This week we look at some major player moves during the European offseason. We also look at the nations involved in the upcoming FIFA U-20 and U-17 Championships, with 9 countries having a side in both tournaments. We also look at the 2018-19 UEFA Women's Champions League Draw for the Qualifying Round later this summer.
Arsenal signs Austria's Schaderbeck
For the 2018-19 season, Arsenal has signed Austrian national team captain Viktoria Schaderbeck, who has left Bayern Munich in Germany after 11 seasons with the powerhouse club. She won two Frauen Bundesliga titles and one Frauen DFB-Pokal (German Cup). Arsenal manager Joe Montemurro, who joined the club from Australian side Melbourne City and led Arsenal to the FA Cup Final this past season, losing 3-1 to double winners Chelsea, said:"Viki is a very experienced player. She has played in the Champions League and against the leading teams in European football for many years now. As captain of her national team, she brings a wealth of qualities to our side and we're looking forward to welcoming her into the team when she joins us for the new season." Schaderbeck's cousin Sebastian Prodl also plays in England, for Watford.
Eniola Aluko leaves Chelsea for Italy
Eniola Aluko, a long-time English international, has joined a growing group of English women players going abroad, joining reigning Italian league champions Juventus. Aluko left Chelsea, where she has played since 2012 and won three FA Super League titles and two FA Women's Cup. In 2016, she topped the league goalscorers list with 9 in 16 matches. Aluko also played in the American-based Women's Professional Soccer league from 2009-2011 with St. Louis Athletica, Atlanta Beat and Sky Blue FC. For the Three Lions, she played in three Women's World Cups and three UEFA Championships. Aluko is also a lawyer, working primarily in sports law.
Kheira Hamraoui Departs Olympique Lyonnais for Barcelona
French international midfielder Kheira Hamraoui signed a two year contract with FC Barcelona. She won two league and UEFA Champions League titles in her two years at Lyon. She previously played at Paris St. Germain and St. Etienne. Hamraoui said:"Barça is a great club, with ambition and that's why I was interested in signing here. I have a different style of play and I want to win titles in Barcelona; my physique and my aggressiveness can help. I also believe that I am the tallest in the group and I can contribute this physical impact to the team."
Orlando Pride waives young Swedish defender Lotta Okvist.
Lotta Okvist (21), a Swedish youth international defender at multiple levels, found herself a member of three NWSL sides since signing for Boston Breakers in late October 2017. Then the Breakers folded, her rights were picked up by the Houston Dash, who in turn shipped her to Orlando a week before the season started for a 2019 third-round College Draft choice (typically late round draft selections don't make a NWSL side). Okvist never played in Orlando and was released recently so she could pursue a club in Europe. The former member of northern Damallsvenskan sides Pitea and Umea has signed for Stockholm side Hammarby. Hammarby currently sits mid-table in the 2018 Damallsvenskan table with 5 wins, 0 ties and 5 losses in 10 games for 15 points, in sixth place and 6 points behind surprise leaders and her former side Pitea with 21 points. Hammarby currently has two imports in the side. In midfield, Elise Kellond-Knight (27) is in her first season, after a couple of years in Germany with Potsdam and has also played in Japan and Denmark after seven years at home with Brisbane Roar. Kellond-Knight is expected to play with the Matildas in France, which would be her third consecutive World Cup. American Kelly Conheeney, who played with Sky Blue FC in the NWSL in 2016 and was on the roster but did not play with the Houston Dash in 2017, is in her first year in Sweden, and has 1 goal in 2 appearances. She played collegiately at Virginia Tech University.
Jucinara Thaies Soares Paz, a Brazilian international with Spanish league champions Atletico Madrid in 2017-18, has joined Valencia for the upcoming season. Jucinara Soares is 24-years-old and has made an strong impression internationally with Brazil; she played previously with Corinthians of Sao Paolo before joining Atletico Madrid for her first season in Spain, where she played in 20 games and tallied 1 goal. Atletico won the First Division title by one point over Barcelona (77 vs. 76 points) while Valencia finished fifth with 50 points, where Spanish international forward Maria Paz finished third in league goalscoring with 19 goals, behind fellow Spanish international Sonia Bermudez of Atletico Madrid with 20 and Mexican international forward Veronica Corral of Levante with 25. Two-time Colombian international defender Natalia Gaitan played last season with Valencia, as did forward Marianela Szymanowski of Argentina (27), who had 7 goals in 27 matches and will play for Real Betis in 2018-19; Szymanowski has been playing in Spain for over 10 years, while 30-year-old Brazilian midfielder Joyce Magalhaes Borini, who has switched to Granadilla in Spain for the 2018-29 season after three years in Valencia. Granadilla—based in the Canary Islands—will be her fifth Spanish league side since 2012.
FIFA U-20 and U-17 Lineups are now finalized
The 16 contestants are now set for the FIFA U-20 championships this summer in France and the FIFA U-17 Championships this November in Uruguay. Nine nations are in both tournaments: Brazil, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Korea DPR, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and the USA. Haiti finished fourth in U-17 CONCACAF qualifying or they would have been the tenth country with a team in both youth competitions this year.
U-17 World Cup
2018-19 Women's Champions League Qualifying Lineup is Set
The UEFA 2018/19 Women's Champions League draw is set, with sixty teams participating. The qualifying round of 40 teams will take place from August 7 to 13 with 10 groups. There are 10 hosts for the qualifying groups are: Glasgow City, Gintra Universitetas, SFK 2000 Sarajevo, MTK Hungária, Osijek, Kharkiv, Olimpija Ljubljana, Breznica Pljevlja, Rīgas Futbola skola and Linfield. Eight of the ten hosts are in Eastern Europe, which will help to publicize the women's game in these countries, including: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Slovenia and Ukraine. The other two hosts are from the UK: Linfield of Northern Ireland in Group 1 and Glasgow City of Group 3. The 40 teams comprise the champions of 36 associations, along with the runner-ups of Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway and Switzerland. Twenty-two of the 40 teams in the qualifying round are from Eastern Europe, four are from the UK, two from Scandinavia, 2 from Iceland/Faroe Islands and the other 10 are from Western Europe/Israel. The ten qualifying group winners and the two runners-up with the best record against the sides finishing first and third in their group proceed to the 17 August draw for the round of 32, with the two-legged knockout phase set to kick-off in September.
Twenty teams advanced directly to the round of 32, with two sides from Denmark, England, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and Sweden and the champions of Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway and Switzerland.
2018.19 UEFA Women's Champions League Teams
Bye to round of 32
1 Lyon (FRA, holders)
2 Wolfsburg (GER)
3 Paris Saint-Germain (FRA)
4 Barcelona (ESP)
5 FC Rosengård (SWE)
6 Manchester City (ENG)
7 Bayern München (GER)
8 Fortuna Hjørring (DEN)
9 Chelsea (ENG)
10 Brøndby (DEN)
11 FC Zürich (SUI)
12 Linköping (SWE)
13 Zvezda-2005 (RUS)
14 Sparta Praha (CZE)
15 LSK Kvinner (NOR)
16 Atlético Madrid (ESP)
17 St. Pölten (AUT)
18 Ryazan-VDV (RUS)
19 Juventus (ITA)
20 Second Italian entrant tbd
Ajax (NED), Thór/KA (ISL), Wexford Youths (IRL), Linfield (NIR, hosts)
FC Minsk (BLR), Somatio Barcelona FA (CYP), Olimpija Ljubljana (SVN, hosts), Slovan Bratislava (SVK)
Glasgow City (SCO, hosts), Górnik Łęczna (POL), Anderlecht (BEL), Martve (GEO)
Slavia Praha (CZE), MTK Hungária (HUN, hosts), Ataşehir Belediyespor (TUR), Mitrovica (KOS)
ŽFK Spartak (SRB), Basel (SUI), Pandor Qiryat Gat (ISR), Breznica Pljevlja (MNE, hosts)
Olimpia Cluj (ROU) , WFC Khakhiv (UKR, hosts), Cardiff Met (WAL), Birkirkara (MLT)
BIIK-Kazygurt (KAZ), Austria Wien (AUT), Akadimia Elpides Karditsas (GRE), Rigas Futbola skola (LVA, hosts)
SFK 2000 Sarajevo (BIH, hosts), Pärnu (EST), Vllaznia (ALB), Agarista – SS Anenii Noi (MDA)
Gintra Universitetas (LTU, hosts), NSA Sofia (BUL), Honka (FIN), EBS/Skála (FRO)
Avaldsnes (NOR), Osijek (CRO, hosts), Sporting CP (POR), ŽFK Dragon 2014 (MKD)
Tim Grainey is a contributor to Tribal Football. His latest book Beyond Bend it Like Beckham on the global game of women's football. Get your copy today.
Follow Tim on Twitter: @TimGrainey