U.S WNT roster for 2012 Summer Olympics unveiled

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Pia Sundhage announced the USWNT’s 18-player roster for the 2012 Summer Olympics. What better way to kick off today’s pre-match festivities?

First off, the names:

Goalkeepers: Nicole Barnhart, Hope Solo

Defenders: Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelley O’Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Sauerbrunn

Midfielders: Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe

Forwards: Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach

And the alternates:

Lori Lindsey (M), Jill Loyden (GK), Meghan Klingenberg (M), Christen Press (F)

So, any surprises? None that would quite move the needle on the Richter scale, but additions and omissions always provide a few talking points.

– For one, no Ali Krieger. The right back had an outstanding World Cup last summer, but sustained a serious knee injury thanks to a horrific tackle in Olympic qualifying earlier this year (a replay if you can bear it). This video highlighted the steady progress she’s been making in rehab. It wasn’t enough, however. Something that’s really jarring? Krieger will be 31 the next time a major international tournament rolls around.

– Lori Lindsey also missed out on a berth on the first-team squad. The central midfielder holds 30 senior caps and made one World Cup start last summer. Erstwhile striker Lauren Cheney has essentially made her home in an already congested midfield, which may have pushed other candidates out. It will be interesting to see what kind of Plan B Sundhage hopes to adopt in midfield if the tried-and-tested formula fails to come off in the U.K.

– No sign of Stephanie Cox – not even as an alternate. The 26 year-old defender might not be first-choice, but has proven to be a handy player to keep on call. Cox has won 82 caps with the senior team, the last four coming in 2012. She got a run-out in two World Cup matches last summer and tallied an assist. Cox made two most recent World Cup rosters as well as the 2008 Olympics squad which makes her absence particularly conspicuous.

– Sydney Leroux made the final cut and could inherit Alex Morgan’s super sub role. Listed forward Amy Rodriguez has been pushed back to the wing in recent games, giving Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan an opportunity to further develop a strike partnership. At age 22, Leroux is the youngest player in the squad. Her international career has gotten off to a hot start. The Canadian-born striker has scored seven goals in her first nine appearances with the senior team.

– This squad has experience to boot. Only six players are making their Olympic team debuts. Eleven won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The average age of the 18-player roster comes in under 28 and the average number of caps on the roster is 91. Christie Rampone’s extraordinary cap total likely has an inflationary effect on the numbers, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

– The team first faces France in Glasgow on July 25, Colombia in Glasgow on July 28, and North Korea in Manchester on July 31.

Giggs has “to put up with” no managerial interviews

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How much is playing experience worth to a manager?

Comments from Ryan Giggs have us contemplating that question as the legendary Manchester United man wonders why he hasn’t gotten a shout to manage a Premier League squad.

Giggs, 43, says he’s only spoken with Swansea City regarding a managerial spot since his 2014 stint as interim boss of Manchester United. That’s surprising given the Welshman has been linked with seemingly every job in the British Isles.

[ MORE: Chelsea sells Traore ]

“I spoke to Swansea. It didn’t work out. Because I have said I want to go into coaching and management every job that comes up I am linked with..and then I miss out on the job without having spoken to anyone! That’s frustrating, but that’s football. …“I have done the apprenticeship I have just not done the real thing yet.” (Manchester Evening News).

With respect to his on-field prowess, which at times was nearly peerless, should players like Giggs really be surprised when they don’t get top-end offers? Given the big money nature of the Premier League, why should any club trust it’s future to an unknown?

Patrick Vieira was a heck of a player but started his time in the first chair by going abroad to New York City FC. Even Paul Clement gave Derby County a go before getting a look at Swansea last season.

Now Giggs will probably point to fellow Wales and Manchester United alum Mark Hughes, who was named to Wales and Blackburn posts straight out of his playing career.

But for every story like that, there’s Steve Bruce working for Sheffield United in the old Division One, or Jaap Stam going into the Championship with Reading and having some success in building his name. On the negative side, there’s Gary Neville being thrust into a La Liga role without First Team experience.

So while there’s no guarantee that Giggs isn’t beating down the doors of openings in lower leagues, it seems more likely that he has the option of continuing to wait for someone to bet on his name and potential in the Premier League, or to go for any number of jobs in the lower tier to prove his mettle. There’s risk there, too, to be sure, but he’ll be more easily forgiven for failure in a lower spot than in a higher spot. But from the outside, it’s not something Giggs has “to put up with,” rather a choice.

And to his credit, Giggs feels his work in acquiring his coaching licenses while a player and studying under Louis Van Gaal should be enough for a gig. He’s also fine waiting, according to the article, which is totally acceptable (not that he’s looking for our approval). But we’d love to see former players like Giggs at another squad.

Chelsea sells Traore to Lyon for $11 million

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Chelsea has officially sold exciting attacker Betrand Traore to Lyon.

Traore, 21, spent last season on loan at Ajax, helping the club to the UEFA Europa League Final.

The 40-times capped Burkina Faso winger scored four goals in 16 appearances for Chelsea in 2015-16, and has 22 goals in loan seasons to Vitesse and Ajax.

[ MORE: Ranking expectations for PL bosses ]

The fee is said to be more than $11 million. Traore joined Chelsea’s academy in 2010 after coming up with Auxerre.

There have been conflicting reports about whether the Blues have included a buyback clause in the sale, though it would seem likely given reports Chelsea initially asked more than $20 million for Traore.

Lyon currently has held onto Alexandre Lacazette, and has Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and captain Maxime Gonalons amongst its stars. Adding Traore will only help the club’s ambitions in Ligue 1 as well as the Europa League.

Fan protests spur Fiorentina owners to put club up for sale

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FLORENCE, Italy (AP) The owners of two-time Serie A champion Fiorentina have announced they are putting the club up for sale due to fan protests.

A club statement says the ownership is accepting “serious offers only from those who really mean well for the Viola shirt.”

Shoe and leather entrepreneurs Diego and Andrea Della Valle have controlled Fiorentina since 2002, having restarted the club after the previous ownership ended in bankruptcy.

The Della Valles guided the club up from the fourth division back to the top flight but were never fully embraced by the squad’s fans.

After four straight years of finishing in the top five of Serie A, an eighth-place result last month was difficult to accept by the supporters.

Former Fiorentina captain Stefano Pioli was recently appointed to coach the club.

De Boer an exciting hire for “club that can grow further and further”

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Frank De Boer said all the right things in his first interview as Crystal Palace boss, and Eagles fans should puff out their chests at the club’s most impressive hire in a long time.

On the heels of blustery Sam Allardyce, Alan Pardew, and to a much lesser extent Tony Pulis, De Boer is no shrinking violet.

Yet the Dutchman has set the standards high for his London debut. There’s no talk of “just surviving” or whimpering at the might of the league’s top clubs. De Boer’s ready to do well.

[ MORE: Ranking expectations for PL bosses ]

Appointed Monday, De Boer will take charge of his third club following stints at Ajax and Inter Milan. He won four titles in five season at the Dutch club, but spent just 85 days in that tumultuous seat.

From CPFC.co.uk:

“It’s a club that can grow further and further because English clubs in the Premier League can spend a lot of money, and we can do something well with that. There is the prospect to be a solid Premier League club and this is the most important thing for me right now, not struggle for relegation. If we can do more that would be nice, but we want to be a stable club.”

Palace chairman Steve Parish has taken a solid step in the hiring of De Boer, who becomes just the second Palace boss from outside the British Isles. He’ll have an array of attacking options, but will probably need to look past his current batch of defenders to find players who fit his style.

That said, he’s said he’ll look at his current group first. He’ll love Patrick Van Aanholt and perhaps Jeff Schlupp, but De Boer needs some help at the back. Still, like Mauricio Pellegrino at Saints, this seems like another hire that was worth the wait for a PL fan base.

Still, Palace views itself as a club that can excite, and Allardyce was not the man to set Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend up to succeed. In fact, the Eagles have probably been blessed by Allardyce’s retirement, and Parish did not drop the ball when given the opportunity.