Saturday, October 30, 2010

What do the Matildas do with Lisa De Vanna?

So today I'm roaring, on what I think is one of the most interesting questions heading into Germany, what will happen to Lisa De Vanna?

You can read the story here, but what's even more interesting is the media release that Perth Glory issued yesterday with the W-League team for 2010/11.

In it, coach John Gibson explained his decision not to re-sign the Westfield Matildas pocket rocket.
"Unfortunately we've had to make some hard decisions on the squad for upcoming season and Lisa didn't fit into the plans of the future direction of the team over the next few years,” he said.

Interesting, not the fact that she's not going back to Perth, that was evident weeks ago that she's probably going to Melbourne. But that Perth are saying it was their decision not to re-sign De Vanna, that essentially, she wasn't wanted in Perth, they forced her to go elsewhere.

It looks like wherever she does end-up, De Vanna is going to have a lot to prove in the W-League this summer.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Matildas narrowly lose to Germany, 2-1, in Germany

A 2-1 defeat to current FIFA World Cup winners Germany is certainly not a bad thing, but I think the most interesting point to come from this is just how different it was from playing in Asia. Cue Kate Gill's comments,

“The football here is very different to Asian Football. They are more physical in Europe," she said.

“You get a very different experience from these matches and we have to learn how to better adapt to these conditions over the next 9 months.”

Which is why playing a friendly in Germany at this stage was a masterstroke, just when the Matildas think they are on top of the World - hit them with the fact they are just on top of Asia.

Although, it does seem Australia did come out on top in one battle of physicality, with Kerstin Garefrekes forced to withdraw after coming off second-best in a clash with Sally Shipard midway through the first half.

There are match report details on the FFA website, but why ruin it all when you can watch it on ABC TV this Saturday at 3pm? Also sets up a nice little reminder, that on Saturday week - that's where you will find live W-League.
GERMANY 2 (Inka GRINGS 36', Martina MÜLLER 71') bt MATILDAS 1 (Sam Kerr 28') at Volkswagen-Arena, Wolfsburg
Referee: Tanja SCHETT (Austria)
Assistant Referees: Inka MÜLLER and Christina JAWOREK (both Germany)
Crowd: 7,229

Germany line-up: Ursula HOLL (gk), Sandra BARTUSIAK, Babett PETER, Sonja FUSS (46' Verena FAISST), Lena GOESSLING, Simone LAUDEHR, Kim KULIG (46' Martina MÜLLER), Kerstin GAREFREKES (25' Célia OKOYINO DA MBABI), Fatmire BAJRAMAJ, Inka GRINGS (69' Dszenifer MAROSZÁN), Birgit PRINZ (69' Ariane HINGST)
Substitutes not used: Nadine ANGERER (gk), Josephine HENNING, Tabea KEMME, Melanie BEHRINGER, Anja MITTAG, Alexandra POPP

Westfield Matildas line-up: Melissa BARBIERI (GK), Clare POLKINGHORNE (Caitlin MUNOZ 63'), Kim CARROLL, Lauren COLTHORPE (Teigen ALLEN 57'), Servet UZUNLAR, Collette MCCALLUM, Sally SHIPARD (Aivi LUIK 88'), Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, Kate GILL (Leena KHAMIS 80'), Kyah SIMON, Samantha KERR
Substitutes not used: Lydia WILLIAMS (gk), Thea SLATYER

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Matildas camp ahead of Peace Cup and Germany friendly

The Matildas have a busy month ahead of them, with the Peace Cup in Korea and then a friendly against Germany in Germany on October 28. Yes, that's right, Germany, the second best women's team in the world. What a test that will be.

Here are the players that went into camp today at the Australian Insititute of Sport in Canberra -

Emma Wirkus (Adelaide), Victoria Balomenos (Adelaide), Collette McCallum (Perth), Sam Kerr (Perth), Laura Alleway (Brisbane), Karla Reuter (Brisbane), Kim Carroll (Brisbane), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Amy Chapman (Brisbane), Brooke Spence (Brisbane), Joanne Burgess (Brisbane), Elise Kellond-Knight (Gold Coast), Casey Dumont (Gold Coast), Aivi Luik (Gold Coast), Tameka Butt (Gold Coast), Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra), Emily Van Egmond (Canberra), Sally Shipard (Canberra), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Ellie Brush (Albury), Kyah Simon (Sydney), Thea Slatyer (Sydney), Kylie Ledbrook (Sydney), Leena Khamis (Sydney), Teigen Allen (Penrith/Sydney), Michelle Heyman (Sydney), Ellyse Perry (Sydney), Danielle Brogan (Sydney), Caitlin Foord (Sydney)

Head Coach: Tom Sermanni, Asssistant Coach: Robbie Hooker, Goalkeeper coach: Paul Jones

Obviously this camp is missing all those Matildas who do ply their trade overseas, Sarah Walsh, Heather Garriock, Katie Gill, Lisa de Vanna (who if you didn't already notice, has been splashed across news today for all the wrong reasons) and Lauren Colthorpe.

But nice to see Amy Chapman, Victoria Balomenos and Caitlin Munoz back from injury (what else but knee reconstructions), and Ellyse Perry back from her Australian cricket duties.

On Friday morning, the team's patron, Australia's Governer-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC, will also drop in and speak to the girls about their AFC Cup win and anything else on their mind, over a cup of tea.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

GirlsWithGame monthly wrap in women's football - August 2010

So apologies again for the sporadic posting that has become a trademark at GirlsWithGame. But here is my compromise, in the lead-up to the W-League, a monthly wrap of all the happenings and then from November a more consistent focus on the W-League. Heading into next year's FIFA Women's World Cup, it's going to be a cracker of a season.

So firstly, what's the latest W-League gossip?

Well the hottest property to come from the Mariners collapse is Michelle Heyman, and this story in the Illawarra Mercury seems to suggest she could be in Canberra this season. Fourfourtwo also carried the story, but am not sure they can actually carry that exclusive tag off given the Mercury story was three weeks before? Given United's biggest problem last year was scoring goals, she would be a handy addition. But remember United will also have Caitlin Munoz back this season. I saw Caitlin play in Canberra not long ago, and she is in tip-top shape. Canberra have also signed on former AIS assistant Ray Junna for his second season in the coaches box. Ellyse Perry, who claimed every award at Canberra last season, is also likely to be back for another go round in the capital. Perry didn't play in the Asian Cup this year because she was winning the International Cricket Council's Twenty20 World Cup, but given there is no major cricket tournaments on in the middle of next year, it's very likely she will make a return to the Matildas team in time for Germany. Here's her latest from the FIFA website.

At the Newcastle Jets, Sasha McDonnell and Kara Mowbray have signed on for their third club in three seasons. The pair, who are from Queensland, started with Canberra United, then McDonnell went to Brisbane for season two and Mowbray went to Melbourne. Now both are reunited at the Jets. Read more in this Newcastle Herald story, where coach Wayne O'Sullivan reckons it will be their best yet. Hayley Crawford will be captain again.

Melbourne Victory have a new coach. Vicki Linton will be the second female in charge of a W-League team after Nicola Williams coached Perth Glory in the first season.

Of course, the draw is also now out. Starting on November 6, it will be the longest W-League season so far, but that doesn't actually mean any more games. But because of byes and breaks throughout the season, there will be 12 weeks of action, but each team will play 10 regular season games, the same amount as the first two seasons, and also have two byes. The final will be in February 12. Find it all here.

In Matildas news, Australia's national women's team, have reached their highest FIFA ranking, with their AFC victory pushing them from 14th to equal 11th (with Italy). Matildas mentor Tom Sermanni said that a long term aim is to get into the top-10 and stay there.

Australia's greatest female footballer has been recognised by the Professional Footballer's Association and the FFA, with a new Cheryl Salisbury medal awarded to the best female footballer each year. Of course, given it's a PFA award, it's voted for by the players. Read all about it here.

In related news, Salisbury has been busy since retiring, she's become a mum. See Josh Leeson's story in the Newcastle Herald.

And in some international news, at the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, which is where I was lucky enough to be in August, the Chilean women's football team won the Gold medal at the first official IOC youth event. I managed to sneak into the football venue more than once and watched the Chilean girls in their first game against Trinidad and Tobago. Composed, physical and yet pretty technically awesome, I think these girls could go a long way.

For more international news, see FIFA's official August round-up here, including the wrap-up from the second season of the USA's Women's Pro Soccer league.

And lastly, make sure you become a Matildas fan on facebook. Because lately, the page has been updated more often with some great links. So become a fan, make comments, because it seems like the FFA are listening.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Central Coast Mariners out of W-League

So news today is that the 2010/11 season of the W-League will start on November 5 and will another 10-round competition, but without the Central Coast Mariners.

First of all, it's hardly a surprise, given that Football NSW and NSWIS were supporting two teams (Sydney FC and the Mariners) and the Mariners girls were actually based in Sydney, not at all near Gosford like their men's counterpart. So now there will be two NSW teams, Sydney FC and Newcastle (who are backed by Northern NSW football, so a different entity to Football NSW), but I think will work better for women's football overall in NSW. One team per local federation makes sense to me.

Secondly, it may be one less team, but in a league where the difference between the top and bottom teams in the first two years was quite obvious, is that a bad thing? Instead heading into the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, it will put more pressure on every single player who wants to play W-League this year. There is about 20 less places than last year, it's going to be more competitive just to get into a W-League side. Which is another positive.

So is there any negatives out of this? Well yes, less girls will get a spot on a W-League roster this season, but in addition to my second point, coming out of an Australian Sports Commission conference on women in sport and media coverage yesterday (more on this later), I don't think that's such a bad thing either. The consensus was there, yes, women in sport should have more coverage in mainstream media, but the product has to be great first. One less team will make a more even field, a more competitive league. And I can't see a problem with that. In just the third season, I think it makes a lot more sense to cut back and make the league solid and viable before going forward.

The only other observation I have is that, well, this is going to make Sydney FC pretty unstoppable if they claim Mariners golden boot winner Michelle Heyman. Can't wait for November 5 to roll around.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

1GOAL - help give girls worldwide some education

So now the World Cup is on and all of Australia's focus is on the Socceroos, although, after the first game, I think there is probably a few broken hearts around the country. But anyway, what is means is that the Matildas are out of the worldwide spotlight.

But that doesn't mean girls have to be completely, and it's today I'm going to ask you to do a little something for me, and sign up to the 1GOAL campaign.

1GOAL's aim is to use the biggest event in the world, the FIFA World Cup and leverage the huge audience watching for a positive goal. Which is simply, education for all. We all know the basics, education is basically the key to a future, for anyone and everyone, right across the world. And it's most important for girls, because in third world countries they are less likely to have access to education than boys.

And all it takes is to sign-up your name to the cause. I've done it and it takes 20seconds maximum. When you do, you will be joining some impressive company, including the Matildas team and eight million other people worldwide.

Right now, there is also lots of pretty awesome competitions, like winning Socceroos stuff by producing a video, and if you are a student aged 13 to 17, you can win a trip to Africa and see an Aid Education project first hand to learn more about it.

So what are you waiting for, just hop on over to 1GOAL Australia website, and sign-up. It's as easy as that, and you will have helped football bring a little light to a worldwide problem. And while you are there, check out the 1GOAL Australia blog from South Africa, that includes this tweet from yesterday '1GOAL Ambassador Christiano Ronaldo was named after Ronald Reagan. True story.' See, charity and entertainment!

Now get back to some World Cup watching, and hopefully there will be a Matildas camp to report about here soon!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Matildas win the Asian Cup - a week in Australian news

So this time last week the Matildas were just about to get their hands on Australia's first ever Asian Cup, and since then they've been able to soak-up a little of the spotlight.  Here is my round-up of the best stories that appeared in the last week.

One of my all-time favourite writers Greg Baum, tackles the entire issue of Matildas and other women's media with perfect prose. Read his thoughts on The Age website.

Matildas captain Melissa Barbieri is also on The Age website, speaking her mind on Sunday, although you only need to read my previous post to see that I don't actually agree with what's said. It's still interesting to read her words though.
Peter Wilkins, although I cringed at some of his efforts while actually commentating the girls, has written a piece on Clare Polkinghorne, at ABC Sport, who I think is one of the most important players in the Matildas future.

Dan Silkstone's piece, that reveals the delicious detail that goalkeeping coach Paul Jones and Melissa Barbieri were faking it with a dossier of notes during the penalty shoot-out, making the Koreans think the Matildas captain knew which was the kick was going to come.

And from the horses mouth, one of my newest favourite writers, Australia's brilliant first-penalty-taker Sal Shipard. Read her blog here.

Shipard again (she's becoming a bit of a media star) in the fourfourtwo podcast.

Technically it's a cricket and soccer story, but with Ellyse Perry in it, how can it not be in the SMH.

Finally, while it isn't actually about them winning the Asian Cup but a preview, a special mention to Aussie magazine Women's Health and it's fashion spread, starring Barbieri, Katie Gill, Thea Slatyer, Elise Kellond-Knight and the girl-of-the-moment, Kyah Simon. See a video from the shoot, here.

Don't forget the great coverage from the oft-forgotten small-town papers. Here's to you, Newcastle Herald, Rouse Hill Times, Blue Mountains Gazette, the South East Advertiser and the Daily Advertiser. In fact, a double cheer to the Newcastle Herald, who I believe now offer the best Matildas and W-League coverage in the country. They don't just state what happened, they actually talk to the players, about tatics and stuff that actually relates to the game. Amazing!

So are there any other great stories I have missed? Which is your favourite? For me, it's hard to go past Sal Shipard's blog entry. Not only informative and interesting, it's just beautifully written as well. Thanks for sharing Sal!