Concussions are not an issue limited to the NFL (or MLB or NBA or EPL). It is time for Women’s Professional Soccer to address the fact that concussions are a serious issue. Abby Wambach’s injury last Saturday warranted a medical examination and, honestly, her being pulled from the game.
Now is the time to address this as girls learning to play the game are more likely to sustain concussions and, compared to boys, take longer to recover. The signal sent by stars, such as Wambach, are critical to make this game safe at all levels.
This is actually a really interesting article. There can’t be a double-standard when it comes to concussions, especially considering they’re the premier issue in professional football and hockey right now. The WNY Flash and the NWSL need to make sure that this is handled properly.
Twenty years ago today, Manon Rhéaume became the first (and only) woman to play in an NHL exhibition game.
Portland Thorns FC’s Home Opener against Seattle Reign FC was watched live in front of an audience of 22,552, shattering the NWSL’s First Inaugural Match between FC Kansas City v. Portland Thorns FC of 13,369.
Crowd at Jeld-Wen Field: 16,479
Viewers DURING the live stream peaked: 6,073
Extraordinary match, two powerful teams, beautiful Pitch, quality live stream, smart commentators, and one of the best soccer crowds I’ve seen. Portland has set the standard high for the NWSL.
*Peak is only an estimation, may have peaked higher at another point during the stream.*
This is such a great thing for a new league. Hopefully the other teams can keep up the momentum - I know they have smaller stadiums, but any kind of sellout is great.
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon. After realizing that a woman was running, race organizer Jock Semple went after Switzer shouting, “Get the hell out of my race and give me those numbers.” However, Switzer’s boyfriend and other male runners provided a protective shield during the entire marathon.The photographs taken of the incident made world headlines, and Kathrine later won the NYC marathon with a time of 3:07:29. [Wiki]
Mia Hamm is another U.S. legend who grew up playing with her brother, Garrett, often drafting his sister to come play in pickup games against older guys. At North Carolina, she kept playing against guys — Hamm recounted study breaks via pickup, describing night games under the track flood lights. Her junior year at UNC, she dated Kerry Zavagnin, the star on the men’s team who went on to anchor Kansas City’s midfield and garner a dozen caps with the national team.
“It was Mia’s year of greatest improvement,” said Anson Dorrance, North Carolina’s women’s coach and former coach of the national team. “They’d go play every day, and he never let her win. It drove her bat-sh— crazy. The next season her goal-scoring tally skyrocketed.”
Heather O’Reilly, a North Carolina alum who graduated more than a decade after Hamm and is a speedster on the wing for the current U.S. women, also relied on one-v-ones. She spent her high school years dueling against the neighborhood guys (John Mulhern, who later played for Columbia, and Danny Kramer, who went on to play for Duke). At UNC, the pickup tradition continued into O’Reilly’s era — the men’s and women’s teams would sneak onto the Tar Heel game field and drag out trash cans. Like Hamm, O’Reilly fondly described the dim glow of the track flood lights.
Many others, including Alex Morgan, Becky Sauerbrunn and Lindsey, also described intense collegiate pickup games with men’s teams. Morgan, the star U.S. forward referred to affectionately by her teammates as “Baby Horse,” acknowledged, “I did not play much pickup as a child. … Growing up I played all kinds of sports, so when I pursued soccer, it wasn’t necessarily my technical ability that got me anywhere. It was my strength, speed, competitive mindset, overall athletic ability — yes, typical American. Once I got to college, I realized that practicing three to six days wasn’t enough for me.”Over the summers, she started playing pickup with California’s men’s team.
“I couldn’t keep up physically, but technically, I got better with my feet and I started thinking faster,” she said. “I didn’t use to feel comfortable with the ball at my feet. I didn’t even want the ball, unless I was in a shooting position or on the run. Playing pick up with the Cal men’s team, random guys, and with teams BeastMode Soccer put together, I was forced to want the ball. I felt out of my comfort zone, a lot, but that’s when I knew I was improving.”
She added, “It was so fun thinking that coaches weren’t watching me and I could actually try things that I wouldn’t normally in a practice.” Somewhat paradoxically, the pickup field, the place that allows you to feel the most comfortable, is also the place where you leave comfort zones behind.
Press played three times a week at a public park in Huntington Beach, Calif. When O’Reilly lived in New York, she trained by playing in pickup games at Pier 40, at least a dozen different nationalities present on the field at any time. Lindsey and Krieger, who will play together for the Washington Spirit of the new National Women’s Soccer League, currently play in a pickup game with a bunch of guys on a public field in Fairfax, Va. While Morgan is at home, she gets together a group of women in the L.A. area. Sauerbrunn, a U.S. center back, played at 10:30 am every day at a beat-up turf field 20 minutes from her house. The games were open to anyone, but some might have been scared away.
“We were a little intimidating though in our competitiveness,” Sauerbrunn said. “We would have national team players, current pros, ex-pros (men and women), college players, guys who had played in high school but didn’t in college, etc. … The field was always set smaller than was comfortable so that technique and decision-making trumped physical abilities.”
While preparing for the 2011 Women’s World Cup, Sauerbrunn and Lindsey drove to an indoor place in Maryland to pay $5 to get on a field and train. (I find this slightly staggering — the United States center back paid money to train for that small thing known as the World Cup. One minute she’s un-crumpling bills at an indoor center; the next she’s starting against France in the semifinals.)
“Most of the time there were 20 or so young Mexican men playing pickup on the next field over,” Sauerbrunn said. “They’d invite us to play, and we would spend the end of our training session crammed onto a small turf field, basically playing 11 aside.”
Read more at the source. Fantastic article about the development of the game.
This was a really interesting article. Neat to see that so many of the “next generation” American players - Morgan, Press, etc., regularly play improvised games as part of their off-season training. I especially liked this quote:
“Somewhat paradoxically, the pickup field, the place that allows you to feel the most comfortable, is also the place where you leave comfort zones behind.”
Pick up soccer is the purest form of the game. No overzealous parents on the sidelines, no demanding coaches. Just playing, experimenting, and having fun. What the game is really about.
Why I Should Be Chosen to Represent Canada at the 2013 IOA Session:
Growing up in a military family, I had an upbringing that was different than the average person my age, but still distinctly Canadian. Moving across Canada and even to different countries every few years, I quickly gained a sense of patriotism and pride in this country that is hard to describe. Combining patriotism and my love of sports, the Olympics have always had a special place in my heart. I’ll never forget watching every moment of Vancouver 2010, from the opening ceremony to the fourteen gold medals. The Canadian women’s soccer team persevering through adversity to win a bronze in 2012 is also one of my favourite patriotic and sporting memories. Growing up, I wanted to be a professional soccer player. While that dream never materialized, I took my passion for sports in a different direction. Looking at the impact sport has had on my life, I believe that everyone should have equal access to every playing field. Having graduated with a degree in communications, and currently pursuing a graduate certificate in sport management, I believe that I would be the ideal candidate to attend the International Olympic Academy’s annual “Young Participants” session. I have the passion, knowledge, enthusiasm, and sense of responsibility necessary for the role, and would spread the ideals of the Olympics to the youth of Canada through various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Thank you for your consideration.
Well, here we go.
I’ve decided to start a “professional” blog. I’ve had more personal blogs for years, so I’m definitely not new to the practice, but I’ve never had a professional presence online aside from LinkedIn.
This is going to be a collection of things that interest me professionally, as well as my personal experiences completing my graduate program and entering the workforce.
So, here we go!