Rose Lavelle

USWNT
Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

USWNT guarding against letdown with Olympic berth on line

Leave a comment

Carson, Calif. — The United States isn’t really motivated by what happened four years ago in the Rio Games as the team heads into an all-important Olympic qualifying match Friday night.

Coming off a World Cup championship in France last summer, the United States just wants to guard against any letdown.

Christen Press said it’s difficult after all the attention that comes in the wake of winning soccer’s premier tournament to transition so quickly to preparation for the Olympics.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“I think that the mentality the group that was a part of 2015 and 2016 is bringing into this transition is that we have to have a short memory,” she said. “We have to let go of the World Cup and we have to go into this like this is our big tournament for the next three years. And so I think that that’s a good lesson to have learned.”

The United States had also won the World Cup in 2015 and went into the Rio Games brimming with confidence – only to be ousted in the quarterfinals by Sweden. It was the U.S. team’s earliest ever exit from the Olympics.

On Friday, the top-ranked United States will play Mexico in the semifinals of the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying tournament with one of the region’s two berths in the Tokyo Games on the line. Canada faces Costa Rica for the other spot.

The U.S. and Canada won the Olympic berths four years ago. The Canadians went on to win their second consecutive bronze medal in Brazil.

Canada is led by captain Christine Sinclair, who surpassed retired U.S. star Abby Wambach’s international goals record in the group stage. Sinclair, who has been on the national team since 2000, has 186 career goals heading into the semifinals. That’s the most among men or women.

Canada coach Kenneth Heiner-Moller said it was important that his team avoids complacency during qualifying. And indeed, the team swept group stage play without conceding a goal.

“No matter who we play, we need to play to Canadian standard. It has to be our level of performance that we play to. It’s so easy to play a team that you’re better than, and then drop to their level,” he said.

By winning its group handily, eighth-ranked Canada avoided facing the United States in the semis. Costa Rica, ranked No. 37 in the world, has never made the 12-team field for the Olympics, although Las Ticas did play in the 2015 World Cup.

The Canadians are undefeated in 13 previous meetings with Costa Rica. In the 2016 qualifying tournament, Canada defeated Las Ticas 3-1 in the semifinals.

“It was a close match. It was a match where we made many mistakes, but it is in the past,” Costa Rica coach Amelia Valverde said. “We’re focusing on right here, right now.”

Mexico, ranked No. 26, made the field for the 2004 Olympics but has not been back since. However, Mexico is on the rise, boosted by a domestic women’s league. The team won its first two group-stage matches before falling 2-0 to Canada.

Like Canada, the United States swept its group stage matches without allowing a goal. Lindsey Horan led the way with five goals and Press added four.

U.S. midfielder Rose Lavelle emphasized that the team can’t get ahead of itself.

“I think that we know that what we did in France is kind of meaningless now. It doesn’t dictate how the rest of the year goes or dictate right now what our future is,” she said. “So while last year was so fun, we know that we have to set our sights on new goals. And I think before we even talk about the Olympics, we have to talk about our game versus Mexico and qualifying there.”

Rapinoe, Ellis win FIFA honors; Five USWNT players in Best XI

AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
1 Comment

Zero surprise here.

Megan Rapinoe has been named the Best women’s player Jill Ellis has been named the top manager in women’s soccer at FIFA’s The Best awards ceremony in Milan on Monday.

[ MORE: Messi win’s men’s honor, City shut out ]

Ellis led the USWNT to its second-straight Women’s World Cup this summer, the first boss to manage the feat (Germany won two-straight World Cups, but had Tina Theune and Silvia Neid at the helm).

Rapinoe made waves on and off the field during the USWNT’s spell-binding run to a second-successive title, its fourth in history.

The Women’s Best XI sees four of her teammates join her: Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara, Julie Ertz, and Rose Lavelle.

Three members of Women’s Champions League winners Lyon also make the list, as does top goalkeeper winner Sari van Veenendaal.

  • Sari van Veenendaal (NED) – Arsenal / Atletico Madrid
  • Lucy Bronze (ENG) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Wendie Renard (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Nilla Fischer (SWE) – VfL Wolfsburg / Linkopings
  • Kelley O’Hara (USA) – Utah Royals
  • Amandine Henry (FRA) – Olympique Lyonnais
  • Julie Ertz (USA) – Chicago Red Stars
  • Rose Lavelle (USA) – Washington Spirit
  • Megan Rapinoe (USA) – Reign FC
  • Marta (BRA) – Orlando Pride
  • Alex Morgan (USA) – Orlando Pride

USWNT dominate FIFA’s best player, coach award nominees

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The two-time reigning World Cup champions understandably lead the way in terms of nominees for FIFA’s top awards.

Four USWNT players have been nominated to be crowned the best women’s player on the planet over the past 12 months, while Jill Ellis (who announced yesterday she will depart in October) has been nominated for the best coach in the female game.

Julie Ertz, Megan Rapinoe, Rose Lavelle and Alex Morgan are the four nominees from the USWNT, as the list of 12 nominees takes into account performances from 25 May 2018 to 7 July 2019. Rapinoe was named the best player at the 2019 World Cup, while Lavelle was named the third best overall as the U.S. secured back-to-back titles under Ellis.

Ellis is the favorite to win the Coach of the Year award in the women’s game, while Phil Neville of England is also a leading contender along with Reynald Pedros of Lyon among the 10 nominees. NC Courage head coach Paul Riley is also nominated, and he is one of the leading contenders to replace Ellis as the new USWNT head coach.

Ada Hegerberg, who won the award last year, is once again nominated despite her ongoing dispute with the Norwegian FA which saw the Lyon star miss out on the World Cup, while Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen is included, with England’s Lucy Bronze (who was named the second best player at the 2019 World Cup) and Ellen White, Australia’s Sam Kerr, plus Dutch star Vivianne Miedema and French duo Wendi Renard and Amandine Henry.

Rapinoe is the favorite given her superb displays at the 2019 World Cup, but the likes of Hegerberg, Renard and Bronze will be right up there as they’ve been stars for the all conquering Lyon in the club game.

Below is the list of the nominees for the player and coach of the year award, which will be announced at FIFA’s ceremony in Milan on Sept. 23.

FIFA Best Player of the Year nominees

Lucy Bronze – Lyon and England
Julie Ertz – Chicago Red Stars and USWNT
Caroline Graham Hansen – Wolfsburg (now Barcelona) and Norway
Ada Hegerberg – Lyon and Norway
Amandine Henry – Lyon and France
Sam Kerr – Chicago Red Stars and Australia
Rose Lavelle – Washington Spirit and USWNT
Vivianne Miedema – Arsenal and Netherlands
Alex Morgan – Orlando Pride and USWNT
Megan Rapinoe – Seattle Reigns and USWNT
Wendie Renard – Lyon and France
Ellen White – Manchester City and England

FIFA Best Coach of the Year nominees

Melina Bertolini – Italy
Jill Ellis – USA
Peter Gerhardsson – Sweden
Futoshi Ikeda – Japan U20
Antonia Is – Spain U17
Joe Montemurro – Arsenal
Phil Neville – England
Reynald Pedros – Lyon
Paul Riley – NC Courage
Sarina Wiegman – Netherlands

Lavelle ‘straight up superstar’ after stellar World Cup run

4 Comments

Who’s got next for the U.S. women’s national team? Rose Lavelle has next, gladly.

[ VIDEO: Watch the USWNT lift the World Cup trophy ]

The USWNT needed Lavelle to step up and become one of the faces and emerging leaders for the next generation of the program, and she delivered all throughout the 2019 Women’s World Cup. She delivered again. And again. And again.

With a whole host of legendary figures potentially set to end their international careers following one last major triumph in Sunday’s final, the two-time reigning world champions will soon face the difficult task of turning the keys over to the next wave of superstars.

[ MORE: Player ratings: USWNT v. Netherlands ]

Megan Rapinoe has been one of those superstars for the better part of the last decade, so it speaks volumes when Rapinoe singles out Lavelle as “a straight up superstar” immediately after the duo accounted for both goals in the Americans’ 2-0 victory over the Netherlands to become the first team to ever win back-to-back Women’s World Cups.

“She has just been missing that little bit all tournament and for her to get that reward tonight on the biggest stage, I’m so proud of her. She’s a straight up superstar.”

Lavelle has taken her rapid rise to superstardom in stride all summer, scoring three goals en route to celebrating her first world title and taking home the Bronze Ball. More importantly, though, she never lost sight of the fact that it’s importantly to enjoy each and every moment along the way. Not long after she scored the USWNT’s second goal to put another World Cup final to bed, Lavelle was equal parts old head and wide-eyed 24-year-old.

“It’s wild how far I’ve come and it’s so surreal. I just won a World Cup with people I grew up idolizing.”

“I feel so much pride right now. I have learned so much from Megan Rapinoe. I feel so honored to step on the pitch at the same time as her. She is unreal.”

It won’t be long before a bunch of 20-something newcomers show up to USWNT camp, thinking, “That’s Rose Lavelle, I’ve looked up to her since I was a kid. I can’t believe I’m on the same team as her.”

2019 World Cup award winners announced

Getty Images
2 Comments

The 2019 Women’s World Cup is over, and the awards have been dished out.

Unsurprisingly the World Cup champs, the USWNT, dominate the award winners as the USA secured back-to-back titles with minimum fuss throughout the month long extravaganza in France.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned |  Player ratings

Here’s a look at the award winners in full, as there will be plenty of debate over some of these awards.


Golden Ball (Tournament MVP)

Golden Ball: Megan Rapinoe – USA
Silver Ball: Lucy Bronze – England
Bronze Ball: Rose Lavelle – USA

Golden Boot (Top goalscorer)

Golden boot: Megan Rapinoe – USA (Six goals, three assists, fewer minutes played than Morgan)
Silver boot: Alex Morgan – USA (Six goals, three assists)
Bronze boot: Ellen White – England (Six goals)

Golden glove (Best Goalkeeper)

Sari van Veenendaal – Netherlands

Young player of the tournament (Under 21 years old)

Giulia Gwinn – Germany

FIFA Fair Play trophy

France