Big day of news for northwest’s two NWSL teams

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Because Portland and Seattle fans love it when you lump their news together (especially when you then have to choose which story goes first) …

The last of the eight Northwest Women’s Soccer League teams to announce their name began crafting their identity on Wednesday, with the Seattle Reign FC announced as the name of owner Bill Predmore’s franchise:

“Today’s announcement is the result of a thoughtful process to identify the name that best represents the values of our club, articulates our long-term ambitions and celebrates the community within which our supporters live.”

“Seattle Reign FC meets all of those objectives …”

While there has been some collective winging about some of the other logos floating around the league, Seattle nailed theirs:

source:

The team also made official the long-known secret that Amy Carnell, who spent last season with the Sounders’ Women, will serve as the team’s general manager.

Three hours down the road in Portland, Thorns FC made some news of their own, hiring former U.S. Women’s National Team legend Cindy Parlow Cone as their first head coach.

Timbers and Thorns general manager Gavin Wilkinson:

“She was a part of a special group of players for the U.S. Women’s National Team that endeared women’s soccer to sports fans in the United States and helped catapult the U.S. Women into one of the best teams in the world. As a coach, Cindy is ambitious, and we feel she is the perfect fit to lead Thorns FC and help build the women’s game in Portland.”

Parlow Cone has spent the last six years as an assistant on Anson Dorrance’s staff at the University of North Carolina.

As a player, Parlow Cone was part of three national title-winning teams at UNC, twice being awarded the Harmann Trophy as the nation’s best player.

For the national team, Parlow Cone scored 75 goals in 158 appearances, winning two gold medals and the 1999 World Cup.

Parlow Cone:

“It is very exciting to be part of a new women’s league and to be a part of launching a new professional team in Portland,” Parlow Cone said. “I’ve seen first-hand the great enthusiasm Portland has for soccer; it’s a soccer-smart fan base that generates an incredible atmosphere. I am very much looking forward to the first season of Thorns FC.”

That season starts this spring and is set to run through the end of August.

First things first, though: These teams need some players.

Former Czech Republic defender Rajtoral kills himself

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PRAGUE (AP) Former Czech Republic defender Frantisek Rajtoral, who won the domestic league title four times before joining Turkish club Gaziantepspor, died on Sunday. He was 31.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alex Sanchez this weekend ]

The Czech football federation said in a statement that Rajtoral had “committed suicide in Turkey.”

His agent Pavel Zika confirmed the player’s death, describing it as a “huge tragedy.”

Gaziantepspor announced Rajtoral’s death in a brief statement on its website.

Rajtoral played 14 international matches for the Czech Republic.

In the top Czech league, he won four titles with Viktoria Plzen and played in the group stage of the Champions League twice for the club. He moved to Hannover in the Bundesliga in 2014 for half of the season, on loan.

He left Viktoria Plzen last year to move to Turkey.

Bellerin wants to represent Spain U21s despite Wenger’s wishes

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Arsene Wenger has made it clear about Hector Bellerin representing Spain this summer but the Arsenal defender is prepared to go against his manager’s wishes if he is selected.

[ MORE: Bayern scouted Kyle Walker, Alexis Sanchez over the weekend ]

The 22-year-old has said he hopes to play for Spain’s Under-21 side this summer during the 2017 European U-21 Championship but Wenger has been weary of Bellerin’s injury status and wants his fullback to maintain a clean bill of health throughout the offseason.

“I really want to play,” Bellerin told IBTimes. “Representing Spain is very important. If [Albert] Celades gives me the chance I’ll be there.

“Those are opinions of the managers. I have to keep working. The truth is that I had a difficult injury but I think that I am at 100% now and I’ll try to prove it when I get the chance.”

Bellerin signed a six-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners in November, where he has resided since coming up in the club’s academy. He has made 102 appearances for Wenger’s team in that span over all competitions.

Roma boosts bid for 2nd in Serie A by beating Pescara 4-1

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PESCARA, Italy (AP) Roma boosted its bid for second place in Serie A and automatic entry into the Champions League with a 4-1 win at Pescara, which was mathematically relegated on Monday.

[ MORE: Newcastle joins Brighton in promotion to Premier League ]

Roma moved four points clear of third-placed Napoli, which drew against Sassuolo 2-2 on Sunday. Third place in Serie A receives a Champions League playoff.

Pescara remained 15 points behind Empoli. There are only five matches left and Empoli has the better head-to-head record, which is the deciding factor if two teams finish level on points.

There were 48 goals in total in the 33rd round, matching the record set in October 1992.

Roma took control shortly before halftime, with Kevin Strootman breaking the deadlock after Stephan El Shaarawy unselfishly rolled the ball across the area.

Radja Nainggolan, who earlier hit the bar, doubled Roma’s lead two minutes later.

Mohamed Salah extended Roma’s advantage three minutes after the break and the winger doubled his tally on the hour following a swift counterattack.

Ahmad Benali got a consolation for Pescara and a Cristiano Biraghi free kick also hit the post for the home side.

Frank Yallop resigns as Phoenix Rising coach shortly after Drogba arrival

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The timing is a bit sudden and certainly leaves many questions up in the air, but Phoenix Rising will have to look for a new manager.

[ MORE: Chicharito talks heating up with LA FC ]

On Monday, head coach Frank Yallop resigned from his position with the United Soccer League (USL) club less than one day after former Chelsea legend Didier Drogba joined the organization as a player-owner.

With Phoenix seen as one of several lower-level clubs with ambitions of making the leap to MLS over the coming seasons, Yallop’s departure is surely a shock to many.

According to ESPN FC, Rising lead owner Berke Bakay was quite surprised by Yallop’s decision to step down, as was Drogba.

“Didier was as surprised and disappointed as we were that Frank is unable to continue coaching our Club,” Bakay told ESPN FC. “But, we all respect his decision to put his family first.

“Didier’s focus will remain on improving our team as a player and assisting our MLS expansion team ownership group as a co-owner. Frank will be helping with our international search for a new head coach.”

Rick Schantz, the current Rising assistant coach, will head the team’s managerial duties for the interim while the club completes a full search for a new manager.