Asia’s representatives were in a league of their own at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup Trinidad and Tobago 2010. Korea Republic, Japan and Korea DPR all reached the semi-finals with some impressive displays of creative yet organised football that bodes well for their respective futures.
The stars of the show were the South Koreans, who snatched the gold medal from the enterprising Japanese in an exciting final that produced six goals in normal time and ended with a typically nerve-jangling penalty decider. The outcome was harsh on the young Nadeshiko, who had ended the hopes of defending champions Korea DPR in the semi-finals and habitually fielded a refreshingly attack-minded formation comprising three strikers.
Responding to a lawsuit demanding changes to the game, the United States Soccer Federation amended its rulebook on Monday, establishing a series of regulations that it believes will help reduce the amount and severity of head injuries in its youth leagues.
These new resolutions bar headers for players under 11, “reduce headers in practice for those” between the ages of 11 and 13 and alter substitution rules to make it easier for players who have taken a hit to the head to get off the field.
“With the development of the youth concussion initiative by U.S. Soccer and its youth members, we feel we have accomplished our primary goal and, therefore, do not see any need to continue the pursuit of the litigation,” Steve Berman, the attorney who represented parents and players in the lawsuit, said in a statement on Monday.
From March 3 through 9, U.S. Soccer will host an elite, four-team international tournament that will pit the U.S. women's national team against England, France and Germany. Together, these four sides represent four of the top five ranked women's national teams in the world. Top talents like Louisa Necib and Eugenie Le Sommer of France; Fara Williams, Steph Houghton and Laura Bassett of England and Anja Mittig and Dzsenifer Maroszan of Germany are just a few of the world's best players expected to be on hand.
The tournament, dubbed the SheBelieves Cup, will be held from March 3 through 9 in Nashville, Tampa and Boca Raton, Florida. It will give the U.S. women a chance to hone their game in anticipation of the 2016 Olympics in Rio, should the U.S. women qualify as expected in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament Feb. 9-21 in Texas.
The tournament is said to be the brainchild of the U.S. women's national team players as a way to inspire young girls and encourage them "to accomplish all their goals and dreams, athletic or otherwise," according to U.S. Soccer.
The SheBelieves Cup means that the U.S. women will not be playing at the Algave Cup in Portugal -- a longstanding tournament that helped foster the growth of women's soccer in other countries by being a competitive focal point. However, as the U.S. women's national team as well as France, Germany and England have seen the rise in popularity of women's soccer, it seems a fitting break.
The US Soccer Federation is suing the union representing the national women's team that won the 2015 World Cup before 27 million thrilled fans watching the game on TV. In a preemptive legal action, the USSF is asking the federal court to validate its labor agreement with the team. The union is arguing that the pact is not valid.
The soccer organisation concedes that its deal with the players expired in 2012, but that a memorandum of understanding extended the agreement until the end of 2016. But Richard Nichols, the union's executive director, is arguing that the agreement is not valid until the end of the year but will actually expire in late February when the team will be free to go on strike — not that it necessarily will.
The relationship between the women's soccer team and the federation is growing increasing frayed. The team took court action, then dropped it, when athletes were forced to play the World Cup on artificial turf, something never required of a men's team. The turf is more slippery, hotter to play on and causes more injuries and sliding burns than grass.
It took all of the 13 seconds to dispel any concerns and about 15 minutes to obliterate the remainder of the doubts.
Yes, the United States women's national team had gotten ensnared in a rapidly decaying collective bargaining agreement standoff with U.S. Soccer on the eve of Olympic qualifying, which will likely result in an acrimonious court case, but it took Alex Morgan just a few breaths to convert any frustration into goals. And after a quarter of an hour, the Americans were up by three on Costa Rica in their qualifying opener in Texas, and the deed was done on their way to a 5-0 win on Wednesday.
Over the next two weeks, the American world champions will do battle with their regional rivals for two spots in Rio de Janeiro this summer. But if Costa Rica was supposed to be a respectable opponent, it offered almost no resistance.
Within just a few touches of kicking off, the USA's Lindsay Horan hit a long ball to hero captain Carli Lloyd, who knocked it down for Morgan. She coolly finished at the near post – a play drawn up ahead of time, she would later say.