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Hope Solo enters U.S. Soccer presidential race

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The race to become the next president of U.S. Soccer got a lot more interesting on Thursday, when legendary U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo announced, via her Facebook page, that she has decided to run for election in February.

[ MORE: Kathy Carter to run for USSF president ]

Solo made over 200 appearances and recorded over 100 shutouts during her 17-year USWNT career, which ended last year after comments she made following the team’s elimination from the 2016 Olympics.

Solo, who becomes the ninth candidate to declare, is running on a platform which is player development-, equality- and accessibility-heavy, as she repeatedly refers to the U.S. Soccer Federation as a “nonprofit organization” — which it is — and lambasts the governing body “with millions of dollars at its disposal [for not making] the world’s most beloved sport accessible to all” — from Solo’s Facebook note:

We need passionate and intelligent soccer people leading the way at U.S Soccer. The business strategy at U.S. Soccer cannot continue to be profit before progress. The heart of what USSF must represent is the development of youth soccer in America.

Progress is a process, but the system currently in place does not allow for progress to happen at the rate soccer purists would hope for. It’s the stubborn and elitist attitude of U.S. Soccer to continue down the path of capitalism first. My time in the negotiating room, as well as in countless meetings with USSF presidents, vice presidents, press officers, board members, attorneys and representatives, all the way down the line has given me firsthand experience in their business tactics and where their true goal lies. It has always been about the money.

But the question we all must ask ourselves is this: why does a “profitable” nonprofit organization with millions of dollars at its disposal not make the world’s most beloved sport accessible to all? Where do the massive amounts of money go?

I certainly don’t know, even after taking legal action to find out. As a player, as a representative of my team in negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and as a Players Association member, we were never able to get answers to our questions with regard to where the millions of dollars from Soccer United Marketing (SUM) and sponsors go, or where the millions of dollars collected from the youth club fees go.

The USSF is a nonprofit organization that refuses to be transparent in its business dealings. It refuses to follow the Equal Pay Act that was passed more than 60 years ago, and despite reports to the contrary, the economic and financial terms of the new World Cup Champion U.S. Women’s National Team’s Collective Bargaining Agreement do not provide the USWNT equal pay, and are neither fair nor equitable.

Solo cites “Equality and Women’s Issues” as the second principle of her campaign, along with “Creating a Winning Culture at USSF,” “Youth and Diversity at all levels” and “Organizational, Operational and Financial Governance Transparency.”

“Soccer is the World’s game, and I want to share it with all of America,” she writes.

U.S. Soccer names Player of the Year nominees

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We suppose it doesn’t matter all that much given the presumptive winner, but the five nominees for the United States male soccer player of the year lead to a bit of head-scratching.

Christian Pulisic, of course, is going to win the awards hands-down after an exceptional year, one of the rare stars in Stars and Stripes to not let down the USMNT in World Cup qualifying.

The men competing for spots Nos. 2-5? Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris, and Clint Dempsey. Of the three, only Morris has failed to win it before (which is not exactly a failure considering his young age).

[ MORE: Premier League Player Power Rankings ]

In terms of national team play, Bradley led the U.S. in minutes with 1,198 in 2017, with Dempsey’s five goals and four assists only bested by Pulisic’s six and four. Altidore scored four goals with three assists, while Morris has four goals and an assist.

Who can feel the most burnt? Well, DeAndre Yedlin for one, though he only played in six caps thanks to the U.S. going B side for the Gold Cup. Graham Zusi and Geoff Cameron would love shouts, but were limited in playing time.

Here’s a trivia *fun* fact: Can you name the USMNT’s Top Five minute men this season, including No.1  Bradley? Jorge Villafana is second, Darlington Nagbe third, Omar Gonzalez fourth, and Tim Howard fifth.

The Young Male Award, which cannot be won twice, is down to Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre,  Jonathan Gonzalez, and Erik Palmer-Brown.

Up for the women’s award? Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan, Samantha Mewis, and Megan Rapinoe. Becky Sauerbrunn piled up a team-high 16 matches, tied with Mewis, and probably got the short end of the stick thanks to Rapinoe playing a more glamorous position.

2017 CONCACAF Awards shortlist revealed

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The 2017 CONCACAF Awards shortlist is up, and fan voting counts.

Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, and Christian Pulisic are among the nominees for Men’s Player of the Year. Philadelphia Union’s Jamaican backstop, Andre Blake, is also on the list along with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and others.

[ MORE: Big American Soccer Survey results ]

The Female Player of the Year is predictably American-heavy, with Alex Morgan, Carli Lloyd, Becky Sauerbrunn, Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Sam Mewis, and Tobin Heath competing with a trio of international players.

Tim Howard is the only American up for Male Goalkeeper of the Year, though Blake is again in the running. The female side has American backstops Adrianna Franch, Alyssa Naeher, Ashlyn Harris, Jane Campbell, and Nicole Barnhart.

The full ballot, including Best XI, coaches, referees, and goals, is up for your votes here.

USWNT beats Canada 3-1 in final match of the year

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan and Carli Lloyd scored and the U.S. national team closed out play this year with a 3-1 victory over Canada at Avaya Stadium on Sunday night.

The two teams also faced each other Thursday at BC Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, playing to a 1-1 draw. The tie snapped a six-game winning streak for the top-ranked Americans.

Canada, which won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics, is ranked fifth in the world and considered a team on the rise. But the Canadians have not defeated the United States since 2001.

[ MORE: Isco questionable for derby ]

Ertz, who played in college at Santa Clara, scored her sixth goal of the year in the 11th minute on a header off a set piece. It was her 14th international goal and all of them have been the result of a set play.

Canadian captain Christine Sinclair came close to equalizing with a shot in the 32nd minute that was just wide of the far post. Sinclair, who plays for the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, was slow to get up after the shot.

Janine Beckie scored her first goal against the United States in the 50th minute off a well-placed pass from Nichelle Prince. Both are teammates on the Houston Dash.

Some seven minutes later Morgan put the United States back on top, slotting home a goal that got past Canadian goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe. She leads the Americans this year with seven goals.

Lloyd, who came in as a sub in the second half, added a final goal in the 80th minute. Lloyd needs just two more goals for 100 in her career.

“Obviously, end of the year we wanted to finish it off on a good note, and I thought tonight was well played,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said.

Morgan scored for the United States and Adriana Leon had a goal for Canada in the first match of the series.

The two games were the last for the United States this year. Next year the Americans will prepare for qualifying to defend their World Cup title in 2019.

The United States was without midfielder Tobin Heath, who was called into training for the matches but didn’t play because of a nagging ankle injury. Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle and Morgan Brian didn’t train with the team for the final matches because of hamstring injuries.

Morgan, Naeher help USWNT play Canada to 1-1 tie in friendly

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) Alex Morgan scored and Alyssa Naeher had a late stop to help the U.S. Women’s National Team to a 1-1 draw with Canada on Thursday night.

The U.S. had won six in a row since a 1-0 loss to Australia on July 27 and is 47-3-7 all-time against Canada.

Morgan opened the scoring in the 31st minute. Canada failed to clear an entry by the U.S. and Morgan split three defenders then, from near the spot, and rolled it past Stephanie Labbe into the corner of the net.

Adriana Leon tapped in a goal, after two missed chances by Rebecca Quinn, in the 57th to tie it. After a corner kick by Janine Beckie, Quinn’s header was blocked and then her shot from the center of the box ricocheted off the crossbar. Christine Sinclair’s cross of the rebound set up Leon for the finish from point-blank range .

Maegan Kelly came on for Canada in the 71st minute and had two chances in the waning minutes, firing a shot directly at Naeher in the 82nd and then, a couple minutes later, Naeher deflected a high shot off the far post to preserve the win.

Canada hasn’t beaten the U.S. since 2001.

The teams will play again Sunday in San Jose, California.