Jun 16, 2013, 7:05 PM EST
Laura Harvey confessed: It was something she’d have to get used to. Last Sunday, in the wake of a demoralizing home loss to FC Kansas City, the Seattle Reign coach was looking forward to the Sunday’s rivalry match without Hope Solo and Kaylyn Kyle, two important parts of her back five. True, Portland was going to be without the likes of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, called in to U.S. and Canadian camps despite matches scheduled outside of FIFA breaks, but while Harvey was at Arsenal LFC, she didn’t have players taken from her out of window. This was something new; something frustrating.
That’s life in a federation-sponsored league. The U.S. and Canada (with help from Mexico) are shouldering much of burden for the NWSL, the three federations paying the salaries of players placed in the new eight-team league. What recourse did the Reign have? There’s no appetite to bite the hand.
For Canada, you can see the logic of the call-ups. John Herdman’s team travel to Germany for a Wednesday game that’s an important part of his team’s development. Ahead of hosting the 2015 World Cup, Canada’s looking at consistent matches against high-level competition to make their capable team into a more consistent one. How does Canada become a team that can regularly give performances like last year’s Olympic semifinal? By repeatedly putting the team in a position to step up.
The U.S. is in a different place. Their June 15th and 20th friendlies seem more a function of pre-NWSL habit than any kind of development need, something easily argued against when noting new coach Tom Sermanni has only been on the job six months. But while you can just as easily argue that players need time in camps to be evaluated properly, you could also argue that staying with their clubs while getting direction from both national team and club staff would help players settle into routines, habits that will better promote development.
Perhaps the North American club game isn’t there, yet. The type of improvement we’ve seen from Christen Press since she’s been in Sweden? Or the glimpses of six month’s further polish evident in Tobin Heath? Perhaps the NWSL can’t provide that, yet. Maybe these camps are still very much needed, even if the scheduling of South Korea — a decent if ultimately unthreatening opponent — hints these games may be part of an old, pre-league playbook: Schedule friendlies, sell tickets, and otherwise occupy this low point of the cycle.
But as the NWSL pushes on with a five-game week, three of which take place tonight, it’s hard to see how these mid-season benefit either U.S. Soccer or the NWSL in the long run. If the argument for throwing money behind the NWSL espouses the developmental value of a strong domestic league, then let the league be strong. Unless you have an opponent like Germany and a need like Canada’s, take the long view. Make the little sacrifices needed to embolden the NWSL so that in the this type of discussion eventually becomes irrelevant.
In their two games against South Korea, U.S. Soccer may raise money that will help pay their players’ salaries, this supporting the NWSL. But the domestic league was always going to be about little sacrifices: by owners; by players; and by the federations. Not calling in the national team players for mid-season matches against South Korea? That would have been just another small sacrifice toward the NWSL’s health.
(Author’s note: The original post made two references to the U.S.’s friendlies being out-of-window in regards to the international calendar. Those references were incorrect and have been removed.)
Dec 24, 2014, 7:43 PM EST
Toronto reportedly wants to either keep Defoe or sell permanently, and while Redknapp is interested, that would be a problem.
Dec 24, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
With Saido Mane headed to the AFCON and Jay Rodriguez struggling with his knee injury, Ronald Koeman has added another outside threat.
Dec 24, 2014, 5:07 PM EST
Only England plays matches on Boxing Day, and that means something to the Arsenal manager.
Dec 24, 2014, 3:49 PM EST
With a new style of high-pressing play not suited to Balotelli’s style, Brendan Rodgers is admitting his summer signing no longer fits.
Dec 24, 2014, 2:35 PM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out on Boxing Day.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:10 PM EST
Arsenal’s likeable winger just hasn’t seen the field, and could be headed to Serie A as a result.
Dec 24, 2014, 10:46 AM EST
The new Manchester United boss is sweating the heavy injury list, both those that need treatment and those in the recovery room.
Dec 24, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
They don’t play for over a month, and therefore Manuel Pellegrini isn’t thinking about Chelsea despite being three points off the Blues for the top spot in the Premier League table.
Dec 23, 2014, 11:13 PM EST
And yes, we’re opening that unfortunate Pandora’s box of discussion again this fine Tuesday in December.
Dec 23, 2014, 10:42 PM EST
Torres is staying in Major League Soccer after a loan stint in Liga MX, and both MLS and Houston are looking solid after the deal.
Dec 23, 2014, 10:03 PM EST
Three cheers for James Milner, who sank his teeth into the idea that his holiday would be simply mundane in this hilarious video.
Dec 23, 2014, 9:10 PM EST
The article also provides us with anecdotes like the following tale of Colts quarterback Luck, one of the many stories that make us wonder, as always, “What if?”
Dec 23, 2014, 8:20 PM EST
The L.A. Galaxy striker doesn’t sound absolutely certain of his MLS future despite appearing at a press conference for an Ireland friendly.
Dec 23, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Four matches in 10 days is not a situation unique to Arsenal, but it’s still something the club boss is concerning himself with this holiday season.
Dec 23, 2014, 6:40 PM EST
The serial kit-leakers at Footyheadlines.com have brought us an image that may or may not be the United States international away jersey for 2015.
Dec 23, 2014, 5:57 PM EST
In honor of LVG this Christmas, let’s all dedicate ourselves to becoming total human beings.
Dec 23, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
Zelalem has only represented Germany at youth levels and would be valuable to their system despite not appearing for the nation this year.
Dec 23, 2014, 4:37 PM EST
We’re down to nine days before the opening of the January transfer window.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic named No. 2 Swedish athlete of all-time; believes he should be Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Dec 23, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
Zlatan was asked for this thoughts, and his thoughts were, by nature, extremely Zlatan.
Dec 23, 2014, 3:28 PM EST
From LVG’s blazer to grim reaper and sideshow Bob… Let’s take a look back at some wacky moments in the PL.
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United 1
- Report: Lukas Podolski agrees to terms with struggling Inter 4
- Houston Dynamo massive winners in the Erick “Cubo” Torres sweepstakes 1
- Gedion Zelalem, an American flag emoticon, and the Twitter account that wasn’t 4
- Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Strootman, Rodriguez and that crazy Bale/Man Utd talk 0
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic named No. 2 Swedish athlete of all-time; believes he should be Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. 3