Monday, November 26, 2007


I'm very late to the table with this one, but hooray for the USSF hiring Pia Sundhage to manage the women's national team. She will bring a sorely needed outsider's perspective and international experience to the job. In her first interview with the Swedish press after getting the job, she stressed the need for dictating the tempo of the game (hello, midfield? apparently you've not been permanently forgotten after all) as well as the need for open communication and maturity (hello, queen bees? apparently you're not running the ship any more). So we can hope that Route One is a thing of the past and that creativity will be encouraged. Lori Chalupny, you're on notice: we are expecting great things from you now.

In other soccer news, Notre Dame ousted the Tarheel Mafia on Saturday, 3-2, to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA women's tournament, where they will play Dook. The quarterfinal game to watch, though, will be UCLA-Portland. Portland's been on a tear despite losing the Rapinoe twins to ACL tears, and UCLA has been nearly unstoppable all year. How Arizona held them to only three goals in the regular season is a mystery to me.

Final soccer note, that will likely appeal only the die-hardest NCAA fans out there, is that the Pac-10 all-conference selection committee must stop paying attention after filling the first-team roster. I have no other explanation for the choice of London King over Jasmin Day for second team honors. King is a fine player, but she's a forward who spent the season mostly lost in an unfamiliar midfield position; her forte is making runs onto through balls, not creating out of the middle. Day, a converted track athlete, is a natural forward who moves off the ball and challenges in the air better than anyone else for Arizona, and she runs like a freaking gazelle that is chasing the lion to stomp it into tiny little bits, albeit in an elegant fashion.

Final final soccer note: I may be retiring from competition after 31 years. Not sure, though, that I'm willing to hang it up before Brett Favre does.

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