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The Week in Women's Football: New jobs for Swedish icons; LA Galaxy takes out UWS;

This week, we touch on some news regarding three Swedish icons in the women's game taking new jobs, as well as review the finals of the United Women's Soccer (UWS), the summer amateur league in the United States and Canada. Next week we will review the other summer amateur league in North America, the Women's Premier Soccer League (WPSL).

Note: We also want to applaud the FIFA Council's decision on August 1 to expand the Women's World Cup from 24 teams to 32, beginning with the next Women's World Cup in 2023. FIFA needs to announce the Confederation allocation spots and possible playoff format but this is incredibly good news for the expansion of the game worldwide. We should see more first time debutants in 2023 (after Chile, Jamaica and Scotland in France) and the expansion could affect some of the nine bidding nations for the next Women's World Cup—currently Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea—but the tournament is favored to go to either Australia, Japan or Korea Republic, so the increased number of games shouldn't impact these past Olympic Games and/or World Cup hosts. We will address the counterargument that expansion will dilute the quality of games and lead to more blowouts, such at the 13-0 destruction of Thailand by the U.S. last summer, in the weeks to come. This writer feels that the further expansion will fuel more investment and commitment among football federations the world over.



Kosovare Asllani and Sofia Jakobsson join Deportivo Tacon/Real Madrid of Spain

Real Madrid's women's side have made their first signing and it is a good one, with Sweden international Kosovare Asllani joining the club after leaving Linkopings in Sweden. Asllani said on Twitter that she was: "Excited to write history, to help build and be part of this team's journey from the very start." The 29-year-old forward was one of the stars of this summer's Women's World Cup in France, scoring three goals as Sweden defied initial expectations to finish third, and would have been finalists for the second time (after 2003) except for a 1-0 loss late in overtime to the Netherlands. Asllani has played for Chicago Red Stars (WPS), Paris Saint-Germain and REPLACE1094167522, and her contract with Linkopings was ended early.

On July 31, Real Madrid added Asllani's Swedish strike partner Sofia Jakobsson to the side for the 2019-20 season. Jakobsson scored two goals in this summer's World Cup, including one against England in Sweden's 2-1 win to capture the Bronze Medal in a game that English women's national team coach called 'meaningless,' though I don't think the Swedish players or coaching staff agreed. Jakobsson leaves Montpellier in France after 5 seasons, scoring 51 goals in 93 league games along with 4 tallies in 5 Champions League matches in 2017-18. Jakobsson (29) is well traveled and has played at home in Sweden, in Russia for two seasons with Rossiyanka, one season in England with Chelsea, in Germany with Cloppenburg; CD Talon/Real Madrid will be her sixth country on the club side and she has scored wherever she has played.

Real Madrid is taking over the name and organizational responsibilities of the Deportivo Tacon women's side this summer. Based in Madrid, Tacon were promoted to the Primera Division last season and will train and play matches at Real's training ground this coming season. Tacon will keep their name for the 2019-20 campaign, but the club will transition into being called Real Madrid in time for the 2020-21 season, which will be the first for Real Madrid operating a women's side. Besides the two Swedish stars, the club has signed Brazil's Thaisa from Milan and French international Aurelie Kaci from league champions Atletico Madrid.



Pia Sundhage Takes Over as Brazil's National Team Coach

On July 25, former Sweden and U.S. women's national team coach Pia Sundhage surprisingly took over as Brazil's women's national team head coach. Sundhage, who won two Olympic gold medals in her time as head coach of the Americans (2008, 2012), said: "It is a wonderful opportunity; you can't turn this kind of offer down. Brazil is a fantastic football country, rich in players and talent." Sundhage guided Sweden to the Silver Medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and her first major tournament will be next summer's Olympic Games in Tokyo—Brazil qualified via last year's Copa America Femenina as champions, which also doubled as the Women's World Cup qualifiers for France. Since the beginning of 2018, she has been in charge of Sweden's U-17 women's national team. Sundhage replaces Vadao whose tenure was ended on Monday after a disappointing World Cup campaign in France. Sundhage, well-respected globally, has signed a two-year contract. Sundhage is a very astute tactical coach and good at developing youth. She said: "The national team is in an exciting phase at the moment—one needs, to a certain extent, to undergo a generational change, and at the same time they have qualified for the Olympics." Brazil was the oldest squad at the World Cup in France, with seven of 11 starters at least 30 years of age and Formiga being 41.



UWS 2019 Season sees L.A. Galaxy OC take the Championship title

The summer amateur United Women's Soccer league in the United States and Canada staged its fourth season in 2019 with 23 teams and four new clubs: Syracuse Development Academy (New York),REPLACE584799169 (Michigan),, REPLACE2077837448 SC (Texas) and Queen City United SC (REPLACE1239525609). The returning Indy Premier was renamed REPLACE1025522177 for 2019.

Eight teams from 2018 left the league and did not return: REPLACE1296194214, Genesee FC, HAR FC, New York Surf, North Texas Image, REPLACE1911532765, SoCal Crush FC and REPLACE206587151.

REPLACE229673656 - 2019 Regular Season

Team

Team

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

+/-

Division

REPLACE178252331

REPLACE991458952

8

0

2

26

30

7

23

8-0-2

REPLACE126210883

REPLACE532038080

8

0

2

26

27

6

21

8-0-2

REPLACE1688887415

REPLACE166700188

7

3

0

21

15

12

3

7-3-0

REPLACE1495745395

REPLACE2139225945

5

5

0

15

20

17

3

5-5-0

REPLACE659843186

REPLACE962727901

4

4

2

14

20

16

4

4-4-2

REPLACE659380093

REPLACE1718840390

3

5

2

11

23

20

3

3-5-2

REPLACE1653392167

REPLACE1331544998

1

9

0

3

7

20

-13

1-9-0

REPLACE478032502

REPLACE1528847007

0

10

0

0

2

46

-44

0-10-0

Team

Team

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

+/-

Division

REPLACE1025522177

REPLACE1377438678

8

2

1

25

38

17

21

8-2-1

REPLACE1050029272

REPLACE166700188S

8

1

1

25

24

14

10

8-1-1

REPLACE1875214499

REPLACE1074358646

4

7

0

12

22

27

-5

4-7-0

REPLACE315167923

REPLACE1280521013

3

5

2

11

23

26

-3

3-5-2

REPLACE1500921822

REPLACE2140061435

3

5

2

11

13

25

-12

3-5-2

REPLACE584799169

REPLACE596735193

2

8

0

6

14

25

-11

2-8-0


REPLACE579417218 - 2019 Regular Season

Team

Team

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

+/-

Division

REPLACE632908759

REPLACE486939415

6

0

0

18

30

3

27

6-0-0

REPLACE228893041

REPLACE2073267719

3

3

0

9

12

11

1

3-3-0

REPLACE2077837448

REPLACE2060568045

3

3

0

9

12

16

-4

3-3-0

REPLACE1617724533

REPLACE1021693707

0

6

0

0

2

26

-24

0-6-0

REPLACE784207798 - 2019 Regular Season

Team

Team

W

L

T

PTS

GF

GA

+/-

Division

REPLACE2100523959

REPLACE658260031

6

1

1

19

20

5

15

6-1-1

REPLACE1975884095

LA

5

1

2

17

16

4

12

5-1-2

Santa Clarita Blue Heat

SC

5

2

1

16

14

9

5

5-2-1

Queen City United

QCU

2

6

0

6

5

18

-13

2-6-0

Colorado Pride

COP

0

8

0

0

3

22

-19

0-8-0


The 23 teams totaled 382 goals in 101 matches (3.78 per game) this season and Kate Howarth (ex-University of Michigan and Boston Breakers in NWSL in 2013) led the league with 18 goals while Brooke Barbuto of Syracuse (who has played in Finland and Iceland after college at Stony Brook University) had 5 assists, tied for best in the league with four others.

The semifinals and championship games were held in Calgary, Alberta at the Stadium Field of Mount Royal University, the first time the UWS Championship had been held outside of the States. Local side Foothills WFC won its second Western Division title in their third year of play in the league. Calgary lost in the 2018 National Semifinal to the eventual UWS champion REPLACE632908759 by a 3-1 score. Foothills head coach Troye Flannery has been in charge for all three seasons, with a strong 17-4-6 (W-D-L) record while never suffering a losing season and was league Coach of the Year last season. Canadian U-20 Women's National Team member Tanya Boychuk led the team in scoring (8 goals, 16 points) while senior international Alex Lamontagne was second with six goals (12 points). Veteran forward Joelle Gosselin (3 goals) was not available for Foothills WFC for the finals as she signed a professional contract with Jyväskylän Pallokerho of the Finnish Naisten Liiga. Gosselin, a native of Quebec who played at the University of Laval, had tried to sign with a club in South Korea but was prevented due to visa issues. Though missing the playoff finals, she said: "The (transfer) window was so short that I didn't have the choice about when to leave…It's everything I wanted since I was a little kid. To get pro experience, play soccer and just concentrate on that. It will be crazy, I don't realize it right now because it was such short notice. I worked hard for it and I hope it goes great." Coach Flannery said about the difficult timing of her move, for which the Finnish club is trying to make the playoffs this season: "Joelle is an incredible person and we are all better for having her in the environment. She is one of the (2017) originals here. She came to me upset that she would miss this weekend, but part of this program is to be a platform and showcase these women and get them next level opportunities and she is going to play professional soccer at the highest level in Finland. I'm proud that she has taken that next step."

The other three participants in the finals were REPLACE1688887415, Indian Union and REPLACE1975884095 OC (more below).



In the semifinals

REPLACE1975884095 OC (7-1-2) scored four times in the space of 14 minutes in the first half to defeat the Midwest Conference champion REPLACE1025522177 (9-3-1) by a 5-1 score. Forward Catarina Macario, the reigning Hermann Trophy winner for Stanford University, scored a brace while former U.S. Women's National Team star Natasha Kai and midfielders Jordan Marada (ex-USC) and Taylor Kornieck (who will be a senior at the University of Colorado and should be sought after by NWSL clubs and sides abroad as she has 27 goals and 18 assists in 60 games over three seasons) completed the scoring for the UWS West second place side. Macario was born in Brazil but has been capped at the youth level by the U.S.

In the second semifinal, the hosts REPLACE2100523959 WFC (7-1-1) defeated Lancaster Infernal (9-0-4) 2-0, with both tallies coming in the second half. Forward Tanya Boychuk (who is a U-20 international for Canada and plays at the University of Memphis) scored her team-leading ninth goal of the season while forward Alex Lamontagne (who also played on Canada's U-20 side and at the University of Syracuse) added the insurance goal on a brilliant individual effort. Goalkeeper Emily Burns (MacEwan University of Edmonton and a national team member on Canada's World University Futsal Championships in Kazakhstan in 2018) made six saves to preserve the shutout.

In the Final, it was an all-Western Conference affair as a 3-1-0 mark for REPLACE2100523959 WFC in the past against the California club meant nothing as the Galaxy Women defeated their Canadian rivals for the first time ever (1-0) to win the 2019 UWS Championship. Forward Catarina Macario scored the game winning goal in the 72nd minute and goalkeeper Hillary Beall (University of Michigan and U.S. youth international) got the shutout in goal. Macario was named the Tournament MVP for her three goals scored in the semifinal and final. Los Angeles joins Houston (2018), REPLACE315167923 (2017) and Santa Clarita (2016) as national champions and are the fourth team to do so in league history.


For Lancaster, 2019 represented their second straight appearance in the UWS Championship; in the 2018 league championship game, the Inferno defeated the hosts in REPLACE315167923 by a 4-3 score in the semifinals but fell 1-0 to the REPLACE632908759 in the final. Head Coach Francisco Cleaves has led Lancaster in all four seasons in the UWS East (26-1-18 overall record) and was named the 2018 UWS East Coach of the Year. Haley Crawford (James Madison University) once again led the Inferno in scoring with 14 points (6 goals, 2 assists) and is the team's all-time leading scorer in UWS play (29 goals, 4 assists for 62 points in three seasons).


The REPLACE1025522177 (formerly the Indy Premier SC) was the surprise package this season to even make the playoffs, as they finished at the bottom of the REPLACE2028834975 Conference last season. In their previous two years in UWS play, the Union compiled a 5-1-14 record which included a last-place finish in the 2017 season. The Union defeated two perennial strong Midwest sides (REPLACE1875214499 and defending champion REPLACE315167923) by an 8-3 margin to make the championship weekend. Leading scorer Samantha Dewey (ex-Xavier University) had 12 goals and 6 assists for 30 points and scored the game winning goal in the 108th minute of play against Grand Rapids (3-2) to send Indiana to the UWS Championship finals. She finished second overall in the league in scoring.


REPLACE1975884095 OC for the second consecutive year fell just short of the West regular season title but still qualified for the four-team field of the 2019 UWS Championship via a National Quarterfinal win over the REPLACE632908759. Former U.S. Women's National Team player and Olympic Gold Medalist Natasha Kai (a late season signing for Head Coach Scott Juniper) scored two goals in the victory while U.S. U-23 Women's National Team midfielder Jenna Nighswonger and U.S. U-19 forward Kate Weisner added the other goals. Juniper (the all-time winningest coach in UC Irvine women's soccer history) has been the Head Coach for LAGOC in both of their seasons in the UWS West, compiling a 13-3-3 record. Defender Natalie Jacobs (who will be a senior this fall at USC and previously played at Notre Dame University in Indiana) was the 2018 UWS Defensive Player of the Year for LAGOC and has had a stellar 2019 campaign, scoring the vital game-tying goal against Calgary in Week VIII action

Veteran defender Genessee Daughetee was a key addition at left back. The former Cal-Berkeley star played three seasons in France with Montpellier and then the last two seasons in Sweden with Vittsjo.



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

Tim Grainey
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Tim Grainey

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