This week, we review U.S.-Republic of Ireland game, which was the first Victory Tour match in Pasadena, California, while Jill Ellis recently announced that she is stepping down as head coach after the 5 friendly Victory Tour matches across the U.S. We also look at the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL) 2019 Season and Finals and the recent UEFA U-19 Women's Championships.
U.S. Defeats the Republic of Ireland in first Victory Tour match in Pasadena, California while Jill Ellis announces her Retirement as National Team Coach
The U.S. Women's National Team attracted a crowd of 37,040 to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California—site of the team's iconic World Cup Final win over China 2-1 on penalty kicks in 1999 in front of over 90,000 people—in their first game Stateside after winning the 2019 Women's World Cup in France on August 3rd.The Americans won 3-0 with all of their goals coming in the first half from Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan (both Portland Thorns) and Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC). The Americans overwhelmed the Irish with 80% ball possession percentage, a 16-2 advantage in corner kicks and 30 shots to only 2 for the visitors (9-0 for shots on goal). Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars) in the first half and Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride) in the second half shared the shutout in goal.
The Victory Tour of five matches will exclusively feature the 23 players who helped the USA win the World Cup. Other matches scheduled are on August 29 in Philadelphia and September 3 in St. Paul Minnesota—both against Portugal—and October 3 in Charlotte, North Carolina and October 6 in Chicago (at Soldier Field)—both against the Korea Republic.
2019 U.S. WOMEN'S NATIONAL TEAM VICTORY TOUR ROSTER (CAPS/GOALS)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Adrianna Franch (Portland Thorns FC; 1/0), Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride; 21/0), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars; 53/0)
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 47/0), Tierna Davidson (Chicago Red Stars; 21/1); Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 91/24), Ali Krieger (Orlando Pride; 103/1), Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals FC; 124/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 164/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 34/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 83/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 88/19), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 74/10), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 33/10), Allie Long (Reign FC; 46/6), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 56/14)
FORWARDS (7): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 156/30); Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 281/113), Jessica McDonald (NC Courage; 8/2), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 168/107), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 123/49), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 56/17), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 158/50).
As for the Republic of Ireland squad, they brought 6 players contracted with clubs in England, 3 in Germany, one in Portugal, one at Florida State University and 9 with clubs at home.
DEFENDERS (8): 3-Harriet Scott (Birmingham City, ENG), 4-Louise Quinn (Arsenal, ENG), 5-Niamh Fahey (Liverpool, ENG), 7-Diane Caldwell (SC Sand, GER), 8-Megan Connolly (Brighton & Hove Albion, ENG), 14-Lauren Dwyer (Wexford Youths), 15-Claire O'Riordan (MSV Duisburg, GER), 20-Eabha O'Mahony (Cork City)
MIDFIELDERS (5): 6-Alex Kavanagh (Shelbourne FC), 10-Eleanor Ryan-Doyle (Peamount United), 13-Jess Gargan (Shelbourne FC), 17-Niamh Farrelly (Peamount United), 18-Claire Walsh (Peamount United)
FORWARDS (5): 2-Heather Payne (Florida State, USA), 9-Amber Barrett (FC Köln, GER), 11-Katie McCabe (Arsenal, ENG), 12-Rianna Jarrett (Wexford Youths), 19-Emily Whelan (Shelbourne FC)
Ireland brought a relatively inexperienced side with 14 players having less than 20 caps. The most experienced were in the back, with SC Sand (GER) defender Diane Caldwell (70 caps), Arsenal defender Louise Quinn (73 caps) and Liverpool defender Niamh Fahey (84 caps). Quinn is the top scorer on the roster with 11 international goals. Forward Katie McCabe, who also plays for Arsenal, has six career goals. No other player has more than one. Missing from the side were regulars Denise O'Sullivan (North Carolina Courage) and Megan Campbell (Manchester City and ex-Florida State University) who had club commitments and were not released.
Ireland is preparing for qualifying for the 2021 UEFA Women's Euros. Ireland starts qualifiers against Montenegro in September and is in UEFA Qualifying Group I, along with Germany, Greece, Montenegro and Ukraine.
Former Republic of Ireland Coach Colin Bell—who was a high profile signing in early 2017 after taking Frankfurt to a UEFA Women's Champions League title in 2015—left his position in late June when he was named assistant coach of Huddersfield Town, who were relegated from the Premier League last season and will play in the Championship (2nd Division), with Tom O'Connor moving up from assistant to interim head coach. Bell said that he wanted to stay but did not receive clarity on his position and program direction from the federation. Todd's successor seems to be set with former German international Maren Meinert—who led Germany to the UEFA U-19 Finals last month and has won 3 U-19 European titles and 2 U-20 Women's World Cup in her time coaching the German youth side—set to be appointed; she is very well respected in the game.
- U.S. Women's National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Women's National Team vs. Republic of Ireland
Date: August 3, 2019
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rose Bowl Stadium; Pasadena, Calif.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 3 0 3
IRL 0 0 0
USA - Tobin Heath (Christen Press) 16th minute
USA - Lindsey Horan (Samantha Mewis) 31
USA - Carli Lloyd (Kelly O'Hara) 41
USA: 1-Alyssa Naeher (18-Ashlyn Harris, 46); 5-Kelly O'Hara (14-Emily Sonnett, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn, 7-Abby Dahlkemper, 19-Crystal Dunn; 8-Julie Ertz, 3-Samantha Mewis (20-Allie Long, 60), 9-Lindsey Horan; 23-Christen Press (16-Rose Lavelle, 62) 10-Carli Lloyd (capt.) (11-Ali Krieger, 56), 17-Tobin Heath (22-Jessica McDonald, 46)
Substitutes not used: 21-Adrianna Franch, 12-Tierna Davidson, 6-Morgan Brian, 2-Mallory Pugh
Not Available: 13-Alex Morgan, 15-Megan Rapinoe
Head coach: Jill Ellis
IRL: 1-Marie Hourihan; 2-Heather Payne (20-Eabha O'Mahony, 69), 3-Harriet Scott, 4-Louise Quinn (18-Claire Walsh, 80), 5-Niamh Fahey, 7-Diane Caldwell, 9-Amber Barrett (12-Rianna Jarrett, 46), 11-Katie McCabe (capt.), 13-Jess Gargan, 15-Claire O'Riordan, 17-Niamh Farrelly
Substitutesnot used: 16-Grace Moloney, 6-Alex Kavanagh, 8-Megan Connolly, 10-Eleanor Ryan-Doyle, 14-Lauren Dwyer, 19-Emily Whelan
Head coach: Tom O'Connor
Jill Ellis Steps Down as U.S. Coach
The U.S.-Republic of Ireland game in Southern California was overshadowed somewhat by the fact that Jill Ellis announced on July 30 that she was resigning as head coach following the Victory Tour, after five-plus years in charge. With the win over Ireland she now has a 103 wins and trails only 1999 World Cup winning coach Tony DiCicco (105) as the all-time winningest coach in U.S. women's soccer history. While head coach, Ellis has won eight tournaments: the 2015 Algarve Cup, the 2015 Women's World Cup, the 2016 CONCACAF Women's Olympic Qualifying Championship, the 2016 SheBelieves Cup, the 2018 SheBelieves Cup, the 2018 Tournament of Nations, the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship and the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.
Ellis explained her decision in a press conference: "When I accepted the head coaching position this was the timeframe I envisioned. The timing is right to move on and the program is positioned to remain at the pinnacle of women's soccer….Change is something I have always embraced in my life and for me and my family this is the right moment." Ellis (52) will make appearances for the US Soccer Federation for at least a year. U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. "The US Soccer Federation and the sport in general owes Jill a debt of gratitude. Jill was always extremely passionate about this team, analytical, tremendously focused and not afraid to make tough decisions while giving her players the freedom to play to their strengths. She helped raise the bar for women's soccer in the USA and the world and given the history of this program, the level of success she achieved is even more remarkable."
Where does Jill Ellis go next is a primary question? It will be interesting to see and she could be with another national team side for 2023 (perhaps Australia as their coach Ante Milicic will step aside after the Olympic Games—if they qualify—to coach a new men's A-League expansion side in Southwestern Sydney—Macarthur F.C.). As for her replacement, there will be no shortage of applicants. Longtime U.S. assistant coach Tony Gustavsson—who was brought from his native Sweden by Pia Sundhage in 2012, is quite respected by the players and was a finalist for the job when Ellis took over in 2014, has already also left the team. He could be a serious challenger for the position and reports in the Swedish media state that he already has interest from teams on four continents. He certainly will end up with a nice position somewhere, but could it be in the States after working there for almost 9 years?
WPSL Sees Pensacola FC Win the 2019 Championship Final
The WPSL completed its 22nd season and bills itself as the largest women's league in the world, this year with 119 teams; the WPSL had 16 conferences this season, with 4 of them split into 2 divisions. WPSL rosters feature elite collegiate, post-collegiate, international and standout prep student-athletes and has well-known U.S. international league alumni such as Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Brandi Chastain, who once graced the league's teams.
In the semifinals on July 20 held in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Pensacola FC defeated the Seattle Sounders Women 3-2 in a repeat of last season's Championship Game which Seattle won. Pensacola has been dominant throughout the 2019 season, as the only remaining undefeated team in the league after the match. Pensacola used a 14th minute goal by Briana Morris (University of South Alabama) past Seattle goalkeeper Isabel Jones (who had 5 shutouts last season at sophomore in 2018 at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington). Pensacola's Nigerian international Uchenna Kanu (Southeastern Fire, who was on her country's Women's World Cup side this summer and played for their 2014 U-20 and U-17 Women's World Cup teams)scored in the 43rd minute to give the Florida side a 2-0 lead at half time. Seattle replied in the 64th minute when Summer Yates (University of Washington) scored on a corner kick. Mollie Rouse (an English youth international who plays at the University of Louisville) scored a third for Pensacola FC but Seattle narrowed the gap in the 81st minute on an Alexandra Hobbs (Pepperdine University in California)goal in the run of play. Goalkeeper Kathryn Scheele (who played at the University of Colorado and Colorado College) helped to secure the win for Pensacola in the tense final minutes.
Note: Pensacola FC center back Hannah Godfrey, who scored seven goals for Pensacola this season,has signed with Tottenham Hotspur ahead of the North London club's first season in the FA Women's Super League. A Thornton-Cleveleys, England native, Godfrey also played four seasons at the University of South Alabama. Godfrey (22) is Pensacola's 20th professional signing (17 international, three NWSL) since the club joined the league in 2012. Pensacola FC coach David Kemp said: "We are thrilled that Hannah has realized her dream of signing a pro contract back home in England. She gave us four years of leadership, hard work and fun. She's a joy to be around, and we look forward to watching this next chapter of her career."
Seattle had a star-caliber squad from around the country; Kaylee Dao (who finished her four year career at the University of Oklahoma in 2018) led the team with 6 goals while Kimberly Hazlet (who will be a senior this season at the University of Portland) had 7 assists and Madeline Nielsen (who will be a junior at the University of Minnesota) had 17 saves and a 1.33 GAA. Besides Gonzaga University's Jones, a third goalkeeper was Laurel Ivory (a junior at the University of Virginia who has played for the U.S. at the U-17, U-20 and U-23 levels) who had 8 saves and a 1.20 GAA. Melina Ayres (Melbourne Victory) came from the W-League for the summer.
In the other semifinal,the Utah Royals FC Reserves came out on top of Motor City FC after winning a thrilling game that came down to penalty kicks. Utah's lone goal in the run of play came in the fourth minute when Amber Marshall (Utah State University junior this fall) scored. In the 27th minute, Motor City tied the game when Yujie Zhao (Florida State University/China U-20 national team) dribbled deep into the box and forced a Royals' own goal off Danika Serassio (Brigham Young University). Royals' goalkeeper Kaytlin Bradley (Weber State University in Utah) proved up to the task in penalties, saving from Alexa Spaanstra (University of Virginia/U.S. U-17 Women's World Cup team member in 2016) during Motor City's second penalty attempt, which putting Utah in the driver's seat for the remainder of the spot kicks. On the next Motor City penalty kick, Bradley made a decisive move to the left and forced Zhao to pull her attempt wide of the goal. With the Royals firmly in control, forward Hailey North (ex-University of Utah, who now is a personal trainer for female soccer players—naming it Train Like A Girl) roofed her kick into the net, earning Utah a spot in the 2019 WPSL final.
Royals coach, former U.S. national team defender Amy LePeilbet (who played for the U.S. National Team, at Arizona State University and in WPS and WPSL and has been a Utah Royal assistant coach since 2018), gave up only 4 goals in 10 regular season games, while Motor City FC surrendered only 3. Le Peilbet said after the game: "I was so happy for the team when Hailey put that final penalty away," LePeilbet said. "This team has so much heart, and they fought so hard today. I'm just so incredibly proud of them."
Pensacola FC then won the WPSL Championship with a goal in the 118th minute to defeat Utah Royals FC Reserves 4-3. Briana Morris scored twice including the game winner in extra time. Mollie Rouse fed Morris on the winning goal as she dribbled into the Utah penalty area). Ana Paula Silva Santos (from Brazil, she has played at NAII William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi) also scored for the winners. Pensacola FC won its club's second WPSL championship – the first since its 2012 title when it was the Gulf Coast Texans. Pensacola has qualified for three-consecutive WPSL Championship matches, finishing runner-up in 2017 and 2018. The Florida club finished the 2019 season undefeated at 12-0-0.
For the season, Sydney Schultz of the California Storm had 17 goals to lead the league while Mollie Rouse (Pensacola FC) had 8 assists and tied with teammate Ana Paula Silva Santos, Kimberly Hazlett of Seattle and Cameron Tucker of Utah and for points. Alyssa Poarch of the CAFC (Coastal Atlantic Football Club Ospreys, who play in Frederica, Delaware and were competing in their first season in the league, had 37 points to pip Schultz of the California Storm (35)
The quarterfinal results were:
East Motor City FC 4 Chicago Red Stars Reserves 2.
South Pensacola FC 3 Charlotte Lady Eagles 1
Central Utah Royals FC Reserves 2 Fortuna Tulsa 1
West Seattle Sounders Women 4 California Storm 0
France Defeats Germany for 2019 UEFA Women's U-19 Title
France defeated Germany 2-1 for their fifth title in a record tenth UEFA U-19 final on July 28 in Scotland. The other two semifinalists—the Netherlands and Spain—also advanced to the 2020 U-20 Women's World Cup, expected to be held in Nigeria, while India and Republic of Korea also bid for the hosting rights, with India hosting the 2020 U-17 Women's World Cup. Melvine Malard (Olympique Lyon, who played in last summer's FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup) topped the tournament goal scorers with 4.France previously won the title in 2003, 2010, 2013 and 2016. France is now within one of German's record six Women's U18/WU19 titles, having reached a record tenth final, one ahead of Germany (who were also runners-up in the 1999 four-team round-robin).Justine Lerond (Metz), the France goalkeeper who was outstanding in the match, said: "I'm really, really happy—after weeks and weeks of preparation. I went to three EUROs where we didn't get to go to the end, now we have done it. It was a really tough game but we all played together, that's how we won."
France's Vicki Becho is the youngest-ever winner, and was the first 15-year-old to score in the U-19 finals since Ada Hegerberg in 2011 (the youngest scorer is Jordan Nobbs in 2008). The tournament was held in Scotland, in Glasgow, Paisley, Stirling and Perth, with Scotland, Norway, Belgium and England also participating. Maren Meinert, the Germany coach, said: "Of course we are very disappointed about the result, but not about the way we played today because I thought it was a great game and a great final for the fans. But in the end you need to win the game and that's what is still there in our minds and why we are so disappointed. But overall in the tournament I thought we did very well and developed very well in the last two years." Meinert, as reported above, is expected to be named as the full women's national team head coach of the Republic of Ireland.
WU19 EURO WINNERS (hosts)
2019: France (Scotland)
2018: Spain (Switzerland)
2017: Spain (Northern Ireland)
2016: France (Slovakia)
2015: Sweden (Israel)
2014: Netherlands (Norway)
2013: France (Wales)
2012: Sweden (Turkey)
2011: Germany (Italy)
2010: France (FYR Macedonia)
2009: England (Belarus)
2008: Italy (France)
2007: Germany (Iceland)
2006: Germany (Switzerland)
2005: Russia (Hungary)
2004: Spain (Finland)
2003: France (Germany)
2002: Germany (Sweden)
WU18 EURO WINNERS (hosts)
2001: Germany (Norway)
2000: Germany (France)
1999: Sweden (Sweden)
1998: Denmark (two-legged final v France)
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