new Secretary-General. All of which promises more opinions and comments in our mailbag, not to mention an increase in our growing list of players asking how to be considered for the new league.
March 14, 2000
A Portuguese pressure pot!
The real test of the Algarve Cup for the U.S. Team is yet
Portugal, ranking somewhere below the fortieth place in a world ranking of international teams, was a great starter for a U.S. team struggling to get its top players into shape after a long lay off. The pressure for newly crowned Head Coach Heinrichs will surely increase in each of the next games. She is no stranger to pressure having, as Team Captain of the 1991 FIFA World Champion Team, cajoled and driven them to success through the preceding years. It is perhaps apt that her assistant coach has a military background since she regards every game as a battle in a very serious war.
On this trip the present mixture of veterans and youth looks promising. What seems to have been missing in all of the comments made during the last few months is an understanding of the psychological strength of the veteran players. Their stand against the unfair salary structure offered to women national team players last year was reported in a negative fashion by the media and others as a "strike" or " holdout." It was in fact a courageous act by top level athletes who recognized and seized what was perhaps the first and only time that the window of opportunity would be open for establishing a fair financial and playing status for future women players. It was done with the risk of losing their own national team places, and knowing that they could lose the sort of international competition in Australia so essential for athletes trying to maintain the super level of skill and fitness they had already attained.
That same moral fiber is what they bring to the game itself and adversity brings out their best performances. I predict that they will rise from the "trenches" this month in Portugal and win their first Algarve Cup. Doesn't it seems weird that as athletes who have achieved consistently more in the last decade than any other United States Team in any sport, male or female, that they are still being asked to prove themselves?
The positive side of all of the controversy and opinions that raged though our pages during the last few months is the sustained interest in the women's game. Women's soccer in the USA has become an entrenched staple of American sport. It is now one of the fasting growing lifestyles in the country.
February 29, 2000
Want a women's professional league to succeed? Then add the women who pioneered the game.
Unfortunately in all of the discussions about the professional league published so far no mention has been made of a particular group of women who are needed to guarantee the success of any new women's league. That is because those responsible for the rapid growth and success of the women's game in the United States have been ignored for years by the U.S. Soccer Federation and more recently its subsidiary the World Cup '99 Committee.
Some of our readers may be unaware that the United States Soccer Federation (U.S. Soccer) is composed of three administrative parts.
Reverse order applies when it comes to clout at U.S. Soccer, even with the huge financial contribution made by the USYA.
From the beginning the biggest support for the women's international soccer program in the U.S. has come mainly from the efforts of women actively involved in the U.S. Youth Soccer Association in certain states.
As the program grew they were seen organizing and filling stadia for women's international matches and in 1991 many could be seen in the stands cheering on their team at the 1st FIFA Women's World Cup in China. Back in the States they made sure that events such as the U.S. Cup were well organized and supported, which was evidenced by the drop in attendance and poor promotion seen when Nike and U.S. Soccer bought the rights to the U.S. Cup from Maryland Soccer a few years ago.
Yet those talented and hardworking pioneers of the women's game, who fought opposition and inertia especially from the Amateur Division in those early days, were passed over by U.S. Soccer and the recent World Cup '99 Committee in an event that was the result of their accomplishments and determination.
WSW believes that if any professional women's league is
to succeed it needs to go to the real grass roots of the women's game and invite
those legitimate women of soccer into their organization instead of the network
of corporate type airheads from the MLS, NHL, NFL and other sports seen working
at World Cup '99 events.
Behind The Scenes
The word recently expressed that U.S. Soccer wants a women's professional league to have a relationship with the MLS sounds reasonable, but the news recently that the MLS is working on its own plan (and teams like the Chicago Fire are reported to have made their bid to MLS) send shivers down the spine of everyone who has followed closely the workings of the U.S. Soccer Federation and the MLS. Burton Haimes, who has been chairman of the Women's Professional League Development Committee that was rapidly formed by Rothenberg when made aware of an application by the player supported National Soccer Alliance in 1998, tells Scott French ( Soccer America February 28, 2000 edition) that "next thing is to have everyone get together...and see how they can work together."
It is important to realize that national sport associations in the United States are composed generally of a mostly male mixture of professional administrators, and elected part time amateurs. Since the elected officials also appoint their own representatives on committees etc., the amount of "special interests" involved is mind boggling especially if you are in the professional administrator group. When mixed with the abundance of testosterone and egotism seen in male dominated sports then it becomes clear as to why most administrative staff find it difficult to operate well under such conditions, and the best leave quickly. Unlike the rest of business and society, conflict of interest seems to be the norm.
This situation is a case in point. U.S. Soccer will choose which application is approved, yet many in the U.S. Soccer Federation have not only operating links with MLS but direct and indirect financial interest.
But let's be honest about this, the real problem they have
is in accepting that the women players would own equity and more importantly
a say in the proposed WUSA league. MLS should learn from this. The day that
the MLS is run by current and retired players who know the game will be when
it becomes successful.
The Players who are the NSA
February 6, 2000
USA 2 Norway 3
The match against Norway today answered a lot of the questions posed in our mailbox during the last few months and raised some new ones.
It showcased the abundance of new young talent in the USA and how far they have yet to go to reach the level of the experienced players that have taken the game to such great heights.
They have speed, physical strength and skills but were toyed with by Norwegian players who have grown up immersed in the mental skills of soccer. The international game is played at a different and higher level than even the top college level in this country, and being a top college player does not guarantee that you can handle international competition.
The game also re-emphasized the desperate need for a top level women's professional league in the United States so that all of our young talent can acquire the soccer savvy necessary to be always match ready to compete at the highest level.
One example of the lack of experience seen in the match was the goalkeeping. Saskia Webber has outstanding athletic ability and skills, but does not have that same commanding presence that Brianna Scurry has, that Mary Harvey showed in the 1991 World Cup, and ironically some of that same indefinable superiority and strength that April Heinrichs and Michelle Akers both possess.
Perhaps the lineup in this match was designed to show the
many armchair critics why we need the U.S. National Team to be built around
the experienced, soccer wise veterans if we are to succeed at the Sidney 2000
Olympics. The level of international women's soccer is so high that only one
or two mistakes in a game are needed to lose, as happened in this match.
I think you're too kind
USA vs Norway
Another view of the USA v Norway game
Are we reading into this game too much?
You've got to start somewhere
U.S.A. vs Nor- 4-4-2 boo-boo-boo
One of the most amateurish...
We have a problem
WSW is closing discussion on this subject with these three
Final word 1
Final word 2
Final word 3
January 18, 2000
U.S. National Team Head Coach April Heinrichs at the U.S. Soccer Press Conference Tuesday, January 18, 2000
Perhaps the most promising aspect that emerged from the press conference was the apparent wide range of authority being given to Heinrichs as Head Coach & Technical Director of the U.S. Women's National Team programs. In response to a question from WSW, as to whom she directly reports to, she replied " Hank Steinbrecher (Secretary General, U.S. Soccer)." This along with a four year contract and complete authority in choosing her assistant coaches bodes well for a program that is already so far ahead of the men's soccer section of U.S. Soccer in popularity and prestige.
None of us asked whether the salary was the same as the U.S. Men's National Team Coach, but an answer to that will surely be forthcoming with other similar player information from U.S. Soccer.
Following are some of the introductory quotes at the Press Conference held in New York City on Tuesday January 18, 2000 to announce the appointment of April Heinrichs as U.S.. National Team Head Coach
Dr. S. Robert Contiguglia, U.S. Soccer President
On April Heinrichs
"It is an honor to introduce April Heinrichs as the new U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach. I have known her since she was a youth player in Colorado when she would drlbble a ball around my feet. Her vibrant and charismatic personality style mixed with a passion and unprecidented dedication to the sport of soccer makes me proud to name April as the new U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach."
On importance of a four-year contract
"lt is important that an individual has a chance to express themselves over time. We are talking about building a program and not an event. It involves success on the field, but it's more than that. We're building a program and sport.~
April Heinrichs, U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach
April's opening statement:
"It is exciting for me to be here and to accept thls position. W'thout Title Nine I wouldn't of had the opportunity to play college sports. Without Anson Dorrance (North Carolina head coach) I wouldn't of had that opportunity to play college soccer and without U. S. Soccer I wouldn't of had the opportunity to compete at the intenational level. I have great pride and honor in this new position, and looking forward to the opportunity."
On learning to play under Dorrance and as an assistant with DiCicco
"With Anson there came structural organization. You have to put together organized training sessions and present that to the team day in and day out. I was very lucky to work with Tony DiCicco. We came together over the last couple of years, looked at the game and took it to another level. I am looking forward to taking the women's team and program to another level with what I have learned from the great teachers of the sport."
On being named the new U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach
"This past week has been incredibly exciting. I am hopeful U S. Soccer and players will come together soon. I can't wait to get on the field, put my cleats on and get down to business."
On coaching staff
"I have lived in a whirlwind these last five to six days. I have not given a lot of thought to staffing yet. I'm also techniacal director, so I'm looking at a big picture. I'll tap in to people that are currently in place and the grass roots soccer community."
On status of team
"I start every training camp the same way. The players come in with a clean slate and I watch those players that day, the next and the next. I am a coach that believes that training is important every day and competing against world powers is important."
On the pressures of being the U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach
"The most important thing is that I am going to let the players be themselves. There are a bundle of different personalities on the team. I am going to put the best starting 11 on the field and let them play. We'll fight for every win and compete for every ball. I haven't felt pressure yet. In my career as a player and coach, I have found that I love to win and I will put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to win and prepare a team in a fashion to win and that's the greatest pressure I'll ever have."
On upcoming match against Norway
"1 am looking to get 30-35 players together for a training camp starting at the beginning of February in preparations for the Feb. 6 match against Norway. We will get the ball rolling and the best 11 will start."
On biggest challenge in prepring for Olympics
"The biggest challenge will be cutting a player pool from 41 to 16. That means that four players from the World Cup roster will not make it. It is going to be a tremendous process of pickin those 16 players."
On Lauren Gregg
"I haven't spoken to Lauren. I don't think it was my place to contact her. It is important that U.S. Soccer did their research and sought out great coaches. There wasn't just one right choice. There was more than one good choice. l'm certain that Lauren will be tremendously supportive and she knows how important support is to be successful."
On the interview process
"The interview progress was long and when Tony (DiCicco) resigned, I thought that maybe in five years I would have the opportunity to interview for the position. But when, U. S. Soccer called (note: according to a question asked and answered later this was in November '99) and asked me to submit a paper, I said I'd love to. So I tried to write the best paper and have the opportunity to get a face-to-face interview and hope that they (U.S. Soccer) would remember me in future as a top candidate."
Julie Foudy, U.S. midfielder and co-captain of U.S. Women's National Team
On selection process
"We are happy with all the candidates and pleased with the process. We knew that it wasn't our decision but it was appreciated that our input mattered. April is an incredible leader, a gifted motivator and great tactician." Related articles:
WSW congratulates April Heinrich on her appointment as the Head Coach of the U.S. National Team
April Heinrichs: Head Coach U.S. Under 16 Girls National Team
A PASSION FOR THE GAME: Profile of April Heinrichs
The inaugural NSCAA Women's Committee of Excellence Award won by April Heinrichs
An article that puts numbers in the equity issue.
January 17, 2000
WSW congratulates April Heinrich on her appointment as the Head Coach of the U.S. National Team
She was the first superstar of women's soccer in the USA and her drive and determination as Captain of the U.S. National team from 1986 to 1991 was one of the major factors in the squad capturing the First FIFA Women's World Cup in 1991.
She became the first female player to be inducted into the U.S. National Hall of Fame in 1998, and now she is to become the first woman to be appointed as the Head Coach of a United States National Team.
Her strong leadership should help unite and protect the National Team in its quest for Olympic Gold in Sydney this year, a task made more difficult by the inept handling of this appointment and the inexplicably extended negotiations for fair compensation for the women who have brought U.S. Soccer the best publicity and popularity it has yet seen.
Off the field administrative incompetence has a damaging effect on player performance as was seen in World Cup France '98 when the U.S. Men's National team literally fell apart, culminating in a juvenile display that was a nation wide embarrassment for fans of soccer in the USA.
The opinions voiced in our daily deluge of letters in the WSW mailbag indicates that the credibility of the U.S. Federation is at an all time low, and all are calling for more openness about the comparative financial compensation paid to the National Team's men and women players and coaches.
To millions of soccer and non-soccer fans in the United States this a team of women who represent the very best of how athletes should behave and sporting competition be conducted. These All-American role models have become the genuine "U.S. Dream Team."
"Sexism to Stupidity: Own Goal"
January 10, 2000
The New Year has brought no relief to the fans of the women's game around the USA as they gird for a more active approach to the U.S. Soccer Federation. WSW receives hundreds of e-mails each week in the nearly 2 million hits received from 65 countries every month, and among them have been several containing copies of petitions to U.S. Soccer being circulated.
The involvement of Ex-President Alan Rothenberg in recent events has become the catalyst for reigniting an apparent smoldering resentment that dates back to the 1994 Men's World Cup and the reported $7 million bonus received by him, and is covered In depth in some mail received. Many writers ask questions or make comments about news or circulating rumors in the soccer community. Following are the most commonly asked questions received by us for which WSW has no answer.
One of the best balanced articles about the salary dispute was by Richard Sandomir in the December 23, 1999 edition of the New York Times.
From letters received
- 1 Who is actually running the U.S. Soccer Federation?
- 2 Why is Alan Rothenberg handling the salary negotiations since he was the President that stopped some of that same group of players starting a professional league over two years ago?
- 3 Is there any truth to the rumor that Coach DiCicco's resignation was linked to his being asked to drop some of the players who were considered to be leaders in the drive for moving the financial rewards for women national team players closer to those already paid to the men?
- 4 What are the present salaries of all the Men's National Team's coaches and their assistants?
- 5 What are the present salaries of all the Women's National Team's coaches and their assistants?
- 6 How much do the Men's National Team players get paid?
- 7 What is the salary currently being offered to the applicants for the position of Head Coach of the Women's National Team?
- 8 Why does "conflict of interest" not seem to be applied in U.S. Soccer Federation actions and deliberations?
- 9 Why so much secrecy, what is there to hide?
- PAST COMMENTARIES
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