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The Week In Women’s Football: Boston Breakers sign former Liverpool striker Dowie; Brazil, Sweden name Olympics squads

We present four more Olympic Game rosters, for Brazil, China, Colombia and Sweden, and catch up on the women's league in Sweden, which is on a summer break. A few more Europeans have joined NWSL side - including an English international - during the close season.


Brazil, China, Colombia and Sweden Name Olympic Games Rosters

Brazil women's national team head coach Vadão has selected his 18-player squad for the Rio 2016 Olympics along with four alternatives. The majority of the squad is foreign-based, including: China (4), U.S. (3), France (2), Denmark (1), Korea Republic (1), Spain (1) and Sweden (1), while five have been in a residency program with the national team, which was started last year before the World Cup in Canada. For the reserves, two are from the residency program, one is based in China and one plays in the Korea Republic.

Brazil 2016 Olympics Roster

Bárbara – Seleção permanente (residency)
Aline – Seleção permanente
Mônica – Orlando Pride (USA)
Rafaelle – Changchun Club (China)
Bruna Benites – Seleção permanente
Érika – Paris Saint-Germain (France)
Fabiana – Dalian Quanjian (China)
Poliana – Houston Dash (USA)
Tamires – Fortuna Hjørring (Denmark)
Formiga – Seleção permanente
Thaisa – Seleção permanente
Andressinha – Houston Dash (USA)
Marta – FC Rosengård (Sweden)
Debinha – Dalian Quanjian (China)
Cristiane – Paris Saint-Germain (France)
Andressa Alves – Barcelona (Spain)
Bia Zaneratto – Steel Red Angels (Korea Republic)
Raquel – Changchun Club (China)

Reserves:

Luciana – Seleção permanente – goleira
Camila – Seleção permanente – lateral
Darlene – Changchun Club (China) – atacante
Thais Guedes – Steel Red Angels (Coreia do Sul) – atacante



China 2016 Olympics Roster

China's French coach Bruno Bini named an 18 player squad for the Rio Olympics.

All are home based, with five from Dalian Quanjian, three from Beijing BG and two each from Shandong Ladies and Tianjin Huisen. China was runner-up at the first Olympics in which women's football competed--in Atlanta in 1996, but failed to qualify for the 2012 games.

GOALKEEPERS
Zhao Lina (Shanghai Yongbai)
Zhang Yue (Beijing BG)

DEFENDERS
Liu Shanshan (Hebei Zhongji)
Xue Jiao (Dalian Quanjian)
Gao Chen (Dalian Quanjian)
Wu Haiyan (Shandong Ladies)
Li Dongna (Tianjin Huisen)
Zhao Rong (Beijing BG)


MIDFIELDERS
Ren Guilin (Changchun Zhuoyue)
Tan Ruyin (Guangdong R&F)
Pang Fengyue (Dalian Quanjian)
Zhang Rui (People's Liberation Army)
Yang Man (Shandong Ladies)


FORWARDS
Ma Xiaoxu (Dalian Quanjian)
Yang Li (Jiangsu Suning)
Wang Shanshan (Tianjin Huisen)
Wang Shuang (Dalian Quanjian)
Gu Yasha (Beijing BG)


Colombia 2016 Olympics Roster

Felipe Taborda named 18 players for Colombia's women's national team for the Rio Olympics, their second Olympic Games in a row. The team includes Lady Andrade, who was recently released by the Western New York Flash, and U.S. college players Catalina Perez (University of Miami) and Isabella Echeverry (University of Toledo in Ohio). Two others play stateside: Nataly Arias was born and raised in the U.S. and played with American youth national teams; her Venezuelan father reached out to his homeland's federation but they weren't interested in Arias, but Colombia, where her mother had been born, brought her in. Tatiana Ariza, who played at Austin Peay University in Tennessee, is now with the Houston Aces of the new UWS summer league. Other internationals are based in Spain (2) and Israel (1). The Cafeteras will be without star Yoreli Rincon, who recently broke her leg in training. Rincon has played club ball at home, in Brazil, in the U.S. with the New Jersey Wildcats of the W-League in 2014 after being released by the Western New York Flash in preseason, as well as in Sweden, Italy and Norway, where she currently is on the Colin Bell coached side Avaldsnes IL. Bell is an English native and was on the books of Leicester City in the early 80's but left and played in Germany, including time with clubs in the second division. He coached SC 07 Bad Neuenahr for two years in the Frauen Bundesliga and then coached 1 FFC Frankfurt, taking them to the Champions League title in 2015. He left the club last December for Avaldsnes IL in the Norwegian women's top flight, the Toppserien.


GOALKEEPERS
Catalina Perez (Miami Univ.)
Sandra Sepulveda (Maccabi Kiryat Gat/ISR).

DEFENDERS
Natalia Gaitan (Valencia/ESP)
Orianica Velasquez (Club Gol Star)
Angela Clavijo (Club Kamatsa)
Nataly Arias (Atlanta Silverbacks)


MIDFIELDERS
Isabella Echeverry (Univ. of Toledo)
Liana Salazar (Futuro Soccer)
Leicy Santos (Club Gol Star)
Diana Ospina (Formas Intimas)
Carolina Arbelaez (Formas Intimas)
Carolina Arias (Liga Vallecaucana)
Mildrey Pineda (Generaciones Palmiranas)


FORWARDS
Tatiana Ariza (Houston Aces)
Nicole Regnier (Rayo Vallecano/ESP)
Maria Usme (Formas Intimas)
Lady Andrade (WNY Flash)
Ingrid Vidal (Generaciones Palmiranas)


Sweden 2016 Olympics Roster

For Sweden's Olympic team roster, head coach Pia Sundhage selected four players from club teams in France - not including forward Lotta Schelin, who has just moved back to Sweden after her contract expired with Lyon. Instead of joining Gothenburg where she first made her name, she signed with Rosengard and scored in their first game - a thrilling 2-2 tie with Djugardens on July 16th. Two of the Swedes play in England; forward Kosovare Asllani has one goal in eight matches for league-leading Manchester City while goalkeeper Hedvig Lindal of Chelsea has played all nine matches for the defending champions, who are one point adrift of City. Defender Nilla Fischer plays for Wolfsburg of Germany. The two teams tied at the top of the Damallsvenskan have seven players represented; Linkopings FC supplied five players while FC Rosengard had two selected (including Schelin).


Sweden typically plays with three forwards under 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games winning coach Sundhage - then with the U.S. - so expect Sweden to switch off their forwards game by game, particularly since Lotta Schelin has not been scoring as much as she has done in the past. Linkopings' Stina Blackstenius could have a breakout tournament if she can match her Damallsvenskan output of 11 goals so far at the midpoint of the 22 game league season. Kosovare Asllani from Manchester City is listed as a midfielder but can play up top in the middle or on the wing. Fridolina Rolfo (23) is an amazing talent at forward and plays at Linkopings, where she scored a hat trick against Liverpool two seasons ago in the UEFA Champions League. Olivia Schough of Eskilstuna United and Sofia Jakobsson (who has played in Russia and is now with Montpellier in France) will also be relied upon for the goals. Two players who just missed the flight to Rio include Eskilstuna United's midfielder Malin Diaz - a very technical player who was on the World Cup side last year - and Rosengard fullback Lina Nilsson, who was on the national team for the past two World Cups and, at 29 years of age, may have difficulty making the squad again in the future.

On Thursday July 21st, Sweden defeated Japan 3-0 in their last friendly before the Olympics. All the goals came in the last 15 minutes from Lotta Schelin, Fridolina Rolfo and Olivia Schough. Japan is regrouping after not making the 2016 games and is winless in three games under new coach Asako Takakura, including a loss to Canada in France last week (see below) - the results are shocking from the side that finished second in 2012 at the London games and again last summer at the World Cup in Canada.


GOALKEEPERS
Hedvig Lindahl (Chelsea/ENG)
Hilda Carlen (Pitea IF).

DEFENDERS
Jonna Andersson (Linkopings FC)
Emma Berglund (FC Rosengard)
Magdalena Ericsson (Linkopings FC)
Nilla Fischer (Wolfsburg/GER)
Jessica Samuelsson (Linkopings FC)
Linda Sembrant (Montpellier/FRA)

MIDFIELDERS
Emilia Appelquist (Djurgarden)
Lisa Dahlkvist (Paris SG/FRA)
Elin Rubensson (Kopparbergs/Goteborg FC)
Olivia Schough (Eskilstuna United)
Caroline Seger (Lyon/FRA)

FORWARDS
Kosovare Asllani (Manchester City/ENG)
Stina Blackstenius (Linkopings FC)
Sofia Jakobsson (Montpellier/FRA)
Fridolina Rolfö (Linköpings FC)
Lotta Schelin (unattached)



Swedish League Mid-Season Review

The Damallsvenskan has taken a midseason break—in part because of the Olympics but also for the traditional Scandinavian summer holidays--with a few major themes emerging at the halfway stage of the 2016 season. The first is the separation of the top two from the rest of the league. Rosengard (35 points) and Linkopings (34 points) are battling for the title, but there is such a gap between these two clubs and the other ten teams that third place Eskilstuna United (19 points) is closer to the relegation candidates (the last two places) than the top two sides (+10 points to -15).

Eskilstuna has an English and Republic of Ireland defender on their roster. Republic of Ireland international Louise Quinn has been at Eskilstuna since 2013 and has scored three goals this season. She plays in the back with English native Vaila Barsley, who played at St. Johns University and in Iceland and Ireland before joining Eskilstuna four seasons ago. Barsley spent time with England's U-17 national team and at Arsenal as a youth player.

A key aspect of this season has been the play of American forward Ella Masur - who we discussed in April on how she retired from NWSL and then had the opportunity to join Rosengard. Masur has scored ten goals, tied for third with Brazilian superstar and club teammate Marta.

A writer in Sweden who closely covers the league described Masur as: “more technical than your typical American imports to the league."

Teammate Lieke Martens is tied for fifth on seven goals. Martens transferred this season from Goteborg and previously played at home, in Belgium and Germany (in Duisburg). Two Linkopings teammates lead the table in scoring: Denmark's 23-year-old Pernille Mosegaard Harder (13 goals) and 20-year-old Swedish international Stina Blackstenius (11 goals). Though both are under contract, one or both could be bound for Germany, France or even NWSL at the end of the season; Harder is perhaps more likely to move on, depending on how Denmark does in the 2017 European Championships qualifying. Currently Denmark is five points behind Sweden in Group 4 but four points ahead of third place Slovakia, with Denmark holding a game in hand with the qualifiers wrapping up in September. One of her international teammates just recently moved to NWSL (see below).

Midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnardsdottir moved to VFL Wolfsburg from Rosengard after winning four titles in five seasons and notching 34 goals in 110 matches, including 1 goal this season.

Among other imports in the league, there are two American goalkeepers who both played with the Atlanta Beat of the defunct WPS: Brett Maron is at Kristianstad while Katie Fraine joined Vittsjo this season after starting at Linkopings and Mallbackens IF, where she plays with Canadian international forward Nkem Zurike, who played 2 years at Boston Breakers in NWSL.

Scottish youth international forward Zoe Ness (20 years old) has joined Mallbackens IF - having previously played with Durham Women's FC in FA WSL 2 - where she plays with three internationals who are going to Rio: New Zealand internationals Anna Green and Kristy Yallop and Australian international forward Tameka Butt, who spent time with Boston Breakers in WPSL-Elite, 1 FFC Frankfurt and Igo F.C. Kunoichi in Japan as well as many seasons with Brisbane Roar at home in the W-League.


Three new NWSL Signings from Europe

Breakers sign English international goal scorer Natasha Dowie

Boston Breakers, who sit at the bottom of the NWSL table in Matt Beard's first season with the squad with 1 win and 1 tie in 13 games (4 points) and 18 points adrift of fourth place and a playoff berth, made an important signing this week by bringing in English international Natasha Dowie, his former striker from Liverpool. Dowie scored 45 goals in 42 games for the Reds from 2012-2015 and was the FA's Players Player of the Year in 2013. She won two Women's Super League titles at Liverpool and played last winter with Melbourne Victory, who were also a struggling side that she helped to bring positive energy to and scored two goals after joining the team late in the season. Beard said about her new acquisition: “Tats is an infectious person. Her attitude on the pitch is fantastic, and with her personality, I think she'll be a great lift to the team, but secondly, she's a good, honest professional. She works hard, and I think that will rub off on some of the players. The players won't get a rest when she's in training and in games, but the most important thing is, I know if you get her in goal-scoring situations, she'll score goals. Obviously that's been our problem all season. We've got ourselves in some real good goal-scoring positions, but we just haven't taken our chances, and at this top level, you get punished if you don't take them. For me, it'll be good to work with her again."

Breakers General Manager Lee Billiard said: “We were surprised she became available when she did. She was a player who we wanted to go after in the offseason. To have her become available now, we had to jump and secure her before she signed a long-term contract elsewhere. To be able to bring her over for the remainder of this year and plan for 2017 with Natasha on board is positive for us." The Breakers acquired another international roster spot for the remainder of the 2016 season by trading a second round pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft to the Western New York Flash.

Dowie most recently played four matches for Doncaster Rovers Belles in the FAWSL, scoring one goal. Prior to Doncaster and Liverpool, Dowie saw time with Fulham, Charlton, and Everton, where she scored the game-winning goal in the 2010 FA Cup Final against Arsenal. Dowie has 14 caps for England's full national team and was a surprise omission for the 2015 World Cup Team that won bronze. Dowie said about her move to the States: “I am delighted to be signing for Boston Breakers. I have always had a strong interest in playing abroad, and this was strengthened more so after my short loan spell in the Australian W-League last year. I have known Matt Beard since the early days of my career at Charlton FC when I was 17-years-old, and we have cemented our relationship since then with a successful spell together at Liverpool. He knows my game well and is a manager who believes in me, and we work well together. I am looking forward to joining up with former [Liverpool] teammates Libby [Stout], Lollo [Louise Schillgard] and Whitney [Engen], and Brooke [Elby--at Melbourne Victory], and I'm sure having them around will help me to settle in easily. I am hoping I can add something different to the squad, help them improve on their current league position, connect well with the fans, and also looking forward to getting to know the beautiful city of Boston."


Cayman and Sigvardsen Jensen join NWSL sides

In other international acquisition news, Western New York Flash have signed Belgium National Team member Janice Cayman. Cayman, an offensive midfielder, has been a member of the Belgian national team since 2007, with 13 goals in 53 international matches. She has been playing club soccer with FCF Juvisy of the French First Division since 2012 and played two seasons at Florida State University.

The Washington Spirit signed Danish international defender/midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen. She made her debut with the full national team in 2009 and has 47 caps with the side and played at the 2008 FIFA U-20 World Cup. The 24 year old played club soccer for Hornum, Aars, and B52 Aalborg before playing for the Champions League team Fortuna Hjørring from 2009-2016, where she made 239 appearances. The Spirit had an open roster spot with which to sign Sigvardsen Jensen due to the season-ending injury of former Spanish international forward Laura del Rio.


Final Olympic Games Preparation Matches

In some final preparation matches ahead of next month's Olympics, Canada defeated China PR 1-0 on July 20th from a sixth minute goal by 18-year-old Jessie Fleming, who came to prominence at the 2014 U-20 Women's World Cup in her home country. Fleming explained her goal: “I saw a little bit of space and cut it back and had a quick second to put it away, so I took my chance." The match was held at Stade Sebastien Charléty in Paris. Three days later, Canada fell to France 1-0 in front of 17,589 fans in Auxerre for their final tune-up for the Rio Olympics. Head Coach John Herdman said after the game with France: “In all areas of the game we looked good, but we just didn't have that element of clinical-ness around the attacking third. It was way better than I have seen (Canada play) against this level of opposition and I think the girls have come leaps and bounds, but they'll be disappointed because there was one thing in our minds tonight - to push to the win." France's Camille Abily (who played in WPS with the Los Angeles Sol and won a title with FC Gold Pride) scored off a free kick just outside Canada's box in the 36th minute.

The U.S. used three first half goals to power to a 4-0 rout of Costa Rica on a very warm evening in Kansas City in front of 12,635 on July 22. Crystal Dunn, Mallory Pugh and Carli Lloyd scored first half goals while Christen Press scored the final goal in the 79th minute. The U.S. outshot Costa Rica 19-1 with a 7-1 advantage for shots on goal. The USA improved to 14-1-0 (W-D-L) in 2016. The team has scored 52 goals with 13 shutouts in 15 games while allowing just four goals.

Lineups:USA: 1-Hope Solo (18-Alyssa Naeher, 46); 5-Kelley O'Hara, 8-Julie Johnston, 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (6-Whitney Engen, 46), 7-Meghan Klingenberg (11-Ali Krieger, 46); 3-Allie Long, 9-Lindsey Horan (14-Morgan Brian, 78), 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.); 2-Mallory Pugh (17-Tobin Heath, 77), 13-Alex Morgan (12-Christen Press, 63), 16-Crystal Dunn 
Subs not used: 20-Samantha Mewis 
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

CRC: 1-Dinnia Diaz (13-Noelia Bermudez, 46); 5-Diana Saenz (2-Carolina Angulo, 90+3), 3-Fabiola Villalobos (19-Fabiola Sanchez, 84), 4-Mariana Benavides, 12-Lixy Rodriguez; 15-Cristin Granados, 14-Maria Fernanda Barrantes, 10-Shirley Cruz (capt.) (23-Gloriana Villalobos, 82), 16-Katherine Alvarado, 7-Melissa Herrera (17-Karla Villalobos, 79); 11-Raquel Rodriguez (9-Carolina Venegas, 63) 
Subs not used: 6-Maria Paula Elizondo 
Head Coach: Amelia Valverde

Two of the Costa Rica squad, who played very well in their debut in Canada at last year's World Cup—with draws against Spain and Korea Republic before losing to Brazil 1-0—and eliminated regional power Mexico during the group stage of the 2016 Olympic Games qualifying tournament, has two players are based in the U.S., with Raquel Rodriguez having a fine rookie season with Sky Blue. Four play professionally in Spain and Shirley Cruz has been a long-time fixture in France.

Costa Rica Women's National Team Roster by Position:


GOALKEEPERS

1-Dinnia Díaz (Moravia)
13- Noelia Bermúdez (Levante, ESP)


DEFENDERS
2-Carolina Angulo (Deportivo Saprissa)
3-Fabiola Villalobos (Deportivo Saprissa)
4-Mariana Benavides (Moravia)
5-Diana Saenz (Madrid FF, ESP)
6-Maria Paula Elizondo (Deportivo Saprissa)
12-Lixy Rodríguez (Santa Teresa, ESP)
19-Fabiola Sánchez (Martin Methodist College, USA)


MIDFIELDERS
7-Melissa Herrera (Moravia)
10-Shirley Cruz (Paris Saint Germain, FRA)
15-Cristin Granados (Deportivo Saprissa)
16-Katherine Alvarado (Deportivo Saprissa)
17-Karla Villalobos (Moravia)
23-Gloriana Villalobos (Deportivo Saprissa)


FORWARDS
9-Carolina Venegas (Madrid FF, ESP)
11-Raquel Rodríguez (Sky Blue FC, USA)
14-Maria Fernanda Barrantes (Moravia)



Tim Grainey
is a contributor to Tribalfootball. His latest book is Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.

Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey

Tim Grainey
About the author

Tim Grainey

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