women’s soccer Archive

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After Iacchelli fails physical, Canada loses another NWSL allocation

Selenia Iacchelli

Selenia Iacchelli

(The first issue of Plastic Pitch features an in-depth look at Selenia Iacchelli’s journey through injuries and adversity, and finally to a debut with the Canadian women’s national team and an NWSL allocation at the age of 27. We follow it up with this update)

When the NWSL season starts this Sunday, 15 Canadians will be on team rosters across the nine-franchise league.

Fourteen of them will come from the 2014 roster spots the Canadian Soccer Association. Those 14 will be joined by Nkem Ezurike, who was taken in the draft by the Boston Breakers.

But, Canada has 16 allocations, not 14. Why did the number shrink?

Earlier this offseason, midfielder Desiree Scott announced her intention to move to England’s Notts County — and after weeks of waiting, the move finally went through. After the move was made, Canadian women’s team coach John Herdman chose not to fill Scott’s allocation spot, saying there wasn’t another unattached member of the national program who would merit it. (CLICK HERE)

And now there’s bad news on the injury front. And that comes from 27-year-old midfielder Selenia Iacchelli — the former University of Nebraska captain who overcame a series of injuries to work her way back into the senior national-team picture. Iacchelli has played professionally in Italy with Torres, and had been offered a contract by Doncaster Rovers, but that deal was scuttled because she broke her arm in an Edmonton indoor game. After making her debut with the senior national team late last year, she was granted an NWSL allocation in January of 2014. But yet another injury — following two foot breaks and that broken arm that put her career on hold — has set her back again. A serious knee injury has made her allocation spot null and void.
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Jones’s late defensive heroics help Canada reach U17 WC quarter-finals

Rachel Jones

Rachel Jones

When you deal with teenagers, you accept that they may screw up. But, you’re happy when they learn lessons from their mistakes.

So, would Canada’s U-17 women’s team learn from their mistakes? That is, would they be able to protect a two-goal lead this time around?

On Saturday, the Canadians were in a must-win match against U-17 Women’s World Cup Group B leader, Ghana. In fact, the African side had already clinched a spot in the quarters, while the Canadians knew that if they won their final Group B match, they’d clinch the other quarter-final spot. It wouldn’t matter how the North Korea-Germany match played out.

And, at halftime, on the strength of a Marie Levasseur brace, Canada was up 2-0.

But we’ve seen this script before. In the Group B opener, Canada had a 2-0 lead, then went through a panicked five-minute spell where the European champions were allowed to score two quick goals. Canada had to settle for a tie.
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PLASTIC PITCH has launched! Canadian Soccer. Canadian Stories.

PpitchPLASTIC PITCH is ready for download! The app has been approved and the first issue is set to be enjoyed on your smartphone, tablet or device of your choosing. (OK, not totally of your choosing; you couldn’t use an old Commodore PET.)

Right now, the app is available for all Android-ready devices. You can find it Amazon’s app store. You can find it in Google Play. It should launch on Apple in the coming days. The app download is free, issues are $4.99 (five bucks in Canada, we got rid of the penny, didn’t we?) each or a one-year sub (for issues) is $14.99 ($15).

For those who supported this new and unique Canadian soccer magazine through our Kickstarter campaign or other advance subscriptions, the e-mail address you provided is the key. When you download the app, your subscription will be unlocked by that address.

If there are any issues, please contact teamworkpress@rogers.com as soon as possible, and we’ll work to resolve them. As this is the launch of the app and the first issue, we can’t possibly expect to everything go 100 per cent smoothly.

For those who haven’t subscribed, we invite you to download the app and try the first issue. We think you’ll find it filled with fresh voices, interesting art and, most importantly, no cheerleading. Magazine quality hasn’t been sacrificed. You can still subscribe for as little as $15 for a year (four issues). That’s about the price of a beer and a snack at the stadium.
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Canada qualifies for the Women’s U-17 World Cup with win over host Jamaicans

Marie Mychele Metivier

Marie Mychele Metivier

Canada will join Mexico and Costa Rica as CONCACAF representatives at the U17 Women’s World Cup.

As winners of the CONCACAF semifinals, held Thursday in Jamaica, Canada and Mexico earned their World Cup invites. Costa Rica qualifies automatically as the host nation.

The Jamaican supporters packed the stadium in Montego Bay for the semifinal against Canada. To rally the home nation, there was no charge to watch the game.

But the Canadian scored within three minutes to give the hosts a sober reality check, and went on to a comfortable 5-0 win.

And, in the irony of ironies, the Americans, who beat Canada in their final-group stage game to earn the right to play lower-ranked Mexico in the other semifinal, suffered a major upset. Instead of taking advantage of Mexico, the Americans lost in penalties after a 1-1 draw.
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Braletic, Jacques named CIS players of the year

Alex Braletic, left, wins CIS player of the year honours.

Alex Braletic, left, wins CIS player of the year honours.

Alex Braletic made Ryerson University history on Wednesday night.

When it comes to athletics, the school is more often than not a sad-sack story, with teams that regularly finish near the bottom of the standings. (As a Ryerson grad, I can write this without a hint or irony)

But, Braletic became the first Ryerson athlete to ever be named the CIS player of the year in any sport. On Wednesday, he was named the top university soccer player in the country.

Braletic led Ryerson to an undefeated league mark, as the Rams went 12-0-2 in OUA play. Braletic played in 12 of those 14 matches, and scored 13 times. That led the province in scoring.

But Braletic’s Rams lost the OUA final to their crosstown rivals from York, a team which featured former TFC Academy prospect Jonathan Lao, who was named the CIS rookie of the year.

And, on Thursday, in the first round of the national championships, Braletic and Ryerson suffered a 3-2 loss to Laval. Braletic did get one of the goals for Ryerson, but Laval got a goal and an assist from Patrice Dion and a marker from former FC Edmonton fullback Fabrice Lassonde.
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Canadian loss to Americans made all the worse because of Richards injury

Mika Richards

Mika Richards

It’s one thing to see a professional player down on the turf for a long period of time, and then stretchered off the field. But at least you can say to yourself that hey, that’s a pro on the field, (s)he knows the risks of playing the game. That’s why that person gets a paycheque.

But, when a teenage amateur player — on the field because of national pride and the chance to develop her young career — lays on the ground, it’s a lot harder to watch.

Canadian defender Mika Richards was on the turf for several minutes. And it put Canada’s 2-0 loss to the United States in a different light. Yes, Canadian keeper Rylee Foster made an outstanding double save on the ensuing American penalty kick but, with the game already lost, and Canada down to 10 players, it didn’t feel all that glorious. After all, these two teams’ final U-17 Women’s CONCACAF Championship group-stage game wasn’t a do-or-die affair; both had already qualified to move on.

Late in the match, after losing the ball to U.S. forward Mallory Pugh, Richards chased down her quarry from behind and tugged on the American’s jersey. Pugh went down, and in the process of going to the turf, her elbow looked to inadvertently crash against Richards’ face. But, replays showed that Richards was actually going down in pain before the contact was made. After the incident, Richards was motionless on the pitch for several minutes, being attended to by medical teams. Meanwhile, the referee placed the ball on the spot — after all, Richards did foul Pugh in the penalty area — and waited for the Jamaican hosts’ volunteer crews to take the injured player off the pitch. And, as Richards was strapped to the stretcher, she was sheepishly shown a yellow card for that initial shirt-tug.
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CIS WRAP: Conference soccer champions crowned

The University of Montreal Carabins celebrate the Quebec women's title. PHOTO: JAMES HAJJAR

The University of Montreal Carabins celebrate the Quebec women’s title. PHOTO: JAMES HAJJAR

This was the weekend when the four CIS athletic conferences crowned their soccer champs. We saw some upsets; will some of the darkhorses that emerged continue to surprise at the upcoming national men’s and women’s championships?

We have summaries of all the finals.

CANADA WEST MEN: UBC 6, Saskatchewan 1
Wow, did the University of British Columbia make an emphatic statement in the Canada West final.

Last season, the T-Birds needed extra time to beat Alberta in snowy Edmonton. It was Gagan Dosanjh who got the deciding goal. And, in this year’s Canada West final, it was the man who replaced Dosanjh who had a game to remember. Niall Cousens, who took the attacking role after Dosanjh turned pro with FC Edmonton, scored four times as the Thunderbirds smashed Saskatchewan 6-1.
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CSA President: Canadian NWSL franchise wouldn’t have to be in MLS city; Hamilton USL sanction decision “still far away”

Victor Montagliani

Victor Montagliani

Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani believes that having an NWSL club north of the border isn’t just about developing domestic women players. He believes Canadian top-flight pro teams are about preserving a unique soccer culture in this country.

Montagliani was at Edmonton’s City Hall Monday, for the launch of the U-20 World Cup ticketing campaign. Edmonton is one of four host cities and, in 2015, will stage more Women’s World Cup games than any other Canadian centre.

“I think it’s important to have an NWSL team, because it allows us to keep our unique identity and culture, when it comes to football,” said Montagliani. “And that unique culture is important for the male and female game.”

But, if Canada is to have an NWSL team, where would it go? FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath has said that if his NASL men’s side was to break even, he’d consider throwing in for an NWSL side. The Eddies launched women’s programs in Calgary and Edmonton this fall.

Or, would it be better off in an MLS city, where it could dovetail with Toronto FC, the Whitecaps or the Impact?

Montagliani said he believes there is lots of room for Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver for a women’s pro team, but that the CSA would also back a venture in a non-MLS city.

“If you take a look at the NWSL right now, out of the Americans teams there, not all of them are in MLS markets. So, if it works for them, why wouldn’t it work in Canada? I don’t see it that way than an NWSL team has to be in the same city as an MLS team. What we want is committed, stable ownership, that ticks off all the boxes.”
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Incoming Edmonton mayor non-committal on turf change on Clarke

Edmonton Mayor Elect Don Iveson, left, and Christine Sinclair show off the ticket prices for the U-20 World Cup. They were at Edmonton City Hall for the event launch.

Edmonton Mayor Elect Don Iveson, left, and Christine Sinclair show off the ticket prices for the U-20 World Cup. They were at Edmonton City Hall for the event launch.

Edmonton Mayor Elect Don Iveson will be sworn into the new job Tuesday. His election win was the biggest blowout the city has seen since the Oilers were winning Stanley Cups.

And, on Monday, in one of his first official duties as the city’s head, he stood at City Hall, alongside Canadian Soccer Association President Victor Montagliani and Canadian women’s national team players Carmelina Moscato, Erin McLeod and Christine Sinclair to kick off ticket sales for the 2014 U-20 World Cup. Seven of the games will be played in Edmonton.

Iveson spoke of how the previous city council decided to spend millions to upgrade Commonwealth Stadium ahead of the 2014 U-20 World Cup and the 2015 Women’s World Cup. Edmonton will host more games in the 2015 WWC than any other city, including Canada’s first two matches.

But, for Edmonton soccer fans, there is more interest in hearing what Iveson has to say about the facility next door to Commonwealth Stadium. Clarke Stadium could be a practice facility for the women’s teams that come through Edmonton in the next two years. It’s adjacent to the Commonwealth Stadium fitness centre.

FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath has put new stands in Clarke to up capacity to a little more than 4,000. But the turf is at the end of its 10-year lifespan, and it has football lines sewn in. The turf has contributed to non-contact injuries to players, including FCE’s Carlyle Mitchell and Daryl Fordyce this season. Earlier this year, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson met with outgoing mayor Stephen Mandel to discuss the turf.

Oh, and it also looks brutal to the television audience.

But will it be changed? Will it be replaced with new turf that has erasable lines which can accommodate both football and soccer but not have the sports infringe on each other? That will be up to the new council.
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CIS WRAP: Ryerson wins battle of Toronto

Nick Lambis

Nick Lambis

Ryerson won the battle of Toronto, and is off to the Ontario semifinals.

The Rams, ranked No. 2 in the country, got the 120th-minute extra time winner from Nick Lambis, off a corner from Martin Dabrowski, to claim a 3-2 OUA quarter-final win over the University of Toronto.

It was Lambis’s first-ever OUA goal, and it capped off a Sunday filled with Hail Marys for the Rams.

Not only did Lambis get the last-gasp winner, but the Rams needed a 90th minute goal from Alex Braletic to send the game to extra time. It looked as if the Varsity Blues were going to pull off the upset, but Braletic saved the Rams’ OUA campaign.

Ryerson will be joined in the Ontario final four by York, Windsor and Carleton. The Rams will host the tournament this coming weekend at Birchmount Stadum in Scarborough.
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