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USA crowned World Champions after thrilling win over Aussies

July 19, 2017 By: Penny Category: Competitions, World Football

May 21, 2017

Kieran Green

It all came down to this. The Final of the 2017 IFA Women’s Futsal World Cup in Lloret De Mar was contested by the USA and Australia. In their last meeting in the Pacific Cup, USA overcame their Aussie counterparts, who were on a revenge mission. Both sides overall were the outstanding teams at this World Cup and deservedly reached the final. It really was set up to be an incredible match.

The game began at a ferocious pace, both sides playing Futsal exactly how Futsal should be played. The USA had the better of the chances in the opening stages. Jessika Cowart coming close with a strike that flew past the post.

Shortly after Veronica Cashman was baring down on goal, Melissa Khoury raced from her goal grabbed the loose before just before Cashman could get any sort of effort on goal.

Australia grew into the game as the half went on. Pollicina battled well to keep the ball in midfield before feeding the ball wide to Chelsie Winchcombe. She opened her body and fooled Gabriella Batmani in the USA goal as she went for the near post, and she hit the outside of the upright and out for a goal kick. The closest the Aussies have come in the match.

You couldn’t separate these sides as half time approached. Pollicina struck one from distance for the Aussies that flew just wide of Batmani’s post. Maricela Padilla also tried her luck from distance but Khoury had it covered.

With less than three minutes remaining before half time, the USA almost broke the deadlock, twice. Raylene Larot fired a terrific strike towards the top corner, but Khoury tremendously tipped it over the ball. Padilla then tried her luck, but Khoury produced another stunning save to keep the scores level.

Half Time: Australia 0-0 USA

The first chance of the second half fell to the USA. Padilla chipped the ball into Katelyn Nebesnick, who laid the ball off to Raleigh Loughman but her shot was deflected wide. A good move by the USA at the beginning of the second half.USA were looking the more likely team to score. Loughman again played in Erika Lum with a fantastically weighted pass, Lum took one touch and tried to stab the ball between the legs of Khoury, but again the big keeper was equal to it and blocked the shot with her body.

Khoury was again called into action when Lum launched the ball forward to the unmarked Cashman. She spun and fired a shot towards goal but Khoury blocked it again. She was having an excellent game.

The stalemate was soon no longer as the USA took the lead. Australia were pushing forward and left a huge gap at the back. Padilla won the ball back, nutmegged Shannon Day, drove forward towards goal and stabbed the ball with her toe through the legs of Khoury who couldn’t get down quick. The large USA support were sent into raptures, as were the players. Maricela Padilla gave the USA the lead.

Australia almost immediately equalised less than a minute later. Shannon Day found space and struck towards goal but Batmani stood up to the task and palmed the ball away, top save!

Moments later Batmani was called into action again when Chelsie Winchcombe drove through on goal, squared the ball to Day, she cut in on her left foot and shot low but Batmani got down to her right very quickly to beat the ball away.

The Aussies hit the post for the second time in the game midway through the second half. Jasmin Kent played it into the box, it bobbled around with Hargreaves trying to get something on it. Pollicina ghosted in at the back post and got a strike on at goal, it beat Batmani but not the post as it crashed off the upright and away to safety.

The USA goal lead a charmed life a few times in the game, but it did no longer as the Aussies levelled the scores. Winchcombe received the ball on the left, switched the ball to Pollicina on the right, and Batmani was left with no chance as Pollicina, famous for her long range strikes in this world cup, hit a venomous strike that nestled sweetly in the top corner. With only five minutes remaining, who would prevail victorious?

The score wasn’t level for long as the USA got themselves back in front. Jessica Cowart from the kick in played the ball back to Loughman. She then squared it to Jessica Sanchez, who in turn played in Raylene Larot in space, and the little number one for the USA struck low and the ball crept in under the arms of Britt Hargreaves in the Aussies goal. Every member of the USA team and coaching staff joined in the jubilant celebrations.

The literally seconds remaining, Australia came within an inch of equalising. Pollicina cut inside from the left and curled her effort towards the top corner, but Batmani through herself through the air and tipped the ball over the bar, and that was that, the USA had won the 2017 IFA Women’s Futsal World Cup in Lloret De Mar.

Full Time: Australia 1-2 USA

Australia: 1- Britt Hargreaves (GK), 2- Lindsey Jobling, 3- Lori Depczynski, 4- Jasmin Kent (Captain), 5- Chelsie Winchcombe, 6- Sophie Jones, 7- Shannon Day, 8- Andrea Preiato, 9- Caitlin Jarvie, 10- Rhianna Pollicina, 11- Melissa Khoury (GK), 16- Jessica Lindquist.

MVP: Rihanna Pollicina – Scored a wonderful goal, and influential in the game as a whole. Unlucky to be on the losing side, but being the youngest player in the Aussie squad she has a very bright future ahead.

USA: 1- Raylene Larot, 2- Veronica Cashman, 3- Gabriella Batmani – GK, 5- Julie Meurer, 6- Emily Kuo, 7- Katelyn Nebesnick, 8- Maricela Padilla, 9- Erika Lum, 10- Jessica Cowart, 11- Alejandra Palominos Maldonado – GK, 12- Raleigh Loughman, 13- Ellie Pope, 17- Jessica Sanchez, 18- Jillian Jordan.

MVP: Raleigh Loughman – As she has been for the whole tournament, she was tremendous both going forward and defending. A real team player and a joy to watch playing Futsal.

The Girls’ Soccer Team That Joined a Boys League, and Won It

July 19, 2017 By: Penny Category: World Football


LLEIDA, Spain — The ponytailed forward cut through the rain and the defense and drove a low shot past the outstretched arm of the goalkeeper. The pinpoint strike — her 38th of the season — confirmed Andrea Gómez as the top scorer for her championship team.

The boys Gómez left in her wake, though, were not the first ones forced to retrieve one of her shots from their net. Gómez, 13, and her teammates had been confounding boys all season, playing so well that their girls’ team recently won a junior regional league in Spain over 13 boys’ teams.

“I always try to show that soccer isn’t just for boys,” Gómez said. “If you’re technically better, you can compensate for being perhaps physically weaker.”

In the United States and a handful of other countries, it is not uncommon for women to upstage their male counterparts when it comes to soccer success. But in Spain, women’s soccer, despite the country’s first Women’s World Cup appearance in 2015, remains a sideshow. Spain’s top women’s league did not sign its first major corporate sponsorship deal until last summer — three decades after the league began — and the country’s most successful club, Real Madrid, does not field a women’s squad.

Gómez plays for an amateur club, AEM Lleida, that decided almost a decade ago to focus on coaching girls. In 2014, coming off another season in which its girls dominated other girls’ teams, AEM registered one of its teams in a boys’ league for the first time.

“To push these girls, we felt they had to play against boys because you need strong opponents to make real progress,” said José María Salmerón, the club’s general director. AEM took advantage of a Spanish soccer federation rule that allows clubs to field players of any sex — including mixed teams that combine boys and girls — for junior league competitions until age 14.

Back then, not everyone was convinced the decision was a wise one.

“A few parents called us crazy when we registered the team,” said Sergio González, AEM’s president. “If this had gone very wrong, we would have been held responsible for humiliating the girls.”

The transition was not easy. The girls finished 12th in an 18-team league in their debut season. But as the team improved, and began to beat boys’ teams with more regularity, its progress generated unpleasant reactions.

“It’s really been more a problem for parents rather than their boys,” Salmerón said of comments directed at the team during matches. “It’s strange, but most of the macho comments and insults have come from the mothers of some of the boys we play.”

It is not just opponents who have struggled to adapt, however. Daniel Rodrigo, the AEM coach, recalled a recent match when the referee asked him before kickoff whether his team had not traveled to the wrong field. During another match, the referee upset the AEM players by regularly referring to them as “las princesas” — the princesses — while he directed play.

In AEM’s final home game, Gómez led her team past its toughest rival this season, the boys from La Noguera, a club from about 12 miles away. La Noguera fields teams in different age groups from an overall squad of 113 players. Only one of them, a 7-year-old, is a girl.

“We just don’t have a tradition of girls,” said Pere Clarisó, La Noguera’s technical director. He highlighted AEM’s superior discipline as one reason for its success.

“Tactically, you can see that these girls listen to every word from their coach,” he said. “They really try to do as they’re told.”

After the match, the AEM girls celebrated their title by tossing Rodrigo into the air and holding up their trophy as the stadium loudspeakers blared “We Are the Champions.” The boys from La Noguera looked dejected but were quick to offer praise, too.

“It’s hard to lose against girls,” said one player, Oriol Marchal. “But these ones really are very good.”

AEM officials said they were planning to use this season’s success to start a crowdfunding campaign that the club hopes will raise about $10,000 for its coaching program. The extra money is needed, the officials said, because the Spanish soccer federation provides little support for grass-roots girls’ soccer, and because the club has been unable to persuade any company to come aboard as a sponsor.

“Women have made real progress, which is amazing when you look at the big difference in how the money is allocated,” González said. But unequal treatment persists. In youth soccer, he said, “I know some clubs that only use their vehicles to transport their boys; the girls have to fend for themselves.”

Inside the club, initial objections faded once the team showed it could outplay boys’ teams. Ana Maria Biela acknowledged that she had been reluctant to allow her daughter, Cristina, to play matches when she was younger, especially against boys.

“I delayed as long as possible because I was afraid that she would get hurt by the boys,” Biela said. “She kept answering that she could also hurt boys.”

Now Biela and other parents are reveling in their daughters’ accomplishments, and the team’s success has helped increase the club’s female membership to more than 25 percent of its overall roster of players, the largest ratio in Lleida Province in northeastern Spain.

“They are young, so they aren’t perhaps aware that they’ve done something quite extraordinary,” Biela said.

Gómez, the captain and top scorer, said she was proud that her team helped promote the image of women’s soccer in Spain, even if her own ambition is to move eventually to the United States to play there instead.

“I want to play where women’s soccer is really valued,” she said. “The paradise is in the United States — not here, unfortunately.”

IFA World Cup Futsal Final 2017

June 11, 2017 By: Penny Category: Competitions, WA on the world stage, World Football


Top 10 Matildas Goals

June 11, 2017 By: Penny Category: WA on the world stage, World Football


World Cup 2015 Soccer Skills

June 11, 2017 By: Penny Category: World Football

Orlando Pride | Hunger to Succeed Video

June 11, 2017 By: Penny Category: World Football

2017 Tournament of Nations

June 11, 2017 By: Penny Category: World Football

Tournament of Nations 2017

June 11, 2017 By: Penny Category: WA on the world stage, World Football

U.S. Soccer to Host Australia, Brazil & Japan in Seattle, San Diego and LA for 2017 Tournament of Nations
CenturyLink Field (July 27), Qualcomm Stadium (July 30) and StubHub Center (August 3) Will Each Host a Doubleheader
WNT May 10, 2017

CHICAGO (May 10, 2017) – U.S. Soccer will host its second four-team elite international tournament of the year as Australia, Brazil and Japan come to the USA for the Tournament of Nations to be held from July 27-August 3 at three venues along the west coast. The round-robin tournament will feature three doubleheaders. The USA is currently ranked second in the world, Japan is tied for sixth, Australia is eighth and Brazil is ninth.

U.S. Soccer is planning on hosting this tournament every summer during the years that do not feature a World Cup or Olympic Games. Next year’s tournament will feature the same four teams.

“It’s fantastic to play another tournament at home against some of the world’s best teams in a year after the world championship cycle, and it shows U.S. Soccer’s continuing dedication to growing the women’s game,” U.S. WNT head coach Jill Ellis said. “These are three talented teams that we haven’t played in a while so we’re looking forward to a summer tournament that will be extremely challenging and valuable for our players and entertaining for the fans.”

How, When, Where Can I Get Tickets?
Tickets for the doubleheaders in San Diego and Los Angeles go on sale to the public Friday, May 19, at 10 a.m. PT through For the tournament opener in Seattle, tickets will become available on May 26 at 10 a.m. PT, also through Fans looking to purchase by phone should dial 1-800-745-3000 for the events in Seattle and San Diego and 1-888-929-7849 for the doubleheader in the Los Angeles area. Tickets are also available at the CenturyLink Field Northwest Box Office (open Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) and at the StubHub Center ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.). [NOTE: Tickets are not sold at Qualcomm Stadium except on the day of the event.]

U.S. Soccer Members receive presale access prior to the general public for all U.S. Soccer controlled matches. If you would like to be included in the presale for the Tournament of Nations and are not already a member, click here to join the membership by Monday, May 15.

To receive notifications directly and for early ticket access, join U.S. Soccer’s social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat.

Girls Fantasy Camp
U.S. Soccer will offer a four-day Girls Fantasy Camp around the match in Los Angeles, running from August 1-4. The camp is open to girls born in 2003, 2004 and 2005. This exclusive opportunity includes training sessions with former Women’s National Team stars at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center, behind-the-scenes access, on-field match tickets, a pre-game stadium tour and field-level access to watch warm-ups, U.S. Soccer training apparel and jersey, hotel accommodations, an honorary one-year membership in the Supporters Circle of the Development Fund, meals and more. The Fantasy Camp is a fundraiser to support the U.S. Soccer Development Fund and includes a special tax-deductible donation. Space is very limited with a roster size comparable to a National Team. For more information and to register, visit the U.S. Soccer Fantasy Camps web page or contact

USA vs. Australia

The USA is 25-0-2 all-time against the Matildas, who made it to the quarterfinal of the Women’s World Cup before falling 1-0 to Japan. Australia also made to the quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympic tournament, but fell to Brazil in a penalty kick shootout that went eight players deep.

Becky Sauerbrunn

USA vs. Brazil

The USA is 26-3-5 all-time against Brazil in a series that has featured some epic matches, including the gold medal games of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, both U.S. wins in overtime, a semifinal loss for the USA at the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup and a penalty kick win during the quarterfinal at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup that featured Abby Wambach’s last gasp header in overtime, one of the famous goals in U.S. history.

USA vs. Japan

The USA has a record of 26-1-7 against Japan with just 11 of those games have taken place on U.S. soil. The USA is 7-0-4 against Japan in the United States. The two teams have met in some of the most exciting matches ever player in women’s soccer including the last three of four World Championship Finals.

Match Preview
USA vs. Japan Through the Years
A World Class Rivalry

2017 Tournament of Nations Schedule







July 27

Brazil vs. Japan

CenturyLink Field

Seattle, Wash.

4:15 p.m. PT

July 27

USA vs. Australia

CenturyLink Field

Seattle, Wash.

7 p.m. PT


July 30

Japan vs. Australia

Qualcomm Stadium

San Diego, Calif.

2:15 p.m. PT

July 30

USA vs. Brazil

Qualcomm Stadium

San Diego, Calif.

5 p.m. PT


Aug. 3

Australia vs. Brazil

StubHub Center

Carson, Calif.

4:15 p.m. PT

Aug. 3

USA vs. Japan

StubHub Center

Carson, Calif.

7 p.m. PT


Tournament Format
The winner of the tournament will be based on total points (three for a win, one for a tie), with the first tie-breaker being overall goal difference, followed by most total tournament goals scored, then head-to-head result and lastly, FIFA Ranking if necessary.


Union plan to boost W-League pay and put women’s soccer on top of the world

March 22, 2017 By: Penny Category: W League, WA on the world stage, World Football

Michael Lynch

  • Michael Lynch

Australia can win Olympic gold in soccer at the Tokyo Games and the women’s World Cup in 2023 if proposed development pathways are adopted, the players’ union says.

Professional Footballers Australia on Tuesday unveiled a pathway for development of women’s soccer that targets a minimum earnings package of $60,000 a year for the top 60 players in the W-League, a move that it argues would “leverage … competitive advantages” that soccer enjoys.


The Matildas and W-League players need increased investment to increase success.

The Matildas and W-League players need increased investment to increase success. Photo: Getty Images

The players’ union, historically one of the more thoughtful and articulate bodies associated with Australian soccer, believes that with a complete rethink about development programs and a far reaching financial overhaul the game will be able to fight back and stand its ground in a marketplace where competition is not just for sponsorship dollars and media attention but for the best athletes themselves.

PFA chief executive John Didulica says now is the time for bold and decisive action.

“The one thing thing missing from Australia’s CV as a sporting nation is a global trophy from the global game.

“Women’s football has the highest participation base among young girls in the country.

“Our national team is amongst the very best in the world and our sport offers the prospect of international opportunity like no other. However, we are yet to fully leverage these competitive advantages through the establishment of a genuine professional pathway for our elite players.

“The goals of winning the World Cup and an Olympic gold medal are ambitious, and rightly so, as they must reflect our shared ambition of being the very best.”

Currently some $3 million a year is spent on the womens game (a combined figure for all W-League clubs and the Matildas, the best of whom earn around $42,000 a year, while others earn around $32,000), according to PFA figures. Top players augment those payments from the FFA with wages from their W-League clubs and also from contracts playing in overseas leagues during the Australian off season.

The union argues that for another $1.5 million a year, it could implement its model and change the face of Australia’s female sporting landscape.

“To be the best, we need to be able to offer greatness.Through an increased investment of $1.5 million we can revolutionise the W-League and make it among the best leagues in the world, and significantly grow our talent pool, which is fundamental to our international success and ability to attract and retain the best talent,” Didulica said.

The PFA has spent months putting together a detailed package – “Grassroots to Greatness” – which contains a raft of development proposals aimed at strengthening the position of women’s soccer as competition for the best female athletes intensifies.

The huge success of the AFL Women’s competition and the bigger money on offer to elite netball players in the newly constituted Australian championship is a shot across the bow to soccer, which is also facing pressure from the Women’s Big Bash League, where crowds and television ratings have been positive.

But soccer’s trump card, the PFA argues, was, and remains, the game’s global appeal and the chance it offers to elite athletes to travel, work and compete all over the world in globally recognised tournaments.

But it acknowledges that soccer needs to pay its players properly or pay a heavy price.

Participation rates for soccer are far and away the best in the country for primary school children and teenagers; the task for the women’s game is to provide a program where the best players can earn enough money to live as full time professionals employed by the national team and their W-League clubs while those who buttress the stars in the W-League teams can at least earn more than the pittance too many now have to accept.

The key points of the PFA submission are its $60k for 60 plan, allied to a minimum salary of $11,500 for full time professionals employed during the W-League season and funding to give the womens game the chance to hire high quality international players to bolster their local talent during the regular season.

At heart is a desire not just to create a financial safety net but to create a “clear and cohesive” career path for talented juniors into senior women’s football. The union would like to see all W-League clubs field two different age teams in their state NPL competitions to provide up and coming players with the chance to develop their game.

The progam also calls for a “10 team competition structured to maximise commercial revenues” where teams play each other home and away in an 18 game regular season.

The targets, union officials admit, are ambitious, but can be attained through creative support for women players. The PFA wants the FFA to distribute at least $175,000 a year to W-League clubs to cover payments and says that the clubs themselves need to be generating $385,000 a year from their activities to be competitive.

It also pledges to develop a National Womens Football Network to fund flexible employment to female players within the football industry, many of whom now struggle to get time off to play or train properly.

PFA player relations executive and former Matildas captain Kathryn Gill said the womens game had to be central to all aspects of the sport.

“The players understand intuitively that we can only tackle the challenges if we improve the game for everyone,” said Gill, the Matildas all-time leading goalscorer.

“The women’s game has reached the point of being the largest participation sport for young girls by trading off the good-will of the football community.

“The time has come to make the women’s game a priority and use it to turbocharge football into the consciousness of Australians as the true global game and the sport of choice for women.”

Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams said the lofty targets were realisable.

“Things worth achieving are never easy and we know what we can achieve with this model, for the game, for the players and the thousands of young girls across Australia dreaming of becoming the next generation of Matildas,” she said.


International fixtures due in Australia

March 22, 2017 By: Penny Category: World Football

Brazil set to play USA, Japan, Australia and Bolivia

Brazil set to play USA, Japan and Australia this summer

Brazil face some tough challenges ahead as they plan many international friendly matches for 2017.

Brazil Women’s National Team have a hectic and exciting schedule ahead with some strong opponents to battle against according to reports in Brazilian media.

In April, Brazil will play Bolivia with Araraquara likely to be the venue – this will take place between 3 and 11 of the month, which are the FIFA dates for international friendlies.

From 22 July to 3 August (to be confirmed), the team led by Emily Lima are reportedly taking part in a competition hosted in the United States where they will face USA, Japan and Australia.

From 11 to 19 September (to be confirmed), Brazil will travel to Australia where they will play their hosts as well as a match against New Zealand.

The calendar is still not completely finished, they have agreed details for matches against Spain (in June), Germany (in July) and Sweden. It is also a strong possibility that Brazil will play China in October and Korea Republic in November.

Some of the proposed fixtures have not been confirmed and are dependent on signed contracts.