This week we review the CONCACAF Gold Cup/Women's World Cup Qualifying Rosters and the first set of matches in the competition.
2018 CONCACAF GOLD CUP REVIEW—ROSTERS AND FIRST GAMES
We reviewed the eight 2018 CONCACAF Gold Cup finalists' 20 player rosters, which also doubles as the qualifiers for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France. This edition of the CONCACAF Women's Championship includes eight countries divided into two groups of four, with each group's top two finishers advancing to the semifinals. The two finalists and the winner of the third-place match will qualify directly to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. The fourth-place finisher will earn a spot in a two-game intercontinental playoff against Argentina, which finished third in South American (CONMEBOL) qualifying, for a final berth to the tournament.
Costa Rica, which qualified in 2015 for their first ever Women's World Cup, has 10 of their 20 player roster based with clubs in Costa Rica, while three are playing in Spain, two in the States—midfielders Raquel Rodriguez with Sky Blue FC and Gloriana Villalobos (19) at Florida State—one in France, one in Israel, and one in China—Shirley Cruz, the ex-Lyon and PSG midfielder/forward, who has been at Jiangsu Suning since January of this year. Jiangsu Suning also has Tabith Chawinga of Malawi, who was a prolific scorer with Kvarnsvedens IK in Sweden the past three years and led the Damallsvenskan in goals in 2017 with 26 despite her side's relegation; Jiangsu Suning is currently second in the 8 team Chinese league after 11 games, four points behind Dalian Quanjian (28 vs. 24), which has Nigeria's Asisat Oshoala and Argentina's Sole James.
Cuba's squad of 19 is all home-based, with 5 players each from local clubs Villa Clara, La Habana and Camaguey, along with two from Artemisa. Ten of the players are 18 –year-olds for the Gold Cup debutants.
For Jamaica, Chinyelu Asher played with the Washington Spirit Reserves this season after time with clubs in Kazakhstan (BIIK) and Colombia (Independiente Santa Fe). Ten others play with clubs or colleges in the U.S., four are unattached and one each plays in Israel, Sweden and the Netherlands. Jamaica won the recent CFU regional finals and look to have replaced Trinidad and Tobago as the top side from the Caribbean in recent years (see below).
Mexico has 4 players in Iceland—3 with CWL round of 32 side Thor/KA—3 in Spain and 4 in the U.S.—3 in NWSL and 1 at Santa Clara University. The other 9 players are based in Mexico, including 5 with Liga MX Femenil 2017/18 Clausura champions Club Tigres of Monterrey. This Mexico roster is a decided shift from past years in which most squads were split fairly equally between Mexican-Americans playing in the States and those from small clubs in Mexico, along with occasional one or two at minor clubs in Europe. Mexican Football Federation national teams' still heavily scout and recruit their American diaspora at the youth level but the change in the roster composition is significant, particularly with more players coming from Europe and half coming from the two-year-old Liga MX league. The new model for Mexican women's league soccer was launched based on starting women's sides as offshoots of men's Division 1 professional sides (primarily a U-23 and now U-24 league), and speaks to the immediate impact of the league with new professionally managed franchises, world-class attendance figures for playoff games and quality coaches, as well as the increasing demand for Mexican internationals in Europe.
Panama has only one player based abroad—Marta Cox with Deportes Quindio of Colombia.
Trinidad and Tobago has only two players with international club sides, one in Norway and one at University of Georgia, but 5 are unattached. T&T entered the Gold Cup with more turmoil, which is not exactly a surprise to anyone who follows the team even occasionally. It seems that every quarter this column reports on more turmoil with women's football in the country and this tournament is no different. Just last week, after multiple negotiations, the women's national team manager Jinelle James received a check for TT$429,626 (US$63,700) from the Government Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs so that the team could travel to North Carolina for the confederation finals. The check came three days after the Women's Soca Warriors originally scheduled departure date for a pre-tournament camp in the States. The federation is still about two months in arrears for their player stipend payments, which started last year when long-gone Italian coach Carolina Morace took over, before she and her coaching staff left later in the year after they weren't paid by the federation. To add more confusion to the situation, the player stipend contracts expired earlier this year, but the payments were continued for a while, though the contractual paperwork was not updated. There was also a battle over who would coach the side, with local coach Shawn Copper—a former Men's National U-17 head coach—being appointed after the CFU finals at the end of the summer. The Federation president David John-Williams selected him but Copper only had support from half of the federation board members. Things were so messy in September that Randy Waldrum, who coached the team four years ago to the Intercontinental Finals (where they lost narrowly to Ecuador 1-0 over two legs for the final WWC spot) said that he would coach the team again, even though he is in the midst of his first season coaching at the University of Pittsburgh, after being fired in 2017 by the Houston Dash of the NWSL. The University of Pittsburgh is currently 4-1-7 (W-D-L) and 0-0-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference under Waldrum and—along with his demands that the team train in Pittsburgh so he can continue to coach the college side—Waldrum is clearly not what T&T needs at this point (or arguably ever again). Waldrum for some reason feels that he has a divine right to lead a team (any team) into a Women's World Cup finals. Despite his stated allegiance to the players of Trinidad, it smacks of an opportunistic publicity move but adds confusion to a T&T Federation that seeming is unable to make any decision at this point. Local coach Richard Hood also said that he would like the job again; he replaced Waldrum for a short time in 2016 during the regional Olympic Game Qualifying tournament. Morace then was appointed followed by veteran local coach Jamall Shabazz, who coached the U-17 side during regional qualifying for the 2018 FIFA Finals, not making it to out of the confederation qualifiers. Cooper will be assisted by former men's national team playerDernelle Mascall (who once played in Iceland) and current squad member Ayana Russell, while veteran Tasha St Louis will serve as captain.
T&T Federation Board Member Look Loy said about the federation's lack of transparency: "The people of this country feel every battle is bacchanal and confusion but that sort of statement would have is in slavery still. It is the so called bacchanal and confusion that causes change. We want our laws and institutions to work and to have democracy and a collective process; but they want to run their private agenda, break the law, victimize people and run football like a private fiefdom. I went through that before [under disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner] and fought from the inside quietly, observing the protocols and confidentiality. I am going to fight differently this time." It's sad to see that this women's national team, which has such talented players, is being shortchanged by these constant changes in coaching and lack of investment. The federation board needs to make positive actions rather than statements to change the status quo. (See more below on their first game against Panama in the tournament).
The United States team is all based at home, with 4 from the Chicago Red Stars, 3 with the 2018 NWSL Champions North Carolina Courage, 3 playing for the Portland Thorns, 3 with the Utah Royals FC, 2 at the Orlando Pride, 2 with the Washington Spirit, 1 with the Seattle Reign, 1 with the Sky Blue FC and 1 player still in college at UCLA—defender Hailie Mace.
Eleven players on this roster were members of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup championship team. The players participating in their first World Cup qualifying tournament are: G Alyssa Naeher, D Abby Dahlkemper, D Crystal Dunn, D Hailie Mace, D Casey Short, D Emily Sonnett, M Lindsey Horan, M Rose Lavelle, M Samantha Mewis and F Mallory Pugh. Julie Ertz was on the roster for the World Cup qualifying tournament in 2014 but did not play. Midfielder McCall Zerboni of North Carolina (elbow) and defender Tierna Davidson of Stanford University (ankle) were not available for selection due to injuries.
DEFENDERS (7): Abby Dahlkemper (NC Courage; 23/0), Crystal Dunn (NC Courage; 69/23), Hailie Mace (UCLA; 2/0), Kelley O'Hara (Utah Royals FC; 108/2), Becky Sauerbrunn (Utah Royals FC; 143/0), Casey Short (Chicago Red Stars; 25/0), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns FC; 21/0)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Chicago Red Stars; 79/6), Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars; 66/16), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns FC; 56/6), Rose Lavelle (Washington Spirit; 13/3), Samantha Mewis (NC Courage; 38/7)
FORWARDS (6): Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns FC; 138/21), Carli Lloyd (Sky Blue FC; 259/102), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride; 147/90), Christen Press (Utah Royals FC; 104/45), Mallory Pugh (Washington Spirit; 37/12), Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC; 140/38).
Canada has two players based in France, two in Germany, one in Sweden, one in England (Janine Beckie with Manchester City), while 8 are with NWSL clubs, five are with U.S. colleges and one is a junior player still in Canada.
The average age of the roster is 24.65, with five teenagers on the team: Jordyn Huitema (17), Julia Grosso (18), Emma Regan (18), Gabrielle Carle (19) and Deanne Rose (19). Both Carle and Rose were members of Canada's Rio 2016 Olympic Bronze Medal winning squad.
Christine Sinclair has the most appearances (268) for Canada Soccer's Women's National Team, while Emma Regan is set to make her first appearance during the competition. Four members of the squad have over 100 appearances for Canada Soccer's Women's National Team (Sinclair, Matheson, Schmidt, McLeod), while only Sinclair has over 200 appearances. Matheson could make her 200th appearance for Canada during the tournament should Canada progress through the knockout stage. The total number of caps for each player is: Sinclair (269), Matheson (196), Schmidt (172), McLeod (116), Buchanan (78), Lawrence (63), Chapman (53), Labbé (52), Fleming (52), Leon (50), Beckie (44), Zadorsky (40), Quinn (39), Prince (39), Rose (33), Huitema (12), Carle (9), Agnew (8), Grosso (6); and, Regan has yet to make her team debut.
Sinclair is the highest goal scorer on the squad, and second all-time for FIFA, with 173 international goals. Sinclair trails retired American forward Abby Wambach, the current record holder with 184, by 11 goals. Sinclair, who wears the number 12, needs 12 more goals to set the world record for most international goals ever for men and women. The goalscorers for Canada for the Gold Cup squad are: Sinclair (173), Beckie (22), Schmidt (18), Matheson (17), Leon (8), Prince (7), Rose (7), Fleming (6), Lawrence (5), Buchanan (3), Quinn (3), Huitema (2), Chapman (1), Zadorsky (1), Carle (1).
Canada Soccer 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship Roster
Head Coach Kenneth Heiner-Møller
GK – Stephanie Labbe, age 31, from Stony Plain, AB/ Lejonflocken Linköping (Damallsvenskan)
GK – Erin McLeod, age 35, from St. Albert, AB/ SC Sand (Frauen-Bundesliga)
FB - Lindsay Agnew, age 23, from Kingston, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
FB - Allysha Chapman, age 29, from Courtice, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
FB – Ashley Lawrence, age 23, from Caledon, ON/Paris Saint Germain (Division 1 Féminine France)
FB – Emma Regan, age 18, from Burnaby, BC/ The University of Texas at Austin (NCAA)
CB - Kadeisha Buchanan, age 22, from Brampton, ON/ Olympique Lyonnais (Division 1 Féminine France)
CB – Shelina Zadorsky, age 25, from London, ON/ Orlando Pride (NWSL)
M/CB – Rebecca Quinn, age 23, from Toronto, ON/ Washington Spirit (NWSL)
M - Jessie Fleming, age 20, from London, ON/UCLA (NCAA)
M – Julia Grosso, age 18, from Vancouver, BC / The University of Texas at Austin (NCAA)
M – Diana Matheson, age 34, from Oakville, ON/Utah Royals FC (NWSL)
M- Sophie Schmidt, age 30, from Abbotsford, BC/ FFC Frankfurt (Frauen-Bundesliga)
M- Gabrielle Carle, age 19, from Levis, QC/ Florida State University (NCAA)
F- Jordyn Huitema, age 17, from Chilliwack, BC/ Vancouver Whitecaps FC Girls Elite/ Canada Soccer Regional EXCEL Super Centre (British Columbia)
F – Adriana Leon, age 25, from King City, ON/ Seattle Reign FC (NWSL)
F – Nichelle Prince, age 23, from Ajax, ON/ Houston Dash (NWSL)
F – Deanne Rose, age 19, from Alliston, ON/ University of Florida Gators (NCAA)
F – Christine Sinclair ( C ), age 35, from Burnaby, BC/ Portland Thorns (NWSL)
F - Janine Beckie, age 24, from Highlands Ranch, CO/ Manchester City (FA Women's Super League)
The link to the full rosters are here: file:///C:/Users/Tim%20Grainey/Desktop/Tim's%20Files/Women's%20Soccer%20Book/2018%20Womens%20Gold%20Cup%20Final_Rosters_CWC.pdf
Opening Gold Cup Match Summary
In the first games on Group A on October 4, 2018, the U.S. defeated Mexico 6-0 and Panama shocked Trinidad and Tobago with a 3-0 win, which emphasized how far T&T— which narrowly missed the Women's World Cup in 2015—has fallen, plagued truly by one of the most out of its depth federations on the planet, which is seemingly unable to plan the next four hours, much less a national team calendar and development plan. Los Canaleros, playing in only their third CWC and first since 2006, earned their second win in the competition as they outplayed T&T, the 2014 Gold Cup fourth-place finishers. Panama's 17-year-old goalkeeper Yenith Bailey (San Francisco of Panama) recorded the clean sheet at Sahlen's Stadium at WakeMed Park in Cary North Carolina. Marta Cox (Deportes Quindio of Colombia), Kenia Rangel (Atletico Nacional of Panama) and Erika Hernandez (Chorrillo FC of Panama) were the goalscorers in the historic win.
Panama's Liga de Futbol Femenino league has just started its second season with 16 teams divided into two groups.
Group A has:
SD Atletico Veraguense
Santa Gema FC
CAI La Chorrera
San Francisco FC Femenino
Atletico Nacional Femenino
SD Panama Oeste
CD Plaza Amador
Group B includes:
Leones de America FC
Rio Abajo FC
Costa del Este FC
Sporting SM Femenino
Deportive Arabe Unido
The Panamanian women's championship final will be held in mid-December.
In the second Gold Cup game on October 4 in Cary, North Carolina, the U.S defeated Mexico 6-0 behind braces from Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign) and Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), while Julie Ertz (Chicago Red Stars) and Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns added single goals. Rapinoe opened the scoring in the third minute but the team had to wait until the 47th minute for their second goal (by Ertz) when the floodgates opened and the Americans were up 4-0 by the hour mark. Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns) assisted on the first two goals.
On Friday October 5 in Edinburg, Texas, Costa Rica shocked Cuba 8-0 as Shirley Cruz (Jiangsu Suning of China), Priscilla Chinchilla (Codea of Costa Rica) and second half substitute Maria Barrantes (Saprissa of Costa Rica) all scored twice, while Daphne Herrera (Stade de Reim of France) and Fabriola Sanchez (Ramat Hasharon of Israel) added singles, giving the Ticas a great start to their Gold Cup quest to return to the WWC World Cup. Cuba meanwhile made their debut at the tournament. Costa Rica starting goalkeeper Maria Bermudez (Valencia of Spain) suffered a fractured left arm in the 31st minute while jumping for a cross with no players near her and fell awkwardly; Bermudez had to be stretchered off the field in visible pain. She was replaced by Daniela Solera (Atletico Huila of Colombia). Under tournament regulations, the Costa Ricans will be allowed to add another keeper and the team will bring in 16-year-old youth international Fabiana Solano, who plays at home for Coronado. Costa Rica was up by a 6-0 score at halftime.
In the second Group B game on October 5, Canada defeated Jamaica 2-0. Nichelle Prince of the Houston Dash scored one goal in each half to give the Maple Leafs the win over a competitive Reggae Girlz side. Canadian keeper Steph Labbe of Linkopings in Sweden did not have to make a save during the match.
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