Latest Women's Soccer Posts
In its continuing series of previews of area college soccer programs, the website goalwa.net has released its preview of the upcoming 2012 Husky women's soccer season.
The preview looks at the team, the players and the schedule and includes a thorough Q&A with 19th-year Washington head coach Lesle Gallimore.
To read it all for yourself, click here.
The Washington women's soccer team was previewed by Chris Henderson of All White Kit. The piece features a recap of last year and a breakdown of each position for the upcoming 2012 season.
Check out the full article here: http://www.allwhitekit.com/?p=9611#GRIT
Former Husky stars Kate Deines and Veronica Perez recently signed with Stjarnan FC in Iceland. They will play for the 2011 champions in Iceland's top division.
Fans can now follow the duo on their journey in Iceland for the next four months of the regular season on their blog, Dawgs in Iceland. Check it out!
Former Husky star Veronica Perez was named to the W-League All-League and All-Conference Team. She is one of two Seattle Sounders Women players to be named to both teams, the other being Stephanie Cox. The teams are selected through a vote of team management.
Perez finished second in the W-League with 26 points and 12 goals, while Cox was a model of consistency in defense as the Sounders conceded just eight goals in 14 regular season games.
All-Conference Teams - Western Conference
GK - Anna Maria Picarelli, Pali Blues
D - Sasha Andres, Pali Blues
D - Stephanie Cox, Seattle Sounders Women
D - Michelle Pao, Pali Blues
D - Brooke Spence, Colorado Rapids Women
MF - Brittany Bock, Colorado Rush
MF - Sarah Huffman, Pali Blues
MF - Veronica Perez, Seattle Sounders Women
F - Edite Fernandes, Santa Clarita Blue Heat
F - Jenna Richardson, Vancouver Whitecaps
F - Lynn Williams, Pali Blues
2012 W-League All-League Team
GK - Anna Maria Picarelli, Pali Blues
D - Sasha Andres, Pali Blues
D - Vaila Barsley, Long Island Rough Riders
D - Stephanie Cox, Seattle Sounders Women
D - Cindy Walsh, Laval Comets
MF - Yael Averbuch, New Jersey Wildcats
MF - Sarah Huffman, Pali Blues
MF - Veronica Perez, Seattle Sounders Women
F - Grace Hawkins, Long Island Rough Riders
F - Imen Trodi, Quebec City Animal
F - Lynn Williams, Pali Blues
Husky alum and current Sounders Women defender/midfielder Kate Deines posted her third video blog (courtesy of Prost Amerika).
Deines and the team take viewers on the road and show what happens in van rides after a victory, during meals, and a music video (with bloopers) to end it.
Check out the segment here: Ep. 3: Victorious on the Road
Make sure to tune in next time for more "Kickin' It With Kate" episodes!
Former Husky All-American goalkeeper Hope Solo spoke with Andrew Romano of The Daily Beast about her past, including losing her dad, getting benched, shoulder surgery, the recent news of "testing positive for a banned substance", and overcoming all those situations. She also talked about how she got started in goal at UW and the upcoming London Olympics.
Read the full story at The Daily Beast.
Allie Beahan scored her first goals for the Sounders Women in a 5-2 win over the LA Strikers on Friday. (Photo: SoundersWomen.com)
Match report from www.pitchsidereport.com:
Forward Allie Beahan broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Sounders into the lead in the fourteenth minute. The play began with Mexican National Team star Veronica Perez. Perez found Beahan, who then turned to Annie Sittauer. Sittauer crossed the bar to Beahan, who finished the play by netting in her first goal of the season.
Despite her young age, Beahan has proven herself to be a very physical and fearless player during the 2012 W-League season. Fortunately for the young University of Washington player, her physicality wasn't the only factor on point tonight. In the 43rd minute, Beahan completed the brace by scoring a goal in the upper corner that sailed right past Jorguesen. At halftime, the Sounders Women led the LA Strikers by a score of 3-1.
In the 73rd minute, former Husky Veronica Perez took a penalty kick, which sailed right into the net. Perez's goal put the Sounders up 5-2.
The Sounders Women will play their final regular-season match against the Pali Blues on Sunday, July 15th at 3:00 p.m.
US Soccer Newsletter
CHICAGO - The U.S. Olympic Women's Soccer Team departed for England Tuesday for a pre-Olympic training camp on the grounds of Middlesbrough FC. The team will train in northeast England for six days before traveling north to Glasgow on July 17 to prepare for the opening match of the Olympics on July 25 against France at the famed Hampden Park (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET).
The U.S. will begin Group G play two days before the Olympic Opening Ceremonies and then face Colombia at Hampden Park on July 28 (5 p.m. local / 12 p.m. ET). The Americans finish group play against Korea DPR on July 31 (5:15 p.m. local / 12:15 p.m. ET) at the legendary Old Trafford in Manchester, home to Manchester United.
The U.S. team will use the week in Middlesbrough to acclimate to the time change (five hours ahead of ET), doing some sight-seeing and make sure that all systems are go as the team heads into the final preparations for what is surely the marquee opening match of the women's soccer tournament.
U.S. head coach Pia Sundage is bringing 22 players to the U.K., the 18-player Olympic Team plus the four players chosen as alternates. In the past, the alternate goalkeeper has traveled with the team, but this will be the first Olympics since 1996 in which the alternate field players will also train with the team as much as possible during the Olympics.
Here is the full USWNT roster for the 2012 London Olympics:
GOALKEEPERS: Hope Solo, Nicole Barnhart
DEFENDERS: Rachel Buehler, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kelly O'Hara, Christie Rampone, Becky Saurbrunn
MIDFIELDERS: Shannon Boxx, Lauren Cheney, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd, Heather O'Reilly, Megan Rapinoe
FORWARDS: Sydney Leroux, Alex Morgan, Amy Rodriguez, Abby Wambach
ALTERNATES: Goalkeeper Jill Loyden, midfielders Lori Lindsey and Meghan Klingenberg, and forward Christen Press.
Tukwila, WA - All current UW student-athletes playing for the Seattle Sounders Women were in the starting 11 in a 5-0 victory against VIctoria Highlanders FC on Friday.
In the final regular-season, sold-out home game for the Sounders, incoming juniors Lindsay Elston, Annie Sittauer and Allie Beahan all recorded shots in the game (1, 2, and 3, respectively). Red-shirt freshman Megan Kufeld played all 90 minutes in goal, recording seven saves and earning the shutout.
Former Husky Veronica Perez had two goals in the game, bringing her goal total up to 11 goals in the regular season (14 for the entire year), good for second-most goals in the W-League. She scored both goals in the second half, making case for W-League MVP.
The Sounders Women currently sit in second place in the Western Conference with 25 points. The team will travel to California for a Wednesday match-up against Santa Clarita, a Friday game on Los Angeles, and then a game against current first-place Pali Blues on Sunday to wrap up the regular season before post-season play.
Also, check out this feature story on Veronica Perez and the magic behind her playing career.
TAMPA, Fla. - The W-League announced its Team of the Week for Week 8 of the 2012 season today, honoring Seattle Sounders Women midfielder (and former Husky) Veronica Perez as Player of the Week after she recorded her second hat-trick of the season Sunday in a 4-1 victory at the Colorado Rush. The standout performance by Perez came at a crucial time for the Sounders Women, who pulled six points ahead of the Rush in the race for the second Western Conference playoff spot.
Former Husky and current Sounders Women defender/midfielder Kate Deines posted her second video blog (courtesy of Prost Amerika).
Deines, along with fellow Husky legend Veronica Perez, takes viewers along their week, which consists of coaching, pulling pranks on teammates, dancing before a game, and working on their Spanish on ESPN Deportes.
Check out the segment here: http://youtu.be/sO8zOmOrnsk
Tune in next time for more "Kickin' It With Kate" episodes!
Former Husky All-American Hope Solo talked with SeattlePi.com about the last few major tournaments (Olympics and World Cup), the upcoming London Summer Olympics, and everything that she's done in-between those events.
Check out the full article and a photo gallery of Solo in the Seattle PI Sports Blog.
Former Husky star Kate Deines started a video blog courtesy of Prost Amerika. Deines will be blogging while fellow Sounders Women teammate Megan Manthey will be a writing columnist.
In the first episode of "Kickin' It With Kate", the Sounders Women defender video-blogs about the team's recent ferry trip to Victoria, BC. The video features Sounders Women players and former Husky Veronica Perez and current Dawg Lindsay Elston.
Check out the segment and keep tuning in for more "Kickin' It With Kate" episodes!
UW|360, a series on UWTV, will have an exclusive segment on Husky All-American Hope Solo for its final episode of the year. Solo goes one-on-one to talk about her journey to UW, her Dancing with the Stars experience, and her new gig with the Sounders Women team in the W-League.
The half-hour episode airs Wednesday at 10 pm PT and Sunday at 9 pm. Check it out on UWTV channel 27!
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - After suspending the 2012 season this past January hoping to return next year, it was announced that the Women's Professional Soccer league has officially folded after three seasons.
"We sincerely regret having to take this course of action," T. Fitz Johnson, owner of the Atlanta Beat and chairman of the board of governors, said in a statement Friday.
The WPS debuted with seven teams in 2009. Franchises in Los Angeles, St. Louis, Chicago and the Bay Area folded, and teams were added in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Western New York.
The 2012 WPS season was cancelled due to a legal dispute with ousted owner Dan Borislow of the South Florida franchise, where he sued the league last summer and tried to terminate his own club in October. The WPS recently announced it had reached a confidential out-of-court settlement with Borislow.
Borislow purchased the former Washington Freedom before last season and moved the club to South Florida, where the team was renamed the magicJack. Throughout the season, the club could not meet league standards and the WPS accused him of violations ranging from "unprofessional and disparaging treatment of his players to failure to pay his bills."
Currently, many previous WPS players have signed with teams in the semi-pro WPSL and W-League. Most notably, Husky alums Hope Solo (previous club: magicJack), Kate Deines (Atlanta Beat) and Veronica Perez (Athletica) have joined the Sounders Women this season.
Although the popularity of women's soccer began to rise after the United State's 1999 World Cup victory and the Women's World Cup thriller last summer, it wasn't enough to save the WPS. However, this year's London Olympics can attract another big audience for women's soccer.
TopDrawerSoccer.com also weighs in on the news in its 91st Minute blog.
Year after year, the UW women's soccer program continues to be ranked among the top 25 teams in the NCAA Division I for home attendance. The Huskies finished No. 23 this past season, recording an average of 1,048 fans and a total of 10,475 in ten home games. The program increased its total attendance from a year ago by almost 1,500 fans.
The University of Portland topped the list, averaging 3,110 fans and a total attendance of 31,103 followed by BYU, with an average of 2,882 and a total of 31,697 fans.
2011 Top-25 Average Home Attendances
1. Portland (3,110)
2. BYU (2,882)
3. Texas A&M (2,630)
4. New Mexico (2,032)
5. Florida (1,999)
6. North Carolina (1,923)
7. TCU (1,731)
8. Notre Dame (1,570)
9. Stanford (1,547)
10. Georgia (1,516)
11. Texas (1,442)
12. Tennessee (1,403)
13. Texas Tech (1,332)
14. UCLA (1,292)
15. South Carolina (1,240)
16. LSU (1,174)
17. Auburn (1,161)
18. Colorado (1,126)
19. Virginia (1,084)
20. Connecticut (1,073)
21. Maryland (1,065)
22. Oregon State (1,052)
23. Washington (1,048)
24. Duke (1,024)
25. Santa Clara (1,016)
Here is the complete rankings for the top 75 Division I women's soccer programs (in pdf): di wsoc top 75 attend 2011.pdf
Washington junior Hillary Zevenbergen was honored with being named Athlete of the Week by The Everett Herald, announced Friday. Zevenbergen went one-on-one with Herald writer Scott M. Johnson, where she talks about scoring a goal against former Husky All-American Hope Solo and the Seattle Sounders Women in UW's spring season match-up against Solo's team last Friday.
Check out the interview on The Everett Herald.
UW Women's Soccer associate head coach Amy Griffin and the U.S. U20 Women's National Team won the CONCACAF Championship Title, where they defeated Canada 2-1. Griffin is the assistant and goalkeeper coach for the U20's, which qualified for the 2012 U20 Women's World Cup in Japan August 18-September 8.
Check out the full recap of the match: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-soccer-archives/nid-23935/US-U20-WNT-wins-CONCACAF-Player-ratings?desktop=true
Also, follow Griffin's journey through her blog: http://wwc2011.blogspot.com/
The Washington women's soccer team recently signed eight talented players to National Letters of Intent.
One of the signees, Fairview High School's Berkley Gamble (Boulder, Colo.), chatted with Josh Lindenstien of Boco Preps TV on the eve of National Signing Day.
Check out this video of Gamble talking about her decision to play for UW next year:
Here is the official statement from the Women's Professional Soccer League:
"Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today that its Board of Governors has voted to suspend the 2012 season to permit the League to focus on the resolution of certain pending legal issues and the challenges that now face the League as a result of its ongoing dispute with a former owner.
"We are proud of what the League has accomplished in the first three seasons, but we do recognize the necessity to resolve our existing legal and operational issues so that we can continue to support and grow WPS the right way," said Sky Blue FC Owner Thomas Hofstetter. "This was a very difficult decision, but one we as owners feel is the best business decision for the League at this time."
The Board voted on Monday morning to suspend the 2012 season. Over the last year the league has faced significant challenges, including a lengthy and expensive legal battle with a former owner. The litigation has diverted resources from investment in the league and has forced the Board to take action, suspending the 2012 season in order to address the legal issues head-on before moving forward with competition.
"We firmly believe there is a place in the global sports landscape for Women's Professional Soccer," said WPS CEO Jennifer O'Sullivan. "Making the decision to suspend the 2012 season was a difficult and painful one, but it is necessary to take the time to address current issues and solidify our business in order to provide appropriate support needed to achieve the League's long-term goals. Those that take part in our League - players, partners and fans - deserve the best, and that is what we are taking the time to ensure we deliver when we resume play in 2013 and beyond."
WPS has established its plans to return to play in 2013, and all five owners of the League's existing teams - Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC and Western New York Flash - will remain active with the CEO, Jennifer O'Sullivan, in the governance of WPS throughout the current year."We are deeply grateful to our fans and partners for the tremendous support they have shown for WPS, our players and the sport," added O'Sullivan. "With our supporters and athletes in mind, we are committed to complete the hard work necessary to resume play in 2013 and reestablish WPS as the premiere women's professional soccer league in the world.""
Two former Husky soccer standouts are one win away from earning berths to the 2012 London Olympics.
Starting goalkeeper Hope Solo and the U.S. Women's National Team defeated Mexico 4-0 Tuesday night to win group stage and will face Costa Rica on Friday, Jan. 27 at 5 pm PT.
Veronica Perez and the Mexican Women's National Team finished second in group play and will face Canada in the other semifinal match-up on Friday at 8 pm PT. The two semifinal winners will be guaranteed a spot in the 2012 London Olympics.
Here's a full recap of the US-Mexico match: http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Womens-National-Team/2012/01/US-Defeats-Mexico.aspx
Former Husky standout Hope Solo claimed two awards in the 2011 Best of U.S. Soccer Awards. Out of her three individual nominations, she earned Best Performance: Player for her unforgettable performance against Brazil in the Women's World Cup back in July and Best Off-The-Field Moment with her run on the ABC show 'Dancing with the Stars.' Along with her individual honors, Solo and her USWNT teammates won a total of seven out of the 11 awards.
Former Husky All-American goalkeeper Hope Solo has been nominated for her individual game performances in the "Best Of U.S. Soccer" 2011 awards. Solo's categories include:
Best Performance: Player
Female Athlete of the Year
Best Off-The-Field Moment
Voting ends on Friday, January 13. Cast your vote on the U.S. Soccer page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/officialussoccer?sk=app_153503621416056
Former Husky standout Tina Ellertson (formerly Frimpong) recently talked about her family and professional life on espnw.com.
The Vancouver, Wash. native played with the Huskies from 2001-2004 and was named Pac-10 Co-Player of the Year in 2003 and Pac-10 Player of the Year in 2004. As a forward, she completed her career as Washington's all-time leader in goals (43) and points (99) and led the 2004 Husky team to the Elite 8 of the NCAA tournament after a 17-5-1 record.
Check out the story here: http://espn.go.com/espnw/more-sports/7376205/tina-ellertson-combines-family-soccer
The final RPI rankings of the 2011 season for Division I women's soccer was announced earlier today by the NCAA. Out of the 322 schools, seven of the Pac-12 teams finished with RPI Rankings of under 100, including the Washington Huskies which finished with a ranking of 87. Fellow Pac-12 school and the 2011 National Champions Stanford finished 2nd behind runner-up Duke.
The complete list of the rankings can be found here: http://www.ncaa.com/rankings/soccer-women/d1
The Pac-12 women's soccer statistics have recently been updated. Washington finished 7th with a 7-8-5 overall record and 3-5-3 conference record.
Senior goalkeeper WSOC Stats 112611.pdf
The NCAA soccer statistics for all women's college teams are also updated here.
In the D1 Women's College Cup, all No. 1 seeds have reached the final four, including fellow Pac-12 team Stanford. After beating No. 2 Oklahoma State on Friday, the Cardinal will face Florida State in the semifinals. The other final four teams are Wake Forest and Duke. Both games are set for December 2 at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga.
The national championship game will be held at KSU Soccer Stadium on December 4 at 1p.m.
You can check out the whole bracket here: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/soccer-women/d1
The UW women's soccer team will play its final regular season match against Washington State at home in a nationally televised game on Fox Soccer Channel and regional FSN/Root Sports channels. The match between the cross-town rivals is at Husky Soccer Stadium on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.
Check to see where the game will be shown in your area:
FOX SOCCER CHANNEL Thursday - 11/03/2011 7:00 PM Pacific Time Zone, Live
FOX SPORTS DETROIT (PLUS) Thursday - 11/03/2011 10:00 PM Eastern, Live
FOX SPORTS FLORIDA (Non Florida Panthers) Thursday - 11/03/2011 10:00 PM Eastern, Live
FOX SPORTS OHIO Thursday - 11/03/2011 10:00 PM Eastern, Live
FOX SPORTS SOUTHWEST (FS PLUS) Thursday - 11/03/2011 9:00 PM Central, Live
PRIME TICKET Thursday - 11/03/2011 7:00 PM Pacific, Live
COMCAST BAY AREA Thursday - 11/03/2011 08:00 PM (JIP) Pacific, Live
COMCAST BAY AREA (PLUS) Thursday - 11/03/2011 7:00 PM Pacific, Live
ROOT SPORTS (Northwest Region) Thursday - 11/03/2011 7:00 PM Pacific, Live
ROOT SPORTS (Rocky Mountain Region) Thursday - 11/03/2011 8:00 PM Mountain, Live
FOX SPORTS ARIZONA Saturday - 11/05/2011 9:00 AM Pacific, Delay
FOX SPORTS SOUTH (Non Predators) Wednesday - 11/09/2011 12:00 AM Eastern, Delay
FOX SPORTS OHIO (Non Blue Jackets) Friday - 11/04/2011 12:00 PM Eastern, Repeat
COMCAST BAY AREA Saturday - 11/05/2011 10:30 AM Pacific, Repeat
COMCAST CHICAGO Saturday - 11/05/2011 12:00 PM Central, Delay
ROOT SPORTS (Northwest Region) Friday - 11/04/2011 12:00 PM Pacific, Repeat
ROOT SPORTS (Northwest Region) Saturday - 11/05/2011 10:30 AM Pacific, Repeat
ROOT SPORTS (Northwest Region) Sunday - 11/06/2011 11:30 AM Pacific, Repeat
An updated list of TopDrawerSoccer.com's Top 100 Upperclassmen was announced Wednesday, and three Huskies have been named to the list. The rankings include all seniors, juniors, and sophomores across the country.
For the women's soccer team, senior midfielder Kate Deines is 30th. For the men's, senior forward Brent Richards is 11th and sophomore goalkeeper Spencer Richey is 100th. Deines (34th) and Richards (29th) were named to the website's preseason Top 100 rankings in early August.
Two-time team captain Deines has started all 16 games so far, tallying in two goals and an assist for a total of five points as a midfielder. Throughout her UW career, Deines has started in every game for the Huskies with 21 career goals. Deines also played in the U-23 National Team this summer.
Richards was recently named GoHuskies.com Student-Athlete of the Week and Soccer America's Team of the Week. After scoring his season-high 10th goal of the year this past weekend, he leads the team in goals (10) and points (23) and is second in assists (3).
In goal, Richey has posted seven shutouts with a 10-3-2 overall record this season. Richey has played in every minute (1415:23) in all 15 games, recording 51 saves and allowing just 13 goals. Richey is only one of five goalkeepers on the Top 100 list.
Full list for women's Top 100: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-national-top-100/women/2011
Full list for men's Top 100: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-national-top-100/men/2011
By Karissa Fogel
Read the full story here: http://www.pac-12.org/SoccerW/Tabid/1458/Article/137480/Husky-Soccer-Building-A-Program.aspx.
Hope Solo breezed through Week 1 of "Dancing With The Stars," thanks to flawless execution of a Viennese waltz that earned the former Huskies GK 21 points. Of course, there might be no bigger supporters for Solo than the members of the Husky women's soccer team, who put together a cool - and hilarious - video with help from their student-athlete friends on the football team. Be sure to check it out below.
Each week the Pac-12 will catch up with student-athletes from around the conference. We'll ask them some questions and see what fun facts come up.
Starring in this week's edition: Sam Brenner (Utah, football), Karissa Cook (Stanford, volleyball), Alex Eckerson (Oregon State, soccer) and Matt Petersen (California, cross country).
View their answers here: http://www.pac-12.org/CrossCountry/Tabid/1451/Article/137102/Pac-12-Pop-Quiz-September-23.aspx.
Husky senior goalkeeper Jorde LaFontaine-Kussmann was named to the Primetime Performers of the Week list by CollegeSoccer360.com.
LaFontaine-Kussmann was also named the Gohuskies.com Student-Athlete of the Week and the Portland/Nike Invitational Defensive MVP.
To view the complete list click here: http://www.collegesoccer360.com/primetime-performers-4.html.
Wednesday morning on ABC's morning show, Good Morning America, the celebrity-professional pairs were revealed for this season of Dancing with the Stars. Former Husky star, Hope Solo, will be paired with professional dancer, Maksim Chmerkovskiy.
In July, before the celebrities for this season were announced, Chmerkovskiy said that he would love for Solo to be his partner. When asked at the 2011 ESPY Awards who his dream partner would be, he exclaimed, "Hope Solo!" He continued, "Let's do it! I want somebody hot, I want somebody exciting, somebody passionate, and I'll do the rest." He admitted to watching "every second" of the recent Women's World Cup, during which Solo was paramount in helping the US Women's National team reach the championship game.
Solo hopes to become Chmerkovskiy's first partner to win the competition, as he has finished as a runner-up twice, including last season with partner Kirstie Alley. He and past partners have had great overall success, however, as they have finished in the top four in five of the 10 seasons in which he's appeared.
The other celebrity-professional pairings are as follows: Chaz Bono and Lacey Schwimmer, J.R. Martinez and Karina Smirnoff, Nancy Grace and Tristan MacManus, Rob Kardashian and Cheryl Burke, Ron Artest and Peta Murgatroyd, Ricki Lake and Derek Hough, Elisabetta Canalis and Maksim's brother, Val Chmerovskiy, Carson Kressley and Anna Trebunskaya, Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani, David Arquette and Kym Johnson, and Kristin Cavallari and Mark Ballas.
Fans can start watching Solo and Chmerkovskiy in action on Monday, Sept. 19 in the season premiere of Dancing with the Stars at 8 p.m. on ABC. The first couple, the pair with the lowest combined judges scores and fan votes, will be sent home the following night. The couples will perform each Monday and the results show will occur each Tuesday until the season finale on Nov. 22.
Read the women's soccer preview by Scott Johnson in the Everett Herald.
The goal during an unforgettable two-week stretch last November was to survive and advance, no matter what it took, and the University of Washington women's soccer team did that in three remarkable performances on the way to to the NCAA quarterfinals.
Well-known sports writer Jenna Pel recently posted a Q&A with women's head soccer coach Lesle Gallimore. Read the entire interview here: http://www.allwhitekit.com/?p=7336.
Lesle Gallimore has been head coach of the University of Washington's women's soccer team for nearly two decades. In that time, she's coached and developed the likes of Hope Solo, Tina Ellertson and Veronica Perez. She has also experienced the peaks and valleys that come with a long tenure.
Coach Gallimore caught up with AWK about the new season, the Huskies' current crop of talent, the World Cup, and getting a good start against BYU this Friday.
Washington made a deep run in the 2010 NCAA Tournament and progressed to the Elite Eight. Has the team elevated its expectations going into this year?
I don't know that we've elevated our expectations, we always have high expectations. If anything we want to improve from where we were on the whole last season. There are things each game that we can do better and learn from and that's how we'll approach this year. At the end of 2011 we'll look back and hopefully be really proud of how we played and what we achieved.
Washington has experienced a major turnaround as of late. The team went winless in 2005 and reached the Elite Eight five years later. What's been behind the recent success?
I've been here 18 years and all-in-all the majority of those years has been relatively successful. 2005 was a product of a perfect storm: 2004 Elite Eight Team graduate nine starters (85% of our point getters) and we had two highly touted freshmen that year medically disqualify. In 2005 we had 15 new players and played a brutal schedule...including opening on the road vs. the then #1 team in the country Penn State. We lost by a goal in overtime! It set the tone for a very, very young team, we had a difficult time holding leads, scoring goals and believing in ourselves..we lost 14 games by one goal...it was no easy task : ) We then built on that team for two more years before we could get back into the tournament...it was some of the toughest and best work we've done as coaches and I'm proud we're here to have seen it through to our recent success. The lesson was "don't ever graduate a group that big!" You really do need balance on your team, carry over from year-to-year, and a great blend of veteran and young players. We've become very particular about the type of player, student and person we recruit and it suits us and helps us be successful.
TopDrawerSoccer.com released it's top 100 upperclassmen of 2011 and Washington's senior co-captain Kate Deines is ranked No. 34.
View the complete list here: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-national-top-100/women.
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. -- The Pac-12 Conference has five players on the 42-athlete watch list for the Missouri Athletic Club's Hermann Trophy, the highest individual award in collegiate soccer.
Former Husky great Tina (Frimpong) Ellertson has been named one of the five finalists for the WPS Defender of the Year. Ellertson currently plays for the magicJack along with Hope Solo.
Go here to vote: http://www.womensprosoccer.com/2011-doy.
Topdrawersoccer.com just released it's first Tournament of 64 field, predicting who they think will make the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Huskies are near the top at No. 19. See the complete poll here: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-soccer-tournament-ranking/women.
By Mike Baldwin, Woodinville Patch
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part eight, the final part below.
Hassan carried on with his story: "Larbi did not take well the way he was treated upon his return to Morocco. He was asked to coach the Moroccan National team at the Pan-Arabic games, but then was released shortly after leading the squad to a gold medal, without any explanation from the F?©d?©ration Royale Marocaine du Football (FRMF). The F?©d?©ration barely acknowledged his help at the time, then proceeded to completely erasing his existence from memory. Larbi had also written the FRMF multiple times, offering to help in the World Cup campaign and in the Cup of African Nations being hosted in Morocco in 1988; he never received any response. The actions of the FRMF and of other actors on the international football stage were quite despicable. It was as if the world of football had forgotten about him as quickly as they had coerced him into playing abroad and then traded him between clubs. Like a pawn in a game of chess, Larbi was tossed around between countries, used, taken advantage of, and then disposed of. It is no wonder why he lived the last ten years of his life in solitude and suffering.
"During these past ten years, Larbi stopped writing as frequently as he used to. From the tone of his letters, I could sense his growing desperation. The last time I heard from him was almost two years ago, in March of 1990. I kept writing to him on a regular basis, hoping it would make him feel a bit less alone. I am much too old to take the train now, as is my wife, so we had no way of visiting him. Here is the last letter I ever received from him."
By Sunday afternoon, Souad's fear had not dissipated. She had been living on edge for the past few days, reacting to every comment or gesture her parents made, as if expecting the worst. Had they found out about her clandestine activities on Friday afternoon? She was not handling the tension well, and her brothers had teased her about the anxious expression that had been permanently engraved on her face since Friday night, like a henna tattoo tracing the coiled lines of worry around her eyes.
As usual, that evening, she brought her father tea after the family meal. He was watching a Champions League game: the best of the best facing off to win the European title.
As she was about to leave, Souad's father gently touched her shoulder. She almost jumped, spilling the teapot, this time accidentally. Mustapha nodded his head in the direction of the empty seat to his left. Souad followed his eyes from the empty seat to the television and back to her baffled self.
"Souad, why don't we watch the game together tonight?"
She stared in wonder at the tenderness and complicity she could read in her father's gaze, slowly grasping the meaning of this invitation.
As the train left the Rabat station, I pulled the two letters Hassan had given me out of my backpack. The first was dated from 1938, when Ben Barek had initially arrived in France:
Marseille, France. June 29th, 1938
My Dear Hassan,
Here I am, finally, on the shores of France. The trip was long and I was stirring with excitement and apprehension for the entire journey. Alone, on the deck of the ship, I watched the Moroccan coastline become a small speck on the horizon. I hope I have made the right decision to leave my beloved country, but my ambition is too great to pass up this chance.
The coach, Jozsef Eisenhoffer, and the president, M. Blanc, of the Olympique de Marseille club were at the port to welcome me as I disembarked. I'm glad they were there to greet me, for I felt lost, disoriented, uneasy--the only black man in a grinding mass of white people. Men were carrying huge boxes off the boat, there were bags everywhere. Seagulls swarmed above our heads as people bumped into one another, mothers firmly gripping their babies in their arms. You could hear whistles and horns all around, voices yelling and shrieking in a language I barely understand. I clutched my suitcase frightfully.
Their shiny black car was waiting for me. They drove me around town, giving me a tour of the city. We walked down the Promenade de la Corniche, alongside the beach. I saw families having picnics on the sand. It seemed strange, surreal--only something white people do. The air here is crisp, but the waves are the same. The same salty ocean water, crashing against the shore. It reminds me of home.
Although everyone has made me feel at home so far, my loyalty will always be to Morocco, my home and motherland.
I hope this letter finds you well. Please send my regards to your mother.
Your best friend Larbi
The 2nd was the last letter Hassan received from Larbi, less than two years before his suicide:
Casablanca. March 16th 1990
The good news is bittersweet, as always. Last month I should have been awarded the order of merit by the African Confederation of Football in Algiers at the 32nd anniversary of the National Liberation Front team, yet the FRMF prevented me from accepting the award because I was not present at the ceremony, which of course they only informed me of after the fact. The F?©d?©ration has also completely excluded me from any involvement in Morocco's two successive World Cup campaigns. The first Afro-Arab man to play football internationally, left out from the attempt to bring Moroccan soccer to the world stage...It seems that it has been decided for me, without my accord, that I should no longer be allowed to be Moroccan. This thought pains me more than anything else in the world.
What have I ever done to deserve this treatment? It is excruciatingly unjust and saddens me deeply. Although I lived abroad for ten years, I returned to my beloved country on a regular basis, and have always been loyal to my people. My unswerving faithfulness to football and to Morocco has been reciprocated by a faithful repudiation of my role in the emergence of Afro-Arab football. All I want is to be able to return the favors and opportunities I was once given as a young athlete. I want to contribute to the development of Moroccan football and to the advancement of the country of Morocco in general, yet I feel helpless. My hope that things will change becomes dimmer every day.
I have never searched for fame or recognition; you know that as well as I do. But my identity as a Moroccan is something I cannot bear to lose. There is a lump in my throat that is growing and growing every minute, Hassan. And it will proceed to choke me entirely, you will see... Thank you for always listening. If there is one person in this world that understands, I know it is you.
As I watched the burnt, arid landscape fly past me, I imagined what Larbi Ben Barek had meant by the phrase "buried alive". This man had arrived in France with noble ambitions to bring honor to his country worldwide, like a child strives to make a mother proud. Only ten years later, he had returned to his country of origin, which had not only forgotten about him, but chosen to outright ignore his existence and everything he had done for Morocco. Helpless in the face of manipulative and condescending colonial powers, Ben Barek endured much abuse and suffering in his attempt to bring respect to his beloved country. By means of these struggles, he played an important, yet unrecognized, role in the fight for independence. A tragic destiny for such a noble hero.
As I was deep in thought, the conductor came down the aisle with his ticket-punching device. Thankfully I had remembered to validate mine before I boarded the train.
"Name and ticket please," he grumbled rudely, as if the ridiculous uniform and black cap he wore entitled him to disrespectful behavior.
"Mustapha Zehria," I said as I handed him my ticket.
Although the rest of the world already had, I would never forget about the fatality that befell such a brave and inspiring Moroccan.
Through the open door, you could catch a glimpse of the last few rays of sunlight reflect off the shiny leather, illuminating the child's beautiful face.
Souad Zehria could see her husband Tarik and her two-year-old son Larbi play outside, savoring the warm, golden aura of Moroccan sunsets. She had named her son Larbi at the request of her father, whom they all now lovingly called P?©p?© Mustapha.
She was strangely at ease. These moments filled her with a sensation of delight, of pure contentment, as she watched her two favorite people enjoy such a simple pleasure--kicking a ball around in the dirt. Souad chuckled as her son tripped over the ball, which was disproportionately big for his size. Unsure of his footing, Larbi had not yet fully mastered the agility of the football star he was named after.
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part seven below. Part eight, the final part, will be posted on July 29.
Hassan Mdaghri acquiesced as I handed him the folded piece of paper, as if forgiving me for the initial dishonesty I had employed. He slowly opened the piece of paper, which was by now a little crumpled at the edges, and started reading. I remained silent, allowing the old man the time to digest this difficult material. Once he was done reading, Hassan looked up at me. I could read both sadness and gratefulness in his eyes.
"Thank you for delivering this to me personally. You have no idea how much it means to me that you found me. I had not heard from Larbi in over two years, and when I heard about his death, I was devastated. Having this note makes the news a bit more bearable." The old man looked like wanted to keep talking, so I did not interrupt him. From the way he spoke, I could guess that he had not talked about Larbi Ben Barek with anyone. He began his narrative from the very beginning:
"Before he left for France, Larbi had promised to write on a regular basis. I was happy for him. We were all happy for him. We knew he would go far, and this was his chance. The Football Club du Ouatane was where it all started, in the dirty, dusty streets of our childhood. Even then, Larbi was unstoppable. We all wanted him on our team, but he pretended like he was just as good as everyone else. Always humble, he never showed off his talent, and even refused to wear cleats in his first club game, saying he preferred his old, tattered sandals. At first, Larbi was good about keeping in touch. He sent news regularly, updating me about his most recent accomplishments."
Hassan slowly got up from the stool and reached for a brown envelope on a shelf behind him, similar to the one I had found in Monsieur Larbi's apartment. No doubt these two men had been close friends for a long time, they even had the same taste in stationary supplies. As he sat back down, he handed me a few letters, and continued:
"I reported back to his mother, reading her the letters he sent. Larbi's father had died in an accident when he was only five years old, and his two older sisters had both married and moved away. His mother lived all alone, but she was a brave and strong woman, showing no signs of aging. However, she did not know how to read or write, so I would write the replies she patiently composed out loud, word by word, leaving me the time to remember the correct verb conjugations. He had a very successful football career in Europe, as I'm sure you've discovered. Yet he returned to Morocco frequently to visit his mother and beloved country. I have never met a man who loved his country more than Larbi did, which makes his story even more tragic."
Souad's father heard a loud knock at the door. He thought it was a bit odd that someone would visit on a Saturday evening after dinner, but still got up to answer. You never knew what news you would receive on a Saturday night! His wife and children were out; they had been invited to a party at his wife's uncle's house, or something like that--he couldn't really remember the connection. Mustapha had stayed in, exhausted from six days of work. Mostly, he didn't want to miss the football game that was on television, but he had failed to mention this to his wife, who would have disapproved of the excuse: his beloved Fath of Rabat was playing its rival, Widad of Casablanca.
"Hello, Mr. Zehria. My name is Ahmed. I am the football coach at the Lyc?©e Al Allama Sbihi. I apologize for stopping by at this hour, but I'd like to discuss something with you, if that's alright?"
"Hello, welcome, Ahmed!" Souad's father happily invited him in, thinking it would be about one of his sons. "Please, feel free to call me Mustapha."
They settled around the kitchen table. "So, what brings you here tonight?"
"Actually, Mr. Zehria, I would like to talk to you about your daughter, Souad. She is gifted in football. I saw her play on Friday afternoon, where she scored the winning goal for the high school team."
Mustapha felt his face drop, his composure splintering into a million little pieces, reminding him of the time he had been severely punished by his mother for shattering an antique glass teacup as a young child. You could hear the obnoxious voices of the commentators in the background. Apparently, Ahmed wrongly mistook his silence as a cue to continue. Already, Mustapha was only half-listening.
"I understand that this may be difficult to hear," Ahmed went on, "but your daughter is truly talented. I would like to give her the opportunity to play for a real football team. I coach for the Association Cit?© Des Arts. We are funded by the city and play in a women's league across Morocco."
"During the war, Larbi returned to Casablanca and got married. However, after the war ended he was signed by another football club in France, the Racing de Paris. He was forced to leave his wife and two children behind in Morocco and rarely was allowed the opportunity to visit them. When Larbi's wife was taken by tuberculosis, his mother was left to take care of the two children, who were still young at the time. What happened to them is unknown. They may have been kidnapped on their way home from school when they were only eight and ten years old, by a band of rebel soldiers. They have not been heard of since.
"Larbi was absolutely devastated, but remained loyal to Morocco, even after it had taken both his wife and his only children away from him. He met his second wife Louisette in Paris, but they did not have any children. Only a few years after their marriage, she was taken by pneumonia and did not survive the harsh winter of 1954. Despite a life plagued by personal tragedies, Larbi was always kind, gentle, and tolerant of others. He never let the personal events in his life affect his athletic performances, which was quite admirable, considering the circumstances. But that was the kind of man he was...
"Although his professional life appeared to be a very successful one, Larbi did not see it that way. While he tried to conceal it, I knew he was hurt by the name the Spanish Press had given him: 'The Foot of God.' On the surface, this nickname appeared like a compliment of his superb goal-scoring abilities, yet it was also an insult in disguise. In Islamic culture, the foot is the lowest part of the body, the part that touches the ground. The nickname was a low blow for Larbi, as it denigrated the culture and religion he felt so strongly about. It also revealed the disdain the Spanish had for the Arab world, and, in consequence, for his presence as an Afro-Arab football player in Madrid. He suffered much abuse, both verbal and perhaps even physical, during his years playing at Atletico de Madrid."
Mr. Zehria decided to let Ahmed finish, out of courtesy. The man surely had good intentions, but like many others in contemporary society, had long forgotten about the values of tradition. That was not the case in the Zehria household.
"The challenge these women face today is similar to the one Larbi Ben Barek braved more than fifty years ago. Like him, they are using football to defy the injustices that stifle their potential for success and their struggle for recognition and identity. They inspire women across the world to fight for their rights. I think it would be a noble act to allow your daughter to play."
All of a sudden, Mustapha started listening more closely. Ben Barek had always been his idol ever since he was a teenage boy. Was this coach really comparing the actions of his only daughter to the feats of his all-time hero Larbi Ben Barek?
Mustapha tried concealing his pride, but he was glowing. Somehow, Ahmed had found his weakness. The expression on Mustapha's face must have revealed this change of heart, because Ahmed continued, ever more intently.
"From what I understand, your eldest son Mehdi is also exceptionally gifted in football. I would like to make you an offer. If you allow Souad to play for my team, I will arrange for Mehdi to receive a scholarship to attend university and play football in Marseille. I played there myself for several years and have connections."
Mustapha raised his eyebrows suspiciously; he had heard that one many times before. Every Moroccan, even in the remotest of villages, claimed he had connections. Yet the look on his interlocutor's face seemed sincere enough, and Mustapha was willing to take a chance.
"I'll let you sit on it for a few days, alright?"
Mustapha nodded, unsure how to respond. The right words weren't coming to him.
"Our next practice is on Tuesday at the Stade Chhoude, 3 o'clock. If Souad doesn't come, I will understand. But I hope you make the decision that is best for your children. Times are changing, Mr. Zehria.
"Thank you for your time. I hope to see Souad soon."
As they shook hands, Ahmed stared at him daringly. Mustapha thought this to be quite unnecessary; the decision had already been made.
Check out some pictures from women's soccer camp this week and the photo gallery below.
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part six below.
It was only nine in the morning but the sun was beating heavily through the glass panes of the train windows, heating the cracked, synthetic leather seats to extreme proportions. Other passengers had already filled the available seats in the shade, so I had no choice but to scorch the back of my bare thighs as I sat down.
Soon after, the train started moving. As we left the station, I saw passengers with large, cumbersome bags maneuver their way towards the exit. Businessmen in black suits clutched their briefcases as they rushed along the platform, some trying to catch the departing train, some hurrying to an important meeting.
I looked at the ticket I held in my hand. On the top right corner was written Casablanca-Rabat Round Trip: 40.50 dirhams. The night before, I had regretfully broken the piggy bank my grandmother had given me as a young boy. I had an intuition that Hassan would be the missing link to understanding why Monsieur Larbi had killed himself, and I was willing to spend all of my savings to travel to Rabat in order to find him.
Tarik could feel his insides caving in as he prepared his response.
"Her name is Souad Zehria." The words slipped out of Tarik's mouth quickly, like couscous grains spilling out of a torn bag. He was immediately disappointed with himself at how fast he had given in to his coach's request. Souad would surely be upset with him!
He vividly pictured the time when he had accidentally torn one of the newspaper clippings she preciously collected. She had passed it to him on the bus and he had pulled a little too hard, causing the picture to rip down the middle. How furious she was! She had not spoken to him for two days, but the look in her piercing, dark eyes had made Tarik feel guilty for weeks.
The expression on Ahmed's face made Tarik understand that he expected more details.
"She lives nearby, 63 Rue de Sal?©, apartment 6D."
"Thanks, Tarik." Coach Ahmed released his grip and gave him a firm pat on the back. "Great assist, by the way... See you at practice on Monday!"
"Bye Coach," Tarik muttered under his breath. An intense wave of emotion overcame him, as he registered the conversation that had just occurred. He had to steady himself before he went back into the house. Not only did he feel like he had betrayed the trust of his best friend, but he was even more apprehensive about what Ahmed would do with the information he had just given him. Would he go to Souad's house? Would he talk to her parents and reveal her deepest and darkest secret? And would Souad still want to be his friend after she found out he had let her down?
I stared at the city map covered in scratches and markings that belligerent youth had probably inflicted upon the public property; I myself had done my share of vandalism. I now realized how inconvenient it was when inscriptions carved into the cheap plastic by knives or rocks covered the specific street name one was looking for. I made a mental note to myself to avoid this type of activity in the future.
After walking around for almost an hour and asking several people on the street for directions, I finally managed to find Hassan Mdaghri's home: 23, Rue Souika, in the heart of Rabat's medina. My backpack containing the address book and letters I had found the apartment clung to my sweaty shoulders. I rested a few minutes in the shade of a small alleyway, allowing myself to cool off after walking around in the heat. I wiped the sweat off my forehead with a piece of cloth I found in the bottom of my bag, and sat down to eat a few of the delicious snacks my mother had given me. How glad I was to have saved them! Finally, I was ready.
I knocked on the door firmly. An old man answered and gestured me in quickly, eager to keep the oppressive autumn heat out of the small house. I followed Hassan Mdaghri as he slowly made his way to a table surrounded by two wooden stools, in a room that seemed to serve as both living room and dining room. He took small, wobbly steps that revealed his old age. An older woman, probably the one I had spoken to on the phone a week before, silently brought in a pot of mint tea and a plate of oranges. As Hassan started to unpeel one of the fruits before my eyes, I was reminded of the deception I had used to infiltrate this innocent old man's personal life, and felt the need to reveal to him my true identity immediately.
"Mr. Mdaghri, before we begin I have something I must share with you. I am not actually Mohammed El Hachmi, from the Gazette de Casablanca. My name is Mustapha; I lived across the hall from Larbi Ben Barek. I was the one who discovered him dead in his apartment and called the police." Before the words had the time to sink in, I handed him the letter across the table. "Here, you should have this. It belongs to you."
Ahmed was pleased with how easily he had managed to find the mysterious girl. But that was the simple part. His next task--convincing Souad's parents to let her play for his girls' team--would be much more challenging. Ahmed also coached for the Association Cit?© Des Arts, the only female football club in the Rabat area.
Ahmed had signed a contract with the A.C.D.A club for two years. The conditions were simple: start a female football team and have a winning record by the end of the two years, or the already meager funding would end and the program would fall apart as abruptly as it had been created. Ahmed only had six months left to safeguard the future of women's football in Rabat, and he desperately needed Souad to help the team improve its standing. Female players were scarce, because the many social and religious constraints repressed their desire to play. Those who were talented did not even know it.
The A.C.D.A team played against women's football clubs from Marrakesh, Tangiers, Fès, and other big cities in Morocco, but these teams had been in place for longer and the A.C.D.A.'s debut had not seemed promising. Yet Ahmed was prepared to go at great lengths to protect the future of the program; he understood that football represented a way to trespass the barriers imposed on women, regardless of their age, religion, or socioeconomic background.
That night, he carefully weighed his arguments against one another, rehearsing the speech he would give to Souad's father. Ahmed was certain that the girl's parents would not approve of her playing. They probably weren't even aware she played football. He would have to be forceful, yet respectful of the family's traditions. That was always the issue when coaching girls.
Ahmed had gone around Souad's neighborhood, asking the boys he ran into about her brothers, with the hope of discovering more about her family before he went to talk to them. He had even watched her brothers play a pickup football game, from the well-hidden vantage point of a shady, low archway, and discovered that Souad's older brother Mehdi was also gifted. With only a little bit of prodding, and perhaps spying--but Ahmed preferred not calling it that--he had exposed an infallible way to persuade Souad's father. Ahmed was confident he had the upper hand in the situation: he would offer Souad's father a deal he would not be able to refuse.
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part five below.
"Hello?" said an older woman's voice at the end of the line.
"Yes...Hello. Is this Mrs. Mdaghri?" Was this Hassan's wife? Or did I have the wrong number? All the confidence I had mustered up before calling suddenly disappeared into thin air, leaving me nervous and starting to regret the entire undertaking. The pay phone was shaking slightly in my hand, and I could feel the plastic digging into my ear uncomfortably. The traffic in the street made it difficult to hear her little voice.
"Yes, may I as who is calling please?"
I cleared my throat and deepened my tone, praying that my higher-pitched, teenage voice wouldn't give me away immediately. "Hi, my name is Mohammed El Hachmi, from the Gazette de Casablanca. I am reporting on the death of Larbi Ben Barek, and I'd love to have the chance to speak with your husband. I understand they were quite close. Would there be a good time for me to talk to him?" The speech I had rehearsed a million times before the call came out easily, helping me regain enough self-assurance to not hang up the phone immediately.
There was no way anyone would take a sixteen-year old boy seriously, so I had to come up with an identity that would give me sufficient credibility to get in contact with Hassan. Then, I would tell him the truth about how I had found him, and personally deliver Monsieur Larbi's last letter. I set up a time to meet with Mr. Hassan Mdaghri the following week. I would have to take the train to Rabat from the Casablanca Port Station, and of course, skip school that day.
Right before the start of the match, the coach of the Lyc?©e Français team had walked over to shake Ahmed's hand, with a condescending smirk that made Ahmed boil with rage. The play field was the one place where Ahmed refused to concede anything to the French. He always coached his boys to play fair, because he believed playing dirty didn't get you anywhere, in football, or in life. Despite Murad's absence, he knew his team would put up a great fight, no matter the outcome of the game.
The referee blew the whistle, and the boys started moving the ball around on the dirt surface. A few of his players had old, ripped cleats, but most were wearing tennis shoes or even sandals. The French boys, on the other hand, all had shiny, brand new boots. The two teams were fairly even. While the Lyc?©e boys could string together more passes, they did not have as much raw, individual talent, developed from years of playing pickup games in the streets. The white boys played "pretty" soccer, as Ahmed commonly joked with his team, who was much tougher. They always left practice with cuts on their knees and new bruises on their shins: shinguards were an expensive piece of equipment that belonged to the school and were used for games only.
As the match wore on, the score was still 0-0. Both teams had missed multiple opportunities to finish. The time on the clock showed that there were only four minutes left to play. There was something about ties that Ahmed hated, but he had never been able to put a finger on it. Someone had to score... if only Murad had been there!
Karim had been playing very well and Ahmed was impressed with his natural talent. Ahmed would make sure to recruit Karim for the team when he entered high school next year. The brothers had the same style of play--excellent foot skills and fast-paced passes. It must run in the family, he thought to himself.
All of a sudden, Tarik was dribbling down the left side at full speed. Scissor right, cut left, and he had flown by the defender. Before the center back could reach him, Tarik curled a beautiful ball into the penalty box. Usually, there weren't any players in the box to finish his crosses, but Karim had gotten there in time! As the ball curved away from the goalie's hands, Karim jumped above all the defenders and headed it into the back of the net. GOAAAL!
While the ball was hitting the back of the net, Karim's cap was flying in midair, revealing a ponytail of curly brown hair bobbing up and down as the girl landed. Ahmed gasped, while the crowd was exuberantly cheering for the goal that would give the local boys the win, their attention fixed on the celebration. Before the fans had the time to notice what had happened, she was already gone, sprinting down the street.
Ahmed yelled at her to wait, but she ignored him. Following her was out of the question; he knew quite well he could not be seen chasing a young girl down the street.
"Attends!" He tried again, hoping the French would convey a stronger sense of authority, but to no avail. She had already been enveloped by clouds of dust in the distance, yet Ahmed was determined to find her.
That morning, I woke up earlier than usual. I ate breakfast with my father, like I did every morning before school. While I was eating, my mother handed me a few snacks to put in my backpack: a small bag containing dried apricots and dates, fresh figs, and almonds. The treats looked delicious; I would have to restrain myself from devouring them immediately. I knew I had a long day ahead of me and would want to save these provisions for later in the day. On my way out of the house, I yelled, "Mom, I might be a little late from school today, because I agreed to help Mr. Laumaill?© reorganize the library shelves!" It seemed like a good idea to give myself a small margin of error in case the train was late on my way home.
After everyone had left the field, Ahmed headed straight to Tarik's home. He knew the boy's family quite well because he had coached their son since middle school.
Tarik's father opened the door, unlatching the flavors of fish braised in sweet apricots and dates. The fruity sensations were smoothly intertwined with the fiery aromas of cinnamon, paprika, and cayenne, making Ahmed's nose tickle with desire. He wondered if Tarik's family was having a celebratory dinner after the victory.
"Good evening, Yassine!"
"Welcome, Coach Ahmed! Great work tonight! Tarik came home thrilled about the win."
"Thank you," Ahmed responded. "The... ahem...boys...played very hard." He accidentally stumbled on the word. "They deserved it. Could I please have a quick word with Tarik? I'd like to congratulate him on the way he played."
"Of course, let me get him."
Tarik appeared at the door a few seconds later, as if expecting Ahmed's visit. Ahmed immediately detected the uneasiness in Tarik's strained countenance. They stepped outside of the steamy kitchen onto the sidewalk, into the privacy of the calm, evening breeze.
The streets were almost empty, but not quite. You could see a few children lingering aimlessly in the distance, kicking small rocks down the dusty street with their bare feet. Ahmed knew, sadly, that those who were out at this time of day had nowhere to be, nobody waiting for them with a warm, home-cooked meal. Ahmed wished he had the ability to help these children whom he knew would be sleeping outside, huddled behind a dumpster in the chilly nighttime air. If only the government did a better job to help its homeless youth!
"Tarik, I need to know who your friend was. She played marvelously, and I would like to offer her a position on my girls A.C.D.A. team." Ahmed firmly gripped Tarik's shoulder as he said this. He knew the boy would be easily convinced; he was too shy to argue.
The New York Times
MOENCHENGLADBACH, Germany -- The team would joke about it later, but the moment grew too chaotic for Hope Solo. The U.S. goalkeeper had to get away.
This time the former Washington Huskies standout from Richland left on her own, not at the insistence of others.
The Women's World Cup soccer quarterfinals had reached penalty kicks Sunday after a stunning overtime comeback by the United States against Brazil. In a team huddle, forward Abby Wambach screamed at teammates to relax.
"Look who's talking," said midfielder Carli Lloyd, according to Solo, and some other players laughed edgily. Who could calm down with someone yelling at them?
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part four below.
I walked up the stairs slowly, on the tip of my toes, hoping my mother wouldn't hear that I had gotten back from school. My father was still at work.
As I reached the landing, I held my breath. I was only a few feet away from our apartment door, and I knew the walls were thin. If my parents found out that I had been snooping around in someone else's business, I would get in serious trouble.
As expected, the door was unlocked. No one had even bothered locking the door after the formal investigation. I slipped in quietly, with ease, as I had done a million times before. The police had barely searched the place because everything seemed to be in the same place as before. Only the box of pills was missing from the coffee table by the couch.
I wasn't sure exactly what I was looking for, but I knew I only had a few minutes before I was expected home from school. I headed to the desk facing the wall in the back corner of the apartment. I had seen Monsieur Larbi sitting there many times when I came to bring him food.
I sat down in the chair and ran my fingers across the desk's smooth, wooden surface. I stared at the uneven layers of faded yellow peeling off the wall in front of me, a consequence of the blistering heat that made walls crack and shed coats of paint like snakes stripped of their skin.
There were two small shelves leaning against the wall. One of them contained blank sheets of paper; the other held a neat pile of envelopes. The fountain pen lying on the desk looked obsolete, but it was the only writing instrument I saw. A small bottle of black china ink was still uncapped underneath the shelving, confirming my suspicions.
I picked up the pen and dipped it in the dried-out bottle of ink. I tried imagining what Monsieur Larbi had felt as he composed his farewell letter, knowing it would be the very last time he wrote anything down, surrendering to the tragic fate God had in store for him...
Deep in thought, I almost forgot about the reason for which I had trespassed into his apartment. I scanned the room for clues, but nothing caught my eye. As I got up from the desk, I noticed very thin drawer below the surface of the table, which I had failed to see initially. My heart started to beat rapidly, in anticipation of the findings this secret drawer would unearth.
I pulled out a tightly bound leather notebook, and a large folder, the kind schoolteachers use to carry around students' exams. With the tips of my fingers I felt plastic tabs on the inside of the notebook. I opened it to confirm that I had indeed found Ben Barek's address book. What luck! The folder contained a stack of letters from none other than Hassan. I would surely be able to locate him now that I had all of this information! Content with my findings, I stuck the address book and the folder into my school bag, and left the apartment as silently as I had come in.
The more he thought about it, the more Tarik was thrilled with his idea. It would take some planning, but he was confident it would work. Souad always played with a cap to hide her hair when they were out in the evenings together, in case someone saw them. Many of the boys on the team also played with caps; she would fit right in. Thankfully, tonight was one of the nights Souad was coming over to "study." As Tarik stared out of the dirty windows of the bus, he could clearly picture her face, lighting up with a huge smile, when he shared the news with her. The prospect kept him so entranced that he almost missed his stop.
That evening, as always, Tarik and Souad went out to their secret lot to kick the ball around. He brought the uniform in his backpack, waiting until they had arrived to surprise her.
"Are you sure this will work Tarik?" Souad seemed anxious--not the reaction he had expected from her.
"Of course! You're as tall as my younger brother Karim, and he's still pretty skinny, like you." They both laughed when he said this.
This seemed to reassure Souad, and they resumed their play. That evening they were working on curving the ball in the air. Tarik was especially good at it because he played left wing in the high school games, and often crossed the ball into the box for the forwards to score with a header or a volley.
On their way home, Tarik went over the final details: "Meet at the field behind the school at three o'clock. You'll probably be playing forward. And make sure you respond to Karim!"
As they parted, Souad grabbed his hand and gave it a tight squeeze.
"Thank you, Tarik."
The smile he had been waiting for all evening illuminated her face in the darkness.
Pretending to do my homework, I pulled out the address book and started flipping through the pages. It was organized alphabetically by last name, so I had to go through every individual page in order to find anyone by the name of Hassan.
In fact, there were three individuals named Hassan in the address book. I hadn't thought about that beforehand, but Hassan was a common name in Morocco and it was more than likely to occur several times in anyone's address book. One of the entries was crossed out, indicating that the man had passed away. That made matters a little simpler. With only two people to choose from, I had higher odds of tracking down the correct one.
The first entry, Hassan Choukri, indicated a phone number from Casablanca. Although that would have been convenient, I highly doubted that the Hassan in question lived in Casablanca because he would have paid his friend a visit instead of writing to him.
The second entry was a so-called Hassan Mdaghri, living in Rabat. I opened up the folder and looked for the most recent letter. At the top I read "August 4th 1992, Rabat". I knew I was on the right track. I scribbled down the man's telephone number and address in my notebook and tried focusing on my math homework, but my mind was elsewhere.
Souad still had a big problem to solve. How would she explain her absence to her mother on Friday afternoon? She imagined scenario after scenario, but none of them sounded right. Plus, she hated lying to her mother. It was already hard enough pretending to do schoolwork once a month with Tarik, but at least that story was partially true. She would have to come up with a bigger lie this time, and conceal her true identity from everybody. These thoughts made her so nervous she could feel a huge pit in her stomach growing by the second.
As she was getting ready to go to bed, she heard her mother yelling from the kitchen:
"Souad, Don't forget! Your cousin Malika has invited you to her house on Friday afternoon to drink tea and eat pastillas to celebrate her birthday."
What luck! Her mother had magically solved the problem for her. Malika and Souad didn't get along that well; Malika would not even notice her absence from the big birthday celebration. Maybe God was on her side, after all. Maybe he did want her to play football, just this once? She quickly shoved these thoughts aside as she slipped into bed. It was never a good idea to get God involved in something like this.
She waited patiently until her brothers were sound asleep to get the uniform out from its hiding place under the bed. She admired the red and white stripes that reflected the beams of moonlight shining through the cracks in the wall, turning the jersey over in her hands several times, as if to make sure it were real. That night, she dreamt she was dribbling at speed, breaking away from the defenders, skillfully finding the back of the net, the ball escaping the diving goalkeeper's hands.
US captured lightning in a bottle: http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6754797/women-world-cup-uscaptured-lightning-bottle-brazil-soccer.
US-Brazil ratings best since 1999: http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/news/_/id/6757600/us-brazil-gets-best-ratings-1999.
US vs. Brazil game recap: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report/_/id/323673?cc=5901.
Fan support helped propel US to win: http://espn.go.com/sports/soccer/blog/_/name/lowe_jaime/id/6754814/fan-support-helped-propel-us-win.
Solo saves the US: http://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/news?slug=ycn-8766917.
Five facts about Hope: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/763713-hope-solo-5-fun-facts-about-team-usas-star-goaltender.
If you can't love soccer after this: http://wcfcourier.com/sports/soccer/commentary-if-u-s-can-t-love-soccer-after-this/article_759a2d28-ab76-11e0-8f92-001cc4c002e0.html.
The REAL Beauty: http://thestir.cafemom.com/beauty_style/122870/hope_solo_this_is_real.
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part three below.
My first task was to find out who Larbi Ben Barek was. If he had been mentioned in the European press, he must have been important at some point in time. The name sounded vaguely familiar, but then again, Moroccan names all sounded alike. My Uncle Ali was the one to ask. He claimed that he had read the newspaper every morning since he was twenty years old, and joked that he knew more about politics than King Hassan himself. Of course, that joke was never repeated outside the privacy of his home, because we all knew what could happen to Uncle Ali if the wrong person overheard.
The next time we had a family gathering, while all of the women were busy cooking up a delicious meal, I managed to talk to him alone for a few minutes.
"Uncle Ali, have you heard of Larbi Ben Barek?"
"Ah, yes my child... The "Black Pearl" of Football... the "Foot of God" as the Spaniards called him. He was the first black man to play professional football overseas in Europe. His days of fame were in the 40s and 50s, when I was just a young man, like you. He was miraculous. Anyone who saw him play raved about his talent, his feints, his foot skills...He danced with the ball, it was beautiful to watch."
"What happened to him?" I asked a bit too suddenly, divulging my increasing curiosity.
"No one really knows..." My uncle took a long pause and sighed heavily, shaking his head. "All of a sudden, we stopped reading about him in the sports section, it was as if he had vanished. I'm not sure if he stayed in Europe or ever returned to Morocco."
"Hmmm...." I responded automatically. My imagination was already grinding like a paste of roasted argan seeds, as various intrigue-filled scenarios unfolded in my mind.
"I might be able to dig up some old newspapers that mention him, if you'd like. You know I have a bad habit of keeping everything." We both laughed when he said this.
"That'd be great, thank you so much!" I flashed my teeth, a huge grin spreading across my face. I left my uncle's house with a heavy stack of newspapers digging into my arms. As excited as a young child on the verge of unwrapping a big present, I was impatient to start flipping through the frayed, yellowed pages I held in my hands.
Tarik momentarily toyed with the idea that had caught him by surprise, despite his intuition to repress the thought. He only had a few seconds to make up his mind. His hand shot into the air before he had the time to make a sensible decision, as if his limbs were operating separately from his brain.
"What about my little brother, Karim? He's only one year younger than me. He's pretty good, coach..." His heart was beating rapidly. What had he gotten himself into?
The newspaper clippings my Uncle Ali gave me were incredibly useful. Scanning the headlines, I was able to trace the path Ben Barek had taken in his professional career, from his debut at the Olympique de Marseille in 1938, to his return to the Union Sportive Marocaine of Casablanca during the war, all the way though his last international match for France in 1954:
"Ben Barek scores two in first official match at Olympique de Marseille" (24 November 1938)
"Ben Barek late goal sends OM to French Championship" (13 May 1939)
"3 from Ben Barek spurs France win against Poland" (23 January 1939)
"Ben Barek eyes more titles with USM" (14 May 1941)
"Ben Barek leads USM to crown of North African Cup" (6 July 1942)
"Ben Barek late goal earns Paris the win" (2 November 1947)
"France downs Portugal, Ben Barek scores two" (24 November 1947)
"France blanks Czechoslovakia, Ben Barek man of the match" (13 June 1948)
"Ben Barek to Atletico de Madrid for 8 million" (24 July 1948)
"The Foot of God leads Madrid to Spanish title" (12 June 1950)
"Ben Barek key to success, Madrid cruises to second consecutive title" (10 June 1951)
"Son of OM President convinces Ben Barek to return to Marseille" (17 December 1953)
"The Black Pearl keen on French title, leads OM to another championship" (24 May 1954)
"Public protest follows Ben Barek's dismissal from France squad" (28 August 1954)
"Ben Barek returns to France team by popular verdict" (10 September 1954)
"Leg injury forces Ben Barek to withdraw from France squad" (18 October 1954)
"The Black Pearl retired French jersey" (June 4 1955)
"Ben Barek coaches Morocco to gold medal in Beirut Pan-Arabic games" (28 October 1957)
Several things caught my attention as I read the articles. The press had been very quick to point out that Ben Barek did not have French nationality or citizenship. They had also been extremely critical of his play, despite the success he had brought to all the teams he had played for, resulting in Ben Barek's dismissal from the French national team. I was stunned by the influence the press had in such matters. However, I learned that Ben Barek had been recalled to the French squad by popular demand, revealing the deep chasm between the opinion of the general public and that of the political actors on the European football stage. The recurring trend I picked up on in the news clippings was that regardless of how talented he was, Ben Barek had always been blamed for his origins and for the color of his skin, a consequence of the racism and colonial mindset inherent to any type of international relations, even a mere game of football.
I sensed that a big piece of the puzzle was still missing. The events I had uncovered thus far could not possibly explain why Monsieur Larbi had killed himself. And who was this Hassan to whom he had written his farewell letter?
"Anyone will do," Ahmed responded morosely, handing him an extra uniform.
Ahmed cared deeply for his players. He had grown up in similar circumstances and understood that the moments playing football represented a temporary escape from the hardships they faced on a daily basis.
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part two below.
Souad Zehria envied her brothers deeply. When she was very young, she was allowed to go outside and play football with her older brothers, but as soon as she grew old enough to help with the chores and the cooking, she had to relinquish this pleasure. Her love for the game never subsided, but she always kept this passion to herself. The more Souad secretly longed to play, the more her mother tightened her grip.
Souad loved bringing mint tea to her father after dinner, because he always watched football games on the shabby television the family owned. As she poured him a steaming cup, she would steal glances at the game her father was watching. The vibrant green fields on the tiny screen came to symbolize her longing for the game. The realization of her dream to play football appeared as distant as the lush, perfectly mowed grass of the European football clubs. She knew only the dusty red alleys and empty lots of the surrounding area. She cherished these rare glimpses of the beautiful game, sometimes even purposefully spilling the tea, in order to extend the fleeting moments in front of the television. Her father never caught on, or so she thought.
On her way home from school, Souad would pick up discarded newspapers and scan the page for action shots of football players, which she would cut out and add to her growing collection. This was her most treasured possession, which she hid in a box underneath the bed she shared with her three brothers. Sometimes, she would find pages from L'Equipe, the famous French newspaper dedicated to football. An entire paper solely devoted to the sport she loved! The mere thought gave her the chills. If only she could read it, she would be happier. She attempted to decipher the words on the page with the little French she knew, but this often just frustrated her. How unfair that the class she had to miss every afternoon to help her mother in the kitchen was the French Language class? Yet she committed to memory the names of all the players and teams she could find, with the hope of one day seeing them play.
Souad slowly accumulated a soccer knowledge that could rival any boy her age, but she made every attempt to conceal her passion from those around her, especially her family. She could only imagine her mother's reaction if she discovered her only daughter preferred football to cooking, or the scene her father would make if he learned his adolescent daughter would willingly forego the jilbab for a football uniform exposing her bare arms and legs.
The only person she could confide in was Tarik. Schoolmates, Souad and Tarik had been friends since they were very young, and lived in the same neighborhood.
She remembered how they had first become friends, in first grade. Souad and Tarik regularly finished their in-class work long before the other students. Too busy helping the other students, their teacher would send them out into the yard to play. They would chase each other in circles until they were out of breath, or tell funny stories that would make them explode with laughter. These shared moments on the schoolyard had brought them quite close, and they stuck together from that point on.
Souad was sometimes allowed to go to Tarik's home after dinnertime under the pretense of doing schoolwork. On these occasions, they would run to an empty lot far from their houses to kick the ball around. This was the only chance Souad had to play football, and she had to carefully space out the times she went over to Tarik's house so as not attract any suspicion. The two would take turns practicing the moves that they had seen on television, or make up their own sequence of foot skills, more complex and creative each time. Tarik had given Souad a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, which she would conceal underneath her jilbab on her way out of the house.
In the warm evening breeze, she would let her imagination flourish, rolling, tapping, cutting, twirling around the ball, until she was dizzy with excitement. The moments were magical for her, the only time she felt liberated, free from her father's strict gaze and her mother's rigid expectations. They would play until the moon's reflection off the pearls of sweat on their temples softly reminded them it was time to return home.
It wasn't until later that night, when I was alone in my room, that I reread the letter slowly. I hadn't given it to the police. I'm not exactly sure why, but I had a feeling it would end up in the wrong hands if I turned it in.
Although he had lived across the hall for as long as I could remember, I realized that I knew nothing about this Monsieur Larbi. I suddenly had an irresistible urge to find out more about his past. I was a sixteen-year-old, incredibly curious teenage boy, and I was determined to uncover the events that had led to this man's mysterious demise.
Coach Ahmed called the boys in at the end of practice.
"Be here at three for our game on Friday. " Ahmed had a worried look on his face. One of his best players, Murad, had just broken the news that he wouldn't be able to play in the game. Murad's grandmother was very sick and his family was going out of town to visit her. The team was already short on players as it was, and they were playing their rivals, the Lyc?©e Français de Rabat. Ahmed's team was pretty good, but they needed Murad: he was their best scorer. The timing could not have been worse.
"Since Murad cannot be there, do any of you know someone who could fill in for him?"
They shook their heads. This was expected: most of the teenage boys were unable to play for the school because they had to work after class got out, which was when the team practiced.
Junior Faustine Dufka of the women's soccer team recently wrote this fictional soccer story for one of her classes. She has decided to share her piece with Husky Nation by releasing two parts a week. Read part one below.
Casablanca. September 12th, 1992
I have no one left but you.
My two wives and my three sons have all been taken by illness and death, yet my faith in God has helped me stay brave in the face of these sorrows.
I continued on, day by day, in an unbounded solitude that only death could relieve me of. I felt like my country had abandoned me, like everyone else, except you.
One day it occurred to me that Morocco had, in fact, never welcomed me home. It had never appreciated me, what I had accomplished: the reality of my existence, unacknowledged by the people to whom I professed my unswerving loyalty.
When the European press called me "the adopted Frenchman", I bit my tongue. Let them believe that, I told myself. I knew that would never be true. I was always a Moroccan at heart.
I thought I had made my country proud. I thought I had brought them honor. They returned the favor by burying me alive.
The day I realized this, I made a decision. I could no longer bear living in a time where I was being ostracized by my own people, like a traitor, banished forever from the soil I was born on.
Don't blame yourself; you tried to keep in touch with me. I never answered your letters. I couldn't stand burdening you with these thoughts.
In truth, there is no one to blame. It is the path I chose for myself, floating between two countries, lost amidst two incompatible worlds. I surrendered the right to call either of them home the moment I stepped onto that ship, relinquishing any claim to my identity as a Moroccan. Had I known this, I may have reconsidered my decision to leave, but it is too late for that now. I have already been forgotten, my existence rendered invisible by the passage of time.
I leave the world today, but I should have left it years ago. No one would have noticed.
Although I have not been spared by my own people, I have hope that I will be bestowed the Grace of God, when it truly matters.
Larbi Ben Barek.
Through the lone window in the destitute apartment, Meriem Zehria could see the boys playing football in the alley, raising clouds of dust as they chased after the ball. Her three sons were among them, their shoes serving as goal posts instead of protection. Their bare, calloused feet moved swiftly as the ball bounced around on the dirt. Too many stones had pierced the once new, tightly bound leather, committing the prized family possession to eternal deflation. Her husband had saved for many months in order to buy the ball for his sons, as a reward for getting good scores on their end-of-year exams.
The odor of cumin, ginger, and saffron emanated from the tiny kitchen. That afternoon, her daughter Souad was helping her make an onion and carrot tagine, with scraps of lamb that Meriem had brought home after bargaining with one of the vendors at the market that morning. What her family ate depended on what they could afford. If the meat was too expensive, they would eat a vegetarian tagine or a bean soup with couscous. If they were lucky, they might have freshly baked rghaif and a nicer piece of fish, but Meriem's four children learned at an early age not to complain about what she served, because she always found a way to put food on the table.
Meriem was a very resourceful woman and an experienced mother, having learned at a young age how to fend for herself and provide for her family. As she watched her daughter carefully stir the simmering onions and carrots over low heat, she was reminded of her own childhood. At the age of ten, her mother had fallen terminally ill and Meriem was left to care for her two younger brothers and her drunken father.
She painfully recalled the numerous times her father had come home reeking of whisky, expecting dinner to be served as soon as he sat down at the table. When Meriem could only serve a meager portion of bland couscous because there was nothing else, he would brutally slam the table with his fist and grab her wrists so forcefully that she would be bruised for several days. Hoping to placate his anger, she would not eat anything on these occasions in order to leave her father a bigger portion, sometimes even going for two or three days at a time without food. Meriem always put her family first, it was what she knew how to do best.
These memories sent chills down her back, even in the sweltering heat of the steaming, poorly ventilated kitchen. Although Meriem was harsh on her children about their manners and their grades in school, she prided herself in the way she had raised them. They were not allowed to play outside until their schoolwork was finished, and she made sure they learned how to read at a young age. The boys were always rewarded for their good scores because it motivated them to study hard. She firmly believed that succeeding in school was the only way out. She had been told on several occasions that her eldest son Mehdi was exceptionally gifted and should try out for one of the Moroccan football clubs, but she was skeptical. Education came first for her sons.
Meriem was almost ready to call the boys inside. Most afternoons, they played football with the other kids in the neighborhood. She encouraged this because it always gave them a healthy appetite. Her daughter Souad, on the other hand, came home early from class to help her with the cooking. Although Souad was allowed to go to school in the morning, the kitchen was where a woman belonged, and her teenage daughter was no exception to that rule.
The door burst open, and the three boys sprung out of the hall into the apartment, like the seeds of the overly ripe tomato she had cut open only moments before. Their labored breaths, still short from running around outside, were all out of sync, creating a cacophony of panting that could be heard from the kitchen.
"Mom, we're starving!"
"Not yet, your father is not home." Her husband Mustapha worked for a garbage disposal company in the city. The bus ride to their home on the outskirts of Rabat was an hour long, and he usually arrived just in time for dinner. When he was delayed because of traffic, they would always wait for him to begin eating, even if that meant the food would be cold by the time they started.
I glanced at the letter quickly, shoving it into my back pocket as I rushed into our apartment, yelling for someone to call the police.
My mother had just sent me across the hall to bring our neighbor some of the freshly baked rghaif she had made. Although we weren't rich, my mother always had a big heart and shared leftovers with the old man. He lived alone and never had any visitors.
I knocked loudly and shouted his name several times. We just called him "Monsieur Larbi," no one really knew his full name. After a few minutes, I let myself in. The door was unlocked, as always, because he was too old to get up and answer.
It was unusually quiet in the hall of the apartment, and I noticed an odd, putrid smell permeating the space around me. I felt my way in the obscurity along the damp wallpaper, towards the small old-fashioned table lamp that I knew, from experience, would be on my right, three or four steps down the corridor. I found the switch easily. The antique provided dim, yet sufficient lighting to find my way towards the back of the apartment. I had an instinct that I was the only person who ever used it, during my weekly food deliveries. Aside from an empty ashtray, it was the only object on the dusty bureau pushed up against the wall.
I could hear the muffled sounds of the television coming from the living room, so I walked in that direction. As I turned around the corner of the hallway, I saw him, pallid, motionless, lying on the sofa. I yelled his name a few times, first with an interrogative tone "Monsieur Larbi?" Then again, louder, and more urgently: "Monsieur Larbi! Monsieur Larbi!!"
I rushed to check his pulse. Pressing my thumb against his wrist, I remained perfectly still and held my breath, searching for any signs of life distantly throbbing below the surface of his waxy, discolored skin. But the only rhythm I felt was the thumping of my own heart, becoming louder and stronger by the second. His hands felt heavy and stiff in mine; they were colder than they should have been on a warm autumn afternoon. I put my ear to his chest in a last attempt to find a faint heartbeat, but there was no doubt in my mind that he was dead.
That was when I saw the letter, tucked underneath a bottle of pills, on the low coffee table beside the couch.
Joshua Mayers from the Seattle Times wrote a nice feature on former Husky Veronica Perez who is playing in the women's World Cup this summer with the Mexican National Team. View the first paragraph below and click the link for the rest of the story.
In the final tuneup before the 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany, former UW stars, Hope Solo (Team USA) and Veronica Perez (Mexico) battled against each other. Solo earned the shutout as Team USA scored in stoppage time to defeat Mexico.
Read the complete release here: http://www.ussoccer.com/News/Womens-National-Team/2011/06/Cheney-Strike-in-Stoppage-Time-Lifts-US-Women.aspx.
The Women's World Cup is June 26-July 17. Find all of the schedules for all of the groups here: http://www.fifa.com/womensworldcup/index.html.
CHICAGO (May 26, 2011) - The 2011 U.S. Women's World Cup Team will arrive in New Jersey on Monday for a week of training leading into its Women's World Cup Send-Off Match against Mexico at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Sunday, June 5. The match kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Fans can also follow on ussoccer.com's MatchTracker and via Twitter @ussoccer_wnt.
Tickets starting at $22 are on sale through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-727-6223 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET only) and at the Red Bull Arena ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET). Groups of 20 or more can obtain an order form at ussoccer.com or call 312-528-1290.
On May 16 the UW women's soccer team, along with the SPU men's and women's teams, paired up at the Soundview Playfield to help teach kids soccer and raise money for Dr. Jim Olson's Pediatric Cancer Research Labratory at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
View the foundation's website here: /ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30200&ATCLID=208228337.
Pictures from the event can be found at www.facebook.com/UWWomensSoccer.
On May 14, 2011 the UW women's and men's soccer team hosted their Alumni event at the Dempsey indoor facility. This is an annual event that takes place in order for previous players to reconnect and duke it out in a competitive Dawg Bowl soccer match. While the women alums played on one side of the Dempsey, the men were set up on the other side. It was divided by a "kid zone" where alum's children could go to play and the present UW players would babysit them. I have attended the alumni event the past three years as a player, so I knew what to expect and how fun it was going to be. After ending my career this year, I was extremely excited to finally be able to participate as an alum.
A Dawg Bowl game is 10 minutes long (2X5) with double elimination. For the most part, the teams were broken up by classes and the years you played as a Husky. Since some of girls in my class could not participate this year (McKenna Waitley, Jane Mitchell, and Kendyl Pele), Hannah Grieg, Makenna Brinster, and I were put on the U36 team. These were the women who were the first group of players to be coached by Lesle when she came to UW. It was great mingling with them and hearing about their experiences at UW.
The other teams/participants included:
Team 1: Molesagna
Team 2: BOL (Bus of Losers)
Team 3: Hot Dawgs
Team Four: U-36
The Dawg bowl games were competitive and exhausting but I really enjoyed playing against all the former Huskies. The "Bus of Losers" team won the Dawg bowl tournament this year and was rewarded after during the ceremony. Although my team didn't win, being a part of such a tight bond really made me realize how lucky I am. It was amazing to see the how many incredible people continuously support UW soccer and come out each year to reconnect with everyone. It shows a lot about how special this program is and I am so fortunate to be able to call myself an Husky alum!
On the men's side from assistant coach Brandon Prideaux:
We had a very successful Alumni Day. We were able to gather 33 alums in our second year doing this event which doubled last years attendence. We were thrilled by their support. We crowned a champion since we were able to have a ligitamate 4v4 tourney with 6 teams participating. The championship team was Kyle Fukichi's team below:
We are really looking forward to next years event. Go Dawgs!
Former Husky women's soccer player Kendyl Pele just left the U.S. last week for Norway to play overseas. She is playing for Kattem Idrettslag (Kattem IL).
The club is located in ?…sheim kunstgress, Trondheim, Norway and was founded in 1979.
They compete in league Toppserien, and the Norwegian Cup (12 teams). Their jersey colors are blue and white at home and red and white on the road.
Kattem was promoted to Toppserien (the top women's league in Norway) after their second place finish in 2006 in the First Division (Norway's second tier of soccer).
Kattem's highest finish in Toppserian was 9th in 2009.
Currently the team is tied for 7th with 9 points in 7 matches, 12 points behind league leaders Røa Idrettslag (Røa IL).
Kendyl will be blogging while she is there and you can follow her posts here: http://kickinitwithkendyl.tumblr.com/.
Men's Recap at Western Washington - May 7 - UW 2, WWU 1
It was a 2-1 win at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., for the UW men's team as the Huskies end the spring season with an impressive 5-1-1 record.
"We have enjoyed a great spring season," said head coach Jamie Clark. "Our only blemish of the season was a 2-1 loss to the Sounders, so in terms of results we are happy. We still have a lot of work to do, but we can break as a team confident about next fall.
The most encouraging sign was that we seemed to get better as the weeks went along. This final game vs. Western Washington was a dip in terms of quality of performance but the guys competed and still did enough to win.
It was great to start and finish the spring with Brent Richards filling up the score sheet. We are going to rely on him next fall, so it was nice for him to end the year on a high."
The men's fall schedule has not yet been finalized.
Women's Recap at Vancouver Whitecaps at Simon Fraser University, B.C. - May 10 - Tie 0-0
The women's final spring game was against the Vancouver Whitecaps in B.C., Canada. The game ended in a 0-0 tie.
Coach Lesle Gallimore's comments on the game, "We played well and created some decent changes against a very experienced and physical team. (Alex) Webber had the best chance on a breakaway but collided with the goalkeeper who saved it. Kari (Davidson) got the shutout playing all 90 minutes and all of our backs played very solid."
This past week I was in California training with the U20 National Team. I have been in camps with this age group before so I was feeling a lot more comfortable and excited to train. The first couple days of camp are usually the hardest because we either Sparq fitness test or jump into double days. The practices are intense and usually very tactical. This weeks' focus was on attacking. The U20 age group is a year away from the world cup, which will be in Uzbekistan, and each camp gets more and more competitive as we get closer. We scrimmaged the U23's, UCI and the U17's. It was funny playing against the 23's because Kate (Deines) and I were up against each other in the midfield. She played great and it was cool to see her in with the national team, but I like it better when we are on the same team. We beat UCI 1-0 and the 17's 3-0. I'd say my favorite part of the trip was when we got to spend the day at the beach. At first it was supposed to be an ice-bath, but when none of us cared that the water was a little cold it turned into jumping waves and trying to ride them. We even got to go to Yogurtland, which was surprising because a nutritionist came to talk to us the day before. Other than hanging out with the girls, doing homework, relaxing and eating... we also had a hydration test. It was implemented into the schedule to teach us the importance of staying well hydrated. We took two tests. I'm pretty sure a majority of the team scored "severely dehydrated" the first round. Then it became a competition to see who could be the most hydrated. Overall it was another awesome experience and I hope to continue on to making the qualifying team!
The men's and women's soccer teams are wrapping up spring play. The women will play the Seattle Sounders Women's team at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Starfire Complex in Tukwila. The men will play at Western Washington University at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Last week, the women lost 2-1 at Seattle U and the men defeated the Tacoma Tide, 6-1 in Tukwila. Check out some photos from both games below.
Men's Photo Gallery
Junior Kate Deines (Issaquah, Wash.) and freshman Lindsay Elston (Sammamish, Wash.) will each be gone next week to train as members of two separate National Teams.
Deines will be in Carson, Calif., with the U-23 Women's National Team from April 24-May 1 training at the Home Depot Center, the home of the LA Galaxy. http://www.ussoccer.com/News/U-23-WNT/2011/04/College-Players-Headline-US-U23-WNT-Camp-at-The-HDC.aspx.
Elston will be gone April 23-30 with the U-20 National Team, also training at the Home Depot Center. http://www.ussoccer.com/News/U-20-WNT/2011/04/US-U20-WNT-Comes-to-The-HDC-for-Training-Camp.aspx.
Both teams will be training and play some scrimmages. Follow the links above to see the schedules in the coming days.
Former Husky soccer greats Tina (Frimpong) Ellerston and Hope Solo will play with the new WPS team magicJack out of Florida this year. The season starts on April 19. View the complete schedule here: http://www.womensprosoccer.com/Home/schedule/2011-wps-schedule.
Topdrawersoccer.com mentioned the UW women's soccer recruiting class for next season as one of the "Four Key Classes."
The five Husky recruits all signed in February: Jaclyn Softli (Crossfire Premier), Megan Kufeld (Mustang), Sami Page (Camarillo Eagles), Chelsea Archer (Bay Oaks), Christina Archer (Bay Oaks).
Freshman Lindsay Elston and associate head coach Amy Griffin spent the beginning of March in La Manga, Spain for the Ten Nations Tournament. Elston is a midfielder on the team while Griffin is the goalkeeper coach.
Check out the complete results here: http://www.ussoccer.com/Teams/Youth/US-Under20-Women.aspx and some pictures below.
Honolulu, HI (March 9, 2011) - The Hawai'i Pacific Athletics Department has announced the hiring of Gina Brewer as its next women's soccer coach. Brewer inherits a team that went 7-1 to close the 2010 season.
Brewer boasts an impressive resume, with most of her experience at the Division I level. Originally from Seattle, Washington, Brewer came to Hawai'i in 2008 to be an assistant coach at the University of Hawaii until last year. Previous to Hawai'i, Brewer spent two seasons as an assistant at Utah State University.
"We are pleased to have Gina Brewer join the Hawaii Pacific University coaching staff. Gina has played and coached with some of the top women's soccer players in the nation. She is a dynamic young coach who brings the energy and enthusiasm needed to take Sea Warrior soccer to the next level," said Athletics Director Darren Vorderbruegge.
Her first collegiate soccer job was at the University of Idaho as a graduate assistant from 2003-2005. Brewer received her Masters of Education in Physical Education and Health.
During her playing days, Brewer was part of a wildly successful program at the University of Washington from 1998-2001. During her career the Huskies went to the NCAA tournament three times, including a Pac-10 Championship in 2000. All while receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, with a minor in Communications.
Brewer currently coaches youth soccer here in Hawai'i for the Leahi Soccer Club, and resides in Honolulu.
In preparation for the 2011 World Cup in Germany, former Husky women's soccer greats are training with their national teams at tournaments.
UW volunteer assistant coach Veronica Perez is with the Mexican National Team at the Cyprus World Cup. The tournament runs March 2-9. Follow the action here: http://www.cypruswomenscup.com/.
Former UW great Hope Solo is still recovering from shoulder surgery and hopes to return to the lineup for Team USA soon. She is with the team at the Algarve Cup in Portugal. Team USA beat Japan this morning, 2-1. Following that tournament here: http://www.ussoccer.com/Tournaments/Algarve-Cup/2011-Algarve-Cup/USA-Schedule-and-Results.aspx.
Former women's soccer player Vanessa Pierce started a non-profit organization, She Jumps! Check out her blog and website here: http://www.shejumps.org/.
Check out some practice videos from head coach Lesle Gallimore that were taken at recent Winter training practices on the East Field.
Pictures from a Jan. 2011 women's soccer camp on the East Field.
After years of leading some of the top teams in the nation as an assistant coach, Theresa Wagner gets her first head coaching opportunity at Dartmouth.
Wagner was a standout player leading the University of Washington to its first Pac-10 title and the program's first-ever number one ranking as a senior in 2000. Her team made three NCAA Tournament appearances in four years and she was a four-time all-Pac-10 honoree. A member of the University of Washington Sports Hall of Fame, Wagner was an NSCAA Scholar All-American, SoccerBuzz All-America and a three-time Pac-10 All-Academic team selection.
"We are extremely proud of Theresa and all of her coaching accomplishments since leaving UW back in 2001," said UW head coach Lesle Gallimore. "Dartmouth College has found one of the bright young female coaches of our times and they have hired someone who will do an outstanding job in that environment. I am so very happy for Theresa for the opportunity to lead her own program. I look forward to watching her teams play and following their success."
Read the full release posted by Dartmouth here: http://www.dartmouthsports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&ATCLID=205084875&DB_OEM_ID=11600.
By Michelle Smith
"I found my niche."
Freshman Allie Beahan of the women's soccer team had a great first year at UW on the field and sat down with www.gohuskies.com for a Q&A to talk about fall quarter, winter break and winter training.
GoHuskies.com: Now that you have a full quarter of classes and a season of soccer under your belt, how are you feeling?
Allie Beahan: "I have adjusted to the college environment and have learned to manage my time wisely and to make sure I get a good night's rest! I am excited for next season and have high hopes for the incoming freshmen class!"
GH: What did you do over winter break? (Did you celebrate with your family, etc.?)
AB: "Over winter break I spent time with family and friends. I got to go snowmobiling for the first time with a few friends. I also went skeet shooting for the first time and ended up hitting 6 out of 25 (my shoulder was sore the next day!) My family met up with Molly (Boyd) and her family to watch the Christmas ships on Lake Washington!"
GH: What did you do for New Year's? Do you have any New Year's resolutions?
AB: "I hung out with a few friends and played Halo! I didn't make any New Year's resolutions this year!"
GH: What is winter training like? What are you personally and the team working on? How is it different then fall training?
AB: "Winter training is not only physically challenging but it also tests your mental toughness. As a team, our goal is to improve on something each day. We do so by pushing ourselves to do better and challenge our teammates to do the same."
GH: What classes are you taking this quarter?
AB: "I am taking Physics 110, Math 120 and Psychology 101."
GH: What winter/spring sport are you most looking forward to watching at UW now that soccer is over?
AB: "I am looking forward to watching softball because my roommate Victoria (Hayward) will be playing!!"
GH: If you could trade spots with any UW athlete from another team for one day, who would you pick and why?
AB: "I would want to try volleyball because when I went to their games it looked like a lot of fun!!"
Seniors McKenna Waitley and Kellye Joswick are studying in Greece this quarter. You can follow their journey on Waitley's blog. See here newest posts here: http://theblondegreek.blogspot.com/.
Women's soccer seniors McKenna Waitley and Kellye Joswick are studying in Greece this quarter. Follow Waitley's blog here http://theblondegreek.blogspot.com/ during their time abroad.
Current UW volunteer assistant and former soccer great Veronica Perez made the headlines in the Los Angeles Times. Perez currently plays for the Mexican National Team.
Women's soccer senior Kendyl Pele recently visited a local elementary school in Tukwila, Wash., to talk to some of the kids. Check out her blog below.
It's funny how kids have the ability to simplify things for you.
After our season wrapped up, we had to focus on "real life" once again, and for most of us that reality meant cramming for finals. Not only did I have to focus on my own workload but I realized that it would be the last of my college career. I was ending my career as an athlete at UW, but with only one course left to complete next quarter I will soon be ending my time as a student as well. Perhaps it was because I was in denial about this fact and wanted to put off studying for finals as long as possible, but I ended up volunteering to go to Tukwila Elementary School to talk about being a college athlete. While most people were prepping for their exams when Lesle asked for volunteers I jumped at the chance to hold onto my title as a student-athlete.
Driving the 20 minutes South, I was going over my speech in my head. I would be talking to a fourth grade class, which I figured was better than Kindergarten, first, second, and third grade. Arriving at Ms. Graves classroom I waited for the little ones to get back from lunch. One over achiever happened to be in class early, so we bonded over our mutual love for the movie Titanic and our resulting fear for cruise ships and open water (although her cousin went on a cruise and it turned out okay). After my brief encounter with the little one, I thought to myself, This is going to be a piece of cake.
The bell rang and the kids came running into the class excited to see the new visitor. I introduced myself to the class, and was happy to get a warm reception from the little ones. I began by telling the class that I was a senior about to graduate from college where I had played soccer for the past four years. I was in the middle of telling them about my career when a dozen little hands shot up around the room. Eager to ask their questions I called on the first girl..
Me: Yes, what's your question?
Girl: Do you have a boyfriend?
Me: Um no, not at the moment... But back to what I was saying about the elite 8-
Girl: Why not?
Me: Well, it's complicated.
Boy 1: Have you ever had a boyfriend?
Me: Well yes, but-
Girl 2: What was his name?
Me: Mike McAloon.
Me: Hey, he was a really nice guy and had a great personality...
So here I was trying to explain to a class full of 10 year olds about my career as an athlete at UW, and all they wanted to talk about was my love like (or lack thereof). Every time I tried to turn the subject back to soccer, the kids would flood me with a million random questions. Eventually, I just gave up and decided to go with it.
Boy 2: Who's your best friend?
Me: Well I have a lot of best friends; some are from Washington and some from California.
Girl 3: What's the cafeteria like in college?
Me: There's a big variety of places to eat, you can pretty much pick whatever you want.
Boy 3: Like Pizza?
Me: Well yes.
Boy 4: Hamburgers?
Me: That too.
Boy 5: Dessert?
Me: Yup, all day every day.
At this, the class was pretty much hooked on the idea of college. For the next half hour I continued to answer a variety of questions from- what's my favorite subject in school, to- team Jacob or team Edward. As the question topics seemed unlimited I began to realize that perhaps I had things all wrong. The kids didn't want to know about soccer because whether someone is an athlete or not, that's not what college is all about. College is about decorating your dorm room in the latest Target trends. It's about eating rice krispy treats for breakfast because you can. It's about drinking coffee for the first time and hating it, but spending $4.50 on a latte everyday at Starbucks. It's about taking a Scandinavian studies because it sounds interesting. It's about the people you meet and the friends you make.
The questions kept coming right up until the bell rang, and even at that point most still wanted to stay after and hang out. I gladly signed autographs and took a group photo with the kids who were pushing just for the chance to stand next to me. It made me feel happy to be looked up to by a group of kids that I just met barely an hour before, but I was more excited to hear how they were all eager to go to college now. I left not only feeling like I had made a difference to the kids, but that the kids made a difference on me. I had been so focused on soccer; my tunnel vision had blinded me to the other aspects of college life that I had looked over. Because what the kids revealed to me is that college is so much more than simply playing a sport or graduating with a degree- it's about the experiences and stories we make along the way.
L.I.F.E: LOYALTY, INDUSTRY, FAITH, and EFFICIENCY: These are the four pillars of our program, our University, and the reason for my current state of melancholy. "We can do it." "Believe." "It doesn't matter what they say out there, it only matters what you think in here." (Insert heart pounding gesture here). Most of the time these are just words or attempts to get buy in from players during a half-time or pre-game speech. But there are teams that live it and commit wholeheartedly to the cause, as I and every member of our staff and squad did this season. And when the stars fail to align, as is their custom for all but one team a year, you are left with that empty feeling that lingers like the last guest at a wedding reception. So it's with laden mind and heavy heart that I sit in the stands of the NCAA Women's College Cup in Raleigh, N.C.
I have attended this event for the past three years to primarily recruit at the youth tournament. This year my perspective was slightly maligned as only a week prior our unbelievable group of women's soccer players from UW had reluctantly bowed out of the NCAA playoffs in overtime of the Elite Eight round against Boston College. Following a run of games that evoked an array of emotions I thought I would watch the College Cup tapped out, an empty soul. However, as the whistle for kick-off pierced the air offering momentary solace from the sub-zero game time temperature, a welcome fire began to burn as I thought: "One year from now, this will be our night!"
With renewed purpose I turned my attention to as many aspects of the moment as I could.
First, and most noticeable, was the lack of chemistry and passion in the crowd. The College Cup is played at a neutral site and run in conjunction with a huge youth tournament. With thousands of players having traveled thousands of miles to compete and enjoy the spectacle of the College Cup I couldn't help but hearken back to the perfect Beahan-baritone that lead our Spartan 300 of traveling supporters who wouldn't have need Thermopylae geography to pound these Irish and Cardinal supporters into submission.
Next, the TV cameras and pre-game production, extensive as it was, would offer a hurdle for these teams to overcome. Although Stanford and Notre Dame had advanced to previous College Cups and were used to the attention, there were subtleties that lead to some interesting dynamics.
For example, in the first semi-final Notre Dame played Ohio State, a College Cup newcomer and following what was a physical opening gambit, the first College Cup kink was inserted during the 22nd minute of play: a TV timeout! The real purpose is for advertising dollars, but it also offers respite for the weary, but more importantly refocus for the more capable team that was simply drowning in the moment. Following that TV timeout Notre Dame, although unable to score, looked like that beloved dog of yours when he comes inside after playing in the mud and rain, but as the Irish shook themselves from head-to-toe it wasn't dirt or water that fell from them but the weight of the cameras and the pressure of another shot at a national title that had evaded them so narrowly over the past few seasons.
I sat behind the Notre Dame bench the second half. It could have been their proximity but I like to think it was their energy that drew me to them. I couldn't look away. Starting players were amped up. Substitutes were full of encouragement, and one young lady in particular caught my eye. Bundled up so tightly she could have lasted an entire winter on the plains of the North Pole, she calmly walked across the field carrying the Gatorade bottles. Initially I thought she was a member of the training staff until I looked below her ankle length stadium coat and saw a pair of perfectly polished boots. Shocked that she was a player I quickly looked up to her face and it was then that I knew Notre Dame were about to do something special. Her countenance wasn't a Grudenesque scowl. It was a soft, understated smile that said "we have this". I'd seen that smile in weeks prior in a young forward of ours. So much was this the look of a champion that I would frequently seek that forward out just to hear her say "today is a great day".
Sure enough the Irish swept over the Buckeyes who dodge several bullets in the second half only to succumb to a goal by an unassuming freshman who had worked tirelessly to anchor the Irish midfield. She broke from the middle of the park and guided the ball delightfully into the top left corner past a forlorn but phenomenal Ohio State goalkeeper. A huge dog pile and general euphoria ensued! I found myself inserting the faces of myself and my colleagues into the melee like a Jib-Jab "Elf-It" video. How sweet that would be! It's Notre Dame Fighting Irish into the final and Stanford versus Boston College in the next semi-final.
I have to own up here a bit here. Having been a member of the staff that had just lost to BC I was constantly asked by other coaches how I thought the contest between Boston College and Stanford would be. Having answered it so many times I had my spiel down, and it basically amounted to Stanford domination. I went as far as to say the Cardinal would have it in hand by half time and would be able to rest their players for the final. Don't get me wrong, I was far from belittling BC. I certainly felt we were offered ample opportunity to beat the Eagles and maybe through purple and gold lenses I saw a game where we were the better of the two teams. However, it had nothing to do with that as to why I felt Stanford would dominate. Stanford had been knocking on the door of a National Title for three straight years, the past two seasons as an undefeated team. It was a draw between the two teams earlier in the season where even those in the B.C. camp described as a one-sided affair. It was also the slight lack of cohesion and desire on defense that B.C. displayed against us which would have to face what I believed to be the overall best attacking team in the country. Insert College Cup kink number two here: "IT'S THE COLLEGE CUP!" and I was wrong!
Throughout both the first and second half, although Stanford appeared the better of the two teams it was a disjointed slightly individual approach that the Cardinal chose. The slick, sharp passing for which they had become renowned was there but only in spurts and in less dangerous areas of the field than was their custom throughout the regular season. Even so during the second half of play it was Stanford stalwart, Cami Levin, who drove through the B.C. midfield in a mirror image to Mandy Laddish's strike for the Irish in the previous game and slotted it in the top right corner of the same goal.
From that point forth the game seemed to calm. When the final whistle blew Stanford had added a second goal in the waning minutes to set the stage for what all expected to be an epic final, and most would have picked it to be the year a PAC-10 team would win its second National Championship in women's soccer and Stanford University's 100th overall Championship. However, I just couldn't get that unassuming, wry smile from the bench of Notre Dame off my mind.
As in all pressure situations there is a tipping point to which the outcome is often attributed. Fatigue, injury, suspension, weather, referees, the list is endless. When the NCAA Women's College Cup final kicked off though the tipping point, which would ultimately undermine the eventual loser and pronounce the 2010 victor, sat dormant and motionless as it would remain throughout the game.
As most expected Stanford took hold of the game, possessing the ball and creating a tempo that suited their attacking approach. Notre Dame remained calm and composed forcing Stanford to play largely in their own half, neutralizing many of their highly touted threats. Before the initial TV timeout Stanford narrowly missed a scoring chance, grazing the woodwork. The Fighting Irish came right back and they too hit the crossbar. When the timeout came the two teams walked off the field with an odd suspension in the air that felt like Notre Dame, with that wry smile, had not only matched Stanford's attacking prowess but also had started to put a chink in the worst spot of any athlete's armor; in their self- belief.
The first half finished with the realization that Stanford was not the dominant force they had been portrayed as and that I believed them to be. Notre Dame attacked in numbers and with shots only to be narrowly denied. Stanford's play became uncomfortably individual with star forward Christen Press looking to win the National Championship all by herself.
During half time there was much conjecture about the whys and whats regarding Stanford's performance, but sitting there listening my gaze locked on the field and to the dashes that mark eleven yards from the corner flag. It was then that it hit me. The field was colossal in width, hitting close to the maximum allowed at eighty yards. Having played on some postage stamps in our post-season run the field looked like a small country in size. With only three players in the midfield, all noted for elements other than their ability to run and cover ground, the sheer size of the field had neutralized the defensive capabilities of the Stanford midfield. That sleeping third twist in the NCAA Finals tail had emerged and there was to be a humongous sting at the end of it; one that burns forever.
With eyes open to the issues facing Stanford my perspective of the second half differed drastically. I waited expectantly for the inevitable to happen while pleading for my friends in Cardinal to see reason and adjust their personnel and formation. Sadly neither happened and in the 63rd minute following a barrage of attackers that felt like Stanford's entire midfield remained in the comfort and warmth of the halftime locker room and had been replaced by a surprisingly effective post and crossbar (which managed to thwart at least three of the Irish's attacks) Adriana Leon ghosted in at the far post to smartly drive the ball into the roof of the net and the dagger into the hearts of the Cardinal.
From that point it truly affirmed to me the path our squad had taken across the 2010 season. As we watched Stanford stray further and further from their normally controlled, methodical style of play, the crowd fell somewhat silent, unsure of how to react as the cracks and frays in Stanford's team began to widen. The shining spot for Stanford being the all-world performance of freshman goalkeeper, Emily Oliver, who rose above that which was going on in front of her and played like a seasoned veteran.
How lost we can sometimes get on the paths we walk.
But as I look back at the path we have walked and ahead to the one we approach, I am thankful for the sacrifices of the players and staff who placed only one thing ahead of all else: not success but each other. With that as our GPS the directions lead solidly to growth, learning, and endless possibilities, maybe to Kennesaw, Georgia, the site of the 2011 Women's College Cup. With a little luck it will lead us to the opportunity to test our team against the pitfalls to which so many have succumb. 2011: Here come the Dawgs!
Check out a video clip from a recent women's soccer trip to Scenic Elementary School.
The UW women's soccer team was receiving votes in the NSCAA top 25 poll for much of the season but never broke into the top 25. Now, in the final poll, after its magical run to the Elite 8, UW is No. 15. Check out the complete poll here: http://www.nscaa.com/seniorRes.php?it=1350&dv=1&dt=20101207&gen=Women&title=%20NCAA%20Rankings.
Check out the video made by women's soccer players Kate Deines and McKenna Waitley prior to the Elite 8 match at Boston College.
The 2011 FIFA World Cup Draw was today and USA and former Husky goalkeeper Hope Solo will play in Group C and former UW great and current volunteer coach Veronica Perez and Mexico will play in Group B.
Group stage draw (26 June-6 July)
Group A: Germany (2), Canada (9), Nigeria (27), France (8)
Group B: Japan (5), New Zealand (23), Mexico (22), England (10)
Group C: United States (1), Korea DPR (6), Colombia (32), Sweden (4)
Check out yesterday's Seattle Times feature on Jorde LaFontaine-Kussmann: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskies/2013533752_uwsoccer27..
Check out yesterday's feature on the women's soccer team by Terry Wood of the Seattle Times: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/huskies/2013522140_uwsoccer26.html.
Check out three women's soccer stories. The first, posted by the San Diego Sealions where Jane Mitchell and Alex Webber have both played over the summer: http://sealionsoccer.com/news/index.php?cat=14&id=147.
The second story is a feature on the Pac-10 website on Kate Deines: http://pac-10.org/News/tabid/863/Article/216566/deines-leads-huskies-to-elite-eight-ready-for-more.aspx.
NCAA.com also did a blog with junior Sarah Martinez: /ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30200&ATCLID=208234861.
Head coach Lesle Gallimore and junior captain Kate Deines were on Q It Up Sports on Sunday. Check out their interview.
Graham Hays of ESPN.com wrote a great feature story on the women's soccer team, specificially Jorde LaFontaine-Kussmann. Check it out here: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncaa/columns/story?columnist=hays_graham&id=5815963.
On Oct. 24th before the Oregon State women's soccer game, the Huskies hosted a youth clinic at the Dempsey Indoor. See some of the pictures in the photo gallery below.
Check out the feature on senior Jane Mitchell on the USL website: http://wleague.uslsoccer.com/home/480947.html.
After her two goals against Oklahoma on Friday in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, junior Sarah Martinez (Des Moines, Wash.) was named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com Team of the Week. Martinez scored in the third minute which ended being the game-winning goal. She then scored the second goal of the game in the 24th minute.
To view the complete team click here: http://www.topdrawersoccer.com/college-soccer/college-soccer-archives/nid-19177/Stanford-still-#1;%20Camille%20Trujillo%20POTW.
Kelli Stewart is a junior midfielder from Mukilteo, Wash. This season she has two goals and three assists. She sat down with www.gohuskies.com for a Q&A.
Gohuskies.com: What is a pet peeve of yours?
Kelli Stewart: "When someone makes a dramatic scene when hurt on the field."
GH: What is your pre-game superstition?
KS: "I have to listen to sweet or sad slow songs before every game."
GH: What is the best present you have ever received?
KS: "A chocolate cheesecake."
GH: If you were trapped on a desert island with one teammate, who would you want to be stranded with?
KS: "Sarah (Martinez)."
GH: What's your favorite board game?
GH: Why should others become involved in the great sport of soccer?
KS: "It is a great way to meet and make friends."
GH: If you could train with any professional athlete who would you chose and why?
KS: "Mia Hamm... she was always my favorite."
GH: What is one of the most important things your parents did in your upbringing?
KS: "There are many but the one that stands out the most is putting in the honest work for everything you get; whether it's your first car, a new pair of jeans, or the chance to play D1 soccer."
GH: What don't people outside of your hometown know about where you grew up that you think they should know?
KS: "There is a great place to eat on the speedway right next to the ferry line."
GH: What do you know now about the game of soccer that you wish you would've known when you started playing the sport?
KS: "I would go back and remind myself to keep the game in perspective, although the pressure is high it's still a game and if you're not having fun it's not worth it."
GH: What is one characteristic a person needs to be a champion?
KS: "Self awareness."
Check out some warmups and the starting lineups for the UW women's soccer team vs.Oklahoma in the NCAA First Round.
As a 2009 Husky graduate, Veronica Perez did the UW Women's Soccer Team proud last year when she was drafted in the fourth round as the seventh PAC-10 player selected for the Women's Professional League (WPL). Not only did Perez begin her professional career on the St. Louis Athletica team, but she joined the U.S. U-23 team as well. It wasn't until 2010 that she made the switch to begin her career on the Mexican Women's National team. In addition to her being a professional soccer player, Perez has also volunteered her time as an assistant soccer coach for the Huskies this year.
It is no surprise that the lines of loyalty blurred this past Friday in Seattle as Huskies everywhere took news of alum Perez scoring the game-winning goal for the Mexican Women's National team to upset the U.S. in a 2-1 victory in the 2010 CONCACAF Women's World Cup. November 5th, 2010 now marks an enormous occasion in the world of the Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), as it is the first Mexican National victory over the U.S. in 26 matches. It also stands out as the first time the U.S. has failed to advance to the championships of a CONCACAF event.
While this was an enormous defeat for the U.S. team, coach Lesle Gallimore was not torn at all about her pride in Perez's contribution. Gallimore admits that although she is "clearly a huge fan of the U.S. and want[s] them to do well and to qualify, Veronica has worked really hard to make a name for herself in this game and for her National Team," and maintains that, "It was easy to be super excited for Veronica."
"Playing the US in Mexico was great," says Perez regarding the game, "we made history, and it was awesome to do it in front of our fans." Veronica gives credit to her right wing teammate who crossed the perfect ball that knocked perfectly off her head and into in the lower left corner of the goal past U.S. goal keeper Nicole Barnhart in the 27th minute. This brought Mexico to a 2-1 lead that they were able to hold for the remainder of the game.
Veronica insists that her team went into the game knowing that they had everything to win and nothing to lose, and recognizes the importance of the game stating, "If we won, we got an automatic bid, and if we lost we were going to have to play Costa Rica. We weren't going to lose."
This 'refuse-to-be-defeated' mindset proved to be exactly what these underdogs needed to pull through last Friday; the Mexican National team has now earned themselves a spot in the World Cup, which will take place June 2011. "We are excited to watch [Perez] in Germany next summer," says Coach Gallimore.
With the World Cup six months away Veronica and her teammates state that they plan to stay busy until then, "We have three tournaments leading up to it, and then after that we'll be in training camp." This epic win has energized the team and they are confident in maintaining the focus and confidence they now have in order to succeed in Germany next year.
Veronica herself says that she has had a great experience on the Mexican National team and has enjoyed her time there even if it has meant meeting the demanding travel excursions from Seattle to Mexico and back in juggling her volunteer coaching and career as professional athlete.
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