Randy Waldrum

Puskas Award finalist Stephanie Roche coming to NWSL with Houston Dash

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Irish international and Puskas Award finalist Stephanie Roche is bringing her act Stateside.

The 25-year-old striker has found a job playing for Randy Waldrum and the Houston Dash, and her game is bigger than the wonder goal that earned her a trip to Zurich for the Ballon D’Or ceremony (Her goal finished second to James Rodriguez for the Puskas).

Roche has four goals in 28 appearances for the Republic of Ireland national team, and is leaving ASPTT Albi in the Division 1 Féminine, France’s top flight, due to problems with the language barrier.

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Which brings her to Houston, where she can latch onto through balls and crosses from new teammates Carli Lloyd, Morgan Brian and Meghan Klingenberg.

Waldrum says she could be the best Irish goal scorer since all-time leader Olivia O’Toole. Roche is ready for the challenge of being an Irish trendsetter in Texas, according to Independent.ie:

source: AP“No Irish woman has ever gone over to play in the NWSL so it is going to be a big challenge for me,” Roche said.

“I am under no illusions it is going to be easy. I am going to have to work hard and get my place in the team so I am really looking forward to getting over and meeting my team-mates and getting to know them better.

Here’s the goal, in case you forgot:

Now World Cup bound, USWNT can send message in CONCACAF final

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It didn’t start off so well, but Jill Ellis’ first CONCACAF Championship has seen her United States women’s national team roll through the competition with the flair of former greats.

And now they’re officially going to Canada for next summer’s World Cup.

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While that was rarely a question, Friday’s 3-0 win over Mexico in their semifinal was yet another note struck for the harmony of a potential championship side. After struggling through a 1-0 win over plucky Trinidad and Tobago to open group play, consider what the USWNT have achieved recently:

— 4-0 record, 15-0 goal mark in tournament

— 7-game winning streak in all competitions

— 13-game unbeaten streak in all competitions

— 560-minute shutout streak in all competitions.

Not to mention that, if we’re being honest, that 1-0 win was against a Randy Waldrum-led side with plenty to prove that has since put itself in position to qualify if they can win against Mexico in Sunday’s third-place match.

But the States can put out an emphatic message with a win in Sunday’s final against Costa Rica. Before the tournament, we asked whether they’d roar, and so far they have. Now they can scream out their intentions. Judging by the past few days, they will.

Trinidad and Tobago women sent to qualifying without equipment; Soccer world responds


As if competing to qualify for the Women’s World Cup in a federation with Canada and the United States isn’t hard enough, Trinidad and Tobago were sent to practice without some pretty important equipment.

Soccer balls.

T&T and Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum (above) sent out the call on Wednesday night and, try as he might, it wasn’t a big high-five to the national team’s organizers (let alone the priority of women’s soccer in their country).

From the Associated Press:

Waldrum, who also coaches the NWSL’s Houston Dash, sent out an urgent plea on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

The post read: “I need HELP! T&T sent a team here last night with $500 total. No equipment such as balls, no transportation from airport to hotel, nothing.”

He went on to ask for help for the team, which is in Dallas training for the upcoming CONCACAF championship, a qualifying event for the Women’s World Cup next year. The website keepernotes.com set up a PayPal account to help raise money.

The national team released a statement that said the country’s Ministry of Sport and sponsor Petrotrin were releasing funds to help support the team.

It’s very frustrating to read, and shows just how much we take for granted in the United States and Canada. That said, the soccer world has responded to the call from the former Notre Dame head coach, and he’s been keeping us updated via his Twitter account.

You can donate here.

US Soccer fires USWNT coach Tom Sermanni after win over China

Tom Sermanni

Tom Sermanni was fired by US Soccer after just over a year on the job in a surprising move announced Sunday night.

Sermanni’s 15 months as head coach of the United States women’s national team will be remembered as a tumultuous time. Sure, there were plenty of whispers of discord, but there had to be an adjustment period. The connected folks I’ve reached out to were surprised by the news, if not “shocked.”

The firing comes mere hours after Sermanni’s women beat China 2-0 in the first of two international friendlies against the Asian side, completing his tenure with a record of 18W-4D-2L.

The statements from US Soccer president Sunil Gulati and Sermanni:

“We want to thank Tom for his service over the past year and half, but we felt that we needed to go in a different direction at this time. We will begin looking for a new coach immediately to guide our Women’s National Team toward qualifying for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.” — Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer president

“I’m disappointed that things didn’t work out, but I’d like to thank U.S. Soccer for the opportunity to have coached this team and also the staff and players for all their hard work.” — Sermanni

Bears a scent of the players running the ship, that’s for sure.

The Washington Post’s Steve Goff says the US has named Jill Ellis the interim coach for Thursday’s match in San Diego. Ellis was the interim boss when Pia Sundhage stepped down, and boasts a 5W-2D-0L record that includes three wins over China.

Under Sermanni, the States saw its 43-match unbeaten run end en route to a very disappointing seventh-place finish at the Algarve Cup. They lost back-to-back games for the first time since 2001 before saving a little face with a win over North Korea.

How changed is the list of potential candidates discussed the last time the job was open? Paul Riley, Randy Waldrum and Tony DiCicco will see their names in the news along Aaran Lines and Cindy Parlow Cone.

And how about Ellis? She’s been the USSF Development Director since 2010 and boasts a college head coaching record of 248W-14D-63L at UCLA and Illinois before coaching the US U-20 and U-21.

Regardless, surprise is reverberating around US Soccer: